Archive for September, 2016

Durga Puja and the Festivals of India

Durga Puja and the Festivals of India

Shoumi Sen Diwali

Please welcome Shoumi Sen who is guest posting for me today. She’s the author of Celebrate Durga Puja With Me! Her book celebrates an important festival of India, Durga Puja, which is about the Mother Goddess, and the victory of the revered warrior Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. Like Chinese New Year, families buy new clothes, prepare special food, and spend the day with friends and loved ones. Durga Puja begins today, September 30th!

Celebrate Durga Puja With Me! by Shoumi Sen

Learn about a festival of India, Durga Puja, in this colorful rhyming picture book. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Priya’s Lit Blog also has a great review of Celebrate Durga Puja With Me!

Shoumi will tell us more about Durga Puja and the other Festivals of India.


The Festivals of India

Indian society celebrates many festivals and an internet search for ‘Festivals of India’ will invariably result in a long list! India is a diverse nation – her people speak many different languages and practice different religions. People here are spiritual and fun loving and the myriad of festivals fill up the months from January to December. There are religious festivals like Diwali, Holi, Christmas and Eid, seasonal festivals like Onam, Baisakhi, Makar Sankranti and Lohri and national festivals like Republic Day and Independence Day. Here are four popular festivals; this list is but a fraction of the many that are celebrated throughout the year!

Holi – The Festival of Colors

 Holi celebrationsRead more…

How to Get the Most Out of Parent & Teacher Conferences

How to Get the Most Out of Parent & Teacher Conferences

Now that my kids are in high school and middle school, the Parent/Teacher conferences are much different than in elementary school when we met with one teacher for about fifteen or twenty minutes. That time period felt short, especially when the conferences were running late. The elementary school conferences focused on assessments the teacher gave as opposed to standardized testing, and how my child was doing. Next steps included ideas for books to read or additional ways to practice writing or math facts.

How to Get the Most Out of Parent & Teacher Conferences

Some of my son’s amazing teachers in elementary school on the last day of school!

Middle School Parent/Teacher conferences at my school are even shorter and we choose a combination of just two teachers: Math/History OR English/Science. The information was usually around completion of work, attitude in school, and quiz grades. Sometimes these conferences feel like confirming that the teachers know exactly who your child is.

How to Get the Most Out of Parent & Teacher Conferences

Our High School Parent/Teacher conferences are like a kind of sprint: 6 minutes per teacher and I think we can only meet with two. If the rooms are far apart — our high school has four floors — it is literally a sprint. This brief time period seems to focus on how my child is doing in that class from grades to attitude. It’s amazing but I found in high school that these teachers really have a good grasp of who my child is from early on.

How to Get the Most Out of Parent & Teacher Conferences

Given that there’s limited access to teachers (assuming that you don’t request or require more), my strategy is to:

  • Meet with teachers my child seems to complain about the most.
  • Meet with teachers that my child seems to have the hardest time academically.
  • Ask the teacher if they need things donated to their classroom. You’d be amazed how many teachers need basic items like hand sanitizer, and paper towels.
  • Convey positive feedback from my child about that teacher.
  • Thank them for their time. Parent/Teacher conferences make a long school day even longer for teacher!
  • How to Get the Most Out of Parent & Teacher Conferences

Today my guest author is Rocketship Education — a nonprofit network of public charter schools in the Bay Area, Nashville, Milwaukee, Tennessee and Washington, DC on Parent & Teacher Conferences. Since they are coming up in a few weeks, I hope this is helpful!

How about you? Please share your tips for getting the most out of Parent/Teacher conferences. Thanks!

My son’s 5th grade Parent/Teacher Conference focused on self assessment that he did of his own work and how he thinks he’s doing.

Read more…

Beautiful Barefoot Books

Beautiful Barefoot Books

I love the message Barefoot Books newest title, The Barefoot Book of Children. It’s about opening the hearts and minds of children to spark their curiosity to learn about people around the world. It’s about examining differences to find connections and similarities, thus discovering the humanity in each and every person.

Author Kate DePalma and senior editor at Barefoot Books would like to thank you personally for learning more about The Barefoot Book of Children.

The Barefoot Book of Children by Tessa Strickland and Kate DePalma, illustrated by David Dean

What can you see or hear or smell from where you are?

Which [languages] do you recognize?

Does [your name] have a meaning?

With gentle questions, this beautifully illustrated book helps kids see their place in the world as well as make connections to others who are different from them. It’s a book to encourage children to ask questions about how children live around the world. Each illustration vignette shows a child from a different culture but doing similar things: taking a bath, in their special getaway place, at a place of worship, and in their own home. Pair this book with the World Atlas. [large format picture book, ages 2 and up]

bfb-of_children_hc_3d_web_400px Read more…

12 Books For Kids That Challenge Authority & GIVEAWAY!

Please welcome my guest author today, Jen Downey, who writes the Ninja Librarian series.

Teaching Your Kid How and Why to Challenge Authority

A Baker’s Dozen Books

Challenge authority! Did you just feel a slither of uneasiness?

What parent wouldn’t? We’re the ones who have to get those kids into their beds when they don’t want to go. Ensure that some form of vegetable matter makes it down their throats. Frankly, I’d go stark raving mad if everyone in the family insisted on eating something different for supper.

What do you mean, it’s a good idea to give them examples of fictional and historical characters who challenged authority? Is that really a good idea? Do we really want our kids declaring the right to wear underwear on their heads during grocery store expeditions? Couldn’t we just hand them a nice bundle of books about authority and its challengers when they turn 18, and have signed leases on their first apartments?

If only. Read more…

Kid Lit Blog Hop Now MONTHLY!

Kid Lit Blog Hop


We want to welcome you to the September 2016 Kid Lit Blog Hop. Fall is finally here…YAY! There are some really great Autumn books out there for children. We have seen some list already. How about you share some of those on our monthly hop or for that matter, any great kid’s literature.


This exciting, monthly hop, is where we develop an engaged group of people who love everything that has to do with children’s literature. Everyone is welcome to join us: bloggers, authors, publicist, and publishers!

Read more…

Magnus Chase & The Hammer of Thor GIVEAWAY!

Magnus Chase & #HammerofThor Swag GIVEAWAY!

I think that I’ve mentioned a few times how much we love Rick Riordan books? My son has read every word that man has written with the exception of his adult novels. (Yes! He wrote for adults before Percy Jackson.) My son reads them so fast that I had to find other books like Percy Jackson and diversity books like Percy Jackson. He, of course, prefers the real thing.

My son raced through the first Magnus Chase book where it was fun to see Annabeth Chase. In order to follow the Nordic Mythology references, my son made a second attempt to read d’Aulaires’  Book of Norse Myths, and completed it this time. Honestly, Norse Mythology is a little confusing compared to Greek and Roman Mythology. The gods are more ambiguous with regard to “good versus evil.” We will definitely read Riordan’s new companion book to brush up on the Norse world. His books are particularly good at highlighting lesser known gods and stories so it’s always worth reading.

We also read the new Trials of Apollo Percy Jacksons series. At first, I liked the Magnus Chase book better. We also appreciated that Magnus Chase is set in Boston where we live. It was fun for us to read about places that we had been too. Apollo as a mere mortal takes some getting used to. This Apollo series also has the return of some of the Percy Jackson gang as supporting characters.

Riordan’s newest series are fresh and clever takes on the Percy Jackson series. He seems to be writing faster than ever, which greatly pleases my son. After reading each new book, my son always asks me when the next one is coming out. I used to quote one year, but now it seems to be a little faster but his craft continues to improve with that intoxicating mix of adventure, humor, and super powers. We are so excited for these next two books!

Are your kids also excited for the newest Magnus Chase book? What do you think of companion books? Do your kids read those voraciously too? Please enter to win a copy AND some swag below.

Read more…

Diverse Children's Books

Favorite Bilingual Books at #DiverseKidLit Linky

Thanks for joining us for #DiverseKidLit linky! Here’s my pick for favorite bilingual picture book:

Mamá The Alien/Mamá la Extraterrestre by Rene Colato Lainez, illustrated by Laura Lacamara

Our theme for today’s Diverse Children’s Books linkup is Favorite Bilingual Book(s). What are your favorite children’s books in two or more languages? (The theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.


Read more…

Razia's Ray of Hope in Afghanistan

What if You Could Never, Ever Go to School? Book GIVEAWAY

Please welcome my guest author today, Elizabeth Suneby. I met her at Paul Reynolds’ presentation at Charlesbridge Publishing. I had seen her book, Razia’s Ray of Hope: One Girl’s Dream of an Education, during our Multicultural Children’s Book Day celebration so it was nice to match the book with a face!

Razia’s Ray of Hope: One Girl’s Dream of an Education by Elizabeth Suneby

Razia Jan is an Afghan native who Global Citizen describes as “the woman who started a school in one of the worst places to be a girl.” She won a CNN Hero Award, given to ordinary people who do extraordinary things. This is her story about building a school for girls in Afghanistan in a poor, highly illiterate, conservative area where girls had never been allowed to go to school. Razia convinced the village elders to let her build a free, private K – 12 girls school and now more than 600 girls are studying Dari, English, math, science, history, computers and the Koran. [picture book, ages 8 and up]

Today, Elizabeth Suneby talks about what it was like to research and write Razia’s Ray of Hope. I’m also giving away a copy of her book below. Read more…

10 Great Adventure Books

10 Great Adventure Books & 3 Book GIVEAWAY!

I’m a big fan of the Gannon & Wyatt series by Keith Hemstreet and Patti Wheeler. It’s pitch perfect for boys ages 8 and up who like realistic adventure books (as opposed to fantasy á la Harry Potter and Percy Jackson). What’s great about these adventures is that the reader learns about geography and environmental issues while being captivated by a fast paced plot. There are also images and photographs sprinkled throughout the book, making it reader-friendly.

I’m giving away 3 copies of the newest Gannon & Wyatt adventure set in Hawaii. Please see below.

Other adventures include:

Today Keith Hemstreet is guest posting with his ten favorite adventure books that he grew up with.

As a child, I gravitated to stories about nature. Even better were books that combined high-stakes adventure and a spectacular environment — dogsledding in the Arctic, a voyage in the South Pacific, or a safari on the African savannah. Adventure stories such as The Call of the Wild, White Fang and Treasure Island were a few of the classics that I remember enjoying when I was young. As I got older, my interest in far-away places and exotic cultures led me to the local libraries where I studied maps and read the journals of famous explorers such as Lewis and Clark, Captain James Cook, and Sir Robert Falcon Scott. These journals are some of the greatest adventure tales ever told and inspired me to learn more about our fascinating and diverse world. Coauthor, Patti Wheeler, loved the books of James A. Michener—Alaska, Caribbean, Hawaii, to name a few. Together, it was these books along with our own travel experiences that inspired our middle-grade adventure series, Travels with Gannon & Wyatt.

Read more…