Archive for January, 2018

Design for Kids & My Daughter's Mama Chia Design Idea

Design for Kids & My Daughter’s Mama Chia Design Idea

My oldest daughter, Grasshopper and Sensei, loves design, particularly industrial design. I am frequently buying bottles full of unappetizing liquids that I am forced to drink because she loves the shape and design of the bottle.

Mama Chia package design recycling

I think my daughter will apply her artistic skills towards social justice projects. I saw a glimpse of this recently when she wrote to Mama Chia about their eco-unfriendly package design. What really made me happy was how she combined her SIMS math class (real world applications of math through group work) with her industrial design interest: Read more…

California College of the Arts (CCA) Visit

California College of the Arts (CCA) Visit

We visited California College of the Arts (CCA) in late August when the school wasn’t in session.

California College of Arts (CCA)We started off on the Oakland campus and took an hour and a half tour. Then we went to the San Francisco campus for another hour and a half tour. We learned that the Oakland campus is slated to close over the next two to three years as CCA transitions to an expanded San Francisco campus.

California College of Arts (CCA) That’s a shame because while it will be more efficient for students who have to travel back and forth, the Oakland campus has a rustic “sleepaway art camp” vibe that is very appealing. It was my first time to Oakland, and my husband who grew up in Monterey, was wary of the location. His impression was that it was unsafe. It turns out that Oakland has been in the process of gentrifying over the last five years. Single home prices have shot up from $85k to $400k, pricing out our Uber driver for example.  Read more…

Teaching Empathy through Books about the Importance of One's Name

Teaching Empathy Though Books About The Importance of One’s Name

Each of my three children have a middle name that reflects part of their Korean/Japanese/Chinese ethnicity. My daughters have Japanese names — Keiko and Miyako; my son middle name, Gyung-Won, is the name of his Korean grandfather. Korean tradition does NOT use names of relatives, but it was our way to remembering my husband’s father who passed away when he was very young. Our son, more than his sisters, does not like his ethnic middle name. Perhaps one day he will appreciate the significance of it.

What’s in a name? For some children, it’s a link to their past, a reason to be bullied, a special meaning that boosts their self-esteem. In an immigration journey, a name is something that might be changed because it is hard to pronounce and remember. This book list shows the name sides of the importance of one’s name. I hope it helps teach kids empathy.

How about you? What books that reflect the importance of names do you like? Thanks for your recommendations!

Teaching Empathy through Books about the Importance of One’s Name

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

Adopt a new “American” name or keep one’s ethnic name?

As a new immigrant, one of the first decisions to be made is what name to use in the new country. Should a new name signifying an attempt to assimilate be used, or should one’s ethnic, “difficult to pronounce and remember” name be retained? Fit in or stay true to yourself? Unhei has this decision and solicits the help of her new classmates with a name suggestion jar. It’s only when one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and learns the true meaning of her name that the significance of her Korean name comes out. Use this picture book for an immigration unit to help children realize the importance of “foreign” sounding names.  [picture book, ages 3 and up]

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

When your  unusual name makes you a target for bullies.

It’s not just the foreign sounding names that can be the source of  bullying by classmates.Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect until she gets bullied by girls at school for her unusual name. The teasing starts to affect her self-confidence but the tables are turned when the class gets a new teacher who helps her recognize the beauty of her name with a secret of her own. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

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Diverse Children's Books

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Happy New Year and welcome to #DiverseKidLit ! Please join us in sharing your diverse children’s book links and resources, as well as visiting other links to find great suggestions and recommendations.

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.


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How To Coach Girls Alison Foley Mia Wenjen coaching book for girls

How To Coach Girls COVER REVEAL & 2 Chapter GIVEAWAY!

We are so excited to reveal the cover for our new book, How To Coach Girls, that I co-authored with Alison Foley, Boston College Women’s Soccer Head Coach!

How To Coach Girls Alison Foley Mia Wenjen coaching book for girls

How To Coach Girls by Alison Foley and Mia Wenjen

Did you know that 70% of all kids quit organized sports by age 13, with girls quitting 6x the rate of boys?

Volunteer parents and experienced coaches alike will find invaluable advice on creating a successful team that motivates girls to stay in sports beyond the middle school years. Twenty-two chapters cover major issues, including how to pick captains, the importance of growth mindset, issues around body image and puberty, as well as the challenges of coaching your own daughter.

In addition, fifteen professional coaches from a range of sports, including former Olympian athletes, give their advice on what girls need from a coach to allow them to flourish in sports, and most importantly, have fun.

2 Chapter GIVEAWAY of How To Coach Girls

I am giving away two chapters of How To Coach Girls. You can download it here. Read more…

Tips for National Portfolio Day

Tips for National Portfolio Day

This was my daughter’s first National Portfolio Day and we wanted to share tips that we learned the hard way:

  • You do not need to pre-register for National Portfolio Day but we highly recommend it because there was a separate line for those who registered upon arrival and this line went after the pre-registered line.
  • NOTE that the website for National Portfolio Day is unclear about the importance of pre-registering!
  • Arrive early! We got there are 9:30am for the event which started at noon. We were not allowed into the convention center until 10am where upon the line started forming. If you get there are noon or later, you risk not being able to show your portfolio to in-demand schools.

National Portfolio Day

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Discover Your World Picture Book GIVEAWAY!

Discover Your World Picture Book GIVEAWAY!

What does it mean to children to discover the world around them? I’m taking the view that it’s a full body experience from bathing to world religion to the natural world. The commonality: discovering children from around the world and finding similarities. If your kids want to take this path of discovery, I’m jump starting this by giving away two books. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to win 2 books, one to each winner. Please leave a comment about your first choice.

Picture Books to Discover Your World

My First Book About the Qur’an: Teachings for Toddlers and Young Children by Sara Khan, illustrated by Ali Lodge

The Qur’an is the holy book of Islam and this board book is a great introduction to children of any age who want to learn about the Muslim faith. This is a great book to include in teach kids about world religions. [board book, ages 1 and up]

Beautiful Rainbow World by Suzee Ramirez and Lynne Raspet

Daria: World Music for Children sings this song. Now the lyrics make up the test for this beautiful photo-illustrated book to celebrate diversity around the world through images of children at play.

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