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dear 16 year old me

Dear 16 Year Old Me: My Letter to Myself

Dear 16 year old me,

Just a few quick things as I pop back in time.

Dear 16 Year Old Me, Pragmatic Mom, PragmaticMom

1) Swimming is not your sport

I know that you love this swim team. Your coach and teammates are amazingly supportive, kind and smart. They celebrate your personal best as enthusiastically as you do their blue ribbons.

It’s just that– you’re just not that fast.

You’ve learned to push yourself three hours a day in the pool even though you hate that first entry into a cold pool. And now you know your way around a weight room.

Learning to work hard for results is not a bad lesson for you. This will be your mantra from which success will come. Eventually. But that struggle to improve is what will drive you and that’s the part of the journey you will relish more than the final destination.

I think the biggest attraction for swimming was ditching the Nerd-dom label that plagued you in Junior High. Honestly, you will one day embrace your inner nerd. It will take you a few decades but it will serve you well.  Read more…

self published book gaveaway

Huge Self Published Kids Book GIVEAWAY and Kid Lit Blog Hop

Today, I am doing some serious Spring cleaning and I am giving away 6 packages of wonderful self published children’s books.

To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter and please leave me a comment about which package you want. I’ll do my best to match up the packages to each winner.

Package 1:

book giveawayRead more…

Asian American Books for kids

My Favorite Asian American Books for Kids

I’m so sorry to be late for the Homeschool Blogging Carninal hosted by hosted by Lisa at The Squishable Baby and Keisha at Unschooling Momma. I’ve been distracted by racism in a musical at my local high school that has hit a nerve and generated a lot of press including a front page article in The Boston Globe, 2 OpEd articles in The Boston Globe, an article across the pond at The Daily Telegraph and a slew of blog posts both by me and other bloggers. If you want to read them, they are all here.

This makes me realize that multicultural books for kids are, perhaps, the first step for breaking racist stereotypes and introducing diversity in a positive way into the lives of our children. Today, I wanted to share a few of my favorite Asian American children’s books. I hope you enjoy them with your children.

I chose a picture book, easy reader, easy chapter book, chapter book and a young adult novel that portray contemporary Asian Americans.  That’s 5 books. 5 is a lucky number in Chinese culture. 4 is bad because it signifies death. Read more…

eBay Collections to help The March of Dimes

I’m glad to be participating in eBay’s collections to raise money for the March of Dimes. The goal is to celebrate the potential in all. Everyone is born to be something great, don’t you think?!

ebay collections march of dimesHelp eBay reach their goal of raising $25,000 for March of Dimes this month by helping to create 25,000 eBay collections. For every collection created, eBay will donate $1 to March of Dimes! Read more…

choosing books for advanced young readers, after school with smarty pants

Choosing Books for Advanced Young Readers

Please welcome my guest author, Natalie from After School with Smarty Pants. She has wonderful enrichment activities and life skills for advanced learners on her blog. Today, she covering how to find books for an advanced young reader which can be tricky because the content might be too advanced or inappropriate for them.

Who Is an Advanced Reader?

Every parent probably knows if they have an advanced reader. Here is my definition from my post on book recommendations for advanced readers:

  • Advanced readers don’t need reminders, rewards, or any other encouragement to read.
  • Started reading early or progressed very rapidly in their reading levels.
  • No longer interested in most books recommended for their age.
  • Choose reading over other activities, read to relax and chill out.
  • Not intimidated by the length of the book or by font size.
  • Can spend hours in the library.
  • Might have a passionate interest in something and look for every possible book on that subject.
  • Have good comprehension and usually test significantly higher than their age on reading and comprehension tests. Read more…
Doug Cushman skype author visit

Skype School Author Visit with Doug Cushman in Paris!

The Miracle of a Skype Author Visit! My son’s third grade teachers requested a school author visit from Doug Cushman. They teach a mystery writing unit and they use Doug’s mystery picture books to start off the unit.

Doug Cushman author illustrator, 2nd grade school author visit, Doug Cushman Skype author visit

A picture book mystery is perfect for breaking down the elements of a good mystery story:

  • leading and minor characters
  • setting that changes in order to create action and adventure
  • an intriguing plot with suspense and a clear beginning, middle and end
  • a problem to solve
  • a solution that is believeable Read more…
PickyKidPix cuts my hair, my daughter cuts my hair

My Daughter Cuts My Hair and Picture Book GIVEAWAY

I mentioned many times how my 11-year-old daughter, PickyKidPix, wants to learn to be a hair stylist in order to earn money in high school. What I didn’t realize was how sneaky and persistent she has been to learn.

In the beginning, she would invite her friends over for a playdate and let them watch TV so they would sit still while she styles their hair. Her friends would leave with elaborate braids á la Katniss. And, after she received flat irons and curling irons for birthday gifts, with straight and/or curly hair; the opposite of what they came in with. Read more…

women's history month picture book of the day

March is Women’s History Month Picture Book of the Day

March is Women’s History Month and one great way to celebrate is to go to my friend, Margo Tannebaum’s joint blog, KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month. For the month of March, Margo of The Fourth Musketeer and her partner in this endeavor, Shelf Employed, have lined up guest bloggers to celebrate children’s books featuring women in history. Both are children’s librarians with wonderful blogs!!

Today is my turn for Picture Book of the Day, so I thought I would jump on their bandwagon and cover five picture books of women to celebrate and learn about in honor of Women’s History Month.

Alice Coachman, Picture Book of the Day

I hope you share with me your favorite children’s book celebrating a women who made a difference. Thank you! Read more…

Multicultural Books for Kids from the Kid LIt Blog Hop

Multicultural Books for Kids from the Kid Lit Blog Hop

I wanted to share some of the great multicultural books from the last Kid Lit Blog Hop.

Sam and the Lucky Money from Randomly Reading

Sam and the Lucky Money is is a wonderful read aloud for kids.  It is not so much about teaching young readers about the Lunar New Year, as it is about helping them to understand the importance of being thankful for what they have.  Besides gratitude, Sam also learns about compassion and generosity.  The nice part about all that is it comes in the form of a lovely story that young readers will no doubt enjoy.

Sam and the Lucky Money reviewed by Randomly ReadingRead more…