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Lysol No Touch System, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

Lysol No Touch GIVEAWAY

I was so impressed when I met the Lysol folks at BlogHer12. They were really nice and I was able to speak to Dr. Laura Jana, a rockstar pediatrician that I’d stalk to get into her practice if she lived in Boston. (She doesn’t).

So when Michelle Vroom asked if I’d cover the new Lysol No-Touch System, of course I would. Yes, that’s her real name. Vroom. How great to have a last name with onomatopoeia! And just in time for April’s National Poetry month!

Word of the Day

onomatopoeia (on·o·mato·poe·ia)

Definition 1: the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (as buzz, hiss)
Definition 2: the use of words whose sound suggests the sense
Her name is also in a famous children’s book!

Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems … Vroom-Vroom Vroomy Vroom-Vroom. Read more…

boys and reading, Guys Read, chapter books for boys aged 9, chapter books for boys,

Guys Read Other Worlds: Cover Reveal and GIVEAWAY

Chapter Books for Boys: Guys Read Series

The Guy Read series edited by Jon Scieszka always intrigued me. Chapter books that entice boys to read are much needed and I will happily promote them until the cows come home.

Walden Pond Press was kind enough to send me the first book to review, Guys Read: Funny Business and it delivered on its promise. It’s a series of short stories written by well known authors. You can tell that they all had fun with this.

The short story by Jon Scieszka and Kate DiCamillo about a boy reluctantly doing a author book project was particularly memorable but all the stories were fun to read!

I’m thrilled to give you a sneak peak at the lastest soon-to-be-released Guys Read book, Guys Read: Other Worlds edited by Jon Scieszka sure hand.

Welcome to Other Worlds, the fourth volume in the Guys Read Library of Great Reading. Prepare yourself for ten trips into the unknown, as ten of your favorite writers spin tales of fantasy and science fiction the likes of which you have never imagined. Compiled by National Ambassador for Children’s Literature (and Secret Ambassador for the Intergalactic Alliance) Jon Scieszka, Guys Read: Other Worlds is the most exciting collection of stories on this-or any-planet.

Contributors to Guys Read: Other Worlds are …


Rick Riordan
Tom Angleberger
Rebecca Stead
Shannon Hale
D. J. MacHale
Eric Nylund
Kenneth Oppel
Neal Shusterman
Shaun Tan
Ray Bradbury

Even better, the nice folks at Walden Pond Press are letting me give away an ARC (Advanced Release Copy)! Yep, be sure to tell your son (or daughter) that he is the FIRST to read this book! No one else will be able to get their hands on it for a while. Read more…

giveaway, giveaways, books for kids giveaways, free books for kids, free kids books,

Countdown to 1 Million Page Views with Giveaways!

Celebration Giveaways for 1 Million Page Views

PickyKidPix, my 10-year-old daughter, has a lot of marketing ideas for my blog. When she heard that I was approaching 1 million page views — we both check our traffic a lot! — she freaked out.

“You must do a big giveaway!”

And she had lots of ideas. Apparently CuteGirlHairStyles does lots of interesting social media marketing.

So, I put her in charge and this is what she planned for me. Read more…

4th grade chapter books, chapter books set in Chicago, urban chapter books for kids,

Chapter Books for Boys Set in Chicago

Books for Boys Set in Urban Chicago

I love researching very specific book requests for kids! I received this request from Nadine:

Hey! I have been searching for books with an “inner city” vibe. My son is 9 and read The Spraypaint Mystery and The Case of the Missing Trophy by Angela Medearis. Both times he was able to relate parts of the books to “Chicago Stuff.”
He made mention of the different names (we spend a lot of time visiting family in Chicago). I am trying to find books in the 4th-6th grade level with urban/inner city references. I am not coming up with anything in my search and I thought of you! Maybe a possible “Book List” inspiration in the future?
Thanks in advance … 
Nadine C-S
For this challenge, I needed a Chi-Town partner in crime so I called upon my blogging friend, who resides in Chicago and blogs at CraftWhack and Artchoo!. Read more…
Mary Poppins Book Nook, chapter books for kids, knights princess chapter books, book club for kids,

Book Club for Kids: Chapter Book on Knights, Princesses and Castles

Virtual Book Club for Kids Ages 9 and Up

I first hear about the Poppins Book Nook from Piwi Princess on Google + Community Great Books for Kids. It sounded like so much fun that I asked host, Enchanted Homeschooling Mom, if I could join and she was kind enough to include me!

The idea is a virtual book club built around themes so bloggers can choose any book — picture book, chapter book, non-fiction, etc. — and blog on it with an activity! Doesn’t that sound like fun?! Read more…

Jerry Spinelli and Clare Vanderpool, author visits, Newbery authors, meeting children's authors, meet children's authors, Maniac Magee, Stargirl, Moon Over Manifest, Hokey Pokey, Navigating Early

Meeting Jerry Spinelli and Clare Vanderpool

Author Visit with Newbery Winners Spinelli and Vanderpool

PickyKidPix and I were excited to meet Newbery winning authors Jerry Spinelli and Clare Vanderpool who have been on the road together promoting their latest works.

At first glance, they are a pair of contrasts.

Jerry Spinelli and Clare Vanderpool, Needham Library Newbery author event

Clare looks like a young mom. She has two chapter books under her belt. I had met her at a Random House LiveChat along with Rebecca Stead, yet another Newbery winner. Not a real life meeting per se, more of a Twitter Party-like atmosphere. But she remembered it, and if she didn’t remember me exactly — I was one of a half-dozen co-hosts — she was as gracious and charming as she was on the LiveChat.

pragmatic mom, clare vanderpoolRead more…

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I’m a Girl Soccer Player: Coach Me Differently

The Word Syndicate, a Massachusetts-based production company, is teaming up with the Boston Breakers, one of America’s premier women’s professional soccer teams, to produce a groundbreaking new film for girls called “Beautiful: Teaching Girls Soccer the Boston Breakers Way” but they need your help!

Kickstarter Project for Girls Soccer with the Boston Breakers

Kickstarter funding is all or nothing – if we don’t reach our fundraising goal in 30 days, “Beautiful” will not be made.

Girls and Soccer: The Positives

Soccer offers huge benefits for girls – the self-confidence, the friendships, the joy taken in hard work and achievement. And those are just the results you can see. Studies show that girls who play soccer and other sports reap benefits that stay with them throughout their lives, including:

  • Better grades in school
  • Better jobs after college
  • Lowered risks of obesity and other health problems
  • Lowered likelihood of involvement in early sexual activity

Girls and Soccer: The Down Side

But girls’ soccer also has a lesser-known dark side. Young female players are different from boys in fundamental ways, both physically and psychologically – and the failure to address those differences has led to a rash of problems. Here are just a few:

  • Girls who play soccer are more likely to suffer a serious concussion than any other young athlete except boys who play tackle football (more than boys who play soccer, lacrosse, or hockey)!!
  • After puberty, girls are as much as six times more likely to suffer a serious knee injury (ACL, MCL) injury than a boy playing the same sport.
  • Inappropriate coaching and competitive pressure to win and train harder and longer are resulting in higher rates of burnout and girls quitting, potentially depriving them of a lifetime of benefits.
  • The top women’s coaches in the world all say that girl athletes process information and feedback very differently from boys – but that those differences aren’t widely understood or regularly incorporated into youth coaching. Read more…
Krishna, Demi, Hindu religion books for kids, world religion books for kids, chapter books for kids on India

Hindu Picture Book by Demi

Hindu Picture Book and Chapter Book for Kids

The great Hindu god Vishnu, greatest of all gods, promises to help bring peace to earth when evil demon kings try to kill all the good rulers of earth. He will be reborn on earth as a child named Krisha. Does this story sound vaguely familiar?! We notice a rebirth theme in World Religions!

The Fantastic Adventures of Krishna by Demi tells the story of Krishna, rescued from certain death to be raised by two cowherds. The evil demon king Kasma not deterred, sending demon after demon to destroy Krishna, to no avail. Krishna prevails in the end, destroying Kasma and wandering the earth teaching people how to live together in peace and joy. Demi, as usual, makes this story easy to read with her gorgeous colorful illustrations.

We are trying to learn more about World Religions through picture books at my house since we don’t attend church and I personally know very little about the Hindu religion. My only reference point to Krishna were the Hare Krishnas I’d seen at airports (pre-9/11 security) which always made me feel uneasy.

It was with great delight that action adventure Zoe and Zac and the Ghost Leopard by Lars Guignard landed in my lap. Think Percy Jackson or Kane Chronicles Goes to India and you get the gist!

Like a Rick Riordan action adventure series, this chapter book for ages 9 and up has the requisite elements to draw kids in:

  • special powers our heroes must discover within themselves
  • a supernatural bad guy
  • the fate of the world resting upon their success
  • help from deities (that is where Krishna and other Hindu gods come into play)
  • something that must be saved
  • travel that traverses an entire country, in this case India

I definitely want more Zoe and Zac and wait expectantly for the next installment. Riordan takes us from Greek to Roman to Egyptian ancient gods. It’s just a small leap to travel to India next! Author Lars Guignard went to high school in the Indian Himalayas and he really gives a sense of place as Zoe and Zac traverse through India both in crowded chaos of cities and more tranquil wooded rural areas.

The lines blur between religion and mythology as they should — isn’t mythology just ancient religious beliefs? — and what remains is the probably the most exciting world religion/mythology home study unit ever! I’d use the Demi picture book after reading Zoe and Zac, just as a quick aside to explain the story of Kirshna who makes an appearance in the chapter book.

Krishna, Demi, Hindu religion books for kids, world religion books for kids, chapter books for kids on India

 To view the books at Amazon, please click on image of book or click here to see at Barnes and Noble.


fun fun elmo, sesame street chinese, learn chinese, kids learn chinese

Teach Kids Mandarin Chinese in a Fun Way

Teach Kids Chinese Through Songs

When my kids were younger, I found that Spanish Sesame Street, Plaza Sesamo, entertained my kids while also teaching them Spanish. Songs were also an effective and pleasant way to expose my kids to foreign languages. As my kids got older — 2nd or 3rd grade — they rebelled and no longer would allow Plaza Sesamo DVDs in the car. They preferred silence. Ditto to foreign language CDs.

My point is that there is a window when kids are open to learning foreign languages. Both their brains and attitudes are receptive. As they grow older, not only do they not want to learn, but also making the sounds are more challenging.

I was excited to discover that Sesame Street is now in Chinese with a series geared for teaching kids Mandarin. For a CD of fun songs to accompany your Chinese language experience, try A Little Mandarin by NYC mom Toni Wang.

I’m not saying that this combination will have your kids conversing in Mandarin, but you are laying a foundation both for training their ear and for exposing them to the concept of non-word for word translation. Who knows? This might be the introduction that makes them actually want to learn Chinese when they are older. I’m still shocked that both of my girls are choosing to learn Mandarin as their mandatory foreign language in middle school!

How about you? Are your kids getting exposure to foreign languages? How do you manage this? Please share your tips!!! Read more…