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MLK books, MLK day books for kids, Martin Luther King Jr books for kids, books to celebrate MLK

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. with 3 Children’s Books

MLK Day and His Legacy told through Children’s Books

It wasn’t just African-Americans who benefited by the work of Martin Luther King, Junior, but all people of color. If it had not been for Dr. King, I would have never had gotten into Harvard as an undergraduate. Ivy League colleges only let in Asian Americans during the 1970s after the issue went to the Supreme Court.

My mother, who was forced to relocate during WWII, knew first hand the prejudice that all people of color faced in America. Now, two generations later, I’m not sure if my kids — Chinese, Japanese and Korean — will ever feel the sting of Anti-Asian-American prejudice. I hope not though they will no doubt face it when they apply to college.

Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Radford find in their study of selective colleges that Asian-Americans must score 140 points higher on average than whites on the math and verbal portions of the SAT in order to have the same chances of admission.

What the anti-Asian quotas [in college admissions] amount to is affirmative action for white people and that, with its strong stench of white supremacy and entrenched privilege, is noxious. from The Washington Monthly
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sandy hook, newtown CT, reactions to Sandy Hook, what to do to help Sandy Hook victims

Reacting to Sandy Hook Tragedy

Sandy Hook in Newtown and What’s Next

As a parent, I found the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School terrifying. I suppose the natural reaction after processing this is to 1) realize that it could happen anywhere including my school and 2) try to figure out a way to prevent it. And there in lies the rub. Because you can’t prevent this. Sandy Hook Elementary School had locked doors and a metal detector system.

My school district is buzzing around new procedures including locked doors. It’s going to be a huge inconvenience to the school’s front desk administration and parents who need to get their kids for medical appointments. And it’s not going to stop someone with the firepower to blow through the door (which is not bullet proof).

Last week, my kids’ elementary school had a “lock down.” There is a thief that has been robbing houses near our school and he hit a house on the same street. One adult in the neighborhood thought that he was armed. The police came to our school and helped to lock it down in case the suspect fled and tried to hide in the school. All the doors were locked. Kids were locked in their classrooms and the all the school’s entrances were locked.

My son in second grade didn’t seem affected by it but the my daughter’s fifth grade class were terrified. Many of the kids thought they were about to experience the Newtown tragedy. Some fifth graders cried during the lockdown. Others were just scared. We’ve all tried to shield our kids from details of Sandy Hook but it seems that fifth graders are worldly and resourceful. Many have iPhones with internet access.

Even though Sandy Hook was a month ago, the tragedy still resonates. We are all affected. There is now a universal fear that this could happen again. In our town. To our children.

I found some posts on the internet that were comforting and made sense to me. I’m not Buddhist, by the way, but my mother is.

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stair workout

Easy Exercise Ideas to Fit It

Stepping It Up with Easy Exercise Ideas

I hate to exercise. I don’t join gyms because I will never go. I only exercise because I’ve prepaid, meeting a friend, or my dog is whining. But I do feel better when I exercise. I sleep better too. And while I am exercising a lot these days, I like exercise that is non-exercise. Here’s my first non-exercise exercise tip:

Stair Climbing 2 at a Time

  • When you go UP the stairs, take the stairs two at a time.
  • Alternate legs as you go up  the stairs.
  • Go DOWN the stairs one stair at a time. You don’t want to fall!
  • Take your time going up the stairs. Speed doesn’t not matter!

That’s it.

2 stairs at a time, stair exercise, easy exercise for butt, butt workout

I have 2 sets of stairs in my house, not counting the stairs that lead to my front door. I noticed that even though I exercise regularly: Vinyasa yoga, kickboxing/boxing, hiking with dog, and Zumba, my posterior needed more work.

I had taken a step sculpting class. You use plastic steps, small hand weights and stretch bands like these, and I was so sore for days after it, but only in my butt and thighs. I realized that kickboxing despite the kicking does not work the inner and outer thighs nor the butt enough. And strangely, though we did a lot of bicep and tricep work, my upper body was not sore AT ALL! Read more…

Waking Dragons, dragon picture books, rhyming picture books, Jane Yolen, Derek Anderson

Picture Book of the Day: Waking Dragons

Dragon Picture Book of the Day

I’m going to be posting on Picture Book of the Day every Friday. I’m in a Picture Book of the Day Facebook group along with a small group of children’s book bloggers.

Monday – Jdaniel’s Mom4

Tuesday – What Do We Do All Day

Wednesday­­ – The Pleasantest Thing

Thursday – Reading Confetti

Friday – Pragmatic Mom

Bethany from No Twiddle Twaddle is organizing this and eventually each of us will post twice a month. She is looking for a few more children’s book bloggers if you are interested.


My son and I chose Waking Dragons for our first Picture Book of the Day. It’s the perfect picture book for preschools who love dragons and the scramble of the morning routine getting ready for school! Read more…

make your own paint Impressionist art project for kids

Art Project for Kids: Making Paint Like Impressionists

Did you know that the Impressionist painters had to make their own paint? Not mix paint. No, they actually had to make their own paint. They couldn’t just buy it in tubes from a store!

Museum of Fine Arts impressionists, how impressionists made their paints and canvasesSee those small vials of powers? That’s what they used to mix colors to make paint! Their paint didn’t come in tubes!

How Impressionists Made Paint

See those pots of colors? Inside are ground up pigments made of all different kind of materials found in nature to make paint.

Canvases too had to be made by each artist! They couldn’t buy a canvas from an art store. Instead, they bought fabric, used wood to create a frame, nailed the canvas to a the wooden frame and then prepared the canvas with a substance called gesso. It’s made of gypsum and can be painted onto the canvas to “prime” it. Read more…

Grace Lin, Grace Lin school visit, Grace Lin author visit, Grace Lin and starry river of the sky

Meeting Grace Lin at Book Club for Kids Event

Grace Lin Book Club for Kids

Do you remember that Manic Sunday I had in order to get five 5th grade girls including PickyKidPix to a book club for kids event? Well, it was well worth it! Grace Lin was so much fun to meet!

We arrived a half hour early to this amazing spread!

Grace Lin author visit, Grace Lin,

Beautiful centerpieces celebrating Asian culture at Grace Lin book club for kids sponsored by The Foundation for Children’s Books (FCB) in Newton, MA. They brings authors like Grace Lin to present at underserved schools in Boston.

Grace Lin book club event for kids, meeting Grace Lin, Starry River of the Sky author visit by Grace Lin

Grace Lin with baby and husband talk to kids about what inspires her and how she writes and illustrates her wonderful multi-cultural books for kids. East of the Sun and West of the Moon was the book that most influenced her for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky. Read more…

Abstract art project for kids, Arthur Dove, crayon abstract art project for kids

Arthur Dove Abstract Art Project for Kids

Abstract Art by Kids inspired by Arthur Dove

The art of Arthur Dove (August 2, 1880 – November 23, 1946) at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston is child-like, is it not? Ok, maybe a really talented child. He is considered the first American abstract painter. The girls and I found him on the third floor of the new American wing’s Modernist collection. We hunt down PickyKidPix‘s favorite artist, Jackson Pollock, whose No. 10, 1949 hangs there too.

Jackson Pollack, Number 9, Museum of Fine Arts,

Modernist Artist Arthur Dove (a little art history)

This is the painting that caught my eye. With just simple shapes and a few colors, Dove conveys a nature scene. I love the colors and its simplicity.

Evening Blue, 1941. In this lyrical composition, Dove solidified moonlight into distinct planes and geometric shapes. The deep cobalt tones evoke the color of the night sky. Museum of Fine Arts Plate

Arthur Dove abstract art project for kids, Arthur Dove abstract art project for children, Arthur Dove abstract art project for preschoolRead more…

Xtra math free website for kids, Extra math free website,

2nd Grade Math Facts: Free Site

2nd Grade Math Facts: Addition and Subtraction

I thought my son was pretty good at his addition and subtraction math facts. We had used math fact triangles as part of his math homework, and he plays math apps (when forced between no screen time and math app screen time). We worked on math all summer with Rising 2nd Grade Daily Math Problems assigned by his school.

His teacher was excited to introduce a free program called XtraMath. It tracks what problems your child gets correct and serves up the facts you need to work on. You need to get the facts correct within 3 seconds per problem to pass. It turns out that he had more to learn in order to get his math facts 100% correct within 3 seconds per problem. We never limited the time before and that made a huge difference. Read more…

Fabulous Flying Females: Women Aviators Books for Kids

Fabulous Flying Females: Women Aviators Books for Kids

I love a mighty girl character or real life role model for my girls. These girls all dared to fly at a time when flying was a great adventure. What makes girls daring enough to say “What If … Women Were Aviators?” And how can we encourage this? I’ve picked three books to explore this idea … a picture book, easy chapter book biography, and historical fiction middle grade chapter book. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Fabulous Flying Females: Women Aviators Books for Kids

Picture Book for Girls  Who Ask “What If?”

Bessie, Queen of the Sky by Andrea Doshi and Jimena Duran, illustrated by Chiara Fabbri

To become the first black woman pilot, Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman had to learn French to attend pilot school in Paris because it was the only flight school that would accept girls. She received her pilot’s license at age 29 and lived from January 26, 1892 to April 30, 1926. This beautifully illustrated picture book of Bessie Coleman will inspire readers that anything is possible if you don’t give up. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Zephyr Takes Flight by Steve Light

Zephyr, a little girl, loves airplanes. She makes them, plays with them and hopes to fly one day. But no one in her family wants to play airplane with her. When she has a spectacular crash, she is sent to her room … where she finds ways to fly! A girl version of Where The Wild Things Are! [picture book, ages 4 and up] Read more…