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Japanese Crest, shogun, daimyo, Japanese american books for kids

Japan: Books for Kids on Shogun, Family Crests, Block Prints

Japan: Children’s Books, Culture, and Art of Shogun Period

I have been thinking of doing a Teach Me Tuesday on Japan for a long time and now, with Japan in the news, I am a little tongue-tied. My mother’s side of the family is from Hiroshima and though we have a cousin who now lives in Tokyo, all are safe and sound. So this post is for everyone who has ties to Japan, either though family or emotionally (and that is probably most of the world as we look on with empathy and try to help). Read more…

caught in the act of reading cute kids reading pragmatic mom pragmaticmom girl reading with bunny rabbit on her shoulder

Happy 4th of July: Kids Caught in the Act … of READING!

Kids Caught Reading

Thank you, as always, for the adorable pictures of kids so very happily reading! I hope they inspire your kids to take a wacky picture … in an unusual place, with a pet, sitting on a special chair, or cuddled up with someone. I hope that summer means that you can slow down. I know I need to slow down … and take some time to turn pages more slowly, whether it is on a eReader or an old-fashioned book! Read more…

Big Al, picture books that build vocabulary

SAT Vocabulary Words for Kindergarten in Big Al

Big Words for Little Kids in Picture Books

The words for Week 12 are from the picture book, Big Al by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Yoshi. Read more…

best easy chapter books, best beginning chapter books, 2nd books for kids, 3rd grade books for kids

Top 10: Best Beginning Chapter Book Series (ages 6-9)

Easy Chapter Book Series for 2nd Grade and 3rd Grade

Dragons and aliens and dinosaurs, oh my!  And for girls, there are interesting, mischievous girls to meet, as well as cousins who are really sweet. This is a category of early chapter books, beginning chapter book — more advanced than Henry and Mudge but not ready for Newbery Award winners — that is sorely lacking in quality series.  I sought out a bunch of new early chapter book series to f ind more options and I’m happy to say that there are some new good ones!  I also “test drove” out my recommendations on my own kids and their play dates … and the verdict was positive. Ivy and Bean was a hit – twice over.  Cobble Street Cousins were a hit in my 2nd grader’s entire class, and Clementine, though slightly more advanced is well worth the effort.  Read on for the rest! Read more…

best sunscreen, safest sunscreen, sunblock

Safest Sunscreen for Kids and Adults

Best and Safest Sunscreen

The FDA is coming out with new guidelines on sunscreen but the big news is that many ingredients used in sunscreens are associated with adverse health effects in animal studies including increased risk of skin cancers. Ironic, no? I searched around and found a list of sunscreens from reputable sources including Consumer Reports, Dagmar’s Momsense, and the Environmental Working Group’s 2011 Sunscreen study which is widely quoted. All images are linked to Amazon if you want to check out prices (prices so tend to vary on Amazon which is why I don’t list them). Read more…

chapter books for girls, coming of age books for girls,

Top 10: Best Summer Coming-of-Age Books for Girls (grades 4-8)

Summer Coming of Age Books for Girls

This is what I was thinking when I came up with this kooky list:

  • Summer read, preferably on the beach or on vacation.
  • Has to be a good read but not too strenuous or stressful or heavy (no Grapes of Wrath vibe!).
  • The book is about the summer and/or beach and/or beachy vacation vibe; like, hey, we are all on vacation. You in the book and me in real life.
  • A great lead GIRL character.
  • Counts towards summer homework book assignment but was thoroughly enjoyable.
  • For incoming grades 4-6.

Can you think of any more coming of age chapter book for girls set during the summer? I’d love to add your pick! Thanks!

Read more…

caught in the act of reading pragmatic mom pragmaticmom literacy getting your kids to read

Caught in the Act … of READING!

Caught in the Act of READING!

Thank you to everyone who sent me pictures. I am posting them in the order received and they are ALL wonderful. I like how this week’s group of kids look so cozy in their chairs (or yoga exercise balls). And I also love how engrossed they all are. Like they are really, really into their books. Yay! This is what I dream about! Read more…