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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!

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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…

RECALL: Cribs from Side Rail Gap

Many Cribs Recalled Due to Side Rail Gap

Today, I got notifications for many, many cribs that are under recall including Child Craft, Delta, EvenFlo, Jardine, LaJobi , Million Dollar Baby and Simmons due to entrapment, suffocation, strangulation and fall hazards. Read more…

Top 10: Kids Books for Florida Beach Vacation (ages 2-18)

Top 10: Kids Books for Florida Beach Vacation (ages 2-18)

Books for Kids for Beach Vacation

We have spent an amazing week at North Captiva Island, a barrier reef island with only golf carts as transportation.  Every day, an amazing array of birds fly by the house and dive in the water to catch fish.  We saw an Osprey land on our  roof with a flopping fish.  It eyed us for a moment before flying off to eat its prey.  Every day we see fleets of Brown Pelicans fly in military precision over the water.  When my husband released a catfish he caught on shore, as Osprey flew out of nowhere and grabbed the fish as it swam wearily away. Read more…

Highland Street Foundation Free Museum Fridays Massachusetts Pragmatic Mom PragmaticMom 2011 Schedule

Free Museum Friday in Massachusetts

Free Friday Museums in Boston Area

HighlandStreet.org is again offering FREE Fridays at Boston museums. Free Fun Fridays invites Massachusetts residents and tourists to visit designated cultural attractions every Friday during the summer months at no cost. No registration or tickets required. Just show up and enjoy! How great is that?! Click on museum for directions. Read more…