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#HappyDreamer GIVEAWAY by Peter H Reynolds

#HappyDreamer GIVEAWAY by Peter H Reynolds

Paul Reynolds PragmaticMom and son

You might know Peter H. Reynolds from The Dot and Ish. Now he has a new book out that encourages readers of every age to find their own unique path to happy. My son and I have fond memories learning about how a math teacher changed his life from his twin brother Paul Reynolds.

Today, I am thrilled to giveaway Peter H. Reynold’s new book, Happy Dreamer. A picture book that celebrates ADHD as an acronym for Amazing Delightful Happy Dreamer. Read more…

#SummerBrainQuest Workbooks GIVEAWAY!

Summer #BrainQuest Workbooks GIVEAWAY!

If you are looking to prevent “summer slide” with workbooks targeting kids between kindergarten and 6th grade, check out the new Summer Brain Quest series! It’s an exciting extension of the beloved and bestselling Brain Quest brand!

Summer Brain Quest Giveaway

Each workbook is structured like a game and is created in consultation with award-winning teachers. It has a summer progress map, with destinations on the map marking progress in the book in the form of quests and achievements. Mark off each quest with a sticker as it is completed. The quests cover all the different academic subjects for that grade! Read more…

Our NYC (Cheap) Foodie Finds

Our NYC (Cheap) Foodie Finds

We have to admit that our New York City college visit trip was a thinly disguised foodie trip, but of the cheap variety. Count us in for dives, and assembly line restaurants versus fancy food. There were some requests of things that are specific to New York City and must be sampled.

Cronut at Dominique Ansel Bakery NYC

The highest on that list was the Cronut, at the original bakery that invented it. Sadly, we found it overrated though there were items at the bakery — mini Madeleines fresh out of the oven — that were worth coming back for.

Cronut bakery

Bagels were also quite high on the list. The water sourced from Catskills in NYC is famous for its drinkability and is one the biggest reasons why a bagel anywhere else is never as good as a NYC one. PickyKidPix polled her NYC connected friends and came up with Absolute Bagel as the bagel to try. That definitely panned out.

best bagel in NYC Absolute Bagel in Harlem Read more…

The Nian Monster Chinese New Year Author Event

The Nian Monster Chinese New Year Author Event

If you get a chance to see Andrea Wang at a Chinese New Year author event for The Nian Monster, I highly recommend going, especially if you have small children! Her picture book author event was delightfully interactive!

The Nian Monster Author Event

The Nian Monster Chinese New Year Author Event

The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Alina Chau

The ancient legend of the Nian monster gives background to why Chinese New Year is celebrated with the color red, loud noises and fire. XingLing knows about the Nian Monster but is shocked to see it appear in Shanghai, ready to devour her and her city. She uses her wits to outsmart the Nian monster. The special foods used to celebrate Chinese New Year also have a role to play in defeating the Nian monster. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Andrea’s family were at the event, helping out. Her son acted out the part of the Nian Monster and also helped the kids with the craft. This was a coming home event for Andrea; she grew up in Newton and graduated from Newton North High School though now she lives in Colorado.

The Nian Monster Author Event Read more…

Visiting Pratt Institute

Visiting Pratt Institute

Visiting Pratt Institute

Pratt Institute is just outside New York City in Brooklyn. From lower Manhattan, it took us about ten minutes to get their by cab. What’s nice about Pratt is that it’s a campus with a defined boundary, and plenty of public spaces both inside and out for community building. In fact, the spaces for learning are enticing, full of natural light with high ceilings and an easy going creative energy.

Visiting Pratt Institute

The Pratt Institute Tour was run by students and they were impressive in their knowledge of Pratt as well as for their enthusiasm for their school. Not everyone lived on campus as off campus housing is nearby and much less expensive.

Visiting Pratt Institute

The overall vibe that we got from the campus is that it is brimming with creative talent and nice, happy people. (One negative we’ve heard about RISD from my daughter’s friends who visited there is that the people can be off putting). It’s a beautiful campus with buildings specific to majors. The student work that we saw on exhibit was impressive.

Visiting Pratt Institute

Overall, we all liked Pratt and it’s on my daughter’s college list to apply to. I think she would be very happy here!

Visiting Pratt Institute

Pratt Institute Tour

Pratt Foundation Year: Freshman Year

What Foundation Year is like at Pratt.

Pratt Library

Really cool things about Pratt Library.

Visiting Pratt Institute

p.s. More about Art Colleges from our college tours:

RISD Pre-College Program

Visiting California College of the Arts

Visiting Emily Carr Art + Design University in Canada

Visiting California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)

Top Art and Design Colleges

Applying to Art School: School of Visual Arts

RISD Pre-College Program

Visiting West Coast Art Schools & Foodie Stops Nearby

Applying to RISD: Advice from Antonio Peters in Admissions

Tips for National Portfolio Day


and some fun stuff …

If you are visiting New York City, here are our cheap foodie finds.

Our NYC (Cheap) Foodie Finds

45 Art Gifts for Seriously Arty Kids (by my arty daughter)

Art Competitions for Kids and Teens

Our Art Gift Kits for Arty Kids

10 Inspirational Art Books for Arty Kids

Best Toys for Arty Kids

An Arts Studio of One’s Own

comfort cube fidget toy

This New Fidget Toy, Comfort Cube, Could Help With Anxiety

Anxiety and stress are real problems in the real world. There have been several technological advancements made to decrease anxiety, but some people just can’t manage to escape it. Even minor issues such as a low smartphone charge stresses some people out. So what’s the solution?How can we alleviate anxiety and stress?  A new device called Comfort Cube, could come in handy.

What is the Comfort Cube?

Comfort Cube is both a desk gadget and fidget toy. The primary function of the device is to decrease stress, promote relaxation, and increase focus. The cube’s lightweight design and small size means it does not use up much room. And this means you can store it inside a kitchen cabinet or desk drawer, and also in your pocket, purse, or your vehicle’s center console.

fidget toy helps with anxiety Read more…

Diverse KidLit Twitter Party

#DiverseKitLit Favorites

Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in April is Favorites.

Please consider sharing diverse books and resources that support love and families. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

My favorite books have an appreciating family theme:

We Are Family by Patricia Hegarty, illustrated by Ryan Wheatcroft

This jubilant rhyming picture book celebrates the bonds that make families strong with illustrations that depict diversity and acceptance of all kinds of families from mixed race, families of color, LGBTQ, to special needs. This pairs nicely with The Barefoot Book of Children to explore the ways kids and families are different, yet the same. [picture book, ages 2 and up]

When God Made You by Mathew Paul Turner, illustrated by David Catrow

A you who views others as sisters and brothers

and lives by three words: love one anther.

This lovely feel-g00d picture book celebrates the wonderful uniqueness of every child, when God made you all shiny and new. The message of the book suggests that everyone is part of a bigger “family,” and that each person has gifts to share with the world. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Early Sunday Morning by Denene Millner, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Singing her first church solo makes a young African American girl nervous but her family is there all week to help her conquer her nerves. At her performance, she gets a special surprise that boosts her confidence when her father, who was supposed to work, makes it to her performance. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

A Long Pitch Home by Natalie Dias Lorenzi

Bilal and his family have to move quickly to the United States from Pakistan but his father has to stay behind to deal with political intrigue that threatens the family’s safety. Bilal must swap cricket for baseball, all the while hoping his father will be able to join them soon. As a year nearly passes without his father, Bilal finds that his newfound skill as a pitcher might be the key to helping his father. This chapter book shows how a family might end up seeking refuge in a new country, and the stresses that causes on a family. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]


Read more…

Applying to Art School: Visiting School of Visual Arts

Applying to Art School: Visiting School of Visual Arts

My two daughters and I spent five days in New York City over February break to visit art schools for my oldest.

Jenny Brown Artist

Jenny Brown. Homesickness 2. Pen & collage on antique photo. 2016

We brought our friend along, the artist Jenny Brown, who attended School of Visual Arts for her M.F.A. for help navigating the streets of NYC. Our trip was jam packed and included 4 art museums, 1 art gallery, two art schools, two colleges, and a lot of foodie stops. Read more…

My First Picture Book Submission: Sumo Joe! #AmWriting

My First Picture Book Submission: Sumo Joe! #AmWriting

I was standing in line of a dive Brazilian buffet restaurant with my husband for lunch. The food is inexpensive and delicious and we joke that this would be like visiting our grandmothers, if they lived nearby and were Brazilian.

Panela De Barro Restaurant

There was a line at the meat counter where it’s sliced off the skewers for you. A contractor was in front of me. He was a big guy, but not immense. All of a sudden, the image of a sumo popped into my head. By the time, I sat down with my food, I had all kinds of rhymes about Sumo Joe. I quickly typed them into my phone and then sat down to eat.

Panela De Barro Restaurant

Nothing much happened for a few weeks. Then one day, I had to go into work for a meeting and needed to find someone about a project I was working on.

Aquent OfficeMy office is a “hoteling” system so no one has assigned desks. Instead, everyone gets with a storage locker and a file folder drawer to store their stuff (which encourages electronic files), and can sit any where they want all day in a series of “neighborhoods.” Thus, no one really has stuff on their desk; without an assigned desk, there’s very little family photos or pencil holders on the workspace.

So… imagine my surprise to run into this:

My First Picture Book Submission: Sumo Joe! Read more…