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The Inside Scoop on Jackie Robinson and His Teammates

The Inside Scoop on Jackie Robinson and His Teammates

Please welcome my guest author today, Geoff Griffin, who wrote a Jackie Robinson story that my son and I really connected to, Brooklyn Bat Boy. Told from the point of view of a fictional bat boy, it’s the story of Jackie Robinson’s first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Brooklyn Bat Boy

What struck me was the reaction of his teammates reflected the world around him during this time of segregation and Jim Crow laws. Eddie Stansky did not being on an integrated team, but when a rival team harassed Jackie, he was the first to stick up for him. Pee Wee Reese, on the other hand, harbored no such racism. His support may have been the difference between success and failure of this social experiment? Who knows?  Please read on for Geoff’s post …

Jackie Robinson

The Inside Scoop on Jackie Robinson and His Teammates

While doing research for my book Brooklyn Bat Boy, the fictional story of the bat boy for the Dodgers during Jackie Robinson’s 1947 rookie season, one thing that struck me was how much the attitudes of Robinson’s teammates changed as spring turned to fall that season.
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Origami Paper Airplane Kit GIVEAWAY

Origami Paper Airplane Kit GIVEAWAY

I thought I’d combine activities and books for some summer activity ideas. Today’s activity is about flying as in: aviation, female pilots, and pioneering aviators!

First some aviation book ideas for both boys and girls …

Fabulous Flying Females: Women Aviator Books for Kids

female aviator pilot flying books for kids

10 Books for Kids Who Dream of Flying

Who Dream of Flying

And now the activity … making really cool paper airplanes. My thanks to Tuttle Publishing for generously donating this giveaway!

Origami Airplane GIVEAWAY

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therapy dog training

Training Our Dog to Be a Therapy Dog

PickyKidPix came up with the idea to turn our Golden Retriever into a therapy dog. Her initial reason was sneaky. She wanted to bring him into grocery stores and on airplanes. A therapy dog certification is not enough for this, so she decided that this would be one way that she would do service work. I thought it was a great idea. I told her that I would drive her, but she would have to figure it all out herself.

Training Our Dog to Be A Therapy Dog

She researched and found a place in the Berkshires, two and a half hours from us where we could bring him to be certified. I thought that they would just check to make sure he was a friendly dog but, boy, was I wrong.

Training Our Dog to Be A Therapy Dog Read more…

Help Bring Immersive Storytelling to Life

Help Bring Immersive Storytelling to Life

My neighbor’s best friend is none other than Robert Sabuda. They went to art school together. We discovered him long before our neighbor moved in across the street. It was at a museum store that my husband could not resist Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs : The Definitive Pop-Up for our dinosaur obsessed three year old son.

Our collection grew to include his shark and mythology pop up books. I think my husband and I enjoyed them as much as our children did. And we kept them in pristine shape by reading them very carefully, savoring each magical pop up. We still have them in a special section of a bookcase where our son takes them out from time to time.

Today, Robert Sabuda is guest posting about his latest endeavor. It sounds really cool. My dinosaur obsessed son is now 11 years old and I think he will love this too. Read more…

KylaBorg on Flickr, under Creative Commons

It’s Not Easy Being a Girl

Grasshopper and Sensei‘s good friend, Sarah Groustra, also a 10th grader, just got published in Women’s eNews. Her piece, It’s Not Easy Being a Girl, really nails what life is like for a teen girl these days. I wanted to share it with you:

KylaBorg on Flickr, under Creative Commons

Image, KylaBorg on Flickr, under Creative Commons

It’s Not Easy Being a Girl

You are female.

You wake up in the morning and get ready to go to school. Picking out clothes can sometimes be a little emotional for you. Like 91 percent of other girls, you are unhappy with the way you look. Doing your makeup isn’t easy either. The day that you ran out of time to put any on, someone called your skin gross. A few days later, your friend tells you you’d be prettier if you just didn’t wear so much makeup. You glance at the fashion magazines on your nightstand, where Kerry Washington or Emma Watson or it doesn’t really matter who is laughing at you with a frozen, glossy smile. They never had to worry about this, did they?

You arrive at school. Your first class is calculus. The class has more girls than boys, so you have some close friends in the class who have been helping you with your homework the past few days. This unit has been particularly challenging. At the end of class, you walk over to the teacher’s desk to grab some extra review sheets. A male classmate of yours is trying to argue his way into a C- on a recent test; he is doing far worse than you are. Before you make it to the door the teacher catches you and says, “I see you’ve been having some trouble lately. Are you sure this class is the right place for you? You may want to think about switching down a level.” You politely assure him you’ll stay where you are. Read more…

DIY STEM Paper Circuits: Light Up Cards & GIVEAWAY

DIY STEM Paper Circuits: Light Up Cards & GIVEAWAYS

This STEM project teaches kids about circuits and electricity. Because there are tiny parts, I recommend it for ages 10 and older. This coincides nicely with 5th grade Core Curriculum circuits as well.

There are a few hurdles for doing this project. To make it easier for my readers to do this science project, I’m giving away some kits of the harder to procure parts. See the Rafflecopter below to win.

This Paper Circuit STEM project is also in Make: Start Making! A Guide to Engaging Young People in Maker Activities by Danielle Martin and Alisha Panjwani. I’m also giving away a copy of this book. To win this book, please leave a comment.

Step 1: The Materials

Some of the materials you’ll probably have around the house: clear tape, scissors, paper/card stock/construction paper (card stock is best), and binder clip (nice to have but not necessary).

DIY STEM Paper Circuits: Light Up CardsRead more…

3D Printing: Teen Makes His Own Invisalign

3D Printing: Teen Makes His Own Invisalign

Two of my kids are taking a 3D printing class this summer through Id Tech camp. My daughter’s orthodontist does not recommend making your own Invisalign as there might be issues with jaw alignment that requires more than moving your teeth.

3D Printing: Teen Makes His Own Invisalign

Images from CNN Money

Still, this college student, Amos Dudley, used a 3D printer to make his own Invisalign and successfully moved his teeth. My husband was impressed enough to send me this article from CNN Money.

College student makes own invisalign

Images from CNN Money

He usedNew Jersey Institute of Technology’s equipment to scan and print models of his teeth, and mold non-toxic plastic around them to form the set of 12 clear braces.

Here’s the video.

Diverse Children's Books

Diverse Children’s Book Linky

Diverse Children’s Books is a new book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

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19 Picture Books That Teach Important Life Lessons

19 Picture Books That Teach Important Life Lessons

Can picture books teach life lessons? I think so. To find life lessons, I went to some original sources … life lessons from a 90-year-old woman and a 99-year-old man. Their words of wisdom were similar and it’s about living well to live long.

I added in a few life lessons that I’ve found along the way and the picture books that help to illustrate it. How about you? What life lessons resonate for you? Please do share!

Laugh (Every Day)

A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee

Funny picture books are very popular in my house, but it’s hard to get both adult and child to snort laugh at the same time. Especially if said picture book gets read over and over again, which typically makes the humor wane over time.

Perhaps A Couple of Boys Have The Best Week Ever speaks to my son and I because he’s that kid. For all the outdoor enrichment activities that I plan for him, he’d rather be home in front of a screen. And he also has dryly sarcastic things to say about day camp and other activities forced upon him.

Humor is recommended for living a long full life. Laugh often, at least daily and surround yourself with people, and books, that make you laugh. That’s probably the #1 piece advice from those who have lived long and well. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

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