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My Teen Driver & Global Youth Safety Month

My Teen Driver & Global Youth Safety Month

Grasshopper and Sensei turned 16 years old recently and had to be persuaded to learn to drive. She has no interest. Why would she? Her dad and I are her personal car service. She’s terrified being behind the wheel of a vehicle that can do serious damage. And she’s right.

teen driving

A few weeks ago, a car crashed into the front of our neighborhood pizza place, killing two people and critically injuring five others. It wasn’t a teen driver, but did you know these stats:

  • Car crashes are the #1 killer of teens
  • Teens crash most often because they are inexperienced – not because they take more risks behind the wheel.
  • Other teen passengers are one of the biggest distractions for teen drivers. Just one teen passenger raises a teen driver’s fatal crash risk 44 percent. Two passengers doubles fatal crash risk. Three or more quadruples crash risk.
  • Most fatal nighttime crashes involving teen drivers happen between 9 p.m. and midnight
  • More than half of teens killed in car crashes were not restrained by a seatbelt.

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How do mirrors work? How are mirrors made?

How Do Mirrors Work? How Are Mirrors Made?

PickyKidPix broke her full length mirror, not once but twice. I hope that’s not 14 years of bad luck.  She hated the replacement mirror that my husband installed and wanted to replace it, yet again, herself.

How do mirrors work? How are mirrors made?

This mirror drama got my son thinking and asking about how mirrors work. I was hoping that he could build his own mirror as a science experiment, but it turns out that mirrors are quite complicated to make.

How do mirrors work? How are mirrors made?

Here’s how mirrors work:

When photons — rays of light — coming from an object (your smiling face, for example) strike the smooth surface of a mirror, they bounce back at the same angle. Your eyes see these reflected photons as a mirror image. from Wonderopolis Read more…

Memorial Day Books & Art Projects for Kids

Memorial Day Books & Art Projects for Kids

It wasn’t easy to find books in my library for Memorial Day. While there are a few picture books, none were on the shelves. Rather than give you a list of hard to find books, I’ve narrowed the list to just three and have added activities that I rounded up from Pinterest.

First, here’s some background on Memorial and Veterans Day:

Memorial Day was first celebrated in 1868, then called Decoration Day to remember the soldiers who died in the Civil War. It was celebrated by putting flowers and flags on their graves. In 1882, the holiday was changed to Memorial Day to remember Americans who died serving in any war. Memorial Day is the last Monday in May or May 30. This year, it is celebrated on Monday, May 30th.

Veterans Day is sometimes marked by a minute of silence at 11am on November 11 to mark the end of WWI, then called Armistice Day. In 1954, Armistice Day became Veteran’s Day and is a day to honor all U.S. Veterans. It is now celebrated on the second Monday of November.

How are you celebrating Memorial Day this year?

p.s. More Veterans Day book lists:

Remembering the Veterans In My Life (and some books for kids to go with that)

Veterans Day Books for Kids

WWII Books for Kids and My Mother’s Story

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Katie Woo and Pedro Early Chapter Book GIVEAWAY!

Katie Woo and Pedro Early Chapter Book HUGE GIVEAWAY!

PickyKidPix loves Katie Woo even though she discovered this series in 5th grade while messing around in her school library. She encouraged me to continue with the Katie Woo book giveaways because she wants to spread the love, and copies come my way that land in her room. I told her that a spinoff series about Pedro was coming out. She approved.

In celebration of the new Katie Woo spinoff series, Pedro, I’m doing a huge giveaway!

EIGHT Winners for Katie Woo or Pedro Early Chapter Book Giveaway

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Is Coco Chanel a Real Person?

Is Coco Chanel a Real Person?

PickyKidPix who is now in 8th grade surprised me with this question: Is Coco Chanel a real person? First of all, how does she even know about Chanel? I think she watches too many YouTube beauty bloggers. And secondly, how strange that she only knows Chanel as a brand name because in fact, she knew Chanel by the handbags and make up.

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel, 1920. Wikipedia

I just happened upon this picture book at the library and gave it to my daughter who was delighted to read it.

Coco and the Little Black Dress by Annemarie Van Haeringen Read more…

My Mother’s Day Card in Chinese Makes Me So Happy!

Grasshopper and Sensei started learning Chinese when she was in kindergarten. My neighbor tutored Chinese so it was easy to slip this in. I thought we were all set but then she moved away by the end of that school year.

Mother's Day Card in Mandarin Chinese

To continue their Mandarin, I put my girls into Chinese school for adopted Chinese babies. No one speaks Chinese at home. I was in Chinese school for one year when I was in elementary school and my siblings and I were the ONLY kids who spoke English at home. It was not a great experience.

After two years of this Chinese school, my girls wanted out. I hired another Chinese tutor who evaluated them to see what they knew. It turns out that my kids only knew how to count to 10 in Chinese. How could this be? I had sat through those Chinese classes while the teacher drilled flashcards covering the colors including silver and gold! They had been taking Chinese for more than three years!

Mother's Day Card in Mandarin ChineseRead more…

Great New Easy Readers

Great New Easy Readers

It just so happened that most of the diversity picks on the nominated easy readers for The Cybils made the short list. I personally was a champion of Don’t Throw It to Mo! by David Adler which also won the Geisel Award.

My fellow judges were mostly librarians and they needed something fresh to get excited about. I can relate; I think an award like The Cybils is helpful to highlight new authors rather than award a long running and popular series like Elephant and Piggie. In fact, the popularity of Elephant and Piggie spawned many knock offs which starts to become tiresome as well. And, my final gripe is that there is only so much rhyming you can pull off with fox/box, yet there were more books that you’d expect with this rhyming scheme.

The upshot is that new Easy Readers seem to be a pretty closed off group: books are either popular series that seem to spawn endless books, imitators of these popular series, or rhyming sequences involving “fox” and “box.” While most of the selections below fit into those three categories, they are the best of the pile and there are also a few that refreshingly don’t.

How about you? Are there any Easy Readers that you don’t mind reading over and over again? Please share! Thank you! Read more…

New Rick Riordan Book, The Trials of Apollo, the Hidden

Win New Riordan Book #TrialsofApollo #giveaway

This post is brought to you in partnership with Disney-Hyperion. Disney-Hyperion sent me this title, and is also providing a prize pack for one winner from my site.

THE TRIALS OF APOLLO: THE HIDDEN ORACLE

Are you ready for a new Rick Riordan book? I know that my son is! He’s read every single children’s book that Rick Riordan ever wrote. We are ready for a new Riordan!!! What’s this new book about? I’m glad you asked … Read more…

Diverse Children's Books

Diverse Children’s Books Linky

Diverse Children’s Books is a brand 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.

DiverseKidLit

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