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Six Ways to Cultivate a Charitable Spirit in Kids

Six Ways to Cultivate a Charitable Spirit in Kids

Dr. Michele Borba has a new book out tomorrow and I’m thrilled she’s here today with ideas of how to get your spread kindness. I have some ideas for Random Acts of Kindness and a DIY Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar as well.

Kaila is not yet four, but the San Diego preschooler already has the makings of an empathetic children. When I banged my toe at a party, the three- year-old was the first to my side. I watched her size things up, look carefully at my “injury,” and then empathize. Her face switched from inquisitiveness to concern, and then she looked up with the biggest eyes, and said, “I sorry ’bout your toe. You need Band-Aid for your owie? I help you.”

Kaila may have missed a few words, but her message displayed a charitable spirit even at a young age. And it was because her parents were raising her to care. Research contends that though our kids are hard-wired to empathize and care about others, the traits of humanness must be nurtured. And the best ways to do so are always spontaneous and don’t cost a dime. Here are six science-backed tips to cultivate children’s hearts from my latest book, UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed In Our All-About-Me World.

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MY CAR DOES WHAT for New Drivers #DashboardBlitz

MY CAR DOES WHAT for New Drivers #DashboardBlitz

Grasshopper and Sensei is now old enough to drive but it scares her. She sometimes gets the gas pedal confused with the brake. That’s scary for both of us!

learning to drive

Her younger sister, PickyPidPix, is always trying to get us to let her drive the car. She’s only 14 years old though and likes to practice by driving a golf cart.

MY CAR DOES WHAT for New Drivers #DashboardBlitzRead more…

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.


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Wonderful Ramadan Books for Kids of All Ages

18 Wonderful Ramadan Books for Kids of All Ages

We are celebrating Ramadan over at Multicultural Children’s Book Day for the month of June. This is my contribution. Join us at our blog with guest posts from authors on how they are celebrating Ramadan, and book giveaways.

I wanted to make a list of Ramadan books to learn more about this holiday. Here’s what I learned after reading a dozen books:

  • Ramandan is the ninth month in the calendar used for Muslim holidays. When it is near, they watch for a new crescent moon. (Now I understand why many Ramadan books reference the moon in the title!)
  • The calendar for Muslim holidays follows the moon which means Ramadan starts on a different day every year, and can happen in any season. This year Ramadan falls during summer which is the most challenging season to fast during. The days are very long and hot.
  • Caring for the poor is important to Muslims which is one reason why they fast. Fasting helps them understand how people feel when they go hungry.
  • The festival of Girgian which comes in the middle of Ramadan reminds me of Halloween. Kids get dressed in traditional costumes and collect treats from their neighbors.
  • The new crescent moon marks the end of Ramadan and that day is called Eid al-Fitr. Muslims clean and decorate their homes and they have a big feast.

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STEM Science Project: DIY iPhone Microscope

STEM Science Project: DIY iPhone Microscope

I’m trying to do more science experiments with my son. We made a homopolar motor, learned about electricity with PlayDoh and LED lights, built a gamer remote control, made a 3D hologram projector, created a protective device for a raw egg, learned about the science of Ramune Japanese soda, and wondered why ice cubes crack in drinks.

I’m always looking for fun and easy science experiments so this DIY Phone Microscope got my attention. The video below made it sound easy: Read more…

Can You Spot Him? A real life Halibut Jackson

Can You Spot Him? A real life Halibut Jackson

My husband and I delighted in reading a picture book to our kids about a shy man named Halibut Jackson who made specially crafted outfits designed to blend into his environment.

Halibut Jackson by David Lucas

Halibut Jackson is shy and doesn’t want to be noticed so he makes special outfits designed to blend into the background. He has a flowered suit for the park, a book-patterned suit for the library, and a fruit-adorned suit for the shops. When he gets invited to a party with the king and queen, he’s excited to go. But how was he to know it’s a garden party?! Everyone notices Halibut Jackson. And everyone notices his marvelous suit. They all want one too. Now Halibut Jackson has a new profession, and he’s a little less shy! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

My husband recently was excited to discover a real life Halibut Jackson, Chinese artist Liu Bolin. Can you spot him? Read more…

These Girls Can Climb: Rock Climbing Prodigies

These Girls Can Climb: Rock Climbing Prodigies

PickyKidPix is fascinated by child prodigies. Apparently there are a lot of YouTube videos on them. By making me watch them, she illuminated several misconceptions I had about prodigies.

rock climbing girls

  1. Prodigies are not just in music and math. I didn’t realize there were rock climbing prodigies.
  2. Is it nurture or nature? I would have thought the kid, Brooke Raboutou, with rock climbing world champion parents would be the best climber in the world. Not so, PickyKidPix told me. The girl, Ashima Shiraishi,  without these champion genes is actually the better climber (as of this moment).

rock climbing prodigies

PickyKidPix taught herself to rock climb last year. She went to Central Rock Gym nearby on a Friday night or a weekend with a friend and she’d climb for hours. I had dreams that this is how she’d spend her teenage weekends … in this safe tree-hugging environment rather than at parties out late at night. Not so, alas. After an intense winter of climbing last year, she has not been back. Read more…

Top 10: Baseball Chapter Books for Kids

Top 10: Baseball Books for Kids & GIVEAWAY

In the spirit of teamwork, Frank Nappi and I came up with our favorite Top 10 Baseball Books for Kids. We are also giving away his book, The Legend of Mickey Tussler.

It’s baseball season in Boston and that can only mean the Red Sox and checking the schedule to see when the home games are because traffic is brutal in the Fenway on game days.

My kids chuckle to see adults pouring off the subway decked out in Red Sox gear, happy and giddy as kids on their way to a game. But that’s the beauty of baseball games. It makes everyone young again.

Win, lose or draw, you can aways count on the food at Fenway Park, Sweet Caroline at the seventh inning stretch, and the history of the stadium to seep in to give you an experience that says a perfect Boston day!

How about you? Who are you rooting for?

p.s. Red Sox fans might like photographs by my friend Sharon Schindler. Her Fenway Park photos are extremely popular around these parts.

Sharon Schindler Photography Red Sox Fenway Park art Read more…

KRISTEN KITTSCHER, Wonderful Diversity Mysteries for Ages 8-18

Wonderful Diversity Mysteries for Ages 8-18

Please welcome my guest blogger today, author Kristen Kittcher! We both came up with our favorite diversity mysteries for kids and I’m surprised how there is very little overlap!

I have a feeling that there are more great mysteries written of authors of color or with protagonists of color or with special needs. Can you help us out with your great suggestions? Thanks so much!


There’s little I love more than reading books about smart, curious, and creative kids—especially if those adventures involve solving high-stakes mysteries that elude adults. So, it’s no surprise that I also love writing about them. My seventh grade best friends and wannabe super-sleuths Sophie Young & Grace Yang certainly go on some wild adventures in my own mysteries for young readers, The Wig in the Window and The Tiara on the Terrace.

But what’s even more wonderful than following the adventures of clever sleuths? When those novels’ heroes truly reflect the diverse spectrum of backgrounds and experiences of the real world! Read more…