PickyKidPix is now in 8th grade but only less than half way through. She tells me that her curriculum covers Colonial America, Industrial Revolution in science, American Revolution, Civil War, French and Indian War, Constitution, and Racism.
I’m creating multicultural picture book lists for middle school in hopes of helping teachers cover their curriculum. I hope that they will participate in Multicultural Children’s Book Day Classroom Reading Challenge. They can earn a FREE hardcover diversity book provided by reading four picture books during the month of January. Sign up here.
What books should I add to this list? Thanks for your help!
The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower or John Howland’s Good Fortune by P. J. Lynch
P. J. Lynch’s masterful watercolor paintings and vivid prose told from the perspective of young John Howland bring to life the difficulties of the Mayflower settlers. John is an indentured servant and his master and mistress seek religious freedom in the New World. His adventure begins with certain death should he be caught before boarding the Mayflower. Once aboard, the voyage is plagued with misfortune. John gets cast out to sea when a big wave hits the desk, and survives miraculously because a rope trailed behind the ship. Life in the New World is not easier. Only half of the pilgrims survive the brutal New England winter but the local Native Americans, the Wampanoag, prove to be their saviors. When John Howland’s Mistress and Master die, he is freed of his indentured servitude. Should he stay in this new world or return home? [advanced picture book, ages 8 and up]
The Kid Lit Blog Hop is now monthly! To celebrate the holidays in December, I’ve picked out five new picture books to share and I’m giving them away to five different winners.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Can you believe that it’s been thirty years since The Polar Express was published?! This story about the faith that children bring into the world is a classic that reminds young and old alike about the true magic of Christmas. Do you want to spread the magic? Every time you use hashtag #ReadandBelieve, a copy of The Polar Express will be donated to Christmas in the City, a Boston-based non-profit helping families in need. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Imagine life more than 30 thousand years ago, before drawing was invented! Using a burnt stick (charcoal), imagine the first human to see shapes on a wall that resemble animals and draw them. It would feel like magic! This is one version speculating why early humans created cave paintings and this story is inspired by cave paintings in Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc cave in Southern France. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
I consulted my 8th grader, PickyKidPix, about middle school curriculum. She pays attention to everything going on so she remembers what she studied and notices what other grades are doing. She said that her teachers have generally covered the same curriculum they have always done which seemed to naturally follow Common Core but that different teachers put different emphasis on units based on their preferences.
For example, Grasshopper and Sensei, in 6th grade was delighted to find that 6th Grade English included an extensive Mythology unit with she aced without studying because she loves mythology. She took the National Mythology Examination in 5th grade for fun, for example. For PickyKidPix however, her teacher wasn’t as into mythology so this was a single week unit (which suited her just fine because she never got into the Percy Jackson series).
6th grade curriculum for my kids included Greek and Roman Mythology, World Geography, culture and modern life of different countries around the world, and World Religions (Buddhism, Muslim, Catholic, Judaism, Hinduism). 6th Grade STEM included chemistry, physics and bridges and 6th Grade English included Tuck Everlasting, Beowolf, The Giver, The Odyssey.
What diversity picture books would you add? Thanks for your suggestions!
My son tried out the Meccano Mountain Rally 25 Model Set. He likes to assemble things but hasn’t really had a lot of opportunity to use tools so I thought that would be fun for him.
It’s a kit with a lot mechanical pieces and a detailed instruction manual on how to assemble it. My son likes to follow the directions to the letter the first time around, and then he will disassemble the toy and rebuild it free-form. Read more…
Kinetic Sand is a three-dimensional building toy made of 98% sand and 2% polydimethylsiloxane that mimics the physical properties of wet sand. Think of it as a concoction of sand + Silly Putty. That’s actually what it is.
It has an addicting “feel” quality to it. It looks like brown sugar but you can use it for sculpting, indoor play sand for children. The weird-but-good thing is that sticks to itself but not to most other materials or surfaces, and it does not dry out. Read more…
This week is Computer Science Education Week! I have been trying to get my 11-year-old son to program as a way to combat his love of screen time. It turns out that he likes making his own games so it’s a win-win situation.
We started off when he was in third grade — he’s now in 5th grade — with a small group of boys learning Scratch with a high school student who tutored them. When the boys mastered Scratch, their tutor moved them to Processing, which is a version of Java (as I understand it). Read more…
Thank you to Cottonelle, Kleenex, Scott and Viva for sponsoring this post. You can find great deals on all these products for the holidays at your local Walmart via the Ibotta app.
I’m way over due hosting my neighborhood moms’ book club. I had it all scheduled a year ago, only to find myself at Boston Children’s Hospital when my son needed surgery to remove a cyst the size of an egg in his neck. My book club is finally back on!
I made a quick stop to Walmart to stock up for this party last week and was glad to save money on Cottonelle, Scott and Viva products that I will need using the Ibotta app. With the Ibotta app, I saved (and you can too): Read more…
Hi! I'm Mia Wenjen. I blog excessively about children's books. I am also the co-founder of Multicultural Children's Book Day on Jan 27th.
I'd love to chat with you. Let's connect! PragmaticMomBlog (at) gmail (dot) com.
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