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Life by the Sea Books for Kids

Children’s Books About Life by the Sea

Today, I have guest author team of writer and illustrator Muon Van and April Chu. Their picture book,  In a Village by the Sea, has been described by The New York Times as “Breathtaking” and Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review) said, it’s a “lovely, resonant portrait of family life that hums with quiet magic.”

In a Village by the Sea by Muon

They have created a book list of their favorite children’s books about life by the sea. How about you? Will you make it to the seashore this summer? If so where? And what books do you like about life by the sea? Please share! Thank you! Read more…

Fight for Your Write

Fight for Your Write #BICFightForYourWrite

…Cursive writing may train self-control ability in a way that other modes of writing do not, and some researchers argue that it may even be a path to treating dyslexia. from NY Times

calligraphy by felix doolittle

Grasshopper and Sensei interned at this fine stationery company. Felix’s penmanship is beautiful!

 

My kids recently argued over which of them had the best handwriting. I was to judge. It’s interesting how my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, who used to have illegible handwriting in elementary school has turned it around. Her penmanship in high school now is text-book perfect.
grasshopper and sensei

Grasshopper and Sensei uses her cursive handwriting as part of her art. Here’s a condolence card she sold to me.
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Top 10 Diversity Dance Picture Books

Top 10: Multicultural Dance Picture Books

First you have to believe that it’s possible. Can a person of color become a professional dancer? These diversity dance picture books plant the seed … but not for my kids.

I could never coax my girls into dancing. My oldest did one year at the Boston Ballet School when she was four. I was thrilled. She seemed really great at it. I envisioned her gliding gracefully into years of ballet culminating in a small part in the Nutcracker. Instead, her ballet shoes got a tad small with just two classes to go before the summer break. I let her just dance in them. She promptly quit after that, saying that ballet hurt her feet.

Boston Ballet SchoolGrasshopper and Sensei’s first ballet class at Boston Ballet School.

I tried again when we moved to the suburbs. The ballet class included tutus, stuffed bears, sunglasses and a juice box break. “Open like a birdie,” they’d tell the kids before popping the straw into their mouths so the juice box wouldn’t spill. Neither the tutus nor the stuffed animals tempted my girls away from the wall where they stood and watched for over an hour each week. They would only participate for the juice box.

PickyKIdPix in soccer uniform and tutu

PickyKidPix messing around with a tutu that came in the mail with a picture book. She pairs it with her soccer uniform.

Even though my kids don’t dance, I’ve tried to include a picture book about dancing with reference to their Korean, Chinese and Japanese heritage. Who knew that this would prove to be so challenging? Did you know that modern gymnastics that you see in the Olympics has its roots in classical Chinese dance?!

It’s interesting that there are a plethora of ninja themed picture books but nary a ballet one with an Asian American character. Not even a minor one. It’s as if Asian American children don’t dance at all.

How about you? Do your kids like to dance or just read about dancing? My kids like watching kids dance as well via reality TV shows. Is there a better dance picture book about Asian culture that you like? Please share! Thanks! Read more…

Write Now Read Later: Summer Writing Prompts for Kids

Write Now Read Later: Summer Writing Prompts for Kids

Are you sliding into your summer routine? Have you hit the point of boredom yet or are you still enjoying the lazy days of summer? Let’s talk, write and read about your summer.

I’d love to post what you’ve written! If you want to share, please email me an image of your wonderful story and I’ll post it right on this post at the bottom. My email is pragmaticmomblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

Summer Writing Prompts for Kids

Are you have the best summer ever? Why or why not? Write about a perfect summer day for you, real or imagined.

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

My son and I think this is the funniest picture book ever! Marla Frazee’s dry wit will be appreciated by parents reading this book over and over. James and Eamon visit Eamon’s grandparents’ house to attend a week of Nature Camp which doesn’t enthrall them. They learn new vocabulary words from his grandfather’s driving. In their free time, they resist going outside and stay in instead eating waffles and playing video games. They finally make it outside to the delight of the grandparents but even though their week wasn’t according to plan, it’s still the best week ever! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

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Finding More Great Graphic Novels for Kids GIVEAWAY

Finding More Great Graphic Novels for Kids GIVEAWAY

Graphic novels are my secret weapon for reluctant readers, both boys and girls, but they are also the slippery slope for newly independent readers to develop a love of reading. I became a huge fan of graphic novels when my son learned to read in first grade. Not only did graphic novels get him asking to go to the library in search of books, but it also helped him with reading comprehension. YES, graphic novels support reading comprehension strategy development in children!

It’s the magic of pictures and words. Words + Pictures = A Game Changer for Reading Comprehension. Not only do kids love graphic novels and notebook novels and will eagerly devour them, but having to figure out the story from the words and the images helps kids develop critical reading comprehension strategies that they will need to employ for school, for life and certainly, for Common Core standardized testing. This kind of reading comprehension strategies transfers to chapter books, non-fiction and all other genres.

To celebrate the educational value + sheer pleasure of graphic novels/notebook novels = reading nirvana, I have a book list below to help you find more graphic novels for your kids based on other books that you might know.

 

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Happy 50th to the Love of My Life

Happy 50th to the Love of My Life

Some of my readers noticed that my husband is rarely shown on my blog or social media. In fact, it was years before he first appeared on my Instagram. That’s because he doesn’t like to be in any photos. Today’s his 50th birthday and I’m out-of-town at my college roommate’s 50th birthday (he said it was fine with him).

Tai LeeRead more…

Gorilla Tough: Boxing, Books and a Tablet

Gorilla Tough: Boxing, Books, and a Tablet

What do you associate with a gorilla? For me, it’s my boxing gym. I once took a boxing class with Nate, the other co-founder of Nonantum Boxing Club. When I saw my trainer — his cousin — I asked, “For a big guy, isn’t Nate surprisingly light on his feet?” Because if you saw Nate hopping over low hurdles in a delicate way like a gazelle, it’s a little incongruent with his beefy frame. My trainer replied, “Nate is a gorilla.”

Nonantum Boxing Club, Newton MA

Nate is on the left. My trainer is on the right. Read more…

Exercise Motivation to YogaBox

Exercise Motivation to YogaBox

I started a new class that combines yoga and boxing. You might think this is a weird combination but they are more alike that you’d think:

  • Both yoga and boxing focus on the breath. When you are in the ring, it’s essential to be cognizant of your breath. Some boxers even breath out with a weird sound to remind themselves to breath because no breath = no energy.

Exercise Motivation to YogaBox

  • Both boxing and yoga build a strong core. Side plank, chair pose, plank, vinyasa are all poses that I regularly do in boxing. Weird, isn’t it? But these poses also are essential to strengthening your core and you need strong abs to absorb punches. I got hit in the core once and it knocked the wind out of me, but because of endless planks and sit-ups, I was able to continue.

Exercise Motivation to YogaBox

  • Both boxing and yoga use body weight to build strength. On very rare occasions, I will warm up with 2 pound hand weights if I can find the lone pink pair in the bin; otherwise I struggle with 3 pound weights, but most of the time I train in boxing just with my body weight. This results in long, lean muscles. And yoga with boxing means supple strength and less injury.

Exercise Motivation to YogaBox

I’ve been marketing YogaBox™ to an email group weekly and I typically send out two memes as part of my email campaign just to make it more interesting. I find the memes on Instagram and pull two that speak to me each week. Some weeks the message is motivational. Some weeks when I am tired, I just want something funny.

Here’s my collection from the past year. I hope they amuse you!

Will-Smithtry-something-new-300x300 Read more…

Zoology Books and Activities for Kids

Zoology Books and Activities for Kids & Kid Lit Blog Hop

Zoology for Kids books and activities

Now that summer is here and it’s easier to get the kids outdoors, I wanted to share some great non-fiction books to introduce kids to Zoology. Zoology is the study of animals making it perfect for kids who naturally gravitate to animals, pet stores, and zoos. They are the ones who want to rescue any animal they find. Zoology is one of many career paths for kids who love animals and being outdoors! Others mentioned in Zoology for Kids include:

zookeeper: A zookeeper is a person who manages zoo animals that are kept in captivity for conservation or to be displayed to the public, and are usually responsible for the feeding and daily care of the animals.

aquarist: An aquarist is responsible for the care of fish and marine mammals kept in captivity.

veterinarian: a professional who practices veterinary medicine by treating disease, disorder, and injury in non-human animals.

wildlife researcher: zoologists and wildlife biologists study animals and other wildlife and how they interact with their ecosystems. They study the physical characteristics of animals, animal behaviors, and the impacts humans have on wildlife and natural habitats.

ecology professor: teaches and conducts research on the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings.

conservation careers: saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks.

zoologist: A zoologist is someone who studies the behaviour, origins, genetics, diseases and life progression of animals and wildlife. There are a variety of different ways that a zoologist can specialize and there are many diverse jobs in this field.

Zoology Books and Activities for Kids

I am probably having way too much fun on Flipagram making small videos set to music off my iPhone which can be posted on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook or even texted or emailed to friends and family. I’m trying to showcase books that I’m posting on such as these on Zoology.
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