All posts by

The Importance of STEM for Kids

The Importance of STEM for Kids

My youngest son is a gamer. He will sit in front of a computer, iPad or DSI all day in his pajamas if I let him. He will shift his hours so that he becomes “Nocturnal Man,” capable of staying up until 2 in the morning and sleeping until noon.

His behavior, though, also reminds me of some brilliant programmers that I had the privilege of working with in Silicon Valley years ago, back in the days of the .com bubble.

What’s a mom to do? I say, if you can’t beat them, join them. I asked my son if he would like to make his own computer games and he thought that was a great idea.

The Importance of STEM for Kids Read more…

An Author Interviews Her Editor

An Author Interviews Her Editor & #GIVEAWAY

An Author Interviews Her Editor, Karen Chaplin at HarperCollins Children’s Books

Hi there, I’m Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, author of the tween animal fantasy series, The Guardian Herd. Before I signed my publishing contract, I had never worked with an editor. I believed that book editors corrected grammar, but I soon learned that is the specific job of a copy editor.

The Guardian Herd

As Senior Editor Karen Chaplin and I began working together, I became fascinated with her job. She manages every aspect of my book series from content editing of the manuscript, cover design, marketing copy, and the promotional materials.

When she’s not working on my series, she’s acquiring new authors, attending meetings and conferences, and working on other projects. It’s an exciting job, and so I decided to interview her about it and about her work on the Guardian Herd series. Today I’m happy to share this exclusive interview with the book lovers over here at Pragmatic Mom. Read more…

5 Interactive Picture Books

5 Fun Interactive Picture Books

5 Interactive Picture Books from Miranda Paul

Set down the devices—these 5 books cleverly engage your children sans screen. With a blend of traditional format and elements that directly call upon the reader, these five books easily will hold a young child’s attention.

5. Whose Hands Are These? By Miranda Paul, illustrated by Luciana Navarro Powell …

(available February 1, 2016) also tackles a nonfiction subject—community occupations—through a series of rhymed riddles focused on what each person’s hands do.

Whose Hands Are These Anyway? Cover Reveal



Read more…

Top 10 Rainforest Books for Kids

Top 10 Rainforest Books for Kids

I’ve traveled to the island of Kauai in Hawaii and Costa Rica, but I’ve never been to the rain forest areas of those regions. Like Annie in The Magic Tree House, I don’t relish the bugs. Her brother Jack persuades her to take a trip to the Amazon by saying, “… the rain forests are being cut down. Don’t you want to see one before it’s too late?”

rainforests of the world

Rainforests of the World. Image from A Level Geography

Is it going to be too late soon? Is there anything we can do to prevent this catastrophe. In reading these children’s books, it’s a relief to find that there are simple choices you and I can make every single day to help save the rain forests!

Layers of a Rainforest

Layers of a rainforest. Image from A Level Geography

Margarita Engle in Orangutaka tells us that Orangutans are critically endangered because their forests are being logged to plant oil palms. Palm oil is a substitute for butter used in candies, pastries and other processed foods. If you avoid buying processed foods that use palm oil, you help protect Orangutans.

How about you? Have you visited a rain forest? What are your favorite books about the rain forest? Please share! Thank you! Read more…

In Memory of Hiroshima Bombing: A Project and Book List for Kids

In Memory of Hiroshima Bombing Book List for Kids

On August 6, seventy years ago, the United States detonated atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended WWII. Without those bombs, the war with Japan would have dragged on and on. The Japanese would have fought for as long as they could hold out … for their country, for their family honor, for Bushido. It’s just the way they are.

Rose Wenjen

I know. I’m half Japanese. In fact, my mother’s parents are from an area one hour outside of Hiroshima. Thus, the Hiroshima bombing brings WWII full circle for my mother. She was born in San Francisco and grew up in Japantown. During WWII, her family was forced to relocate to a remote part of Utah where the US tested nuclear weapons underground. Most of her family died of cancer. Read more…

19 Graphic Novels for Mighty Girls!

19 Graphic Novels for Feisty Girls

Thank you to my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook friends for helping me with this strong girl characters graphic novel list. With graphic novels skewing for a male audience, it’s nice to find girl characters that inspire and entertain, and with a range of personalities.

Some of these mighty girls seem to have superhero powers; other are just plain fearless. But there are also those everyday heroines who struggle with life’s ups and downs and must discover who them are, their true friends and their inner strength. Whether their conflict is with bad guys, monsters, dragons or mean girls, all these books help to get girls reading, especially reluctant readers. I hope there are many more like books these coming out soon!

What great graphic novels with strong girl characters did I leave out? Please help me add to this list! Thank you! Read more…

Top 20 Classic Books for Kids

Top 20 Classic Books for Kids #LoveThriftBooks

Thank you for sponsoring this post. Click here to check out the 7 million quality, used books on their shelves!

For summer reading with your kids, why not stock up on Must Read classics especially when they are at bargain prices through Thrift Books? What’s the deal, you ask? Thank you for asking!

Any title marked with a DEAL tag on the detail page is priced:

  • 2 books for $7.00
  • 3 books for $10.00
  • 4 books for $12.00
  • each additional is $3.00

At these great prices, it’s easy to find fifteen twenty classic books for kids. These are the books I would buy even if it’s a few years before my kids can read them. Because at these prices, who can resist?! I can’t!!  Here are my picks! Read more…

How to Get Into College: AdmissionsRevolution

How to Get Into College: Admissions Revolution #GIVEAWAY

With my oldest starting 10th grade next year and my middle fixated on getting into a top college, I have been thinking about admissions quite a bit. You might have noticed my anxiety with posts for Grasshopper and Sensei on Top Art and Design Colleges for Undergraduates and Art Competitions for Kids and Teens.

It’s a little easier, I’ll admit, having my oldest focused on Art and Design schools. There aren’t as many so the focus is narrower and the acceptance rates are not as heart-stopping as top colleges. It’s going to be tougher to help PickyKidPix with her dream college.

PickyKidPix will be in 8th grade next year and she’s already starting to think about SAT tests. She’s been taking Latin and studying SAT vocabulary cards. She’s trying to figure out which sport to focus on that increase her chances of getting recruited. She appreciates knowing how everything works in terms of the college admission game.

This post is for her! Read more…

Stock Market Basics for Kids

Stock Market Basics for Kids

PickyKidPix is now 13-years-old and has shown interest in the stock market for quite some time. Recently, she asked me if she owned any Disney stock. I had purchased a handful of shares when she was born with the money her grandmother (my mother) had gifted to her. My mother had also set up a custodial stock trading account for each of my kids as well. It was her way of helping them with college tuition.

Disney Stock Price

PickyKidPix tells me that she’s been tracking Disney stock (DIS) and that it’s at an all time high. “Can I sell some?” she asks. I spent last summer transferring the kids’ stock accounts into my brokerage account to put all the accounts under one roof, so to speak. I figured that now is a good time to let my daughter trade. I closed her savings account and moved the money to her brokerage account, and figured out the user name and password so she would be good to go. Read more…