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Free Books from Multicultural Children's Book Day!

Free Books from Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) is a non-profit that I co-founded along with fellow mom, Mia Wenjen, that has a mission of helping kids “see themselves” on the pages of the books they read. This event has evolved into something so incredibly wonderful and positive: far more than all of us could have ever imagined.

Free Books from Multicultural Children's Book Day!

As we approach our fifth MCBD, I am excited to report that we have so many amazing things planned for our 2018 online event (1/27/18). , This holiday is usually just a one day event, but because since the day of this children’s book-related holiday lands on a Saturday, we decided to get creative on how we can make this one-day event a week-long party! Read more…

Books for Kids and Teens to Learn About Indian Culture & GIVEAWAY!

Books for Kids and Teens to Learn About Indian Culture & GIVEAWAY!

Please welcome my guest author today, Padma Venkatraman, with an extensive list on books for kids and teens to learn about Indian culture. She has broken out her list into four categories:

  • picture books
  • younger middle grade
  • older middle grade/younger young adult
  • young adult/adult

We are also giving away 4 copies of her books. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.

Books for Kids and Teens to Learn About Indian Culture

I’m honored to contribute a list of titles that help readers ‘learn about India and Indian culture.’  This list is just a starting point – and is limited (as indeed, all lists are). The titles that came to mind today are mostly fiction by Indian American authors and American publishers; obviously there are several excellent authors and publishers whose work isn’t included. In addition, most of the protagonists below appear to come from Hindu families; but in deference to the unfortunate anti-Islamic sentiment that prevails in parts of the world today, within each age category I have added at least one book that features a Muslim protagonist (from the Indian subcontinent).

Picture Books for Kids and Teens to Learn About Indian Culture

Lights for Gita by Rachna Gilmore, illustrated by Alice Priestly.

Gita, whose family has recently immigrated, discovers the true meaning of Diwali, the festival of light, when her plans to celebrate it go wrong. [picture book, ages 5 and up]

Read more…

DIY Organic Rose Shampoo

DIY Organic Rose Shampoo

My hair stylist starting making organic beauty products and my girls and I love her Rose Shampoo and Rinse though she doesn’t sell it on her Etsy store, Joli Savons.

DIY Shampoo easy recipe

I decided to try to make shampoo myself. I found a recipe that was pretty easy and played around with it until it worked for my hair. Instead of two products — shampoo and rinse — I wanted a shampoo that moisterized and volumized with just one product.DIY shampoo recipe Read more…

Vietnamese Folk Tales for Kids

Vietnamese Folk Tales for Kids

According to legend, Vietnam’s history began four thousand years ago when a dragon prince named Loc Long Quan married a fairy princess  named Au Co. They had one hundred children, but this was too much for them to handle, so the parents agreed to separate. Au Co moved to the mountains with half of the children, and Lac Long Quan moved to the lowlands near the sea with the other fifty. Their oldest son founded the first Vietnamese kingdom.

In 111 B.C. China invaded Vietnam and ruled for almost one thousand years. Although China influenced Vietnam greatly, the ancient Viet culture was never completely destroyed. It is still evident in much of Vietnamese folklore.

From Children of the Dragon by Sherry Garland

With a country origination belief steeped in dragons and fairies, it’s not surprising that Vietnam has a rich culture of folk tales. Unfortunately, there are not many folk tale picture books in the United States that tell these stories but there are some great compilations of Vietnamese Folk Tales that I’ve included below.

How about you? Have you read any Vietnamese folk tales? What books am I missing? Thanks!

p.s. Related posts:

Exploring Vietnam through Kidlit and Culture

Ice Cubes at the Door: A Survey of Lunar New Year Traditions by Janet Wong


Vietnamese Folk Tales for Kids

Children of the Dragon: Selected Tales from Vietnam by Sherry Garland, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman

Use this folk tale compilation as an introduction not just to Vietnamese folk tales, but also Vietnamese history and culture. At the end of each folk tale, Garland includes notes related each of the six folk tales about how this ties into modern day Vietnam including flora and fauna, animals, and holidays. Compare The Boatman’s Flute in this book withThe Fisherman and the Goblet: A Vietnamese Folk Tale. [advanced picture book with six folktales, ages 6 and up]

The Golden Slipper: A Vietnamese Legend by Darrell H. Y. Lum

The similarities to Yeh-Shen are not surprising given that China ruled Vietnam for a thousand years. This story is also called The Brocade Slipper, and the slight deviations are a mysterious “godmother-like” figure that helps Tam, the daughter. There’s also a fish in this story, and luckily, it does not get consumed. The father in this story dies of a broken heart when he sees how poorly his daughter is treated by the second wife. The slipper is slightly different too. It is procured from the ground by the rooster that Tam treats kindly, and falls off while she’s riding on horseback to the autumn festival. A soldier finds the shoe and gives it to the prince who conducts a shoe fitting right at the event. [fairy tale picture book, ages 6 and up]

Read more…

10 Books to Encourage a Love of Science in Babies & Toddlers & 8 Signed Book GIVEAWAY

10 Books to Encourage a Love of Science in Babies & Toddlers & 8 Signed Book GIVEAWAY

Please welcome my guest author today, Ruth Spiro! Ruth’s series, Baby Loves Science, introduces very young children to science concepts. She’s created a list of science-y board books and picture books for babies and toddlers.

We are giving away 8 signed books by Ruth Spiro — two each of her books! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.

p.s. I have a list of Funny Science-y Math-y Books for Kids, and Best Science Apps for Kids Ages 4 and Up.


Babies and toddlers delight in discovering new things every day. Watching a bird fly, building a block tower, and even feeling the sun’s warm rays, they are gathering information on how the world works.  As author of the Baby Loves Science series of board books, my goal is to help create a connection between these familiar experiences and the science behind them.

When selecting books, note that even those not specifically about science can still develop foundational skills that may spark a future interest. I’m happy to share this list of books that may help parents and caregivers turn everyday moments into fun learning opportunities for their little ones.

10 Books to Encourage a Love of Science in Babies & Toddlers

10. Space Walk by Salina Yoon

This rhyming story takes readers on a journey into the solar system, with plenty to discover in a lift-the-flap format. There’s something about astronauts and outer space that holds a fascination for kids, and this board book is a perfect age-appropriate introduction. [board book, ages 3 and up]

Read more…

A Health Tune-up for the Whole Family

A Health Tune-up for the Whole Family

The end of the year is a great time for personal and financial accounting. But it is also a good time to take stock as a family on matters regarding your family’s health. Establishing good health habits in children now when they are young will help them become adults who fall into a healthy lifestyle more easily than their counterparts.

Here are some steps you can take that will not only help give your whole family a health tune-up. But also set the tone for the year to come.

  1. Start with a family meeting.

From nutrition to fitness to health checkups, getting everyone on the same page can take time. What better way than through discussing it altogether. Of course, you and your partner should know the major points you want to cover beforehand. And avoid putting anyone on the spot by handling sensitive issues privately. For example, if one of your children is battling with a food disorder or with overeating, these kinds of issues take delicacy to handle. So have an outline of safe topics you can cover together, but also a separate list that might need some one on one time with your child. Read more…

Zapzapmath App

#zapzapmath GIVEAWAY!

Thank you to Zapzapmath for this giveaway and for partnering with me on this post!

I covered Zapzapmath four months ago and because it was so popular with my readers, I am doing a follow up.

Zapzapmath App

Zapzapmath started off as a kindergarten math app with multiple games to keep kids’ interest. Now, there are over 20 FREE games from Grade K to 6.

In addition, there are over 180 math games spanning 900 difficulty levels aligned to the Common Core State Standards. To access this full galaxy of math games, it’s $9.99 per year, per grade.

Zapzapmath App Read more…

Meet 6 Middle Grade Authors & HUGE 6 Book GIVEAWAY!

Meet 6 Middle Grade Authors & HUGE 7 Book GIVEAWAY!

It was fun to meet six KidLit authors and learn more about their newest books at Trident Booksellers and Café on Newbery Street in Back Bay, Boston. Despite having an office in Back Bay, I had never been to this book store before! It’s great with two good sized cafés.

Middle Grade Authors Describe & Read from Their Books

The KidLit middle grade panel had a nice mix of books. They featured mystery, fantasy, science fiction, foodie fiction, and one story co-written by seven different authors: Rachele Alpine, Ronni Arno, Alison Cherry, Stephane Faris, Gail Nall, Jen Malone, and Dee Romito.

Trident Booksellers and Cafe

I video taped each author (and the moderator) as they described and then read from their book (or book jacket).

Middle Grade Authors Describe & Read from Their Books

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Seven Amazing Folktales from India & 2 Book GIVEAWAY!

Seven Amazing Folktales from India & 2 Book GIVEAWAY!

Please welcome my guest author today, Chitra Soundar of Pattan’s Pumpkin.

Pattan’s Pumpkin by Chitra Soundar, illustrated by Frané Lessac

This reminds me of a Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater meets Noah’s Arc story. Pattan finds a yellow-flower vine wilting in his valley, and he replants and cares for it. It turns out to be a pumpkin of enormous size, growing as tall as the mountains. When a terrible storm rages across the valley, Pattan wonders if perhaps his pumpkin can save the seeds and grains and saplings, the goats and birds and bison, and protect them all as the storm clouds burst and the waters rise. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Chitra is sharing seven more wonderful folktales from India. We are giving away two copies of Pattan’s Pumpkin. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.

Seven Amazing Folktales from India

As a child I grew up listening to folktales that my grandmother and her sister told me. Our summer holidays were spent picking tender mangoes from our garden trees, washing them and preparing them for pickles while listening to an epic story or funny trickster tales. As an oral storyteller and a writer, I love telling folktales – especially those that have been passed down generations, through word of mouth. I’ve chosen seven stories from India, because seven is a number that’s in most of our folktales (from seven seas to seven hills).

Grandma and the Great Gourd: A Bengali Folktale by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, illustrated by Susy Pilgrim Waters
This is one of my absolute favourite because it brings to life a village in Bengal and evokes the thrill with the rhythm of the narration. It’s also a classic trickster tale that many Indian folktales are famous for. [picture book, ages 3 and up]

Read more…