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Zap Zap Kindergarten Math app for learning numeracy and number recognition

Kindergarten Math Summer Learning Fun

I’m thrilled to partner with Zap Zap to announce their new Zap Zap Kindergarten Math app!Zap Zap Kindergarten Math app

It’s no secret that kids love playing games on their screens, and they will practice math facts if it’s presented in the form of a puzzle or game.

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What would you do If You Ran the Dr. Seuss Museum?

If you are the new Dr. Seuss Museum, do you acknowledge Dr. Seuss’ racist past or not? What’s the argument for either side?

Dr. Seuss: Racism Erased?

Don’t Include Dr. Seuss’ racist political cartoons or racist books:

  • The museum is about the author and not the person. Except … that the website specifically addresses Ted Geisel: The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss is a permanent, bilingual museum designed to introduce children and their families to the stories of Ted Geisel, promote joy in reading, and nurture specific literacy skills.
  • The museum only features original art by Dr. Seuss and does not own any of his political cartoons. Except … Dr. Seuss’ racist cartoons are being sold at auction and no one is buying them.
  • The museum doesn’t cover the racism because the museum is geared towards kids. Except … The Smithsonian via the National Museum of African American History and Culture engages children in reflecting on and raising their awareness of racism. They opt not to display the devastating photograph of Emmett Till’s body at his funeral in the room in which his original casket is displayed. They explained it’s because they want to present the history in an age-appropriate way for kids to be able to see and acknowledge what happened. They are engaging with critical issues of racial injustice and intentionally choose not to shield children from confronting the realities of racism in America and American history.

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My son's Korean and Japanese Sword Making

Korean and Japanese Sword Making

My son has always loved making weapons from bows and arrows made from sticks, to wooden swords that he carves and decorates himself.

He made this Samurai armor and sword upcycling sketch book covers and cardboard boxes. Duct tape was also involved. It always is involved in his projects.

Korean and Japanese Sword Making

In earlier days, he made swords using aluminum foil and duct tape for a Percy Jackson book club with his friends. Now, he needs a run to Home Depot to buy wood without a curve in it, drawing out his designs that his father cuts out for him. Read more…

Easy Ways to Stay Spiritual

Easy Ways to Stay Spiritual

Easy Ways to Stay Spiritual

Life has a way of throwing some intense obstacles your way from time to time. With personal dramas unfolding alongside larger problems that the world is experiencing, it can be important to discover a way to keep yourself afloat. Many people find that turning to a higher power, such as through religion or a spiritual group, can be helpful for discovering peace. Groups like The Way International can be wonderful places to begin this journey of faith. There are also some steps that you can begin to take on your own to live a more meaningful spiritual life.

Living a spiritual life is not always as simple as one might hope. In order for you to feel connected to a higher power, you might need to dedicate a specific amount of time from your schedule to spiritual practices. By falling into certain routines, you will discover that it is much easier for you to connect to the divine. Take a look at these easy ways to stay spiritual and see if you find the peace of mind that you need to get through the madness of life.

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Diverse Children's Books

#DiverseKidLit: Books in a Series

Our theme for this #DiverseKidLit is books in a series. Series books are great for hooking readers, because there’s another book after you finish the first one! Share your favorite book series featuring diverse characters. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

I have a few recommendations!

Grace Lin has three series: Ling & Ting (easy reader), Pacy Lin (chapter book), Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (four book chapter books series).

Ling & Ting are charming short stories that tie up in each book. This series has won many awards including a Geisel.

The Pacy Lin series most reflects Grace Lin’s own childhood.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon 4 book series

These are companion books but the most recent one is starting to tie back to her previous books. Lin weaves Chinese folk tales and mythology into her award winning series.

Rita Williams-Garcia’s trilogy is a multigenerational family story that includes Civil Rights Movement Black Panther movement as well as living in Oakland, Alabama and Brooklyn.

Joseph Bruchac’s series is a departure but it’s clear that he’s having fun writing dyspotian young adult adventures with a Native American female protagonist.

Claudia Davila’s graphic novel series covers environmental topics for young readers.

 

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a 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.

DiverseKidLit

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Chapter Book Series Starring Diverse Girl Characters & GIVEAWAY

Chapter Book Series Starring Diverse Girl Characters & GIVEAWAY

Please welcome my guest author today, Debbi Michiko Florence. I met her at Andrea Wang’s The Nian Monster author event at Newtonville Books last January.

Debbi Michiko Florence with Mia Wenjen PragmaticMom at Newtonville Books

I had already heard of her new Japanese American early chapter book series, Jasmine Toguchi, and made a point of telling her how excited I am for it.

There are NO OTHER Japanese American book series for kids! Her series is not only authentic, but has a spunky girl character that reminds me of Ramona and Clementine. Please check it out!

We are giving away the first two books of the Jasmine Toguchi series, Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen and Jasmine Toguchi Super Sleuth. Please fill out the Rafflectopter at the bottom to enter. Read more…

Great Nonfiction Books to Explore Our World and 5 Book GIVEAWAY

Great Nonfiction Books to Explore Our World and 5 Book GIVEAWAY

I’m exploring our world today through eight beautifully illustrated nonfiction books. I’m always on the lookout for books that teach my kids geography; they never seem to know where countries are located and often get even the continent wrong. Until they can world travel — my oldest is planning on taking a gap year after high school — we are arm chair traveling via books.

I’m giving five of them away to five winners. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.

How about you? What nonfiction picture books have caught your eye lately?

Great Nonfiction Books to Explore Our World

The Earth Book: A World of Exploration and Wonder by Jonathan Litton, illustrated by Thomas Hegbrook

This beautiful nonfiction picture book is broken out into four sections: physical earth, life on earth, earth regions, and human planet. Each section then has one or two page spreads that then give a detailed overview of each “chapter.” For example, earth regions are broken down into oceans, islands, rainforests, poles, deserts, and extreme earth. This book does a good job presenting a lot of information in a readable day. Rainforests uses the illustration to show the different layers of the rainforest; it includes ten animals found in the rainforest, and it includes rainforests in different geographic areas, as well as a summarized paragraph about the current state of rainforests. Browse this book with your child to discover the earth and all its wonders. [nonfiction picture book, ages 7 and up]

This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World by Matt Lamothe

Flowering Minds‘s loves this book too: “In this wonderful non-fiction book, we get to peek into the lives of seven kids from around the world and see how different and similar they lives are.” I was both struck by the beautiful illustrations and the information that includes what each child eats using their native words which can be looked up in the glossary in the back. She noticed that “all the families are nuclear – mother, father, kids. In many parts of the world, families will include a grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, uncle all living under a single roof. I feel that the opportunity to show diversity in families was lost.” I think that’s a great point. Darshana has further resources for those who want to compare and contrast or do a book extension such as cooking a recipe from the book.

I would also suggest What The World Eats which I think is fascinating. It shows the groceries that a family eats in the course of a week. Not only do you see the groceries each family uses for the week’s meals but also the members of each family. [nonfiction picture book, ages 5 and up]

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Inspirational Role Models Books for Kids & 3 Book GIVEAWAY

Most of these books are picture book biographies but not all these books are. Yet, they still are inspirational showing that the human spirit can rise above adversity. I’m giving away of three of these books. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.

Inspirational Role Models Picture Books

Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness by Donnal Janell Bowman, illustrated by Daniel Minter

William Key was born into slavery in 1833 but his masters allowed him to be educated along with their children. He had a special talent in caring for injuries and illnesses of both animals and people. After the Civil War, he was a free man and set up a veterinarian clinic where he sold a medicine he formulated. He became famous for a horse that he raised from a sickly colt and taught to read. It was through kindness that his horse, Jim Key, responded, proving that animals were intelligent, capable of emotions, and willing to learn if treated well. Together, Doc Key and his horse helped to raise funds for humane organizations including the ASPCA. [picture book, ages 6 and up]

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddleley

Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Did you know that Supreme Court justices wrote:

The nature and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life.

Woman has always been dependent upon man.

Ruth really, really disagreed with this, and she happened to be one of the few law professors in the country so she went to court to fight for equal treatment of women. In 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first Jewish woman justice on the Supreme Court. She never forgot the discrimination she experienced as a child, and was and continues to be a voice for equality and justice. RBG is high on my list as a role model for girls, and indeed, anyone who pursues justice for all. [picture book biography, ages 4 and up]

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25 Wonderful Books for Kids Celebrating Summer (ages 2-12)

26 Wonderful Books for Kids Celebrating Summer (ages 2-12)

We made it to summer which starts today! Every winter here in Boston, it seems like summer will never arrive. It’s not just the warm we crave, but the relaxed schedule and the long days. It’s time to celebrate summer! What are your favorite books set during the summer? Thanks for sharing!

 

26 Wonderful Books for Kids Celebrating Summer

Picture Books That Epitomize Summer

And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner, illustrated by Jaime Kim

It feels like summer will never arrive, but when it does, it’s time for a celebration of simple things like breaking out the flip-flops, digging up the bikes, selling lemonade, and playing outside until it gets dark. Summer is a joyful feeling as well as season of sunshine and free play. This is a book to remember to enjoy the simple pleasures. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Hot Day on Abbott Avenue by Karen English, illustrated by Javaka Steptoe

Wonderfully illustrated with collage art, this picture book makes palpable the hottest day of summer in an inner city as two best friends wait for the other to apologize so they can enjoy the pleasures this steamy day also brings — double dutch, ice pops, and their renewed bond of best friendship. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

What Can You Do With a Paleta?/ ¿Qué Puedes Hacer con una Paleta? by Carmen Tafolla, illustrated by Magaly Morales

A paleta is a Mexican popsicle and this gorgeously illustrated picture book portrays the glorious wonders of the paleta as well as life in the barrio (neighborhood).  [picture book, ages 2-8]

The First Strawberries by Joseph Bruchac, illustrated by Anna Vojtech

Joseph Bruchac retells this Cherokee legend of how strawberries came to be long ago when the first man and woman walked the earth and quarreled. The sun coaxed the angry woman back with these sweet offerings. [picture book, ages 3 and up]

Apple Pie Fourth of July by Janet Wong, illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine

When her parents cook Chinese food to sell at their store on the 4th of July, the little 2nd generation Chinese American girl thinks that her parents “don’t get it.”  No one wants Chinese food on the 4th of July, right?  A simple story that depicts perfectly the straddling of two worlds that 2nd generation children feel and, as it turns out, there are all kinds of ways to celebrate America’s birthday!   [picture book, ages 2-6]

Little Pig Saves the Ship by David Hyde Costello

Little Pig is too little to go to sailing camp with his brothers and sisters so he learns about sailing and knots with his grandpa and poppy. Together, they help Little Pig sail the toy ship that they built for him. When the ship almost gets away, Little Pig’s skill with knots comes in handy. Read this picture book with younger siblings who are too little to go to camp. [picture book, ages 3 and up]

 

Summer Picture Books To Overcome Fears

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Jubari is ready to jump off the high dive, but there as he thinks about it, there are a few things to do first! This is a sweet and and gentle story about finding the courage to take a big leap into the unknown, and the rewards that it brings. A perfect picture book for anyone thinking of jumping off the diving board! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

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