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Asian Culture Series: Asian Crafts and Activities & 2 Book GIVEAWAY

Asian Culture Series: Asian Crafts and Activities & 2 Book GIVEAWAY

I’m excited to announce a quarterly series with Debbi Michiko Florence, author of early chapter book series Jasmine Toguchi! We want to highlight Asian culture in a way that kids can relate to and that means … hands-on activities, food they can help prepare and eat, and a book list!

Mia Wenjen and Debbi Michiko Florence

We have crafted a series of six topics, one per quarter for the next year and a half, that explore Asian culture in a fun way: Asian New Year, Asian Drumming, Pink Flamingo Day, Picnic & Scavenger Hunt, Snow Statues and Sumo! We hope you will enjoy this series!

To kick of this series, we are also giving away two of Debbi Michiko Florence’s Jasmine Toguchi books. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.

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Diverse Children's Books

#DiverseKidLit #ownvoices Linky

Our theme for this #DiverseKidLit is #ownvoices. The #ownvoices hashtag was created to draw attention to diverse authors and illustrators who are creating books that honor their own heritage and experiences. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

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.


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Visiting California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts Valencia)

Visiting California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts Valencia)

The first stop of our west coast art school tour was California Institute of the Arts, or Cal Arts Valencia. It’s about a hour away from the LAX airport, give or take traffic. The good news is that you are generally going in the opposite direction of traffic, but take that lightly, because even “no traffic” does not mean that there are no slow spots.

We left from Torrance and it took an hour and half each way, and I would, having grown up in Southern California, consider the traffic to be light.

Visiting California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts Valencia)

Once you arrive at Cal Arts, you go through a guard stop into the parking lot. It’s set in suburban sprawl that feels recent and very much like Orange County tract houses and commercial developments. The school itself though, is an oasis of creativity.

My daughter, Grasshopper and Sensei, has mixed feelings about Cal Arts since she is looking for a very specific art school experience. She wants a foundation year; Cal Arts does not offer one. She wants to study Industrial Design. Cal Arts does not have this major. She’s interested in film; perhaps animation but not character animation necessarily. Cal Arts has the most competitive Character Animation program that is a feeder into Pixlar and other coveted animation studios.

Visiting California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts Valencia)

So why Cal Arts for her? It was the school tour that sold her. She loved the vibe of the school. She loved the Creative Animation program that is animation meets fine art. She also likes a school where kids are committed to their school experience and willing to collaborate. Cal Arts has that in spades!

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Filipino Folk Tales & 2 Book Bundle GIVEAWAY!

Filipino Folk Tales & 2 Book Bundle GIVEAWAY!

It’s interesting how few Filipino children’s books are available in the United States, despite being 1.1% of the population, numbering 4 million. Filipinos are the second largest self-reported Asian ancestry group after Chinese Americans according to 2010 American Community Survey.

I have a list of Filipino picture books created by illustrator Mika Song to complement this list of Filipino Folk Tales. Am I missing any? Thanks for your help!

Thank you to Tuttle Publishing for their generous giveaway of these six Filipino books! We are giving away two packages of wonderful Filipino books for kids! Please use the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.

p.s. More folk tales:

24 Wonderful Chinese Folk Tales for Kids

15 Great Korean Folk Tales for Kids

Native American Folklore and Creation Stories by Native Americans

21 Wonderful Japanese Folk Tales for Kids

Hawaiian Folk Tales and Children’s Books

Filipino Folk Tales

Rockabye Crocodile: A Folktale from the Philippines by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey

This is a very sweet story of the importance of kindness and the rewards that it brings. Two boars are neighbors. Anabel is kind and cheerful. Nettie is mean and selfish. When Anabel encounters a crocodile, her kindness is rewarded by an abundance of fish that the crocodile supplies in return for taking care of its crying baby. Nettie wants the same reward, but because she goes about it in a selfish way, her payment is quite different. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

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Lego STEM Creativity: Building Lego Models

Lego STEM Creativity: Building Lego Models

My son thinks one of the best jobs in the world would be designing lego models. That would be the perfect STEM/STEAM job!

my son and legos

I’ve been collecting LEGO videos for my son on some of the coolest things built from LEGOs. Hope you like them too!

lego kit that shoots things

Lego STEM Creativity: Building Lego Models

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6 Picture Books That Teach Word Concepts & GIVEAWAY

6 Picture Books That Teach Word Concepts & GIVEAWAY

I love picture books that teach and these 6 books do not disappoint. From compound words to alliteration to literacy, these books are a fun way to get kids exposed to word concepts.

I’m giving away four of these picture books to four winners. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.

Picture Books That Teach Word Concepts

Halloween ABC by Jannie Ho

I met Jannie Ho in my Community Education Children’s Writing class and she’s the nicest person ever! Her Halloween alphabet book is a not-scary way to learn the letters! [board book, ages 1 and up]

Betty’s Burgled Bakery: An Alliteration Adventure by Travis Nichols

My counters and cupboards were completely cleared of carrot cake, cornbread, and crackers.

This is a considerably crummy crime.

This is a fun adventure that introduces kids to alliteration. The story is told sequentially through alliteration in each alphabet letter. Gumshoe Zoo is the detective of this animal caper. The format of a graphic novel makes this especially engaging to read. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

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Beatrice Zinker prize pack

#BeatriceZinker #UpsideDownThinker GIVEAWAY

Disney-Hyperion sent me a copy to check out, and is partnering with me for a giveaway!

I’m giving away a prize pack in celebration of Shelley Johannes’ debut chapter book, Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker, in collaboration with Disney Hyperion. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom. It’s in stores now!

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes

Beatrice does her best thinking upside down.

Hanging from trees by her knees, doing handstands . . . for Beatrice Zinker, upside down works every time. She was definitely upside down when she and her best friend, Lenny, agreed to wear matching ninja suits on the first day of third grade. But when Beatrice shows up at school dressed in black, Lenny arrives with a cool new outfit and a cool new friend. Even worse, she seems to have forgotten all about the top-secret operation they planned!

Can Beatrice use her topsy-turvy way of thinking to save the mission, mend their friendship, and flip things sunny-side up? [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

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WBUR’s Circle Round

New Storytelling Podcast: #circleround

Circle Round is that rare unicorn in kids’ entertainment in that it’s actually entertaining for parents too! Episodes are narrated by theatre, film, and TV actors that parents will no doubt identify with. I’m proud to partner with WBUR.

For my friends in Boston, WBUR is hosting a free, interactive launch party for Circle Round at the Boston Children’s Museum on Sunday, September 24 at 2 p.m.

Circle Round is a new storytelling podcast for kids ages 4-10, and comes from the WBUR producing team behind the popular podcast Modern Love.

WBUR’s Circle Round

image: WBUR’s Circle Round

And guess what? FOLK TALES!

Circle Round provides global perspectives with voices representing cultures from around the world. Episodes include prompts for discussion, giving children and their caregivers plenty of food for thought long after the story ends. Stories delve into diverse and accessible topics such as kindness, persistence, and generosity. Read more…