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Art Competitions for Kids and Teens

Art Competitions for Kids and Teens

Part of the advice that I received from our art school private college counselor, Jeanette Nyberg of Tiny Rotten Peanuts blog, is to win art competitions as a way of building your art portfolio. Of course, the first step is finding art competitions to enter (and have enough notice so as not to miss the submission deadline).

Thank you to Jeanette again for this awesome link: 50+ Awesome Art Competitions for High School Students.

Art Competitions for Kids and Teens

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Scholastic Art and Writing Read more…

Children's Africana Book Awards and Kid Lit Blog Hop

Children’s Africana Book Awards and Kid Lit Blog Hop

Valarie Budayr and I were so excited to meet Children’s Africana Book Awards at the National Social Studies Meeting.

Africana award for best african books for kids Read more…

International Book Giving Day

International Book Giving Day FREE Book Plate!

International Book Giving Day is giving out lovely bookplates and bookmarks to celebrate a day of book giving coming up February 14th. It’s another way to celebrate Valentine’s Day and literacy!
 International Book Giving Day February 14

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My Son's 4th Grade Reading Log

My Son’s 4th Grade Reading List

I’m trying to keep track of my son’s 4th Grade reading log because if I don’t write it down, I forget what he read and at what age. I’m hoping that the books that appeal to him — he has very narrow range of book genres he likes — with help other parents find books for their 4th graders! Note that during my Parent/Teacher conference, his teacher wanted him to branch out to other genres besides Fantasy! We’re trying!!! I’ll keep updating this list as the year progresses!

I also have my son’s Going Into 4th Grade summer reading list.

My son and I are going to give feedback on each book. He’ll go first (in italics) and I add my take on his book selection. Read more…

How to be a More Involved Parent

How to be a More Involved Parent

Sometimes it can be difficult to strike a healthy balance between the different areas of your life. Whenever something is urgent, everything else takes a back seat until the issue is resolved. But a happy and successful life requires more than just putting out fires, it requires proactive involvement in the areas of your life that deserve cultivation and nurturing, like your family.IMG_4477 Read more…

More 2015 Caldecott Picks & Picture Book of the Day

More 2015 Caldecott Picks & Picture Book of the Day

I wanted to share Maria Gianferrari‘s great Caldecott and Newbery picks that she left in my comments:

My vote for the Caldecott goes to Marla Frazee’s The Farmer and the Clown–I LOVE this book! It’s funny and touching–I laughed and cried :) I also loved Kelly DiPucchio’s Gaston w/ Christian Robinson’s amazing art, and The Right Word by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

I also loved Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin as well as Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.

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New Whole Foods South End BOSTON Brings Me Home Again

New Whole Foods South End BOSTON Brings Me Home Again

When I was in college 30 years ago, I volunteered at Pine Street Inn, a homeless shelter for men. It was located in South End, Boston, then an area cut off from Boston proper by the orange line subway line which ran above ground. It wasn’t a safe area; I had to recruit my 6 foot 2 inch football player friend Neal to come with me.

Our job was pretty straightforward. We mixed up a pitcher of KoolAid and offered multi-vitamins to guests as they came in to sleep there for the night. I was the front person; Neal, amused by the action we’d get, kept pace by filling paper cups of KoolAid. One night as we were leaving the premises, a strung out homeless man followed us, yelling garbled expletives and closing in quickly!

We screamed “RUN!” to each other and sprinted the half mile to the subway station (and by “sprinting” I mean that I held Neal back as I am a slow runner and he chivalrously slowed down for me to catch up. He noted at our 25th college reunion that I wasn’t a very good runner back in college. I never improved much either). The weird guy opted not to chase us so it ended up being an “All’s Well That Ends Well” tale of excitement to be retold around the dining hall that night. We did end up returning to Pine Street Inn the next week and the week after that with no other incidents of excitement.

South End BostonRead more…

Best Easy Readers & Early Chapter Books: Cybils 2015 Shortlist

Best Easy Readers & Early Chapter Books: Cybils 2015 Shortlist

I am thrilled to be judging the Cybils in the category of Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books but mum’s the word on my opionion of the short list until the winners are announced on February 14th (also International Book Giving Day!).

All I can say is that this is a great list for emerging readers and newly independent readers. I’ve read the entire list there is something great about every single book! Feel free to find at your local library!

Cybils 2015 Best Easy Readers

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Trades of Hope

Helping Women in Haiti Rebuild Their Lives

Please welcome my work friend Jeradina today. She is guest posting on a cause that is near and dear to heart: helping women in Haiti rebuild their lives through an organization called Trades of Hope.


Monday, January 12th marks the 5th anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. When the disaster struck many of you felt empowered to help in some small way; you probably gave money, donated clothes, shoes etc. Although the country is rebuilding itself, there are still large areas in Haiti affected by abject poverty. There are many companies out there giving aid to the families that are still suffering from the effects of the earthquake.. But still poverty prevails.

Fortunately there are some organizations that help families build sustainable businesses. Trades of Hope is built upon helping women out of poverty. Read more…