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Top 5 Post of 2014 MamaSmiles and PragmaticMom

Top 5 Posts of 2014 Countdown: #5

I’m counting down my Top 5 Posts of 2014 with MaryAnne of MamaSmiles. I was fortunate to be able to meet with her a few times when she still lived in Massachusetts and I was able to see her once this past year in Calfornia at a blogging workshop for Multicultural Kids Blogs. I love her blog on joyful parenting and no one helps me to focus on gratitude more than she!

I hope you enjoy our countdown together! Read more…

Making Math Fun!

Making Math Fun!

Please welcome my guest blogger, Michele Williams, Ph.D., who has a math tutoring company. Today she will be sharing tried-and-true ideas for making math fun for kids!


I can’t think of anything more rewarding than tutoring, especially in math. That’s why I spent nights and weekends helping family and friends with math during my years as an engineer, and it’s why I eventually made the transition to tutoring full time. What could be better than helping a child go from “I can’t do fractions” to “Fractions are fun!”? Read more…

25 Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar

Our 25 Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar

First of all, I have to say that December is a crazy busy month to attempt to complete 25 Random Acts of Kindness for our family. We are busy and stressed out and giving back isn’t top of mind. Which is why this is so good for us!

25 acts of kindness advent calendar that you make yourself

It’s almost easier to do an Act of Kindness as it is to keep track of it. And forget getting everyone in my family to complete one per day. I think that is a great goal but not feasible for us right now. Completing one a day as a family will have to do.

So my upshot is: do it but be kind to yourself. Good enough is … good enough. Even thinking about doing an Act of Kindness every day is an improvement for us so baby steps! Read more…

Writing for Reluctant Readers by Ty Drago

Writing for Reluctant Readers by Ty Drago

Please welcome my guest blogger today, author Ty Drago of The Undertakers series. He’s giving advice based on years of school visits on how to get reluctant readers writing.


I often tell people that I “scare children for a living.”

It’s a cute, funny thing to say — and it’s true, given the fact that my claim to fame is a series of horror novels written for middle grade kids (ages 10 and up). Read more…

Science of Flu for Kids

Flu Season Science for Kids

PickyKidPix 7th grade science started off with microbes and how the immune system works. Despite this information, she still doesn’t understand why she needs to get an annual flu shot. I found some great videos and a picture book to help kids understand Flu Season Science!

Flu Season Science

PickyKidPix’s 7th Grade Science Unit on Micro Organisms.

How do vaccines work with our immune systems to keep us from getting sick? Watch this 2 minute video from NOVA PBS, Immunity and Vaccines Explained, to learn how germs get killed by our immune system. After you watch this video, see if you can answer the question below.

Flu Season Science

How cells reproduce from PickyKidPix’s 7th Grade Science Class. Read more…

I'm Judging the Cybils!

I’m Judging the Cybils!

I am so excited to be a 2nd round judge for Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books for the Cybils Awards!

Cybils book awards

The Cybils Awards aims to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal.

Read more…

My Son's Educational Video Picks

My Son’s Educational Video Picks

My son and I have been curating videos for your viewing pleasure. Many of them came our way via the excellent blog The Kid Should See This which selects videos created for adults but appropriate for a young audience. My son spends quite a bit of time on YouTube these days so he offered up some videos that he wanted to share with my audience as well.

This first video feeds my son’s interest in all things ninja. As a result, I have a ninja book list for him and a match up of picture books to a particular martial art. My son has expressed interest in making weapons like this Japanese artisan who makes traditional samurai swords and there is, in fact, a blacksmithing class near us that my husband wants to do with my son when he’s old enough. But for now, my son will just have to be content watching how swords are made.

Read more…

A Flock of Books about Birds from Suzanne Goldsmith Washashore

A Flock of Books about Birds

Please welcome author Suzanne Goldsmith, winner of the 2014 Green Earth Book Award in the Young Adult Category, for Washashore. Today she is sharing her favorite books about birds! Suzanne is giving away 3 signed copies of her book to 3 winners! See the Rafflecopter below to win. (This giveaway is going to have a short duration so that winners might receive their copies before the holiday season ends.)


Birds. They have four limbs—just like us. They walk on two legs—just like us. They like to sing—just like us.

And yet they are so very different from us. Which is why we find them so fascinating. Read more…

middle east book award for kids books picture books ya

Middle East Outreach Council Book Award

I was thrilled to meet Barbara Petzen of the Middle East Outreach Council at the National Council for the Social Studies meeting. The Middle East Outreach Council just announced their award for best children’s and young adult books!

MEOC, middle east outreach council

Established in 1999, the Middle East Book Award recognizes quality books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of the Middle East and its component societies and cultures.

Books are judged on the authenticity of their portrayal of a Middle Eastern subject, as well as on characterization, plot, and appeal for the intended audience. For this award, the Middle East is defined as the Arab World, Iran, Israel, Turkey, and Afghanistan.
Awards are given in three categories: Picture Books, Youth Literature, and Youth Nonfiction.

Now in its fourteenth year, the Middle East Book Award recognizes quality publications in three categories: Picture Book, Youth Literature, and Youth Nonfiction (not awarded this year).

Here are the winners! Read more…