All posts in 3) Grade K-2

Hamsters & Guinea Pigs in Early Chapter Books

Hamsters & Guinea Pigs in Early Chapter Books

I’m not sure what children’s publishing rule of thumb seems to dictate that hamsters sell Early Chapter Books but when I judged the first round Cybils, there were a surprising amount of hamster themed books in this category. This, of course, let me to search out more Early/Easy Chapter Books with hamsters as characters as well as picture books.

Why do you think Early Chapter Books and hamsters go so well together? Is this publishing gold or a knee-jerk “copy what’s working” strategy to find an escaped hamster? Are hamsters really the Houdinis of rodents or are we short-changing rats, moles, mice and other furry creatures?

My search for hamster books was prompted by this video below. It turns out that hamsters have flexible hips that allow them to take sharp turns easily, even doing a complete U-turn in a tight space. And let’s not discount their ability to stuff food into their cheek pouches. The pouches, which secrete no saliva, extend down to their hips! Read more…

Rice & Rocks cover reveal

Cover Reveal for Rice and Rocks!

Today, I am doing the cover reveal for a diversity picture book called Rice & Rocks. I met author Sandra L. Richards through Instagram and I’d encourage any new authors to meet bloggers through social media. It works!

Rice & Rocks cover reveal Read more…

5 Great NEW Diversity Easy Readers

7 Great NEW Diversity Easy Readers

I’m thrilled to be judging first round Easy Readers and Early Chapter books for the Cybils! I’m joined by Katie Fitzgerald of Story Time Secrets, Jennifer Wharton of Library Thing and Jean Little Library, Juliana Lee of Juliana Lee: Crafting Stories, Susan Murray of From Tots to Teens.Cybils 2015

The Easy Reader genre was my biggest challenge to find diversity, multicultural and inclusive books for kids when I searched for ten great ones. I literally sat in my public library and read an entire wall of them to create Top 10 Best Multicultural Easy Readers. This year there were 3o Easy Readers nominated for the Cybils and these 5 have diversity themes and characters.

Do you have any favorite diversity Easy Readers? Please share!

Read more…

Books for Kids about Personal Space

Personal Space Picture Book of the Day

I’m grateful to the participants at the Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter party who suggested book topics that they were having trouble finding. One such topic was about personal space. When I mentioned it to my mom friends, they laughed because our friend Penny gets very uncomfortable when our boxing trainer comes in too close. And that’s the thing about personal space; it’s the space between you and a person that keeps you feeling safe. I’m sure we are hardwired from the time of living in caves to keep a certain distance for the sake of safety.

For kids who don’t have a sense of personal space and boundaries, I found three books (just three — there are not many on this topic!) to introduce this topic. Personal space also segues into safety for children whether it’s the social-emotional trauma of moving or regarding inappropriate touch. I have books to cover all of this.

How about you? Do you have a funny personal space or boundary story? Please share! Read more…

Reluctant Reader Book List & GIVEAWAY

Say It Ain’t So: My Child Is a Reluctant Reader & GIVEAWAY

Please welcome my guest blogger today, author Robin Newman, who confesses that she has a child who, gasp!, is a reluctant reader! Honestly, I feel like most kids are reluctant readers these days. There is simply too much temptation by way of screens coupled with very busy schedules such that kids don’t have time to be bored. Not like when I was a kid!

Read on to learn how Robin tempts her son into reading.

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I am the parent of an eight-year old boy who is a reluctant reader. There, I said it. I never thought this could happen. I’m a writer. A writer of children’s books, no less! I eat, sleep, and dream about books. There are books in every nook and cranny of my home. My husband and I read to and with my son all of the time. Books are an ever-present constant in our lives. Yet, if we weren’t prodding my son to read, would he pick up a book on his own? Probably not. So, how do I get him more interested in reading? This is the question. Read more…

Top 10 Earth Day Picture Books

Top 10 Earth Day Picture Books

Earth Day — April 22 — marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement that began in 1970. Today is a good reminder to celebrate Earth Day every day and pass lessons on environmental stewardship to our children. To this end, I wanted to share resources for teaching kids about the environment.

Scholastic and OPEI (Outdoor Power Equipment Institute) have partnered to create lesson plans and activities that empower students in grades K through 5 and their families to champion best practices in taking care of the green space in their communities. The program sets out to inspire an interest in backyard science, environmental activism, and encourage spending time in the outdoors.

Resources include a teachers section, a parents section, and a free e-Book – a digital storybook about superhero TurfMutt and the Outdoor Powers.

I also have a book list of our favorite earth day picture books. What books that you enjoy am I missing? Please share! Read more…

Teaching Kids About Money TWITTER PARTY

Teaching Kids About Money TWITTER PARTY

What do we need to teach our kids about personal finance NOW when they are still too little to credit card or handle a checking account? And what about do as I say, not as I do? What if WE don’t have great personal finance skills ourselves? Does this mean our kids are doomed to a life of poor financial management?

I remember when I graduated from college and was trying to be responsible. I paid my credit card bill monthly — I didn’t pay it off but I made a payment. But once I stupidly paid my bill a few days late but with a higher amount that normal thinking that it’s better to pay more off and that a day or two late won’t matter. Boy was I wrong!

Teaching Kids About Money

I also applied and received too many credit cards. I didn’t know carrying a multitude of credit cards actually lowers your credit score! Read more…

Top 10 Best Multicultural Easy Readers

Top 10 Best Multicultural Easy Readers

It wasn’t easy finding great multicultural easy readers! My town library has about 49 cubic feet of easy readers — an entire wall — but about half have animal characters and most of the remaining books do NOT have characters of color. From my search that day, I’d say that about 2% of the square footage were multicultural books. I culled through all of these plus ran through the Geisel award-winning books and came up with my ten favorites.

Some of favorite Easy Readers include Little Bear, Mr. Putter and Tabby, Henry and Mudge, anything by Arnold Lobel, Fly Guy, Elephant and Piggie, Biscuit, and Dr. Seuss, but sadly, none of these books have diversity characters. I can understand that the animal based Easy Readers can not, but Mr. Putty could have a friend who isn’t white, right?! And Henry with his big dog Mudge could too. It doesn’t have to be a big deal; the friend just happens to be of color (and sometimes I prefer it that way). So just a thought to plant out there…let’s hope in 2016, Henry and Mr. Putter make new friends of color. Read more…

Books for 8yold Boy Reluctant Reader

Books for 8yold Boy Reluctant Reader

My friend Isra says her 8-year-old son is a reluctant reader. He likes Diary of a Wimpy Kid but now he’s exhausted that series so here are more! Books to appeal to an eight year old reluctant boy reader!

More Books Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid for Boys

Alvin Ho series by Lenore Look

My son thought this series was hysterically funny. Alvin is a boy who is nervous about a lot of things including girls, camping, school, and science projects. Set in Concord, Massachusetts, Isra’s son might also enjoy this Massachusetts connection!

Read more…