All posts in 1) Infant & Toddler

Top 10: Kids Books for Florida Beach Vacation (ages 2-18)

Top 10: Kids Books for Florida Beach Vacation (ages 2-18)

Books for Kids for Beach Vacation

We have spent an amazing week at North Captiva Island, a barrier reef island with only golf carts as transportation.  Every day, an amazing array of birds fly by the house and dive in the water to catch fish.  We saw an Osprey land on our  roof with a flopping fish.  It eyed us for a moment before flying off to eat its prey.  Every day we see fleets of Brown Pelicans fly in military precision over the water.  When my husband released a catfish he caught on shore, as Osprey flew out of nowhere and grabbed the fish as it swam wearily away. Read more…

RECALL: Baby Walkers Bad for Development

Baby Walker Recall and Not Recommended by Pediatricians

Baby walkers, in general, are not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatricians.  To get the facts on Baby walkers, click here.  My pediatrician, a doctor affiliated with Children’s Hospital in Boston, says there are three reasons why he is against baby walkers: Read more…

Top 25: Children’s Fantasy Picture and Chapter Books

Best Fantasy Books for Kids: Picture Books and Chapter Books

I need this list for my oldest who loves adventure fantasy books like the Harry Potter series. I can’t keep up, so I was glad to find this list  of best fantasy chapter books and picture books from The Telegraph in the United Kingdom for her summer reading. I’ll keep you posted on which of these books she liked. Is it me, or am I the only one who thinks that the Brits read and write more and, frankly better than Americans? Could it be the weather that keeps them indoors more and cozy by the fire with a book? I’m not sure but I do find that they are a nation of readers. Read more…

best books for kids by teachers

Top 100: Best Books for Kids by Teachers (for ages 2-18)

Teachers Pick Best Books for Kids

This list, created in 1999 by The National Education Association, is the “All Time Greatest Hits” of children’s literature created by teachers.  There is also a Top 100  list created by children and strangely, many of the books are the same!  The original list is 1-100 with all the books in numerical order by votes but I have broken out the list by category types:  Picture Books, All Ages, Chapter Books (grades 3-6) and Young Adult.  Read more…

best Chinese American books for kids

Top 10: Chinese American Children’s Books (ages 2-14)

The Chinese immigrant experience is one with a long history in America resulting in becoming the largest Asian population in America today.  There is a great one-page overview on Chinese immigration that details this history.  Interestingly, this article says that the earliest Chinese immigrants during the 1700’s were well received and became wealthy but attitudes changes negatively during the mid-1800’s when less skilled Chinese “Coolies” came during the gold rush.

As I think about the Chinese immigrant experience — my father immigrated from China to pursue a Ph.D program at U.C.L.A. a few years before the Communist Revolution — my own experience is probably similar to most second generation immigrants in the quest to balance American culture while honoring an Asian past.  Of course, my background is dissimilar to most Chinese immigrant stories as my mother is of Japanese descent and 2nd generation at that.  And did I mention that I married a Korean?

And so each of us carries an immigrant story that is unique.  I chose these books because there was something special about each of them that helps me to connect to my Chinese roots and I hope that you enjoy them to, even if your ancestry isn’t Asian.

For my own children, a “mixed-plate” to quote a Hawaiian term,  they are 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation Asian.  And at 1/4 Chinese, 1/4 Japanese and 1/2 Korean, they are an unusual mix in that these three countries have traditionally hated each other for centuries.  And so in reading these stories, they may or may not relate to any of these stories, but I hope that it will help them to honor and take pride in their ancestry even if it’s as varied as a patchwork quilt.

Chinese American Books for Kids Honorable Mention

Making Friends with Billy Wong by Augusta Scattergood

Augusta Scattergood tackles a little known subject: that Asian Americans were also subject to Jim Crow laws in the South. In this chapter book, she gently weaves together a story of Azalea, a rising fifth grader sent to live her grandmother in Arkansas that she’s never met before. Grandma Clark is a woman with a towering presence; she encourages Azalea to make friends with Billy Wong who is also new to their small town. He’s living with his Great Uncle and Aunt so that he can attend a previously all white school and works in their small grocery store. There’s also the bully, Willis, and Scattergood shows us that things are not black and white; behind his prejudice are family responsibilities heavy for a young boy to bear. Grandma Clark’s plan for a more tolerant community is simple; she utilizes Garden Helpers to help out while she’s recuperating, thus forcing everyone to work together. Azalea discovers that she’s more similar to her grandmother than she realized, and their relationship, like hers with Billy Wong, strengthens from the adversity of facing racism around them. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Mama and Papa Have a Store by Amelia Lau Carling

I love this story about a Chinese family that immigrated to Guatemala City and owns a store. Depicting a typical day in the life of family as described by the youngest, it’s an fun way to learn about the people and culture of Guatemala and the gentle rhythm of their lives. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

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Best Personalized Baby Gifts for Under $50r

Special Personalized Baby Gifts for Baby Showers

It must be that time of year again, but babies are on my mind. There have been a slew of teachers with new babies at my kids’ elementary school and I really like the idea of a personalized baby gift. It’s a special day when a baby enters the world, after all! Read more…

best korean american books for kids, Korean American books for kids, books for adopted Korean children, books for korean american children

Top 10: Korean American Children’s Books (ages 2-16)

Best Korean American Books for Kids

My husband is Korean and I joke that the Koreans are nicknamed “The Irish of Asia.”   Like the Irish, they have a strong culture despite a long history of invasion and occupation.  Like the Irish, they have a penchant for drinking and fighting.  And like the Irish, there is a vein of melancholy than runs through their DNA.   Or at least, this is my take on it. Read more…

Top 10 Starting School Books: Kindergarten & Preschool

Starting Kindergarten and Preschool Books

A reader asked me to help her round out her list of books for incoming Preschoolers.  I searched, and there are not tons of them.  I decided to combine this with entering Kindergarten because in September, my youngest child will start Kindergarten. I feel that you can use the books somewhat interchangeably and that books that your child enjoys will be a more important factor than whether the book aligns exactly with his or her school entry point. Read more…