All posts in 5) Middle School

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…

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Top 50: Best Multicultural Children’s Books

Best Multicultural Books Every Child Should Read

Every summer I stress out about what picture and chapter books to get for my kids that they will like but are also exposing them — as only books can do — to the wide world all around them both past, present and future.

This summer, we are going to take a trip around the world by reading these multicultural books.  What is great about this list is that it covers all the ages of my kids: from preschool through elementary school.

I will be sneaky and check out these books for them and leave them strewn about the house for them to examine when they are bored. I will keep you posted on what books my kids actually liked because that is a whole ‘nother list! See you at the library! Read more…

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Top 10: Best Standalone Books for 5th Graders by 5th Grade Girl

Best Books for 5th Grade by my 5th Grade Daughter

Well, it happened and I could not be more excited. My reluctant reader is now tearing through books faster than I. Her reluctance to read began in first year during that terrible year where the teacher was absent so often that there were actually substitutes for substitutes. She also has a natural inclination to be as far away from the limelight as possible and this included reading aloud, even just to me. Ok, especially to me because she hated being corrected and slowing down to decode and frankly, reading books where the difficulty level was correct but the plot was a snooze. Those were some tough years trying to get her to read. Read more…

Best Books for Tweens by Middle School Boy

Book Reviews by Middle School Boy

Capability:Mom gave me her summer camp newsletter because there is a boy there who all the kids go to when they need a good chapter book recommendation.  The kids think he is a kind of genius boy wonder that knows pretty much everything on the planet.  I believe he is in middle school.  He was kind enough to write up his chapter book recommendations for the newsletter and I have retyped it for you.  I love peer-to-peer book recommendations.  Who better to know what you will like than a kid your age??! 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]

Read more…

private school versus public school

Public or Private School? What is Better?

Comparing Private School with Public School Education

As my daughter nears middle school, my husband and I have started to wonder…public or private school?   Private school is not something we ever contemplated for our children.  We live in a great public school system and both of us graduated proudly from public school systems in California which were not as good as the school system we currently attend. 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…

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Kids’ Favorite Books: Children’s Choice Book Awards

Kids Give Book Award to Their Favorite Books

The Children’s Choice Book Awards is the only national children’s book awards program where winning titles are selected by young readers of all ages. The good news here is that there is a very high probability that your child will like these books too! The children (and teens) have spoken! These are their favorite books for 2011! Read more…

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Effective Study Habits: Modesty is More Effective!

How to Study Effectively

An article in Education Week cites new research on study skills from Williams College. The bottom line is, when students have to work harder to remember material, they are able to retrieve it more effectively. Read more…