All posts in 2) Preschool

Top 10: Classic Children’s Books Not Beloved Now (ages 3-14)

 Classic Children’s Books No Longer Popular

I did a post a few days ago on Top 10:  Best Old Fashioned Children’s Books based on the books that I loved as a child and now my kids do too.  This is the ugly stepsister version. Read more…

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…

best multicultural books for kids, best multicultural board books, best multicultural picture books, best multicultural chapter books, best books for kids with multicultural themes

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…

Annie and the Wild Animals, picture book, picture books that build vocabulary

SAT Vocabulary Words from Annie and the Wild Animals

Picture Books that Build Vocabulary: Annie and the Wild Animals

The words for Week 11 are from the picture book, Annie and the Wild Animals by Jan Brett. I noticed that in my son’s Kindergarten room, the teacher or maybe literacy specialist, mounts a special poster with the cover of book and the list of vocabulary words from the book. Read more…

Maurice Sendak's birthday today Where the Wild Things Are PragmaticMOM Pragmatic Mom best education mom blog children's literature kidlit best books for kids children picture books classic Caldecott winners

Top 5: Maurice Sendak Picture Books

Celebrating Maurice Sendak on His Birthday!

Happy birthday to Maurice Sendak today, beloved author and Caldecott winning illustrator. To be honest, I am not sure why I remembered that today is Maurice Sendak’s birthday. I am normally bad at remembering most people’s birthdays, but particularly bad at authors (note how I keep forgetting Dr. Seuss’!). Thankfully, I read about his birthday somewhere and stuck in a blog place holder. He is one of our favorite picture book authors and I noticed that both my girls and little boy love it — a tough feat to pull off! 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]

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…