You wouldn’t guess that it’s spring here in Boston given the snow we’ve been getting in April! Still, I am dreaming of spring and getting my little garden going. These are my favorite picture books for garden inspiration. These books demonstrate that gardens can transform an environment, bring neighbors closer, and even become a political […]
March is Women’s History Month so I’ve started off with a video of a musician that is new to me, Hazel Dorothy Scott, a jazz prodigy who was prominent during the 1930s and 1940s. I could not find a picture book biography on her (yet) but here’s hoping that someone will write out. In the […]
It’s been such a great year for those who love both multicultural/diversity/inclusive books for kids AND novels in verse! I picked five amazing favorites that I’ve loved from this past year and hope that the popularity of these books will encourage more diversity books to be published! What are your favorite novels in verse? Please […]
Please welcome my guest poster today, author Elsa Marston who is my resident Middle Eastern Children’s literature go to! She has a list of recommended books for kids and teens at the bottom of the post. ———— Lately we’ve been reading about terrorist actions by Muslims in Europe and other places, events that have again […]
Fourth grade at my elementary school marks a really interesting immigration unit that introduced my kids to their first group project experience. They learned, the hard way, about freeloaders but the end result was a “Wax Museum” where each child played a wax statue that, when prompted by dropping in a fake coin in a […]
I chose a collection of some of my favorite chapter books and picture books for second grade read alouds. Truth be told, I don’t really remember exactly what books my kids were read to in the classroom during 2nd grade. For some reason, it’s drawing a blank at our house. Second grade at our elementary […]
My book list of Top 10 Books to Teach Kids to Be More Responsible made me start to think about life skills that kids need before going off to college. That and the fact that my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, will be starting high school next fall so we have only 4 years to tackle this […]
I searched five years of digital photographs looking for photos of my kids reading and I only came up with the handful here. Why? It’s not easy getting kids reading, especially to love reading enough that they choose it over more exciting things like screens, playdates or sports! I started my blog after my oldest […]
I had the great fortune to meet The Nerdy Book Club founders at a dinner for Anne Ursu hosted by Walden Pond Press to celebrate her latest chapter book, The Real Boy. (It’s wonderful. I put it on my Newbery 2014 Contenders list! And it just won a Middle Grade Fiction Nerdie). Colby Sharp, one of […]
A reader asked me for a list of picture books appropriate for 4th and 5th grade. I wasn’t sure myself. Sure, there are advanced picture books but does the list have to hit the Core Curriculum agenda? Don’t 4th and 5th graders want to read solely chapter books, having left picture books behind in 1st […]
Disney-Hyperion sent me a copy to check out, and is partnering with me for a giveaway!
I’m giving away a prize pack in celebration of Shelley Johannes’ debut chapter book, Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker, in collaboration with Disney Hyperion. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.
Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes
Beatrice does her best thinking upside down.
Hanging from trees by her knees, doing handstands . . . for Beatrice Zinker, upside down works every time. She was definitely upside down when she and her best friend, Lenny, agreed to wear matching ninja suits on the first day of third grade. But when Beatrice shows up at school dressed in black, Lenny arrives with a cool new outfit and a cool new friend. Even worse, she seems to have forgotten all about the top-secret operation they planned!
Can Beatrice use her topsy-turvy way of thinking to save the mission, mend their friendship, and flip things sunny-side up? [chapter book, ages 9 and up]
Circle Round is that rare unicorn in kids’ entertainment in that it’s actually entertaining for parents too! Episodes are narrated by theatre, film, and TV actors that parents will no doubt identify with. I’m proud to partner with WBUR.
For my friends in Boston, WBUR is hosting a free, interactive launch party for Circle Round at the Boston Children’s Museum on Sunday, September 24 at 2 p.m.
image: WBUR’s Circle Round
And guess what? FOLK TALES!
Circle Round provides global perspectives with voices representing cultures from around the world. Episodes include prompts for discussion, giving children and their caregivers plenty of food for thought long after the story ends. Stories delve into diverse and accessible topics such as kindness, persistence, and generosity. Read more…
Young People’s Poet Laureate Margarita Engle and Amy Ludwig VanDerwater are championing the United Nations International Day of Peace which is today, September 21.
They are hoping that our educator and author and illustrator friends will flood the internet with images, poems, books, and ideas of peace on this day (9/21) along with the UN hashtag #peaceday.
Please Help Us Celebrate #peaceday Today!
Dylan Metrano (illustrator of Every Day Birds) made this image to share and use as a profile picture.
I’m thrilled to giveaway Tamara Ireland Stone’s latest book, Click’d. I loved her last book, Every Last Word, about a high school girl who suffered from OCD. I have a book list about OCD coming out soon inspired by this book.
I’m actually giving away a prize package, courtesy of Disney Hyperion. Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.
Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone
Allie Navarro can’t wait to show her best friends the app she built at CodeGirls summer camp.
Watching her app go viral is amazing. Leaderboards are filling up! Everyone’s making new friends. And with all the data Allie is collecting, she has an even better shot at beating her archenemy, Nathan, at the upcoming youth coding competition. But when Allie discovers a glitch that threatens to expose everyone’s secrets, she has to figure out how to make things right, even if that means sharing the computer lab with Nathan. Can Allie fix her app, stop it from doing any more damage, and win back the friends it hurt—all before she steps on stage to present Click’d to the judges? [chapter book, ages 9 and up]
Halloween is around the corner! I’m getting ready by giving away four of these fun Halloween picture books to four winners. Please fill out Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.
What are you favorite Halloween books to read with your kids? Thanks for sharing!
7 Fun Halloween Picture Books
Halloween ABC by Jannie Ho
An alphabet book with Jannie Ho’s charming and not scary illustrations. Use this board book to introduce toddlers to the concept of Halloween. You might get costume ideas from this book too! [board book, ages 1 and up]
Fingers for Halloween by Brandt Lewis, illustrated by Cori Doerrfield
I’ve always loved reading this kind of finger wiggling interactive board book to my kids when they were little. They delighted in getting physically involved with a book. The rhyming text makes this a fun way to teach kids counting from one to five. [interactive board book, ages 1 and up]
Please welcome my guest author today, Josh Funk! We are are giving away his newest picture book, It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, and … surprise! This is his FIRST non-rhyming picture book. I mention that because Josh is gifted in the art of rhyming. I learned that when I attended his seminar at The Writer’s Loft: To Rhyme or Not Rhyme.
It was hugely helpful as my first book coming out through Lee and Low Books is a rhyming picture book. As I struggled over the edits, I remembered Josh Funk’s advice: the meter or stressed syllables are more important than keeping the exact count of syllables consistent. It’s about how easy the book is to read aloud!
My son has had a series of tics since he was little from squeeky sounds, to a Tiger Woods arm pump, to an extra hop in his step. There was also a throat clearing noise and excessive eye blinking. He generally would move from one tic to the next one in smooth succession.
When he had a severe concussion this past year, his neurologist said that he had Tourette’s Syndrome. His psychologist — very helpful for concussion because it can cause depression and anxiety — said that my son would have to have three tics simultaneously for it to be Tourette’s so he was deemed with just having a tic.
We actually think his tics are cute and it never worried us like his concussion does. We also figured he would outgrown it, which may very well be the case according this therapist.
This is what I learned about tics, Tourette Syndrome, and OCD:
Tics, Tourette Syndrome, and OCD
Tics are rapid, repetitive movements or vocal utterances. They may be motor (like excessive eye blinking) or vocal (such as a habitual cough or chronic repetitive throat clearing noises), chronic (continuing throughout childhood), or transient (lasting less than 1–2 years). In children who eventually develop tic disorders and ADHD, the ADHD usually develops 2 to 3 years before the tics.
Tourette syndrome, which is quite rare, is a more severe form of tic disorder involving motor and vocal tics that occur many times per day. The average age at which it appears is 7 years. While children with Tourette syndrome may develop ADHD, the 2 disorders are separate and independent conditions. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is not a variant of Tourette syndrome, and Tourette syndrome is not just a variety of ADHD. Research has shown that chronic tic disorders, Tourette syndrome, and OCD may stem from some common factors, and a child with any of these conditions is quite likely to also have ADHD.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder involves such symptoms as obsessive thoughts (such as a highly exaggerated fear of germs) and compulsive behaviors (for example, excessive hand-washing in an attempt to reduce the fear of germs) that the child is unable to control or limit. In this sense, OCD is similar to tic disorders and Tourette syndrome, and creates additional functioning problems for children with ADHD. From HealthyKids.org
One out of a hundred children suffer from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Research indicates that it is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. From Mr. Worry
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over. from NIMH
I found that I was misinformed about OCD. Author Wesley King also helped to set me straight:
“Obsessive Compulsion Disorder (OCD) is one of the most common but least understood mental illnesses in the world today. ‘I am so OCD’ has become a popular saying to describe someone who likes things clean and organized. But OCD is not liking things clean or organizing your socks. It’s a constant battle with your mind that can afflict every minute of every day.” OCDANIEL author note by Wesley King
I hope these books with characters who suffer from OCD help us all to understand this mental health disease. I am going to keep this list updated as I find more books, and will also link back to book reviews from other bloggers. Thanks for your help in building this list!
OCD Characters in Children’s and Young Adult books
Mr. Worry: A Story about OCD by
This is a great picture book for anyone who wants to understand what it is like to be a child with OCD. It explains why they can’t help checking the same things over and over again. In this story, Dr. Fraser explains how his brain handles doubts and fears. She teaches him how to “hang up”– the same as if you receive a wrong number phone call — on those doubts and fears using a combination of medicine and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). This is a comforting story to understand the battles that children with OCD face in their heads, and the strategies to overcome them. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
OCDaniel by Wesley King
Ms. Yingling Reads has a great review here which is how I discovered this book.
This is an almost autobiographical account of the author’s 8th grade when he hid his OCD from everyone. He used ritualized compulsions to try to control anxiety and panic attacks and had no idea what the cause was until he was 16. OCDANIEL deals with fitting in, a girl crush, and discovering the hero within himself. It’s an uplifting story of unlikely friendships. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]
I’m thrilled to revealing the cover for Elissa Brent Weissman’s lastest book, The Length of a String! We are also giving away three of her previous books. My son is a big fan of her Nerd Camp books! Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.
What do you think of her book cover? Thanks for sharing your impressions!
The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman