All posts tagged books children should read

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…

The Gingerbread Man, SAT Vocabulary in Picture Books, best picture books for vocabulary

SAT Vocabulary Words from Picture Book The Gingerbread Man

Picture Books that Build Vocabulary

The words for Week 9 are from the picture book, The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth and Barbara McClintock. It turns out that my son has “Text Talk” at school and this is the source of all the SAT Vocabulary Words for Kindergarteners. They read a picture book and then talk about the “big words.” Picture books are great sources for not only gorgeous artwork, a complete story with a beginning, middle and end in about 36 pages, but rich language!! Did I mention that I LOVE picture books?! Read more…

Teach Me Tuesday Korean A Single Shard Linda Sue Park PragmaticMom Pragmatic Mom Celadon Asian Pottery

Discovering Korea for Kids with Kids’ Books, Art and Food

Exploring Korea through Books for Kids, Celadon Pottery, Chosun Chests and More!

This was my second pilgrimage to the Brimfield Antique Flea Market with Sharon Schindler Photography and Capability:Mom. Sharon is there to shoot and shop. She shot some amazing vintage photographs there last year and Capability:Mom has the Ball Jars photo on her kitchen wall. This year they both scored blue-y tinged vintage Ball Jars for a song, a purchase that was made sweeter when we found out that the rest of the vintage jars there were much more expensive! Read more…

Top 10: Best Magic School Bus Books (Grades 1-4)

Best Magic School Bus Non-Fiction Science Books for Kids

The Magic School Bus series both books and DVDs are really wonderful and accurate introductions to science.  I loaded up on them when my oldest was young, and we watched the DVDs all the time … if we are going to watch TV, at least it’s educational!  But, with my third, I seriously think that he has not watched a single show of this excellent series.  My kids say that at school when they have more indoor time than scheduled (absent music, art of PE teacher so the sub can’t really fill in), they watch a DVD and very often, it’s The Magic School Bus series. Read more…

Top 10: Best Klutz Activity Books for Boys

Best Klutz Books for Boys

The folks at Klutz were kind enough to send me a box of books when I mentioned that I wanted to do a post on Klutz books for boys. My girls LOVE Klutz and I never noticed as many Klutz titles for boys. A box arrived about two weeks ago, and my living room looked like a bomb went off. We kept this room in “experiment” mode while the kids went crazy testing all the books. It turns out that DADS also like some of these books! 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…

Japanese American books for kids, multicultural books for kids, WWII books for kids, Japanese books for children, Japan books, books for kids Japan

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

Best Japanese American Books for Kids

The story of Japanese immigration is also true for my own family history.  Changes in Japan during the Meiji Restoration from 1868 to 1912 wrought great changes in Japan as the country tried to modernize.  The old feudal system of titled landowners was abruptly stripped away, and the daimyo domains of titled landowners were turned into prefectures.   For those families including my own, they were forced to buy back their own lands as some of their lost lands included sacred family burial grounds.  To earn the money, large numbers of Japanese men found work in Hawaii in the pineapple and sugar cane plantations and from there, migrated to the mainland. Read more…