All posts tagged featured

How To Coach Girls Alison Foley Mia Wenjen coaching book for girls

How To Coach Girls COVER REVEAL & 2 Chapter GIVEAWAY!

We are so excited to reveal the cover for our new book, How To Coach Girls, that I co-authored with Alison Foley, Boston College Women’s Soccer Head Coach!

How To Coach Girls Alison Foley Mia Wenjen coaching book for girls

How To Coach Girls by Alison Foley and Mia Wenjen

Did you know that 70% of all kids quit organized sports by age 13, with girls quitting 6x the rate of boys?

Volunteer parents and experienced coaches alike will find invaluable advice on creating a successful team that motivates girls to stay in sports beyond the middle school years. Twenty-two chapters cover major issues, including how to pick captains, the importance of growth mindset, issues around body image and puberty, as well as the challenges of coaching your own daughter.

In addition, fifteen professional coaches from a range of sports, including former Olympian athletes, give their advice on what girls need from a coach to allow them to flourish in sports, and most importantly, have fun.

2 Chapter GIVEAWAY of How To Coach Girls

I am giving away two chapters of How To Coach Girls. You can download it here. Read more…

Chinese New Year Books Instead of Tiki Tiki Tembo

Chinese New Year Books Instead of Tiki Tiki Tembo

I have to say that I’ve read Tiki Tiki Tembo to my kids so many times that we all can say his long version name. I just wanted to suggest other books for Chinese New Year because it’s kind of a fake Chinese Folk Tale about why Chinese names are so short today. For kids who might not have a lot of exposure to China, Chinese Americans and/or Chinese Culture, it sets the wrong tone, implying that the Chinese are foolish and stupid.

Grace Lin’s blog has more:

  • The book purports to be an “old Chinese folktale,” but it is not. It is actually thought to be based on a Japanese folktale called Jugemu. Presumably, that tale was picked up and retold by Westerners, who mistakenly attributed it to China and added to the story. The result is a story that is neither Japanese nor Chinese, and it exemplifies the racist attitude of, “Chinese, Japanese, what’s the difference, they’re all the same.” from Wikipedia
  • Though the book’s illustrations are beautifully drawn by Caldecott Medal-winning artist Blair Lent, they do not authentically depict Chinese people, as noted by The Multiculturalist above. Tikki Tikki Tembo’s shoes are actually strikingly similar to traditional Japanese geta footwear, again reinforcing the inaccurate perception that all Asian cultures are the same.

Read more…

15 Wonderful Chinese New Year Picture Books

15 Wonderful Chinese New Year Picture Books

Chinese New Year may be what most of us think of when we think of Asian New Year celebrations marked by dumplings, lion dances, new clothes, and feasts. I’ve included other Asian Lunar New Year picture books as well for those who want to explore further.

My list includes:

  • Picture Books About Families Celebrating Chinese (and Lunar) New Year
  • Picture Books About Chinese and Lunar New Year
  • Retold Fairy Tales with a Chinese New Year Twist
  • Chinese New Year Craft and Activity Books

Read more…

Top 10: Best Picture Books for Spring

Top 10: Best Picture Books for Spring

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 touchpoint. Ideas for Earth Day include starting a compost pile, planting a tree, or even just germinate seeds.


What are your favorite spring picture books? Are you planting a garden this year of any size? Please share! Read more…

African-American Pioneering Female Musicians

African-American Female Musicians Picture Books

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 meantime, below the video I’ve rounded up picture book biographies of other women who paved the way in music. Have I missed any? Please let me know and I’ll add! Thank you!

Read more…

17 Great Books for Kids and Teens on the Arab World

What Do Muslims Really Want Anyway?! 17 Books on Muslim World for Kids

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 raised anger and confusion. Are Muslims really committed to hostility toward other religions? Or do most Muslims want to find common ground and live together with non-Muslims, without fear or threats? Read more…

10 Perfect Read Alouds for 4th Grade

10 Perfect Read Alouds for 4th Grade

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 bucket, recited a speech about life as a new immigrant. Each group chose a different country to emigrate from that included Poland, Ireland, Italy, China, Japan and more.  They also created a Wax Museum display bulletin board that talked about the immigrant experience from their country. What was most noticeable was how every, single group talked about the racism and prejudice they faced upon coming to America.

It seems that in fourth grade, kids are starting to really develop empathy skills so historical fiction about immigration or the mistreatment of dogs moves them deeply. I’ve included the books that my kids remember reading as part of a classroom assignment or as a read aloud in 4th grade and added a few of my favorites. My son just started 4th grade this year, so I will keep track of his classroom read alouds and will add them to this list all year.

Please share your ideas for 4th grade read alouds. Thank you! Read more…

10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 2nd Grade

10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 2nd Grade

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 school is memorable for foreign country unit. The kids study China, Ghana and Mexico. I have the Red Envelope Crafts project (can also be used for Chinese New Year) that I presented for my son’s class, and the Mexican Crafts Party (can also be used for Cinco de Mayo). Read more…

Top 10 Life Skills Kids Need Before College,

Top 10 Life Skills Kids Need Before College

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 list!


What are the life skills that you think kids need before leaving the nest? Do you remember struggling with any life skills while in college? Please share! Read more…