All posts tagged Grace Lin

Starry River of the Sky, Grace Lin, Asian chapter book, 4th grade chapter book, 5th grade chapter book

Grace Lin’s Latest Chapter Book is Her Best Ever!

Grace Lin’s Latest Chapter Book Deserves Newbery

I don’t think there was a 4th grade or 5th grade kid I knew who read Where The Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin and didn’t rave about it though they were generally girls. It could be that Minli is a girl. I hope Lin’s audience broadens with her latest companion book, Starry River of the Sky. Rendi, the lead character, is a BOY! And he couldn’t be more different than Minli who is cheerful despite poverty and hardship. Read more…

chapter books for girl, 2nd grade books for girls, 2nd grade chapter books

Best Books for 2nd Grade Girl but No Animals Talking, Fantasy or Adoption Themes

Best Books for 2nd Grade with Some Stipulations

I remember how difficult it was to find great books for kids once they’ve moved to chapter books but are not quite ready for Newbery books. Read more…

best books for boys middle school elementary school 3rd 4th 5th 6th third fourth fifth sixth reluctant reader pragmaticmom pragmatic mom

Best Books for Boy Readers, Reluctant or Otherwise (ages 7-14)

Great Books for Boys, Reluctant Readers or Otherwise

This post is getting too long (and crashing) so I splitting it into three parts:

Best Books for Boy Readers, Reluctant or Otherwise: Part 1 (Authors by Last Name A-L)

Best Books for Boy Readers, Reluctant or Otherwise: Part 2 (Authors by Last Name M-Z)

Best Books for Boy Readers, Reluctant or Otherwise: Part 3 (Non-Fiction) Read more…

Geisel awards, best easy readers, best early readers

Best Easy Readers: Geisel Award (aka Dr. Seuss)

The Geisel Award is given annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year.  It was founded in 2004 and the first award year was 2006, so it’s a fairly new award. That’s great because it’s a list that is actually plausible to work through!

Read more…

best picture books for kids, best picture books, best picture books you've never heard of

Best Picture Books You’ve Never Heard Of

Best Picture Books for Kids EVER!

I love picture books; it’s a complete story in 24ish pages with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  It’s a visit to an art gallery or a museum with beautiful artwork in all kinds of media — drawings, paintings, collages, and more.  It can transport you to another time and place, a different culture, or a different person’s point of view.  Picture books are NOT just for young children; I insist they are for everyone, adult and child alike.  My 4th grader’s teacher is reading Patricia Polacco’s picture books to the class and the kids are thoroughly enjoying them.  Picture books also make bedtime stories a pleasure because one reader can satisfy a wide audience. Read more…

Best vintage easy readers, best early readers

Top 10: Best Old Fashioned Easy Readers

While not all these books are from when I was young, they all have an old fashioned, innocent feel.  In fact, my number one pick, Ling and Ting:  Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin reminds me so much of my favorite Little Bear early chapter book series in that it has a tight story line that is both silly and sweet.  Easy readers are a rite of passage for both kids and parents.  I remember searching for easy readers that were not mind numbingly boring as both parent and child are reading together during this period of literacy.

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…

Top 10: Best Chapter Books for Summer Reading (Incoming Grades 3-5)

Best Chapter Books for Kids

If your elementary school is like my elementary school, kids entering grades 3-5 need to read 5 or so books during the summer (and do a book project on one of the books).  It’s not normally a struggle to get my kids to read 5 books during the summer except for the selection of the books because the summertime reading has to be especially engaging to compete for their time!  These 10 chapter books should do the trick!! Read more…

Newbery 90 second film festival Pragmatic Mom PragmaticMom

90 Second Newbery Film Festival

Newbery Film Festival for Kids

I thought this would make for a fun book club for children or home school project. Or maybe just a fun project for a budding movie director. Your child can make a 90 second movie based on a Newbery book to enter this film festival. There’s plenty of time. The deadline is not until September 15, 2011. This would also be a fun summer project to do with friends! Read more…