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1. Summer Fun With Physics and Math

Book Cover of Junk Drawer PhysicsIf you are looking for a book of hands-on activities to keep your curious 9 to 14 year olds entertained and learning over the the summer and beyond, I recommend Junk Drawer Physics: 50 Awesome Experiments That Don't Cost a Thing. Written by author and high school physics teacher Bobby Mercer, it provides a fascinating look at physics through experiments focusing on forces and motion, energy, light and more. For kids in grades 5 to 7 who'd get a kick out of grim math word problems, I recommend The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math: 24 Death-Defying Challenges for Young Mathematicians.

(Cover art courtesy of Chicago Review Press)

Summer Fun With Physics and Math originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Monday, June 2nd, 2014 at 10:43:42.

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2. Summer Reading Resources to Bookmark

Are you looking for descriptions and links to all of my summer reading resources, including summer reading lists, tips about encouraging reading, resources for reluctant readers, and more? You'll find them all conveniently located in one article that you'll want to bookmark and refer to often as summer progresses. It's Encouraging Summer Reading: Summer Reading Resources for Kids and Teens.

Summer Reading Resources to Bookmark originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 at 22:11:25.

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3. Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Traditional Versions

Cover Art of the Jan Brett's Goldilocks and the Three Bears What are the elements you'll find in traditional tales of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, sometimes also called The Three Bears, and what are some of the picture book versions I recommend? I just spent a ton of time reading different traditional versions and have seven to recommend. While they differ in how the characters look and are dressed, as well as the setting and in the amount of humor in them, they all include the same elements. There are also some terrific nontraditional versions (also sometimes called fractured fairy tales or upside down tales) of many classic tales, including The Three Bears. To see the difference, read Jan Brett's Goldilocks and the Three Bears and see how it compares to her picture book The Three Snow Bears. I have found some very funny and imaginative nontraditional versions of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and before I move on to the story of Cinderella, I plan to write about some picture book versions I especially recommend.

(Cover art courtesy of Penguin)

Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Traditional Versions originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 at 15:13:00.

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4. Memorial Day Resources for Families

Cover Art of the Children's Picture Book The Wall by Eve Bunting Memorial Day is a time for family and remembrance. Here are some resources you may find helpful as your family prepares for Memorial Day. If you are looking for a children's picture book about remembering those who died in war, I recommend The Wall by Eve Bunting, with illustrations by Richard Himler. This poignant children's picture book is about a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, by a father and his young son. Other Memorial Day resources from About.com Guides include:

(Cover art courtesy of Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin)

Memorial Day Resources for Families originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 at 00:01:06.

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5. Grandparents and Grandchildren - A Special Bond

Cover of The Hello, Goodbye WindowOne of the nice things about summer is that many of us get to see more of our relatives, including parents and grandparents. The bond between grandparents and grandchildren is celebrated in the picture book The Hello, Goodbye WIndow. The book is based on author Norton Juster's observations of his young granddaughter when she came for her weekly overnights with her grandparents.

Illustrator Chris Raschka was awarded the Randolph Caldecott Medal in 2006 for the picture book's illustrations. This is a wonderful book for grandparents to share with their grandchildren and for parents to share before and after a family visit to their children's grandparents. If you have other children's books about grandparents that you'd like to recommend, please click on "Comments" below and share your recommendations.

See my article All Randolph Caldecott Medal Winners for information about the best in picture book art over more than 75 years, including Chris Raschka's A Ball for Daisy for which he was awarded the 2012 Caldecott Medal.

(Cover art courtesy of Hyperion Books for Children)

Grandparents and Grandchildren - A Special Bond originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 at 00:01:30.

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6. Children's Books News - May 17, 2014

Cover Art - Oh, the Places  You'll GoKids' Books = Terrific Graduation Gifts - Children's books continue to be popular graduation gifts for high school and college graduates. I have a half dozen to recommend in my article Top 6 Children's Books that Make Great Graduation Gifts. They include the ever popular Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss.

Happy Birthday, Grace Lin - Today is author Grace Lin's birthday. Grace Lin is the author of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, a fantasy incorporating a number of Chinese folktales. The book, a 2010 Newbery Honor Book, is one kids 8 to 12 will enjoy. Lin is also the author of a number of picture books. For ideas on how you and your kids can celebrate authors' and illustrators' birthdays, take a look at Eric 's Eric VanRaepenbusch's Happy Birthday Author website and how he and his kids celebrated Grace Lin's birthday.

(Cover art courtesy of Random House)

Children's Books News - May 17, 2014 originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Saturday, May 17th, 2014 at 22:40:55.

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7. Perilous Math = Summer Fun and Learning

Cover art for The Book of Perfectly Perilous MathKids 10 and older will want to exercise their math skills over the summer when they read the hair-raising story problems in The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math: 24 Death-Defying Challenges for Young Mathematicians. The book is not only great fun, but all of the problems are aligned with the Common Core Standards for grades 5, 6 and 7. The cartoon-like illustrations and the clever problems will capture kids' attention and make them think about math in a whole new way.

(Cover art courtesy of Workman Publishing)

Perilous Math = Summer Fun and Learning originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Thursday, May 15th, 2014 at 00:12:19.

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8. Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Kids' Books

Cover - Little White Duck: A Childhood in ChinaMay is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and I have some middle grade books and some general book lists to recommend:

, set in the 1860s, is the story of a Chinese boy who is forced by tragedy to leave China and join his father in California.
  • Little White Duck: A Childhood in China is a graphic memoir (
  • What's a graphic memoir?) set in the 1970s.

    I hope you will also find my Asian-Pacific American Heritage Recommended Reading list of books and websites a helpful resource all year long, not just this month. It includes books for young children to teens, both fiction and nonfiction. There are books about Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, Korean Americans, Thai Americans, and Vietnamese Americans, among others.

    (Cover art courtesy of Graphic Universe)

    Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Kids' Books originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 at 00:01:39.

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    9. Celebrate National Egg Month With Kids' Books

    Cover Art of the Children's Picture Book An Egg Is Quiet May is National Egg Month. It's not too late to celebrate with children's books. First, share An Egg Is Quiet with your children. Artist Sylvia Long illustrated the book, which was written by Dianna Aston. An Egg Is Quiet is a picture book, a science book, and one of the most beautifully designed and illustrated children's books that I have seen in some time. While the book is beautiful to look at, this children's picture book is also full of accurate and interesting facts about eggs.

    After you read the book, try cooking some eggs. You'll find a tasty recipe for the dish made popular by Dr. Seuss in his children's book Green Eggs and Ham in the Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook. The cookbook is full of recipes inspired by Dr. Seuss and his books. Have you ever made green eggs and ham? Do you have a good recipe to share? If so, click on "Comments" below and post a message about it.

    (Cover art courtesy of Chronicle Books)

    Celebrate National Egg Month With Kids' Books originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 at 00:01:08.

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    10. It's Children's Book Week!

    Children's Book Week artwork It's Children's Book Week (May 12-18). Here are some ways to celebrate:

    Take your kids to one or more of the Children's Book Week children's programs at your local public library.

    Learn about all of the ways you can save money at your public library.

    If you don't already read aloud to your child every day, start doing it as part of your family's Children's Book Week celebration.

    Get ready for a summer of reading by checking with your child's teacher about what reading level is appropriate for your child's summer recreational reading. If your child or teen is not interested in spending time reading, get some help with Resources for Reluctant Readers.

    How are you and your family celebrating Children's Book Week? Let me know what you're doing by clicking on Readers Respond and posting a message.

    (Artwork courtesy of Children's Book Council)

    It's Children's Book Week! originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Monday, May 12th, 2014 at 00:01:52.

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    11. Favorite Moms in Children's Books

    Cover Art - Little House Books Happy Mother's Day! Mother's Day always makes me think about favorite moms in children's books. When I started asking people their favorites, Ma in the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder was frequently mentioned. While the character of Ma is based on an actual person, there are also many wonderful fictional mother characters. One of my favorites is Mrs. Weasley, the mother of seven, including Ron and Ginny, in the Harry Potter series. Who are some of the mothers in kids' books that you and your children like best? Click on "Comments" below and share your favorites.

    (Cover art courtesy of HarperCollins)

    Favorite Moms in Children's Books originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Sunday, May 11th, 2014 at 00:01:28.

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    12. Children's Books Buzz - May 10, 2014

    Children's Picture Book: Faraway HomeCongratulations, Jane Kurtz - I was pleased to learn from the Child_Lit discussion group that children's book author and literacy advocate Jane Kurtz was recently awarded the Spirit of Achievement Award in honor of her work with Ethiopia Reads. Kurtz, the daughter of missionaries, grew up in Ethiopia. Kurtz's picture books include Fire on the Mountain and Faraway Home, both illustrated by E.B. Lewis.

    #weneeddiversebooks goes viral - The cry for more diversity in children's books that I mentioned previously in my posts (see Children's Books Buzz - May 3, 2014) continues. Signs of it are everywhere, from photos like the one of the Oakland Public Library's #weneeddiversebooks banner to the official We Need Diverse Books website and the official We Need Diverse Books Twitter account, both of which provide loads of information from a wide variety of sources.

    (Cover art courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

    Children's Books Buzz - May 10, 2014 originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Saturday, May 10th, 2014 at 22:43:37.

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    13. 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Beginning Reader Book Awards

    The Watermelon Seed cover artIf you are looking for good beginning reader books for your child, take a look at the winners of the annual Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. The 2014 Geisel Award winners include four books. The top prize, the 2014 Geisel Medal went to The Watermelon Seed, written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli. The three Geisel Honor Books range from a one-word book to an early chapter book. Are your children beginning readers? What are their favorite beginning reader books? What are your favorites? Please click on "Comments" below and share your recommendations.

    (Cover art courtesy of Disney Hyperion Books)

    2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Beginning Reader Book Awards originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Friday, May 9th, 2014 at 00:01:17.

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    14. Remembering Maurice Sendak

    Where the Wild Things Are cover artAuthor and illustrator Maurice Sendak died on May 8, 2012. His picture books not only brought joy to generations of children, but they also had a profound effect on the field of children's literature. Did you know that author and illustrator Brian Selznick dedicated his book Wonderstruck to Maurice Sendak because of the influence Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are had on his work? For more about Sendak, read my article about The Artistry and Influence of Maurice Sendak. Share your feelings about the impact of Sendak's books on you and your children at Readers Respond.

    (Cover art courtesy of HarperCollins)

    Remembering Maurice Sendak originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Thursday, May 8th, 2014 at 00:01:13.

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    15. Recommended Mother's Day Gifts

    Cover of Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book Children's books and books based on children's books can be the perfect gift for a special mother or grandmother. I have included a variety of books on my top picks list of 7 Children's Books That Make Good Mother's Day Gifts. Actually, two are books for adults: the very entertaining Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book and What the Dormouse Said: Lessons for Grown-ups from Children's Books, which contains a terrific collection of quotations from children's books. I also recommend 5 special children's picture books, including books about mothers, poetry books and a beautiful collection of Aesop's Fables. If you have others to suggest, let me know by clicking on "Comments" below and posting your recommendations.

    (Cover art courtesy of Random House)

    Recommended Mother's Day Gifts originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 at 00:01:54.

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    16. Celebrate National Bike Month With Middle Grade Books

    Cover art - Hero on a BicycleCelebrate National Bike Month with these historical fiction and nonfiction books for middle grade readers:

    • Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes is an exciting middle grade novel, full of emotion and adventure. Set in Italy in 1944, Hero on a Bicycle offers a look at World War II from a unique perspective, that of a 13-year-old boy, the "Hero on a Bicycle," and his family, which includes his English mother, Italian father (a partisan who is in hiding) and older sister.
    • Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom by Sue Macy, a sports historian, is an entertaining nonfiction book about the impact the bicycle had on women's lives and their freedom in the 1890s.

    (Cover art courtesy of Candlewick Press)

    Celebrate National Bike Month With Middle Grade Books originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 at 00:01:45.

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    17. It's Screen-Free Week - Do You Care?

    Cover art of Doug Unplugged It's Screen-Free Week. How do you feel about it? From May 5-11, families across the United States are encouraged to not only turn off the TV, but all electronic media, including computers, iPads, DVD players, electronic game systems, etc. and enjoy other activities. Are you wondering, "What does Screen-Free Week have to do with children's books?" You may be surprised at some of the research. Read my FAQ about Screen-Free Week. Then, consider the following question, "Is Screen-Free Week a good idea or is how much time your family spends with electronic media nobody's business but yours?" Finally, go to Readers Respond to answer the question and to see other people's answers. As you'll see, there are a variety of opinions about the value of Screen-Free Week.

    Related Resources
    Picture Book Review: Doug Unplugged
    Kids Watching Too Much TV? Set Limits on Screen Time (About.com: Family Fitness)
    What's So Great About Going Screen-Free? How Screen-Free Week, or Even Just a Screen-Free Day, Can Benefit Your Family (About.com: Kids' Movies & TV)

    (Cover art courtesy of Random House)

    It's Screen-Free Week - Do You Care? originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Monday, May 5th, 2014 at 00:01:33.

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    18. Children's Books Buzz - May 3, 2014

    Each Kindness The Lack of Children's Books Reflecting Diversity - An outgrowth of Walter Dean Myers' article in the New York Times (see my blog post about it) and many other responses to the latest report on the lack of diversity in children's books has resulted in the #weneeddiversebooks campaign on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Hopefully, continued emphasis on the need for more diversity in children's books will have an impact on the choices publishers make. For more on the subject, read Diversity in Children's Literature: The Search for the Missing Characters (and Authors!) of Color.

    An Exciting Summer Exhibition - If you will be anywhere near Columbus, Ohio between June 20 - September 28, 2014, be sure to plan a visit to the Imagine! The Art of the Picturebook exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art. The exhibition will feature illustrations from the collection of Carol and Guy Wolfenbarger, Columbus natives. The works of art include original drawings, paintings, prints and collages. The artists represented include: Floyd Cooper, Will Hillenbrand, E.B. Lewis, Chris Raschka, and Maurice Sendak, among others.

    (Cover art for Jacqueline Woodson's Each Kindness, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, courtesy of Penguin)

    Children's Books Buzz - May 3, 2014 originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 at 22:07:03.

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    19. Celebrate Earth Day with Children's Books

    We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers cover artToday is Earth Day. See Popular Characters Celebrate Earth Day and the Environment for some recommended picture books and beginning reader books for children ages 2-8. Some of the popular characters featured are Lauren Child's Charlie and Lola, Jane O'Connor's Fancy Nancy and Marc Brown's Arthur.

    Older children and young teens will appreciate Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot, a fascinating nonfiction book. It's part of the excellent Scientists in the Field series. One of the most popular children's books about caring for the environment is The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, a picture book that appeals to a wide range of ages. Don't forget all of the excellent children's poetry books about nature and the picture books about gardens and gardening that are listed on my April Calendar of Children's Books.

    (Cover art courtesy of Penguin)

    Celebrate Earth Day with Children's Books originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 at 00:01:09.

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    20. A Classic With A Good Message

    Miss Rumphius picture book cover artWhenever I visit (or even think about) Deer Isle, Maine in early summer, I am reminded of the classic children's picture book Miss Rumphius. Why? That's the time of year the lupines are in bloom, and lupines play a key role in the story of Miss Alice Rumphius and her efforts to figure out a way to accomplish her grandfather's charge that she "do something to make the world more beautiful." The book's message - that each individual has a role to play in making our world better - is a good one and presented in this book in a way that even young children can grasp. At the end of the review by librarian Nancy Snyder, I have included photos of lupines and information about raising lupines, including the zones where they grow, in case you and your children are inspired to plant your own lupines after reading Miss Rumphius.

    (Cover art courtesy of Penguin)

    A Classic With A Good Message originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 01:12:27.

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    21. Free Children's Books Newsletter: Subscribe Now

    Did you know that if you subscribe to my free eNewsletter, every Thursday morning you will receive a newsletter that includes cover art, descriptions and links to my latest and most timely articles and reviews? For an example, check out my latest Children's Books Newsletter. To subscribe to the About.com Children's Books Newsletter, go to Newsletters From About.com and register. One of the benefits of subscribing is that if you want to send me an email, just hit "reply" when you receive a newsletter. While direct emails from individual's personal or business email accounts sometimes get filtered out as spam, replies to my newsletter always seem to get through to me.

    Free Children's Books Newsletter: Subscribe Now originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Friday, April 25th, 2014 at 23:03:39.

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    22. Children's Books Buzz - April 26, 2014

    All the World cover art Picture Books: A Good Resource - Download Timeless Picture Books for Every Age from the American Booksellers Association for an interesting flyer about picture books that includes cover art, comments and publication information. Recommended picture books include: All the World, Flotsam, The Story of Ferdinand and Miss Rumphius.

    Walter Dean Myers' Website - Walter Dean Myers, the award-winning author and former National Ambassador for Young People, has a newly redesigned website with a lot to offer, including a blog, a bibliography of all of his books, listings of his books by the age/grade levels they are appropriate for, a video, news and more. For additional information about the author and his books, see Walter Dean Myers: His Life, Books, and Views on Censorship.

    Storyline Online - I wasn't familiar with the Screen Actors Guild Foundation's literacy website, Storyline Online, until I received a press release about the site's newest video. It features actor Mindy Sterling reading the picture book Library Lion, which was written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. The site features more two dozen videos, each with an accomplished actor reading an award-winning children's book. (Source: Screen Actors Guild Foundation press release, 4/22/14)

    Children's Books Buzz - April 26, 2014 originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Saturday, April 26th, 2014 at 22:34:49.

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    23. Top 2014 Informational Books For Kids

    Cover art Parrots Over Puerto RicoIf you are looking for excellent informational books for your kids, I recommend the Robert F. Sibert Medal winner and Honor books. The 2014 winners include Parrots Over Puerto Rico, the 2014 Sibert Medal winner, which was written by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore and illustrated with the collages of Susan L. Roth, who also coauthored and illustrated Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt's Treasured Books. For more information about the 2014 Medal winner and the four intriguing 2014 Sibert Honor Books, see my article about the 2014 Sibert award winners. What are some of the informational books your kids like? Click on "Comments" below and share your recommendations.

    (Cover art courtesy of Lee & Low Books)

    Top 2014 Informational Books For Kids originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Monday, April 28th, 2014 at 00:02:49.

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    24. Firefly July A Delight

    Firefly July cover artFirefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems is a delightful book. Compiled by Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated with the vivid mixed media artwork of Melissa Sweet, this is a poetry book the whole family can enjoy. The name Paul B. Janeczko may be familiar to you because of some of the anthologist and poet's other books, including A Poke in the I, a collection of concrete poems, and A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms, which Chris Raschka illustrated. Melissa Sweet is an award-winning illustrator and author. Her most recent awards were for A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, which was named a 2014 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book and NCTE Orbis Pictus Award winner for outstanding nonfiction for children.

    (Cover art courtesy of Candlewick Press)

    Firefly July A Delight originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 at 22:21:36.

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    25. May Calendar of Kids' Books Updated

    Cover Art - The Storyteller's Candle There's a lot to celebrate in May, including Mother Goose Day (Mother Goose Rules!), Asian Pacific Heritage Month, Latino Books Month, Mother's Day and Children's Book Week. Other events include Memorial Day and National Transportation Week. If you are looking for children's books related to May holidays and events, you'll find them on my May 2014 Calendar of Children's Books. If you have books or events you think I should add, let me know by clicking on "Comments" below and posting a message.

    (Cover art courtesy of Children's Book Press)

    May Calendar of Kids' Books Updated originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Thursday, May 1st, 2014 at 00:01:50.

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