Pages Menu
TwitterFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on Jul 20, 2016 | 0 comments

Grace and Grit: Chapter Books for 10 & Up

Grace and Grit: Chapter Books for 10 & Up

Grace and grit are recurrent themes in all five of the extraordinary middle-grade novels below—my 2016 favorites thus far. Each of the main characters wrestles with “life’s unfairness,” be it loss, prejudice, bullying, or injury. At first glance, we as parents might want to shelter our children from such “heavy” subject matter. And yet, thanks to the vulnerability, courageousness, humor, and empathy of the protagonists below, life ultimately emerges as something precious and beautiful. Put a different way: I would like nothing more than for my children to have these characters as their friends, mentors, and allies in their own journey toward self-discovery. Wolf Hollow By Lauren Wolk (Ages 10-15) “If my life was to be just a single note in an endless symphony, how could I not sound it out for as long and as loudly as I could?” Annabelle, a young heroine growing up amidst dangerous secrets in rural Pennsylvania in the wake of World War I, might be one of my favorite characters ever—and not just...

Read More

Posted by on Jul 14, 2016 | 1 comment

Summering Outside the Box: Early Chapter Series for 6-9 Years

Summering Outside the Box: Early Chapter Series for 6-9 Years

One of the most powerful things that literature can do is to exploit the expectations we have of our world, to show us that things are not always as they appear. For our kids, the sooner they experience the limitations of judging by appearance, the sooner they can open their hearts to life’s thrilling surprises. Most people assume these kinds of “life lessons” are served up in serious fiction. But these early chapter series prove that it’s possible to start thinking outside the box at a young age—and with a strong dose of humor as well! The reading level of these early chapter books is geared towards 6-9 year olds who are reading fluidly on their own, but—and I speak from personal experience here—the stories will be equally enjoyed by parents who choose to read them aloud! Cody and the Mysteries of the Universe By Tricia Springstubb, illus. Eliza Wheeler While our family enjoyed the first title in this charming reality-based series, the second book really won our hearts....

Read More

Posted by on Jun 15, 2016 | 1 comment

Summer in the Garden: Picture Books for Ages 4-8

Summer in the Garden: Picture Books for Ages 4-8

Today we welcome Melissa LaSalle, author of the blog What to Read to Your Kids, to share her top picture books for summer. Stay tuned for her favorite chapter books for older kids later this month. One of the best things I’ve done as a parent is to plant a butterfly garden on the side of our house. In full disclosure, I initially had professional help, but the kids and I are now going at it alone, choosing new plants, transplanting others, and filling in remaining gaps with seeds. But the most fun comes from observing the changing blooms and insects. Some of the older perennials have grown over my five year old’s head, and she likes to weave in and out of the maze, addressing the bees and butterflies and welcoming them to our garden. Each day there is something new to behold, and most of the time my kids spot it before me. I hope my list of garden-themed picture books, some new and some older favorites,...

Read More

Posted by on Feb 25, 2016 | 2 comments

Life in the Montessori Classroom: Part 2

Life in the Montessori Classroom: Part 2

Today, we continue our tour of the The Del Ray Montessori School, highlighting various aspects of life in a Montessori classroom and many activities that anyone can replicate at home. In Part 1, we toured the elementary classroom (a mixed group of children ages 6-12). Today, we observe a primary classroom (a mixed group of children ages 2 1/2 to 6). After I quietly observed one morning, I met with the primary 3 teacher, Carolyn Haas, to hear more about some of the ways the younger child build their concentration skills, independence, and coordination of movements. This little girl is intent on methodically cutting apple slices, one apple after the other for as long as it takes her.  At the same time, she’s preparing a snack item for her classmates, an act of courtesy and caring in her “community.” Carolyn spoke a lot about this idea of “building community,” which is what she’s emphasizing in this newer classroom. A majority of the children in this class are on the...

Read More

Posted by on Feb 1, 2016 | 3 comments

A Mid-Century Nursery for Baby Mera

A Mid-Century Nursery for Baby Mera

After featuring J.P. and Ellen’s mid-century modern design style in a 2014 home tour, we couldn’t wait to come back and see what they did with their newborn baby Mera’s bedroom. Just like the rest of their stylish home, they accented the room with mid-century charm and personal touches, perfect for a baby girl. The collection of prints in uniform white frames shown to the right of the window above are an assortment of prints that Ellen picked out, as well as cards her friends and family gave her at their baby shower. “I hate tossing beautiful cards,” Ellen says, “and I feel that sticking them in a box in a closet is basically the same thing.” So she framed them. What a great idea. One wall was painted a handsome blue-grey hue when they moved in a few years ago. Unfortunately, they don’t have the name to share. (They had Home Depot match the color so they could use it throughout the room.) Ellen found the mid-century dresser...

Read More