May 242017
 
 May 24, 2017  Geography, History No Responses »

Who isn’t fascinated by the life-sized terracotta soldiers that were unearthed in China several decades ago? Thousands of these clay soldiers were discovered, each with unique facial characteristics. They were  buried with China’s first emperor in his mausoleum, along with hundreds of statues of horses and chariots. It is estimated that it took more than 700,000 workers nearly 40 years to complete the figures. The terracotta army is now considered one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time and continues to offer clues about life in Ancient China.

Terracotta Army: Learning About Ancient China | Alldonemonkey.com

 

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Terracotta Army: Learning About Ancient China

Ming’s Adventure with the Terracotta Army is a fun book to teach children about the terracotta soldiers. When Ming visits the museum to see an exhibit on the Terracotta Army, his mother buys him a small replica of the army’s general as a souvenir. That night in his dreams, Ming meets the general, who has magically come to life! The general takes Ming flying through the air in his chariot to visit the Emperor’s mausoleum, where they play hide and seek among the soldiers before rushing home at dawn.

I love this gently told adventure, appropriate for even young children, and how it easily incorporates factual information into the story. Ming learns quite a bit about the army as he plays with the general, but there is even more detailed information included as well, separated from the main text by a distinctive font. The artwork is lovely, bringing the clay figures to life and capturing the intricate details of the soldiers’ uniforms. Really wonderful book to introduce children to this archaeological wonder and get them excited about their next trip to the museum!

By Ismoon (talk) 19:40, 9 January 2013 (UTC) (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Online Resources

Find out even more about China’s terracotta army with these wonderful online resources:

The Children’s Museum of Philadelphia: 10 Amazing Facts about the Terracotta Warriors & The Story of the Terracotta Warriors (video)

DK Find Out!: The Terracotta Army

National Geographic Kids: China’s Terracotta Warriors (video)

Marie’s Pastiche: Make Your Own Terracotta Soldiers

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Hop 2017 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Welcome to our fourth annual Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Series and Giveaway! Follow along all month for ideas about sharing with kids the rich cultures of this vast and varied region. Also, be sure to enter the giveaway below and link up your posts at the bottom of the page.

For even more ideas, visit our blog hops from last year, 2015 and 2014. You can also follow our Asia and Australia & Oceania boards on Pinterest.

May 1
Miss Panda Chinese on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 10 Fun Facts About Taiwan for Kids

May 5
Chinese American Family: Visiting Locke and Connecting with California’s Rural Chinese History

May 11
The Art Curator for Kids: Chinese Bronze Vessels with Abstract Zoomorphic Designs

May 15
Crafty Moms Share: Our Japanese Tea Party

May 17
Bicultural Mama: The Limitations of DNA Testing for Asian Americans

May 19
Wise Owl Factory: Cherry Blossom Books and Craft Idea

May 22
Ketchup Moms on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Fun Facts About India Including a Floating Post Office

May 24
All Done Monkey

May 25
Miss Panda Chinese

May 30
All Done Monkey

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Giveaway

Enter below for a chance to win one of our great prize packages in our annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month giveaway! The giveaway goes from May 1 to May 31, 2017, at midnight PT. If the winner falls outside the shipping area of a prize, that prize will revert to the next lower prize package. Read our full giveaway rules.

And for all of our readers, here is a special offer from our sponsor Tingomo! Use the code TENOFFTINGOMO to get 10% off any pre-order! (first kits to ship in July)

APAHM Series and Giveaway: Grand Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Grand Prize

From One Dear World: Set of 4 plush multicultural dolls, each with its own passport, plus the story book The Adventure of Hat Hunting in London, starring the dolls as the main characters
From Tuttle Publishing: Adventures in Asian Art, Indonesian Children’s Favorite Stories, Malaysian Children’s Favorite Stories, and Filipino Children’s Favorite Stories
From Wisdom Tales: Rock Maiden – US Shipping Only
From Bollywood Groove: Go on a fun adventure with Maya & Neel and learn about famous festivals and places in India! In this very colorful, three-picture-book series, kids will learn about festival of lights – Diwali (Amazon best-seller), festival of colors – Holi and the home of Bollywood – city of Mumbai. US Shipping Only
From Miss Panda Chinese: Winner’s choice of an “Everyday” learning unit with audio links
From Tingomo: Passport Craft™ Kit: Make Your Own NEPAL Paper Lanterns US Shipping Only, will ship in July

APAHM Series and Giveaway: 1st Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

1st Prize

From World Music with Daria: set of tingsha (handbells) US Shipping Only
From Quarto Knows: Summer Under the Tamarind Tree, I is for Iran, and 50 Things You Should Know About the Vietnam War – US Shipping Only
From Monika Schröder: Saraswati’s Way – US Shipping Only
From Miss Panda Chinese: Winner’s choice of an “Everyday” learning unit with audio links
From Tingomo: Passport Craft™ Kit: Make Your Own NEPAL Paper Prayer Flags US Shipping Only, will ship in July

APAHM Series and Giveaway: 2nd Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

2nd Prize

From The Dumpling Mama: Pack of 20 good luck envelopes: Give good luck wishes with money in a red envelope. Perfect for Lunar New Year, birthdays, graduations, and holidays US/Canada Shipping Only
From Kathleen Burkinshaw: The Last Cherry Blossom – US Shipping Only
From Candlewick Press: A Piece of Home and Bronze and Sunflower – US Shipping Only
From Miss Panda Chinese: Winner’s choice of an “Everyday” learning unit with audio links

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May 182017
 

Looking for some great summer reading for your middle schooler? Here are two wonderful new works of middle grade Latino fiction that you won’t want to miss! Both are coming of age novels that cast light on the Cuban-American experience today and yesterday as well as touching on universal themes of family, community, and finding your own voice. Don’t miss the giveaway of one of these books below!

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

New Middle Grade Latino Fiction | Alldonemonkey.com

New Middle Grade Latino Fiction

I love coming of age novels because they are all about helping children navigate that difficult terrain between childhood and adulthood, between learning from others and beginning to trust your own instincts. Both of the novels below invite us into the world of a young person discovering their own strength in part through coming to terms with their own fallibility. As they learn to accept their own weaknesses, they lose their fear and begin to blossom into extraordinary young adults.

These books are wonderful to pair together, as they both feature Cuban-American main characters but at different time periods and locations. It would be interesting to read them together and discuss how life for Cuban immigrants was different in New York City in the 1960s versus Miami in the present day, yet how themes of family and culture remained the same.

They also pair well together because each main character discovers their own voice through the arts: one through poetry and the other through literature and painting. Why not read them together alongside some wonderful books of poetry or art projects? Truly wonderful middle grade Latino fiction to share with your young readers!

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora bubbles over with all the energy and curiosity of a 13 year old boy. Arturo Zamora is looking forward to a laid back summer working in the kitchen of his Abuela’s restaurant and spending time with the cute girl who just moved into his apartment complex. Yet when a land developer enters the picture and threatens to change Arturo’s Miami neighborhood forever, he and his family must find a way to save their restaurant and their community. I love how this book is very contemporary with its references and language, without seeming like a grown up trying too hard to be hip. It also a wonderful portrait of a close extended family, with all of its quirky characters, complicated relationships, and unconditional love. Arturo blossoms inside this atmosphere of Sunday dinners and family group texts, especially through the gentle guidance of his grandparents, who show him to always trust his feelings and the power of poetry.

Lucky Broken Girl is a remarkable new book based on the author’s own experiences of being confined to her bed in a body cast after a car accident. Ruth Behar, a Cuban-Jewish girl, is the hopscotch queen of her 1960s New York City neighborhood with dreams of getting her own pair of go-go boots, when a terrible accident changes her life forever. As her outside world constricts, her inner world deepens. At first Ruth sinks into despair, but through writing and painting she learns of the healing power of forgiveness and the ability of art to transform the most dreary surroundings. This beautifully written novel gives a wonderfully nuanced look at relationships and how confusing people’s reactions to tragedy can be, whether it’s a mother forced to deal with her own resentment over caring for her injured daughter 24-7 or a girl whose sorrow over her friend’s injury makes her seem standoffish and uncaring. It also encourages introspection – what would you do if you were forced to lie on your back for nearly a year?- and sheds light on working through depression, anger, and anxiety to discover forgiveness and grace.

Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora Giveaway

And now for a giveaway of one of these amazing new works of middle grade Latino fiction! Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya (ARV: $16.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 15, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 29, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 2, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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May 112017
 

Whenever my four year old wants to do something he knows he is not supposed to, he looks at me very intently and says, “Mommy, don’t see me.” It makes me laugh every time (and I do appreciate the red flag that mischief is afoot!) but on a more serious note, it reminds me that it is a work in progress to teach children to do the right thing even if no one is watching or, more importantly, even if it is difficult or they may not get an obvious reward.

There is no magic formula, but here are some ways I’ve discovered that help raise children who do the right thing.

Raising Kids Who Do the Right Thing | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Raising Kids Who Do the Right Thing

Lead by Example

Nothing will make a bigger impact on your kids than how you act, even in situations where it may not seem like a “big deal.” For example, do you hold the door for others? Are you gracious when someone holds the door for you? Do you go back inside the store if you notice the cashier forgot to ring up one of your items? Do you step in when you see someone is being bullied? Kids take notice, and quickly learn to mimic your actions.

Inspire Them with Role Models

Of course, we as parents are far from perfect, which is why it is wonderful to be able to show them some examples of truly extraordinary people who can inspire us. I must confess that I didn’t really know much about Pete Seegar until I read the remarkable new children’s biography Stand Up and Sing!: Pete Seeger, Folk Music, and the Path to Justice, and then I realized how much I had already been influenced by him without even knowing it! For example, I never knew that he was the one who popularized the anthem “We Shall Overcome,” even introducing it to Martin Luther King, Jr.

This beautiful book gives us an intimate look at this pivotal figure, focusing not just on his musical legacy but on his legacy of change and fighting for justice. It is hard to read this book without wanting to get up and do something to make the world a better place – and to sing while you do it! I love the illustrations and how highlights from Seegar’s life are woven together to give the reader a cohesive message of hope and the power of one person to make a difference.

Related Post: Girls Who Changed the World

Teach Them to Look Beyond Themselves

A key element in teaching kids to do the right thing is to help them care about others. Developing empathy is key, because without it, they lack the will to take action to help others. Pass It On is a very sweet book for very young readers about sharing joy with others. It is also about recognizing the wonder of the world around you then passing that excitement on to others. Pass It On is a perfect way to teach children that sharing isn’t just about toys, it’s also about sharing a smile or a laugh with someone else.

Related Post: Children’s Books About Sharing

Teach Them to Think Long Term

A child who only seeks instant gratification will not understand the more satisfying rewards of doing the right thing, since these usually are slower in coming. Sometimes you immediately get a smile or a thank you when you help someone, but oftentimes there is no immediate reward or it may not be obvious. By helping children understand that good things come to those who wait, you will set the stage for them to do what is right, even if there is no immediate benefit to themselves.

Give Them Concrete Tools

Most children are concrete thinkers and understand better through specific examples of what behavior you expect from them. Set them up for success by giving them concrete tools of how to handle situations like bullying. For example, in our character building classes, we read stories, brainstormed how we might react in different scenarios, and did lots of role playing. These activities help build children’s confidence and give them concrete actions they can take when confronted with a difficult situation. Doing it as a group activity also helps build a community of peers that are all striving to help others and do what’s right.

How do you teach your kids to do the right thing?

May 082017
 

When our oldest son was little, and our bookshelves started to fill with colorful, engaging board books, my husband made an observation that has stuck with me ever since – nearly all of the books focused on the child’s relationship with the mother, but very few included the father. Thankfully this is not universally true, but I was surprised to see how widespread this pattern was. Ever since then, I’ve sought out books that also include the father and especially ones that celebrate their special relationship with their children. And so, in honor of Father’s Day next month, I’m happy to present to you some favorite children’s books that celebrate fathers, plus we have a giveaway for you, so be sure to scroll to the end of the post to enter!

Books that Celebrate Fathers | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of some of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Books that Celebrate Fathers

I love the adorable new book Daddy Honk Honk! Set in the Arctic, it is the tale of Aput the fox, who is thrust into fatherhood when an abandoned goose egg hatches and the little gosling mistakes Aput for its daddy. With each page we see Aput’s transformation as he learns to care for the baby but more importantly as his affection for it steadily grows. This is also a beautiful tale of the importance of community in supporting families, as Aput’s friends all help teach him what a baby needs and help surround them both with love. Very sweet tale to share with your little ones! My preschooler and toddler both really enjoy this story.

Charlie Rides: Planes, Trains, Bikes, and More! is a cute board book that your kids will love! Like so many young children, Charlie loves getting out and seeing the world using any means possible: trains, boats, bikes, soapbox derby cars, and more! While the main focus on the book is on different modes of transportation, a recurrent element is Charlie’s dad, who is with him every step of the way. This colorful book is a tribute to how fathers nurture children’s curiosity about the world and support them in all their adventures.

Be Glad Your Dad…(Is Not an Octopus!) was a lucky find at the library and has stayed in our regular rotation ever since. It is a funny book that not only teaches appreciation for dads (even when they sometimes get mad or are just totally gross!) but also teaches facts about animals in a really fun way. For example, be glad your dad is not an octopus, because he would always win at tag! My favorite, though, is the tortoise dad – who is so slow getting an ice cream cone that the ice cream actually melts before the kid can eat it! I love the illustrations, especially the kids’ reactions to the animal dads. Cute reminder about why human dads are so cool! More details about the animals can be found at the back of the book.

What are your favorite children’s books that celebrate fathers?

Daddy Honk Honk! Giveaway

I am so excited to be hosting a giveaway of Daddy Honk Honk! to one lucky winner! The winner will receive:

  • 1 set of four magnets
  • 1 button
  • 4 prints (2×9”)
  • 1 deluxe print (2×9”)
  • 1 book

Daddy Honk Honk Giveaway

To enter, simply comment on this post, telling us something you appreciate about a special father in your life. The contest goes until midnight PT on Sunday, May 14. US shipping only. Good luck!

Apr 262017
 
 April 26, 2017  Education, STEM Comments Off on Encouraging Curiosity: Create a Questions Notebook

Do you have a child who asks questions constantly? Do you want a way to channel the curiosity of your students and teach them basic research skills? Here is a great resource for elementary age children to use: a questions notebook to guide students to investigate their own questions. This free printable is a wonderful way of encouraging curiosity and laying the foundation for critical thinking and independent research.

Encouraging Curiosity: Create a Questions Notebook | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of Zoey and Sassafras for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Encouraging Curiosity: Create a Questions Notebook

My kids are full of questions: Why do dogs hate cats? Why can’t I see myself in the mirror with the lights off? Why is the word “cough” in “coffee”? This natural curiosity is the foundation of scientific learning, yet I was finding it increasingly difficult to satisfy their endless questions when I was, for example, cooking dinner or changing a squirmy toddler. I needed a way of encouraging curiosity while maintaining my sanity.

Yet more importantly, I remembered how my mother had handled my own endless questions when I was a child. Rather than just give me answers, she always sent me to the bookshelf where we kept a row of heavy, dark green encyclopedias. (Does anyone have these anymore? The original Google!) She could have easily just answered my questions, but instead she gave me the greater gift of learning to investigate for myself. Through practicing these basic research skills, I built my confidence and discovered the importance of finding out the truth for myself rather than relying on anyone else.

I wanted to do the same for kids, so I created this questions notebook: simply right click on the images below to download and print your copies!

Printable Page 1

Page 1 of a questions notebook for encouraging curiosity

Printable Page 2

Page 2 of a questions notebook for encouraging curiosity

How to Use This Printable

Print out copies of the notebook pages above and keep them on hand for your child or students. Encourage them to not only write down a question but a hypothesis as well. Some may feel too shy or uncertain to do this at first, but you will see their confidence grow as they gain experience.

Subject: Have them try to decide which subject heading their question falls under. This will come in handy as they begin their research, to help them choose the appropriate sources.

Bookshelf: On the second page I have listed several types of sources they can use to research their questions. I like to start with what is on your own bookshelf, to combat the urge to simply do an online search. Your bookshelf is immediately available and can encourage further exploration of the resources you already have at home or in your classroom. We love Picturepedia, Children’s Illustrated Dictionary, and Science: A Visual Encyclopedia.

Related Post: How to Get Kids Excited About STEM

Online: Take some time to bookmark kid-friendly, reliable websites that they can use to do their research. For example, on our home computer I have bookmarked National Geographic Kids, Encyclopedia Britannica Kids, and kid-friendly search engines like Sweet Search and Kidotopia.

Library: If they would like to learn more, help them find more specific resources on your next trip to the library. Encourage them to ask a librarian if they need help finding relevant resources.

Expert/Field Trip/Experiment: If you can see that a topic has really fired up your students’ interest, you could arrange for a guest speaker, help them design an experiment, or facilitate a field trip (either as a class or as a suggested activity for home).

If You Are a Parent: Encourage your child to write her questions in her questions notebook. When you have some free time to sit with her, choose one or two to research together. As she gets the hang of it, she can do more of them independently, though you will still want to review the completed pages together when you can. These notebook pages can be the basis for science fair projects or school papers!

If You Are a Homeschooler: Researching these questions can be a regular part of your child’s independent work. Several times a week my son chooses a question or two to research while I’m working with his younger brother. This has become a favorite activity for both of us, as I love seeing what he discovers!

If You Are a Teacher: Again, this can be a great activity for independent work, or an enjoyable homework assignment. You may also choose several to investigate further as a class.

Related Post: STEM Fun for Kids

Get Inspired with Zoey & Sassafras

To help get your kids excited about conducting their own research, introduce them to Zoey & Sassafras, a dynamic duo of a science-loving girl and her faithful cat who help the magical creatures who come to them with their problems. For example, in the first book, Dragons and Marshmallows, they help a sick baby dragon, while in Monsters and Mold they help a monster get rid of embarrassing mold so he can go to a dance. (Don’t you love the idea of monsters having a big, friendly dance party?)

There is so much I love about this series: the lovable characters, the wonderful relationship Zoey has with her parents, and the fact that this incredible girl makes the scientific method look like so much fun! As Zoey tries to help her magical friends, she must experiment to figure out the best solution. And she has a trusty notebook where she tracks her observations and experiments! She not only hones her powers of observation and analytical thinking, she is also practicing persistence in the face of failures and learning to use her skills to help others.

These books help children see themselves as scientists and researchers and feeds their interests in the wider world. Merhorses and Bubbles, for instance, will stoke their curiosity about environmental issues, as Zoey investigates why the magical creatures in the stream are in danger. These are great books for encouraging curiosity and empowering children to discover answers for themselves.

What are your favorite ways of encouraging curiosity in your children or students?

Apr 212017
 
 April 21, 2017  Book Reviews Comments Off on Fun Animal Books Your Kids Will Go Crazy For

Do you have a child that loves animals? Or are you looking for a way to spark an older child’s interest in biology? Here are some of our favorite animal books. They are fun, beautifully illustrated, and guaranteed to encourage a love of all creatures great and small.

Our favorite fun animal books that children will love

I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Fun Animal Books Your Kids Will Go Crazy For

Stack the Cats is one of those books that’s almost too adorable to be real! These cats will win your heart from the get-go, especially since they are actually teaching your toddler early math skills! Why do the cats stack themselves? No idea, but then, who understands why cats do anything they do? All I know is that my little girls loves them, and their antics are helping her learn very early concepts like more and fewer, number recognition, and grouping. Oh, and did I mention how CUTE they are?? One of my favorite animal books for very young readers.

My toddler absolutely loves animals! She is becoming quite proficient at the baby signs for animals and loves to “chat” with me about the dogs, cats, and birds we spy as we go about our day. So when I first showed her Barnyard Boogie!, which is full of all kinds of animals she recognizes, I honestly thought she was going to pass out from excitement! She kept exclaiming and pointing at the pages, and her little hands could hardly keep up as she tried to do all of the animal signs at once. Barnyard Boogie! is such a fun book to read with toddlers because they are naturally drawn to animals and will love all the silly sounds and rhymes. My preschooler loves it too because it is a funny story about a cow trying to figure out what part he can play in the barnyard band. It’s not just for fun, though – it also has a sweet message about everyone having an important role to play.

Here is one that has been added to our bedtime story rotation. My preschooler thinks this book is HILARIOUS! There is quite a bit of suspense in The Giant Jumperee, as one by one the animals try to figure out who the Giant Jumperee is – but each in turn becomes too frightened and runs off! Until the Mama Frog comes along, that is. (Of course it is a mom who decides enough is enough!) My seven year old even looked up from his book and kept asking, “But what is a jumperee? What is it??” And as you can imagine, the answer is surprising and funny, and no matter how many times we read the book, it never fails to delight my preschooler. Really fun book with lovely illustrations, just what you’d expect from this powerhouse team – bestselling author of Room on the Broom and award-winning illustrator of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.

So Many Feet is a beautifully illustrated book that focuses on animal feet as a way to introduce some of the many creatures in nature. This book is great if you want to give your children a little more realistic view of animals but still keep it fun. I love that it can be read at two levels, depending on the age and interest of your child. Often I read it through quickly with my toddler – just reading the primary text (“High feet, slow feet, fast feet, snow feet…”) – but spend more time going through the book with my preschooler, who is interested in the secondary text as well, which gives additional information about each animal and how its unique feet help it. It is a lovely book that they also enjoy flipping through on their own, just to look at the pictures.

Speaking of amazing illustrations, Deep in the Forest: A Seek-and-Find Adventure is a stunning collection of seek-and-find scenes featuring jungle animals. As we follow the animals through their day, the reader is invited to find them on the page, including one in each scene who is hiding behind a flap, cleverly disguised on the page. The book contains drawings of over 50 animals and is a gorgeous introduction to the creatures of the jungle.

Ocean (Topsy Turvy World) is a whimsical look at creatures of the deep. It mixes fact and fiction for a wild journey through ocean habitats. The illustrations are incredible and just a bit off-kilter, encouraging children to use their imaginations at the same time as they are learning facts about ocean creatures. A really fun book to read, plus I love the extension activities included at the book.

What are your favorite animal books for kids?

Apr 192017
 
 April 19, 2017  Book Reviews, Geography 2 Responses »

One of the joys of reading with my children is of connecting them with great literature. Happily, you don’t have to wait until they are in high school to introduce them to classic stories from the distant past. Today you can find wonderful picture books of ancient tales designed for young readers. Here are some of our favorites:

Ancient Tales for Young Readers | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of several of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Ancient Tales for Young Readers

Of course I have to start with the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the first great works of literature. This epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia dates from the early 3rd century BC and is a staple of high school world literature classes (or at least it was in mine!) But this is no dry tale that is foisted upon hapless students by cruel teachers, it is actually a really fascinating story that instantly drew in my kids. I highly recommend the picture book trilogy Gilgamesh the King by Ludmila Zeman. This series beautifully retells this epic story in a format that young children can easily understand and appreciate. She glosses over some of the more “adult” aspects of the original to create a kid-friendly version of these ancient tales that is nevertheless faithful to the spirit of the classic text. There are battles and quests, mystery, friendship, and romance. Really, what’s not to love?

This wonderful new series is inspired by the classic epic poem by Ferdowsi, the Shahnameh (Book of Kings). The first installment, The Story of Zal & Simorgh, tells of Zal, born with hair and skin as white as snow. His unusual appearance frightened his father so much that he abandoned the baby at the foot of a mountain. Yet Zal is saved by a mythical creature, a magical bird called Simorgh who raises the boy into manhood. Yet Zal is grown and encounters his father again, can he choose love over bitterness and forgive the man who left him to die? This is a wonderful story that touches on classic themes of love, friendship, and forgiveness. The story is engaging for younger readers, and the illustrations are beautiful! I love the attention given to details of the historical and cultural elements. One of my favorite spreads shows court musicians playing traditional Persian instruments. Such a beautiful tribute to this rich cultural heritage!

I am so excited that these stories from Shahnameh are now available for young readers. It is not well known in the West, and what copies are available are really too dense for children. When we studied ancient Iran earlier this year, I checked out a copy of the original Shahnameh and found it really was too difficult for my elementary aged son. That is why I jumped at the chance to review Shahnameh For Kids – The Story of Zal & Simorgh and am excited that they now have a Kickstarter to publish the 2nd and 3rd books in the series – it’s an all or nothing campaign that ends in just a few weeks, so don’t miss the chance to help make it happen!

Related Post: Folktales from Iran

The Monkey King: A Classic Chinese Tale for Children is a wonderfully fun story inspired by Chinese legends about the trickster Monkey. Long ago, the Jade King sent a pure-hearted monk on a journey to bring back the teachings of Buddha from India, in order to bring peace and order to the kingdom. This book is about the beginnings of this epic journey, and how helpers were recruited along the way, including Monkey. It seems that every step of the way the monk is set upon by enemies, but when they find out that he is on a mission for the Jade King, they have a change of heart and want to help him. As it turns out, the often short-tempered Jade King has condemned them to their current fates because of having offended him. They realize that if they help the monk, they may gain the King’s favor again and so return to their former lives.

This story has plenty of twists and turns, with battle scenes and narrow escapes and a cast of colorful characters. But I could just get lost in the lush illustrations. They are so beautiful and full of life that each page invites you to fall into it head first. This is one you will treasure on your bookshelf.

If you want to introduce your children to Greek mythology or get them excited about poetry, I highly recommend Echo Echo: Reverso Poems About Greek Myths. Each poem retells one of the Greek myths as a “reverso” poem, meaning it can be read the same forwards and backwards. The poems are so cleverly written, as each half of the poem gives emphasis to different words, often changing the mean of each line completely. Children who are starting to learn these ancient tales will enjoy seeing them captured in this format, and it is also a great way to spark their own creativity about poetry.

Apr 132017
 
 April 13, 2017  activities, crafts, Ridvan, STEM 2 Responses »

The Festival of Ridván begins next week, and because it commemorates Bahá’u’lláh’s stay in a garden full of roses, I love to do rose crafts and activities with my children to celebrate (like make these rose cookies). Inspired by the roses that were piled in Bahá’u’lláh’s tent each day (so many that His guests could not see each other over them!) I have gathered together a huge list of rose crafts, play and learning activities, and recipes for you. Enjoy!

A huge collection of rose crafts, play and learning activities, and recipes

Rose Crafts

From Living Ideas: DIY Rose Egg Craft

From Crafts by Amanda: Realistic Duct Tape Roses & Cardboard Tube Bouquet of Felt Roses

From Red Ted Art: Paper Towel Roses & Duct Tape Rose Pens

From Messy Little Monster: Celery Roses

From No Biggie: Pipe Cleaner Rose Rings

From Mum in the Madhouse: Simple Paper Roses

From Bellissima Kids: Paper Roses Bouquet

From FabDIY: Coffee Filter Rose

From Self-Reliant Living: Egg Carton Roses

From Mom on Time Out: Hershey’s Kisses Roses

From Kids Activities Blog: Paper Plate Roses

Rose Play & Learning Activities

From Teach Beside Me: LED Roses

From Schooling a Monkey: 3D Rose Model – Biology for Kids

From Mother Natured: Rose Study

From Homegrown Friends: Color Changing Rose Experiment

From Kitchen Counter Chronicle: Make a Book – The Giving Roses

From Nurture Store: Rose Petal Sensory Play Tub

From Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails: Rose Petal Water Play

From Childhood 101: Rose Playdough

From Crafts on Sea: Rose Scented Playdough

Rose Recipes

From All Done Monkey: Rose Cookies

From Martha Stewart: Ring Around the Rose Petal Fools

From The European Mama: Rose Petal Jam

From Gimme Some Oven: Rose Cake

From Life of a Lost Muse: Rose Apple Pie

From Heather Christo: White Peach and Rose Sorbet

From The Pretty Blog: Homemade Rosewater Marshmallows

From Global Table Adventure: Rosewater Lemonade, Rosewater Tea, Sweet Semolina Cake with Rosewater and Lemon, & Sweet Saffron Custard with Rosewater

From Posh Little Designs: DIY Raspberry Rose Ice Cubes

From A Pumpkin & A Princess: Rose Petal Bath Soak

From Lulus: Coconut Rose Body Scrub

Apr 072017
 
 April 7, 2017  crafts, Easter, Geography 2 Responses »

These days Pinterest is full of fun, adorable Easter crafts for kids, but how many Easter kite crafts have you seen? Although this time of year boasts great kite flying weather, kites are not associated with the Easter holiday here in the US, but kite flying is an Easter tradition in many parts of the Caribbean, especially Bermuda.

Make an Easter kite to learn about the kite-flying tradition of Bermuda

Make an Easter Kite to Learn About Bermuda

The story goes that once a Sunday school teacher wanted to help his students understand the ascension of Jesus to heaven and so came up with the creative idea of flying a kite with a picture of Jesus on it. The idea caught on, and now Good Friday finds many Bermudians out flying kites, including an annual Kite Festival at Horseshoe Bay Beach.

Traditionally people made their own kites from colorful tissue paper, although more and more imported plastic kites can be seen today.

Kite flying sounded to me like a wonderful Easter tradition, and a great way to do a craft that is both fun but also has spiritual significance.  I’ve got three little kids, so I keep our crafts simple, but if you want to make an authentic Bermuda kite (they are beautiful!) you can watch this slideshow.

Instead, I just opted for this very easy paper kite. They are fairly small and don’t fly as well as the big plastic ones, but I wanted to use materials that we already had on hand and to make kites that would be easy for the kids to put together and decorate themselves.

Make an Easter Kite to Learn About Bermuda | Alldonemonkey.com

They turned out really cute! I couldn’t resist putting bunny ears on mine. We were all very proud of ourselves and excited to put them into action. So the next day we headed for historic Gibson Ranch, a beautiful local park, to take advantage of the windy spring weather.

Make an Easter Kite to Learn About Bermuda | Alldonemonkey.com

Unfortunately it was a little too windy for the boys at first, but luckily they rallied (and the wind died down a bit) so we could test out our kites and enjoy the scenery.

Make an Easter Kite to Learn About Bermuda | Alldonemonkey.com

Beautiful Gibson Ranch

So this Easter try something different – make an Easter kite with your child and learn more about this wonderful tradition from Bermuda!

Series on Easter around the world

Easter is approaching, and once again we are excited to take you on a tour of the world and how it celebrates Easter! Explore the diverse traditions of Easter with us, and don’t miss our series from last year or 2015. You also will enjoy this wonderful overview of global Easter traditions. Find these posts and more on our Easter Around the World Pinterest board:

Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs’s board Easter Around the World on Pinterest.

March 27
Turning Dutch on Multicultural Kid Blogs: The Netherlands

March 28
Kori at Home: 8 Polish Easter Traditions and Customs for Kids

March 29
Hispanic Mama: Fun Easter Resources for Your Bilingual Kids

March 31
Globe Trottin’ Kids on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Celebrating Pascha – Greek Orthodox Easter Traditions

April 6
All Done Monkey

April 7
Living Ideas

April 10
Russian Step By Step

April 11
Pediatrician with a Passport

Apr 052017
 
 April 5, 2017  Book Reviews, parenting, spiritual education Comments Off on Emotional Intelligence: Tips for Parents

Learning to navigate your emotions and those of others is an important set of skills for children to develop. This “emotional intelligence” is just as critical to future success and happiness as learning the multiplication tables and state capitals, perhaps more so. Children who are able to identify their feelings and work with them will be healthier, more balanced individuals who can empathize with others and connect with them in meaningful ways. Here are some tips for how you can help your children develop emotional intelligence.

Tips for parents to teach emotional intelligence

I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Emotional Intelligence: Tips for Parents

1. Name that Emotion

The building block of emotional intelligence is the ability to identify emotions. Teaching this skill can begin very early, as babies learn to read and mimic expressions. I love board books like Making Faces: A First Book of Emotions:

My toddler loves flipping through the pages of this sweet, simple book to see the photos of the baby faces. The book explores six basic emotions by showing one enlarged photo of a baby whose expression reflects that emotion then asking the reader to find that face again on a page of various smaller photos. Books like this are great because they capitalize on babies’ fascination with looking at other babies. My daughter loves to stare at the baby faces and often mimics their expressions, trying out the emotions for herself.

My little girl loves her new book Making Faces from @abramskids! Babies and toddlers love looking at faces, and this sturdy board book makes good use of that to teach little ones about emotions by showing them pictures of other children that are angry, happy, surprised, etc. The mirror at the end is an especially big hit! Great book to keep very young readers entertained and learning. Visit @annofdoodlesandjots for another #picturebookoftheday recommendation! . . . #mkbkids #kbn #momsoninstagram #kidbloggersofig #kidlit #books #booksforchildren #homeschooling #kbnhs #ig_motherhood #childhoodunplugged #motherhoodunplugged #picturebook #boardbook #ece #mytinymoments #ourcandidlife #playmatters #instagood #instakids #learningthroughplay #love #kbnmoms

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As children get older, the naming process can become more sophisticated, as children learn to identify more nuanced emotions. For example, in the lovely Today I Feel . . .: An Alphabet of Feelings we find I is for Invisible, O is for Original, and R is for Relaxed.

This is a book my preschooler often requests at bedtime. Again, the book makes use of an interest at this age (learning ABCs) to talk about emotions. In Today I Feel…, each letter/emotion pair is accompanied by an illustration, so it is easy to spark a conversation: “Why do you think he feels invisible? What’s your favorite way to relax?”

2. Check Your Judgment at the Door

Sometimes it’s hard to feel empathetic with a little one and their big emotions, if their problems seem, well, small to you. Why is your child throwing a tantrum over which color cup he can use or who gets to push the button on the elevator? Don’t they know there are bigger problems, like paying bills or dealing with global warming??

Yet remember that to them their problems are very real and very big, and only when we treat their feelings respectfully can we help our children grapple with their emotions. When we respond with respect, we open up a safe place where children feel comfortable sharing their feelings with us. One picture book that does a great job of this is Dad and the Dinosaur:

This beautifully illustrated book does not belittle the very real fears that children have about what might lurk in the shadows or under manhole covers. Instead, it introduces coping mechanisms to help calm those fears, like having a comfort toy or confiding in a trusted adult. The boy in the story is able to face his greatest fears because of his toy dinosaur, which is not afraid of anything. When the dinosaur goes missing, however, the boy’s fears become overwhelming. I have to mention that while I love that the father in this book takes his son’s fears seriously and sets out to help him find the dinosaur, I wish that he had also taught the boy that he didn’t need the dinosaur for courage but that he had the courage he needed inside himself all along.

3. Give Them Tools

All too often we find ourselves in the position of reacting to behaviors that are the end results of an emotional process, when the emotions are already too big to be easily dealt with. Try to get ahead of this during calm times, by helping kids gain the tools they’ll need to head off emotional explosions before they reach the boiling point. Teach them strategies like taking a deep breath, talking it out, and running out their energy to help them manage their emotions. One book that does an excellent job of teaching kids how to deal with anger is The tiger in my chest:

I mean, what a great metaphor for feeling angry! First it talks through how it feels to be angry as the tiger in their chest grows bigger and bigger. Then teaches kids that tigers can be tamed and that they can be tiger tamers – brilliant! My kids really love this book, and we’ve started implementing its suggestions for calming down body and mind. This book really breaks everything down into terms that children can easily understand and put into practice right away. I also love the emphasis on learning to accept, forgive, and move on (including forgiving ourselves).

4. Show Them the Bigger Picture

Perspective is everything, and one of the easiest ways to get out of an emotional funk is to do something to help others. Serving others not only will help children get their mind off their own problems, it helps put their troubles into perspective. However, resist the temptation to make too direct a link between others’ problems and their own, or children may become defensive or feel belittled. The point will get across, and, more importantly, their spirits will be uplifted and their horizons expanded, which in the long run will make a bigger difference in changing their perspective.

If you have tweens or teens, I really recommend the wonderfully creative book Hot Air (Kindle edition). (Visit One Voice Press for the paperback version).

Bored and frustrated with living with her alcoholic mother, twelve year old Annie decides to make a grand escape – by building a hot air balloon (the perfect metaphor for anyone who has wanted to escape from their troubles)! This magical adventure takes Annie across the world, making new friends at every stop. As she visits distant lands, she finds her own strength to help others and in the process sees her own life through new eyes. I love how multi-dimensional the main character is – we see her immaturity and naivety as she begins her journey, but we also see her selflessness and courage as she chooses again and again to help those in need. A wonderful book about leaving your comfort zone to serve others and gain a new perspective.

5. Model Emotional Intelligence

Finally, remember that actions speak louder than words, and your children will learn more from watching your behavior than they will from anything you say. Take time to check in with your emotions and use the same tools you recommend for your kids. Taking several deep breaths has helped me on many occasions! And being honest with your kids when you make mistakes and apologizing if you blow your top also go a long way to helping them learn to be gentle with themselves. Kids really respond if they feel you are all in it together!

What are your tips for teaching emotional intelligence?

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