Jun 262019
 
 June 26, 2019  Book Reviews, STEM Comments Off on Moon Landing Books for Kids: Celebrate 50 Years!

Are you excited about the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, coming up next month? Celebrate with your kids with these wonderful moon landing books, including some that were just recently published! From picture books to middle grade works and graphic novels, you’ll find something for everyone and are guaranteed to learn something new yourself!

Moon Landing Books for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Moon Landing Books for Kids

Teach your children about the first lunar mission with these wonderful moon landing books for kids!

Related Posts:

STEAM Biographies for Kids
STEM Books with Strong Female Characters

I adore Margaret and the Moon. First of all, Margaret Hamilton, whose story is told here in a very readable, engaging format, is my new hero. She is completely fearless, despite being one of the only women in computer science back in its very earliest days. The field was so new, that Hamilton herself is credited with inventing the term “software engineer” to describe the work she and others were doing. Thanks to her early success and innovations, she was chosen to lead the team whose coding guided Apollo 11 (and other Apollo missions). Keep in mind, she was only 32 when the moon landing took place in 1969! (For even more on Hamilton, don’t miss this great article, which includes a photo of Hamilton posing with the stacks of coding for the lunar mission).

This book does a great job of explaining the technical side of Hamilton’s innovations (and how her team’s coding saved the moon landing). It also places it in the context of a lifetime of being curious about the world and courageous enough to do what others say cannot be done.

What could be more thrilling for a child than to take part in one of the most momentous events in history? Marty’s Mission: An Apollo 11 Story (Tales of Young Americans) tells the story – based on actual events! – of a young boy who helps Apollo 11 land safely back on Earth after its moon landing. Marty lives on Guam, where his father manages the NASA tracking station. This tracking station relays signals back and forth between the astronauts and Houston, so it is absolutely critical to the mission. When the equipment begins to malfunction during the Apollo 11’s return to Earth, Marty’s father and the other engineers must act quickly. And so they turn to Marty, who is small enough to reach inside and fix the antenna. This story is really eye-opening, making you think about all of the people that made the Apollo 11 mission possible, including a 10 year old boy on Guam!

Moonwalk: The Story of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing is a great non-fiction introduction to the moon landing. Each page spread consists primarily of a large photo, making it seem almost like a coffee table book. Tells the story of the moon landing in a very cohesive narrative appropriate for younger readers.

My 9 year old discovered Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon first, and for a while would lug it around everywhere, which is saying something because it is a large book! But it’s easy to see why he loved it so much. This award-winning book is full of glossy photos and presents a great deal of information, but in a narrative format that draws the reader in. It’s no wonder that the Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine included it on their “Best Children’s Books” list!

With so much attention on the astronauts who first landed on the moon, I really love the emphasis of Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon. It’s a great lesson for children to see that with the moon landing as in almost all endeavors, there are so many unsung heroes working behind the scenes. This book gives them their proper due, even including direct quotes from many of them! There are so many interesting stories in here, such as how the fear over germs from the moon meant that scientists had to work for 18 months to come up with a reliable method of decontaminating the film the astronauts brought home effectively – and quickly! – since everyone wanted to see the photos right away.

Author Steve Kortenkamp has written a number of books about space for young readers, one of which is The First Moon Landing, part of a series by Capstone Press of books for young readers about the solar system. This non-fiction work for younger readers is a great introduction to the topic, with lots of color photographs, larger text, and “fun fact” inset boxes. Includes a glossary and internet resources to learn more.

Neil Armstrong and Traveling to the Moon is a more detailed look at the first moon landing, interweaving the history of the space race with the story of the man who would ultimately be the first to walk on the moon. This is not a biography, strictly speaking, but it does give a personal dimension to the wealth of scientific information. For example, we learn details about the spacecraft as well as the tests and training the astronauts had to go through. Personally, I was interested in the section at the end on life after Apollo 11, and how Armstrong was careful not to profit from his celebrity.

The Space Race (Blast Back!) is an early chapter book that gives an overview of the space race, including a chapter on the first moon landing. It is a good way to help children see the moon landing from the perspective of the politics of the time as well as learn about the history of the science behind it. Very engaging format, with black and white illustrations.

Older children will enjoy Moon Mission: The Epic 400-Year Journey to Apollo 11 for an in-depth look at the history leading up to the moon landing. But it doesn’t read like an ordinary history lesson. Instead, it is organized by the timeline of lunar mission itself, taking each stage and explaining the science (and the scientists) behind the principles and discoveries at work, such as learning about gravity during the “lift-off” stage.

I always love learning about the lesser known stories of historic events, so I really enjoyed the graphic novel Far Side of the Moon: The Story of Apollo 11’s Third Man, which focuses on Michael Collins. While Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon, Collins had the less flashy but essential job of commanding the lunar orbiter so they could all safely return to Earth. We learn about his background, and the twists and turns of fate that resulted in his selection for the lunar mission. What would it have been like to be totally out of contact with the other astronauts and mission control as he orbited the far side of the moon? He later became the director of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and, though he may not be as famous as his fellow astronauts on that first lunar mission, his role was just as critical.

Another graphic novel about the moon landing is Rocket to the Moon!: Big Ideas that Changed the World 1, a brand new book that covers everything from the history of rockets to the politics of the space race. It is “narrated” by Rodman Law, who in 1913 became the first person to attempt to travel by rocket. Incorporates direct quotations from many historical figures into a highly readable story that I found difficult to put down.

More Learning Resources About the Moon Landing

Resources, Lesson Plans, Activities, & More! Kid World Citizen

Science Books and Resources Crafty Moms Share

Going to the Moon Easy Reader Book 3 Dinosaurs

Kinetic Sand Moon Walking Sensory Bin 3 Dinosaurs

Gross Motor Activity 3 Dinosaurs

Watercolor Moon 3 Dinosaurs

Jun 182019
 
 June 18, 2019  Book Reviews, STEM Comments Off on STEAM Biographies for Kids

Inspire your children to follow their dreams, whether in science or the arts, with these wonderful new STEAM biographies! These beautifully done picture books teach children (and adults!) about pioneers in painting, dance, astronomy, and marine biology. But more importantly, they encourage children to be brave enough to pursue their interests, no matter what obstacles they may face.

Disclosure: I receive a complimentary copy of Dancing Through Fields of Color 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.

STEAM Biographies for Kids

Great collection of STEAM biographies for kids, perfect for summer reading!

If you have a child who loves to color outside the lines, you must read Dancing Through Fields of Color: The Story of Helen Frankenthaler together! At a time when girls especially were meant to follow the rules, Helen Frankenthaler persisted in following her own path, letting her colors run free. She was in love with color and movement, from the swirl of blue waves around her in the ocean to the sunset rays streaming in their apartment windows.

Yet her whole life she had to fight against those that wanted her to do things as they always had been done, and who relegated women artists to small, less experimental exhibits. But she followed her instincts and went on to become a leader in the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 1950s. She pioneered the revolutionary “soak-stain” method of letting paints actually soak into the canvas, thus ushering in the Color Field movement in painting.

A wonderful book to encourage children to follow their hearts and be courageous enough to color outside the lines. Outstanding illustrations capture the lush, vibrant colors of Frankenthaler’s work, plus a reproduction and photos of the artist at work can be seen at the back.

Mexican folkloric dance is ubiquitous these days, but it was not always so celebrated. Danza!: Amalia Hernández and Mexico’s Folkloric Ballet by the award-winning Duncan Tonatiuh, celebrates the achievements of dancer and choreographer Amalia Hernández. Accomplished in both ballet and modern dance, Hernández was moved to study traditional dances of her native Mexico, and she soon began to incorporate them into her pieces.

She founded the world famous dance company, El Ballet Folklórico de México, renowned for integrating elements of these regional dances into ballet and modern dance. It is largely thanks to Hernández’s efforts that Mexican dances are so well known around the world today. Hernández and her dance company (which still performs and tours internationally) helped celebrate the diversity of Mexican heritage and win recognition of Mexican traditions as art.

I adore Tonatiuh’s illustrations, which themselves are known to integrate elements of pre-Columbian art. Gorgeous book published on the 100th anniversary of Hernández’s birth.

Caroline’s Comets: A True Story is one of those stories that I read and think, “Why did I never learn about this in history class?” before answering my own question, “Oh wait! Because she was a woman…” Caroline Hershel was the first woman to discover a comet and the first woman to be paid for scientific research. Along with her brother William, she helped make astronomy into a modern science. Between them they found 2,500 nebulae, along with a number of comets discovered by Caroline. Yet as a child no one expected much from her. As a girl, she was taught “practical skills” rather than the arts and sciences taught to her brothers. She was often no better than a scullery maid for her family and was only allowed to go live with her older brother William – to whom she was devoted – when he paid for a maid to replace her.

When William began to focus on astronomy, Caroline joined him in his pursuits, becoming an assistant inventor and helping him build what was at the time the best telescope in the world. All of this, of course, while serving as a maid and accountant for her brother. It reminded me of the old saying about how Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in high heels! While William is best known for discovering the planet Uranus, Caroline is famed as the Hunter of Comets. Fascinating book about the early history of modern astronomy, as well as the practical problems faced by female scientists.

Today we take for granted deep sea diving and all of the discoveries that have come from it, but Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere reminds us that it is really a very new field of exploration, one still full of danger and mystery. Otis Barton and Will Beebe were an unlikely pair. Beebe was a renowned explorer who saw the sea as another adventure. Barton was a young engineer who came up with a plan to make a deep sea dive a reality. Barton’s contraption, the Bathysphere, was a hollow metal ball just big enough for the two explorers – only four and a half feet! So many things could go wrong, and in fact, when they first went down in 1930 something several things did go wrong. First it was a small leak, but more serious was when sparks from a searchlight cord showered over them, threatening to reach the oxygen tanks. Luckily Barton was able to stop the sparks and save the dive…and their lives.

This was the first of 19 deep sea dives the men would do together in the Bathysphere. They were the first humans to see deep sea creatures alive, swimming in their own environment. Thanks to their courage, people began to see the ocean as a complete habitat, one that deserved study and protection. One of the great mysteries is that Beebe named four new species on his dives that have never been seen since. Did he imagine them, mistake existing species, or, since 95% of the oceans remain unexplored, have we just not come across them again?

Includes actual photos of the Bathysphere at the back of the book. And also I loved the note at the back from Beebe’s former assistant (and later Head of Science Reference at the Library of Congress, Constance Carter). She states that Beebe would often ignore letters from well-known scientists, instead focusing on answering letters from children, saying that it was more important to inspire a child.

What STEAM biographies inspired you as a child?

May 172019
 
 May 17, 2019  Education, STEM Comments Off on Conservation for Kids: Endangered Animals

One way to really engage kids on the topic of environmentalism is to talk about endangered animals. As most children love animals, this is a subject that often speaks to their hearts. Here is a collection of learning resources on conservation for kids that focuses specifically on endangered animals, including a gorgeous new picture book that conveys the urgency of the problem as well as how we can help.

Conservation for Kids: Endangered Animals | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Don’t Let Them Disappear 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.

Conservation for Kids: Resources to Learn About Endangered Animals

 

A wonderful introduction to the topic of endangered animals is the beautiful new picture book by Chelsea Clinton, Don’t Let Them Disappear. After the success of her other children’s books, such as the New York Times bestseller, She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World, Clinton has now turned her attention to conservation for kids, connecting their hearts and minds to endangered animals around the world. Some of the animals included on the list may surprise the reader, such as giraffes and elephants. (When we read the book the first time, my son said, “Wait! They’re endangered, too?”)

This book drives home the point that each animal is unique and a part of the tapestry of life on the planet. For each one included in the book, we are given some facts about what makes it special, as well as why it is endangered. In our house, this has sparked a lot of discussion about what habitat destruction is, and how war can harm animals, too.

Below are even more resources to teach kids about endangered animals. How do you teach conservation for kids?

General Resources and Ideas

Endangered Species Projects and Lessons for Kids: Kid World Citizen

Using a Live Webcam in the Classroom to Learn About Endangered Animals: El Mundo de Pepita

Earth Day Videos About Animals: Kid World Citizen

Endangered Land Animals 3-Part Cards: Homeschooling My Kinetic Kids

Endangered Marine Animals 3-Part Cards: Homeschooling My Kinetic Kids

Z Is for Zoo: Teaching Preschoolers About Animals: Inspiration Laboratories

Using a Zoo Trip to Teach Young Kids About Global Conservation: Multicultural Kid Blogs

 

Resources about Specific Endangered Animals

Learning About African Manatees: All Done Monkey

Learning About Andean Condors: All Done Monkey

The Flightless Birds of New Zealand and Australia: Kid World Citizen

Games to Learn About Endangered Animals of India: All Done Monkey

Book Review and Service Project: Crafty Moms Share

Spirit Bear: Endangered Animals Book Review: All Done Monkey

Learning About Bees Unit Lesson Plan: Nurture Store

Saving Elephants in Kenya: Multicultural Kid Blogs

18 Ways to Teach Kids About Coral Reefs: Kid World Citizen

Panda Facts, Books, Crafts, Videos, and More: Kid World Citizen

Apr 092019
 
 April 9, 2019  Earth Day, Education, STEM 2 Responses »

I’m not a scientist and have no real expertise in the how of conservation, but what I can teach my sons is the why.  Having a global worldview is a passion of mine and was the driving force behind the creation of Multicultural Kid Blogs.  What has always fascinated me about conservation is what it teaches us about the interconnectedness of our small planet, so I came up with this simple STEM activity that is perfect for an Earth Day science experiment or for use with a unit on waterways.

I was a child when acid rain became a threat, and I remember clearly the point that the experts kept repeating: The environment knows no national boundaries.  The pollution in one country creates the acid rain in a neighboring country.  What we do to our environment matters, not just to us but to everyone else on the planet.

I wanted a way to drive this point home to my then preschooler, so I created this simple science experiment using materials we already had around the house.  He had a blast and (hopefully) got something of the message behind the activity.

Earth Day Science Experiment: Our Interconnected Waterways | Alldonemonkey.com

Earth Day Science Experiment: Our Interconnected Waterways

You will need:

Egg carton (cardboard is best)

Flax seed meal or other powdery material

Food coloring

Tray or cookie sheet

Napkin

Lots of water!

First off, I recommend setting your egg carton on a napkin, laid inside a tray, for reasons that we become clear later.  You’ll notice that I did not start this way, but soon learned my lesson!

To start we poured water into the egg carton.  We had to fill it enough that the water poured from one cup to another.  I talked to my son about how the waterways were all connected to each other – creeks run into rivers, which run into lakes and oceans.

Earth Day Science Experiment: Our Interconnected Waterways | Alldonemonkey.com

Next we talked about how if we throw trash into a creek, it doesn’t just get that creek dirty.  The water carries the trash to other places, like lakes and rivers.  To demonstrate this principle, we took the flax seed meal and poured it into one of the egg cups.  You actually have to dump quite a bit before you see an effect, but my son didn’t mind helping with this 🙂

Earth Day Science Experiment: Our Interconnected Waterways | Alldonemonkey.com

Then we added drops of food coloring to another cup and watched as the color slowly spread throughout the egg carton.

Earth Day Science Experiment: Our Interconnected Waterways | Alldonemonkey.com

And then the experiment jumped out of the neat boundaries I had set up, which, of course, was really the whole point.  It turns out that if you let water sit in a cardboard egg carton for a long time, it will leak!  And not just water, of course, but the food coloring that was just added to it.

Earth Day Science Experiment: Our Interconnected Waterways | Alldonemonkey.com

Luckily I was able to roll this potential mishap into our Earth Day science experiment, talking to my son about how even when the connections aren’t obvious, they are still there.  Water in a lake doesn’t just stay in the lake, of course, and neither do the chemicals and dyes we dump into it.  All that junk seeps into the ground and spreads, just like the dye from our egg carton, which quickly stained the napkin I had hurriedly put under it.

My little mess-maker really enjoyed this Earth Day science experiment, and it was a great visual to talk about how interconnected our environment is.  My son’s response?  That we need to get a trash boat so we can go clean up all that trash out there!  Alright, kid, I’ll put it on my list!  Right along with the submarine he wants to get to scout out underwater volcanoes 😉

How do you teach your kids about the environment? 

Jan 112019
 
 January 11, 2019  Book Reviews, Education, STEM 4 Responses »

Inspire a love of learning in your children or students with these beautiful new diverse children’s books. They cover topics from philosophy and art to science, technology, geography, and math, so you’re sure to find something for everyone!

Diverse Books to Inspire a Love of Learning | Alldonemonkey.com

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.

Diverse Books to Inspire a Love of Learning

Did you ever think of teaching your baby coding? Well, neither did I before I received this beautiful set of board books from the amazing Girls Who Code. These eye-catching books are a playful way to inspire a love of learning and teach very young children that code is all around them – from their everyday world (Baby Code!) to the music they love (Baby Code! Music), the art they create (Baby Code! Art), and the way they play (Baby Code! Play). The text even includes actual code! I have to admit, I was skeptical about how much little ones would really understand of these concepts, but my toddler loves these books. She enjoys seeing pictures of babies doing things she loves – like painting or building a tower – and the explanation of how this relates to coding (Mommy can use coding to copy Baby’s painting without using paint, a computer can use code to make a block with a 3-D printer!) is very easy for them to grasp.

I (Heart) Art: The Work We Love from The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a gorgeous book guaranteed to turn any reader – young or old – into an art lover. I love that it encompasses such a variety of media and artists and that it is divided into themes, including people, animals, and transportation. And it can be enjoyed at different levels – younger children may simply enjoy the 150+ works of art, while older children can read more about the works in the accompanying text. This is a book to be savored and enjoyed again and again.

I have to admit that when I received Eggsistential Thoughts by Gudetama the Lazy Egg and its companion Gudetama’s Guide to Life, I wasn’t sure how to approach them. Were they philosophy books for kids, or satire? Fortunately my kids got Gudetama and his lazy attitude right away. They loved him! They laughed and laughed at the drawings (especially his little bottom), but they also imbibed some philosophical concepts, such as conflict management and optimism vs pessimism. Because ultimately Gudetama is profound and comical at the same time. Find out more about the Gudetama phenomenon in the context of Japanese culture, and just trust me, your kids will love these books, and so will you!

Another book sure to inspire a love of learning is The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague, a lovely picture book biography about a young African-American girl who pursued her dream of becoming an engineer, despite the racism and sexism she faced every step of the way. Encouraged by her family, Montague’s hard work and determination eventually paid off. She won over those that were initially against her, and she is now credited with pioneering new methods of ship design. I love that this beautiful picture book includes at the back a timeline of Montague’s life, a more in-depth biography for older children, and even an interview with Montague herself! Did you know that the first person to publish a book of photographs was a woman? Learn more in the new picture book The Bluest of Blues: Anna Atkins and the First Book of Photographs. The ethereal illustrations portray Anna’s fascination with plant life and her work as a botanist. She used incredibly detailed drawings to record her findings, but when cyanotype photography came along, she turned to this new technology instead. Her 1843 book on British algae is considered the first book of photographs ever published. A lovely tribute to this pioneer of science and art. In many ways, Yasmin is a typical second grader: curious, full of energy, and still gaining confidence in her own talents. Her map of the neighborhood helps her when she gets lost at the Farmer’s Market, and she overcomes her initial frustration in order to contribute to a group project at school. But in the new early chapter book Meet Yasmin!, we also learn that in many ways Yasmin is beautifully unique: she calls her father Baba rather than Daddy, her mother wears a hijab, and Yasmin loves to dress up in her mom’s colorful saris. Her family is Pakistani-American, and while the stories are ones any child can relate to, the cultural richness comes through in the details: a portrait of Malala in Yasmin’s bedroom, her mother ordering naan bread at the bakery. But what really shines through is the sparkling spirit of this young girl, especially her curiosity and love of learning. Bonus materials at the back include information about Pakistan, a recipe, and a craft idea!

Related Posts:

Fun Books That Are Also Educational (Shh!)

STEM Books with Strong Female Characters

Multicultural Children's Book Day
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators.

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board

Medallion Level Sponsors Honorary: Children’s Book Council, The Junior Library Guild, TheConsciousKid.org. Super Platinum: Make A Way Media GOLD: Bharat Babies, Candlewick Press, Chickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcito, KidLitTV, Lerner Publishing Group, Plum Street Press, SILVER: Capstone Publishing, Carole P. Roman, Author Charlotte Riggle, Huda Essa, The Pack-n-Go Girls, BRONZE: Charlesbridge Publishing, Judy Dodge Cummings, Author Gwen Jackson, Kitaab World, Language Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ Languages, Lee & Low Books, Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, Redfin, Author Gayle H. Swift, T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s Daughter, TimTimTom Books, Lin Thomas, Sleeping Bear Press/Dow Phumiruk, Vivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie Flett, Mehrdokht Amini, Author Janet Balletta, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Josh Funk, Chitra Soundar, One Globe Kids – Friendship Stories, Sociosights Press and Almost a Minyan, Karen Leggett, Author Eugenia Chu, CultureGroove Books, Phelicia Lang and Me On The Page, L.L. Walters, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Hayley Barrett, Sonia Panigrah, Author Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing Dreidels, Author Susan Bernardo, Milind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu Kid, Tara Williams, Veronica Appleton, Author Crystal Bowe, Dr. Claudia May, Author/Illustrator Aram Kim, Author Sandra L. Richards, Erin Dealey, Author Sanya Whittaker Gragg, Author Elsa Takaoka, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Anita Badhwar, Author Sylvia Liu, Feyi Fay Adventures, Author Ann Morris, Author Jacqueline Jules, CeCe & Roxy Books, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, LEUYEN PHAM, Padma Venkatraman, Patricia Newman and Lightswitch Learning, Shoumi Sen, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci Sorell, Shereen Rahming, Blythe Stanfel, Christina Matula, Julie Rubini, Paula Chase, Erin Twamley, Afsaneh Moradian, Claudia Schwam, Lori DeMonia, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls Revolution, Soulful Sydney, Queen Girls Publications, LLC We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE. Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts A Crafty Arab, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Biracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon Reads, Educators Spin on it, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin Lee, Jump Into a Book, Imagination Soup, Jenny Ward’s Class, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Raising Race Conscious Children, Shoumi Sen, Spanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media!

MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details. FREE RESOURCES From MCBD Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: https://wp.me/P5tVud-1H Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians, and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/ Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.
Multicultural Children's Book Day

Apr 192018
 
 April 19, 2018  Book Reviews, Education, STEM Comments Off on Fun New Books That Are Also Educational (Shhh!)

Want to keep the learning going outside the classroom? Here are super fun new books that are also educational! Your kids will just know that they’re fun, but you’ll know that they’re learning about science and language arts! So pat yourselves on the back, Mom and Dad, as you watch your kids enjoying books that are also helping their little minds grow.

That Are Also Educational (Shhh!) | Alldonemonkey.com

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.

Fun New Books That Are Also Educational (Shhh!)

STEM Books

Friends Stick Together is a sweet new picture book about an unlikely pair that must learn to work together. Rupert is a mild-mannered rhino who loves classical music and cucumber sandwiches. His life is quiet and orderly, until one day Levi the tickbird shows up. Levi is loud and silly, with a tendency to burp the alphabet. Rupert tries every trick he can think of to rid himself of Levi, until one day he finally succeeds – and comes to realize how Levi actually made his life more fun (as well as less itchy). Great book to show how being friends with someone different can challenge us and enrich our lives.

So what does this have to do with STEM? This book is not just about friendship, it’s also sneakily about symbiosis, when different animal or plant species have a close association. In the case of Rupert and Levi, Levi gets to eat Rupert’s ticks, which in turn helps Rupert’s skin feel better. STEM book that’s also fun? Win-win!

Older kids will love the Zoey and Sassafras series, which I have written about previously. (Although I should say that this would make a great read aloud for younger kids as well, especially because it has so many illustrations). The Pod and The Bog and Caterflies and Ice are the latest adventures of Zoey and her cat Sassafras.

Zoey is the coolest kid around, getting to help with magical characters through the power of science! For example, in The Pod and The Bog she must figure out how to help a mysterious glowing seed pod to grow. My kids enjoy finding out about these magical creatives and trying to solve the mystery. I love how Zoey uses the scientific method to test out hypotheses and ultimately arrive at a solution, and that she is using her smarts to help others. This series is a real favorite at our house and an easy choice to include in our list of fun new books that are also educational!

Language Arts

It is hard to imagine a more fun book about punctuation! My kids and I laugh and laugh each time we read Semicolons, Cupcakes, and Cucumbers. It is a picture book, but it is so clever that my older son really enjoys it as well. Trust me, after reading this book, your kids will never look at punctuation the same way again! This is the story of four friends (Period, Question Mark, Exclamation Point, and Comma) who are trying to agree on what to do for fun. It’s not until a mysterious stranger (Semi-Colon) shows up that they realize that they can work together and find activities they all can enjoy!

The personalities of each character come through clearly, and each always speaks using its own punctuation mark. For example, Exclamation Point is the adventurous one, always shouting with enthusiasm, while Period is very matter of fact and really just wants to go to the library. Young readers will laugh out loud as the friends stumble through a series of adventures together before finally finding a fun way to spend the day. Don’t miss the bonus educational activities at the end!

Fun New Books That Are Also Educational (Shhh!) | Alldonemonkey.com

When the picture book Rhyme Crime arrived at our house recently, my five year old grabbed it immediately and went to read it on the couch. A few minutes later he brought it over to me and said I had to stop making dinner and read it immediately because it was hilarious. Turns out he was right! Someone is stealing words – and replacing them with rhymes. For example, when Hammy’s new hat was stolen, he found himself wearing a cat instead! The results are always silly, and the colorful illustrations even more so. The thief finally meets his downfall when he makes the mistake of stealing an orange! This is a fun read, especially for kids that are just learning about rhymes. My toddler loves flipping through it just for the pictures.

Enjoy these fun new books that are also educational with your kids, for a parenting win-win!

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Dec 012017
 
 December 1, 2017  Book Reviews, parenting, STEM Comments Off on Emergency Preparedness and Extreme Weather

When I was a child, my family lived through a hurricane – something previously unheard of in my part of North Carolina, as far inland as we were. Luckily, my mother was always attentive to emergency reports and had quickly stocked our home with the essentials, so that when the storm hit we were ready. (A good thing, since we were without power for 10 days!) Recently we have seen many more families impacted by natural disasters, from hurricanes to wildfires, which is why it is essential to teach our children about emergency preparedness. Here are some wonderful resources that will help your family to get ready for an emergency plus teach children about the science behind extreme weather, including a great new children’s book from an award-winning meteorologist!

Emergency Preparedness and Extreme Weather: Resources for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Freddy the Frogcaster 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.

Emergency Preparedness and Extreme Weather: Resources for Kids

Emergency Preparedness for Families

How to Have a Weather Drill at Home Without Scaring the Kids Your Modern Family

Your Weather Emergency and Hurricane Preparedness Checklist The Soccer Mom

10 Things You Need to Do Now to Prepare a Family Emergency Kit STEAM Powered Family

How to Prepare Your Family for a Weather Emergency Teach Mama

The Science Behind Extreme Weather

Learning About the Water Cycle and Flooding Science Sparks

Hurricane Unit Study Look! We’re Learning

Hurricane Model Science Experiment Preschool Powol Packets

Make a Hurricane Gift of Curiosity

Tornado in a Jar Schooling a Monkey

Natural Disaster Lessons: Wildfires, Earthquakes, & Volcanoes The Usual Mayhem

Snowstorm in a Jar Lemon Lime Adventures

Emergent Readers About Extreme Weather The Measured Mom

 

Freddy the Frogcaster and the Flash Flood is a wonderful book for a range of ages. It is the fifth in a series from award-winning meteorologist Janice Dean, who focuses her stories on helping children understand extreme weather and learn important safety tips. In this book, Freddy the Frogcaster (who is super adorable, by the way!) warns the town about a big storm coming – but then the storm passes them by! Freddy must overcome his embarrassment to make sure the town is ready when a storm does come. I love that this story shows that, even though forecasters may not always “get it right” all of the time (thanks to the science of predicting the weather), it is still important to pay attention to the weather report so we can help us be ready when a disaster hits.

This book works on so many levels. The colorful illustrations and relatable story line are very appealing to young readers, who may not even notice how much weather science is woven into the story itself! There are also wonderful fact filled pages at the end of the book, where kids not only learn all about the science behind floods, they get great tips on how to stay safe if one strikes.

I really recommend this series for families and classrooms, as it contains such valuable information in a very entertaining, easy to understand format.

Nov 022017
 
 November 2, 2017  Book Reviews, STEM Comments Off on New STEM Books with Strong Female Characters

As we all know, there is a big push to get girls interested in STEM and a key component of that is to provide great role models for them, so they can imagine themselves doing STEM activities and pursuing related careers. That is why I am so pleased to share with you great STEM books aimed at children of different ages that feature girls and women with varied personalities and backgrounds, who happen to all love the STEM fields. Here is a collection of great new STEM books with strong female characters, plus bonus STEM resources!

I also want to add that while these books have strong female characters, they are not STEM books for girls only. I have read all of them with my sons, who have really enjoyed them. Boys need positive female role models, too!

STEM Books with Strong Female Characters | Alldonemonkey.com

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 STEM Books with Strong Female Characters

Twinderella, A Fractioned Fairy Tale is a wonderful mathematical twist on the classic tale, delivering up not one but two heroines to love. Cin and Tin split exactly in half all of the chores they receive from their evil stepmother but both yearn for something more. After they attend the royal ball, the smitten Prince Charming is confused when the slipper he finds fits both of the twins. Can the fairy godmother help the girls with some mathematical magic? I love that while one twin in your more traditional fairy princess, the other is a math whiz who just wants to lead an academic life – no judgment of either choice in this book! We also love the poster that comes with the book (“Master math to live happily ever HALF-ter!”), which includes fun math activities on the back.

The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: the Story of Dr. Patricia Bath is the inspiring true story of a gifted child whose parents encouraged her dreams despite the double burden she faced as a black girl. Her story of determination and perseverance will inspire any child who has been told she couldn’t do something simply because she was different. The book tells Dr. Bath’s life story with engaging pictures and rhyming text, plus there are lots of resources included at the end – a timeline of Dr. Bath’s life, “fun facts” about her, a more in-depth look at her biography, and – my favorite – a personal note from Dr. Bath, encouraging children to always ask questions.

One thing that really struck me about her story is her focus on community health and providing prevention eye care to underserved communities. Years ago I read an article about female scientists, which made the observation that women in science tend to focus on practical research to help people – rather like the truism in development circles that if you want to educate a community, you need to educate the women. Exactly why we need more girls to get excited about STEM!

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: the Story of Dr. Temple Grandin is another incredible true story of a STEM heroine who was told “no” at every turn. Dr. Temple Grandin was one of the first people I had ever heard of with autism (years before my own nephew’s diagnosis). Importantly, she was one of the very first who could really communicate to others what it feels like to be autistic, and how differently people with autism see the world. What is so great about her story is that it is not so much about her “overcoming” autism but learning to use it to her advantage to empathize with animals and try to see things from their point of view. This book follows a similar format to The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes above – first a picture book story and then additional resources, including fun facts and a personal note from Dr. Grandin.

The Friendship Code is the first book in the super cool new Girls Who Code chapter book series. It centers around Lucy and her excitement about the new coding club at school. But she is frustrated with the teacher seems to give them irrelevant assignments – plus there is bound to be major drama when her former best friend joins the club, too! To top it off, someone is sending Lucy messages written in code. Can she and her coding club friends solve the mystery? I love the diverse characters in the book – diverse not just racially but personality wise as well. You have your geek, your jock, your theater buff, and your fashionista – showing that all kinds of kids can enjoy doing coding. The dynamics among the characters feels very authentic, and kids will love trying to solve the case – learning a lot of basic coding along the way!

As with all of the books listed here, boys can really enjoy it, too – in fact, I’m having to write this review from memory, as my oldest son has the book spirited away in his room to finish reading. When I asked him for it back, he waved vaguely to his room and said it should be in there, adding, “It’s really good!” Um, yes, I know! Now can I have it back, please??

Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World is the non-fiction companion to The Friendship Code above. And it is awesome. I enjoyed reading it myself, and I’ve incorporated it into the coding part of our homeschool curriculum because it does such a stellar job of explaining coding – what it is, why we should care, and how it works. Despite its catchy format, it really does get into the nitty gritty of coding, but it explains it so well that it isn’t intimidating at all, it’s really fun! Which is the whole point of the Girls Who Code organization behind the book – making coding relevant and accessible for girls in order to close the gender gap in tech. The organization, which began 5 years ago, will reach 40,000 girls throughout the US by the end of the year – from rural communities to homeless shelters to prestigious private schools. STEM books like Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World and The Friendship Code help them extend this reach even further.

Hamster Princess: Giant Trouble gets an honorable mention here (read my full review), because even though the books in this amazing series are not STEM books, the super fierce Princess Harriet has a major obsession with fractions! The boys and I have been reading these together and are super excited for the next installment. Great book for reversing a lot of stereotypes about female and male characters in traditional fairy tales.

Bonus STEM Books & Resources

Here are even more fun STEM books and resources to get your kids excited about STEM! And in keeping with our theme, most of the people behind them are women!

How to Survive as a Shark is such a fun way to teach kids about these amazing creatures! I love the format, a crusty older shark teaching the little ones all they need to know (like stay away from your mom – she might eat you!) The story is really fun, as the dialogue between the shark teacher and “kids” provides a lot of humor, but don’t be fooled: It’s positively stuffed with interesting facts, all told in accessible – but not watered down – language.

How to Survive as a Firefly is another in the same series, this time focuses on fireflies. (In this one the teacher has to hurry up and finish his lesson since he only has 30 seconds left to live!) My kids love these books – to be honest, I was surprised that my preschooler would want to read a book that was so full of scientific information, but when we sat down to read together, it was obvious why: It is just plain fun! The story and illustrations are so engaging, and the facts really are fascinating. Plus these books focus on creatures like sharks and bugs that naturally pique the interest of kids. Don’t miss the bonus questions from the baby fireflies at the end!

Sumita Mukherjee is back with another cool STEM book for kids! (See my review of her last book). Cool Science Experiments For Kids!: Awesome science experiments and Do It Yourself activities for 6-10 years kids is designed for people who want to do fun, hands on experiments with their kids. I love that there is such a variety of experiments and that they are marked for level of difficulty and estimated time, so it’s easy to flip through and find one that’s a good fit for your kids or classroom. Step by step instructions with photos make it easy to follow along even if you don’t have much scientific background yourself. The experiments cover motion & energy, chemistry & reactions, math fun, and crafts & games.

Related Post: How to Be a STEM Superhero – Even If You Don’t Like Science!

Coding games app from Kidlo Land

Coding Games for Kids – Learn to Code with Play app is a great way to teach kids the principles of coding in a fun, engaging way! There are six games, including Monster Dentist and Pop the Balloons, each of which has many different levels, so kids can work their way up as their learn the coding basics of sequence, loops, and function. My only caveat is to take the age range of 6-8 with a grain of salt. My 4 year old had fun playing the beginning levels, whereas my 7 year old thought the graphic (though not necessarily the content) were a little babyish. They both had a lot of fun playing the games, however, and it is well suited to beginning coders.

Jun 232017
 
 June 23, 2017  Book Reviews, STEM Comments Off on How To Be A STEM Superhero – Even If You Don’t Like Science

We all know how important STEM education is – but that doesn’t mean we all feel confident teaching STEM to our children. I enjoyed my science classes as a kid, but, to be honest, it really wasn’t my thing. I did well, but I was really more of an arts and literature kind of a gal. So when it came time for college, I cheerfully tested out of my science requirements and filled my schedule with history, languages, and anthropology classes instead. Fast forward several decades, and now I am doing my best to encourage my STEM-loving kids, even without a strong background in science. The good news? You don’t have to be a scientist to be a STEM superhero!

That’s why I am so excited for this guest post from my friend Lisa at Knocked Up Abroad. Read on as she shares ideas on how you can be a STEM superhero – even if you don’t like science!

How to Be a STEM Superhero - Even If You Don't Like Science | Alldonemonkey.com

 

Our kids have a natural curiosity to question their environment, and most of their questions are usually biologic in nature. Do worms have eyes? What do ladybugs eat? etc. When our kids ask us questions, we, as parents, feel that we need to have all of the answers. However, we don’t always have these answers handy without first consulting Wikipedia. The best solution, when confronted with a question to which you do not have an answer, is to admit it.

“That’s a really good question. I don’t know the answer but let’s look it up when we get home.”

Boom. You didn’t look incompetent; you just taught your kid how to conduct research. It is important that parents foster their children’s natural curiosity in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) even if that parent has absolutely zero training, interest, or mild expertise in STEM.

Related Post: How to Get Kids Excited About STEM

STEM jobs are our the future, and fortunately, there are a ton of children’s books that are focused on making STEM not only easy to understand but interesting to learn for young kids. STEM doesn’t have to be intimidating if you’re not a science loving parent. Many parents don’t even know where to start when it comes to answering their kids’ questions about science.

How To Be A STEM Superhero - Marie Curie and the Power of Persistencce

One book, in particular, is emphasizing the non-scientific personality traits that are inherent to all scientists—persistence (perseverance is a mouthful). Every kid needs to learn how to persist—how to overcome challenges—and it is a character trait that will serve everyone later in life regardless of what career they pursue.

In Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence, Marie is confronted time and time again by the villain, Mr. Opposition (Mr. O). Time and time again, Marie persists and overcomes Mr. O to reach both personal and professional success.

How To Be A STEM Superhero - Marie Curie and the Power of Persistencce

By focusing on Marie’s personality traits that lead to her success instead of a level of genius that may be too confusing and intimidating for young children, every child and parent can identify new ways in which they persisted over a challenge.

One great way to read this book with kids is to have a follow-up discussion about a time when each person faced a challenge. Who or what was their Mr. Opposition? How did they use persistence to reach their goals?

How To Be A STEM Superhero - Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence

Marie Curie represents a positive female role model for both girls and boys as the first person to ever win two Nobel Prizes and the only person to win Nobel Prizes in two different sciences. This book illustrates her complex discoveries using language that early readers can understand. The book is excellent for readers between the ages of 5-9 years and parents, even those who aren’t STEM-inclined, will enjoy reading the super science hero story.

With Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence, everyone can be a STEM superhero, all you need is persistence.

The book is available to pre-order now through IndieGogo until July 4. There are exclusive hands-on experiments to give kids a jump start on their own scientific discoveries. Who knows? Maybe your kid will be the next Marie Curie!

Now you can be a STEM superhero for all children! Help us bring science to life for our youngest readers by supporting the book or by sharing this project on Facebook.

Jun 132017
 

We have all heard about the dreaded summer slide – the loss a child experiences during summer vacation, when lack of practice erodes the learning so painstakingly gained during the school year. Here are fun ways to beat the summer slide, through educational media that your child will actually enjoy!

Ideas to Beat the Summer Slide | Alldonemonkey.com

Don’t miss my summer slide giveaway – scroll down for more details!

Disclosure: I received complimentary samples of the products 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.

Beat the Summer Slide

Reading

One time-tested way to beat the summer slide is through reading! There are so many summer reading programs available – check your local library, plus you can also participate in online programs such as this Spanish language one from Spanish Playground, or this one from Latinas for Latino Lit. At Multicultural Kid Blogs we are also in our fourth year of the Read Around the World Summer Reading series, so you won’t be at a loss for great books to read!

Related Post: Global Travel Adventure Books for Kids

A new find for us this summer is the wonderful book Find Your Way In Space: Travel through space and practice your Math and Mapping skills. It is so much fun and packed with learning! Through it, kids go on an adventure through space, sharpening their geography and math skills along the way. It is something of a cross between a choose-your-own-adventure and a seek-and-find book. It is non-sequential, so you can take various paths to reach your end goal, plus on each page there are multiple entry and exit points. All along the way you help your fellow aliens find lost objects or locate their destinations, count stars or compare sizes of asteroids, and answer math problems to get through road blocks. This is the kind of book that can be used countless times, as your child selects different missions or chooses different pathways to reach their goal.

Epic!

If you really want to get your child excited about reading, you should check out Epic!, an all-you-can-read online library of children’s books that you can access across your devices. Epic! is a dream come true for our family, since our kids go through so many books each week. We are always at the limit on our library cards and are constantly juggling how many books we have to return in order to check out those new ones they just have to have. With Epic! that struggle is over! My kids now have access to a vast library of books, audiobooks, educational videos, and quizzes. You can have up to 4 profiles on your account, so each child can have a customized reading profile with recommendations just for them.

I love the wide range of books available and how easy it is for my kids to find books they are interested in. I especially love the selection of “read to me” books for my two pre-readers, so that they can enjoy reading time as well. Epic! is perfect if you are traveling this summer, so you don’t have to worry about lugging along a stack of books!

Sign up now and read FREE for 30 days!

Media

Music and movies are also fun ways to stimulate young brains over the summer. They expect learning to be more fun over vacation, and why not? Watch some kid-friendly foreign movies or some awe-inspiring nature documentaries. You can also listen to great music and learn at the same time!

Every Kid's A Genius: Lesson 1

Every Child Wins is an example of great educational music that is so fun you’ll want to listen to it even when your kids aren’t around! It is no secret that educational music is usually very forced, artificial, and not much fun for anyone. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the album Every Kid’s A Genius actually sounds like music you’d hear on an R&B or hip-hop station, but the lyrics are related to learning the alphabet and numbers. It is very upbeat, so it is great to play as you get ready in the mornings or in the car. The tunes are catchy, so the lesson will stay with your child long after the music is turned off.

Best of all, you could win a FREE COPY of this album by commenting below before midnight PT on Sunday, June 11, 2017, with your favorite way to beat the summer slide! I have 25 copies to give away, so comment for a chance to win! Random winners will be chosen from the verified entries.

Computer Programs & Apps

Of course, you can’t talk about education for kids these days without talking about screen time! Luckily there are some truly wonderful apps and computer programs that can keep your kids excited about learning and beat the summer slide.

Smartick

One program that we’ve come to love is Smartick. I loved math as a kid, but I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my oldest son doesn’t. At least, he didn’t. Getting him to do math worksheets has always been like pulling teeth. Math games and manipulatives help, but for a long time math remained his least favorite subject. Yet now that we are using Smartick, doing math is a treat, not a chore! He really enjoys this online program, especially because you earn points to use in games after you finish your session.

I love that my 4 year old can also use it without my help. He was really amazed and so proud of himself for using the same program as his big brother! Each child has his own profile, and Smartick uses artificial intelligence to adjust the program to that child’s level, so they are working on problems just right for them. The idea is that your child does one short, 15 minute session a day, so that they get the repetition and practice without the burnout. I love that I get a daily report of how and what they do in their sessions, so I can track their progress. Please note that they are currently running a summer special through 7/31/17 – try it for free then choose a discounted package. It’s a great way to get started!

Read with Fonics

A great program for kids learning to read is Reading with Fonics. My preschooler has had a lot of fun with it! I love that it is right at his level, so it really builds his confidence at the same time as it is reinforcing concepts and teaching him new skills. It is a really cute, fun game that is based on the idea that reading can be decoded by teaching kids basic phonics – the sounds that letters and letter combinations make – rather than having them memorize long lists of words. Once they master the basic sounds, they can read most words they encounter, even if they have never seen them before!

I love that Reading with Fonics starts off with very simple sounds and becomes progressively more complex. Each time you master one sound, another is unlocked. This is a familiar video game format, plus it ensures that your child has time to really “get” the concept before moving on to a new one. It is a really fun game for little ones, and a great way to give them a leg up on their reading for the fall!

Summer Camps

Summer camps are a great way to keep learning going over vacation! Immersion camps are great for language learning, or you can do a world explorers camp or even a Lego theme!

What is your favorite way to beat the summer slide? Comment below before midnight PT on Sunday, June 11, 2017, and you could be one of 25 winners of a FREE DOWNLOAD of Every Kid’s A Genius music album (see above). Random winners will be chosen from the verified entries.

 

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