100+ Creative Hands-on Activities for Ages 4-8 for curious kids


What happens if you water plants with juice? 
Where can you find bacteria in your house? 
Is slug slime as strong as a glue stick? 

How would your child find the answers to these questions? In The Curious Kid’s Science Book, your child will learn to design his or her own science investigations to determine the answers! Children will learn to ask their own scientific questions, discover value in failed experiments, and — most importantly — have a blast with science. … Read more

A new challenge for Serafina

Serafina’s defeat of the Man in the Black Cloak has brought her out of the shadows and into the daylight realm of her home, Biltmore Estate. Every night she visits her mother in the forest, eager to learn the ways of the catamount. But Serafina finds herself caught between her two worlds: she’s too wild for Biltmore’s beautifully dressed ladies and formal customs, and too human to fully join her kin.

Late one night, Serafina encounters a strange and terrifying figure in the forest, and is attacked by the vicious wolfhounds that seem to be under his control. Even worse, she’s convinced that the stranger was not alone, that he has sent his accomplice into Biltmore in disguise.

Someone is wreaking havoc at the estate. A mysterious series of attacks test Serafina’s role as Biltmore’s protector, culminating in a tragedy that tears Serafina’s best friend and only ally, Braeden Vanderbilt, from her side. Heartbroken, she flees.

Deep in the forest, Serafina comes face-to-face with the evil infecting Biltmore—and discovers its reach is far greater than she’d ever imagined. All the humans and creatures of the Blue Ridge Mountains are in terrible danger. For Serafina to defeat this new evil before it engulfs her beloved home, she must search deep inside herself and embrace the destiny that has always awaited her.

Ages: 9-12

Read an Excerpt

Watch the trailer

Buy the book: Book Depository , Fishpond.com.au , Amazon , TheNile.com.au

Other Books in the Serafina Series


Virginia Hamilton Conference offers two outreach grants of $1,000 each


Each year, two grants up to $1000 each are available for projects to develop new classroom or library programs that raise awareness of multicultural literature among young people particularly, but not exclusively, through the works of Virginia Hamilton.

Each year we will award one grant to a K-12 teacher, and one will be awarded to a school library or youth services librarian in a public library.

Eligible applicants must currently work with or plan to work with children or adolescents in any grade from preschool through high school or in a public or school library.

Applicants must submit an application form, a professional reference and a proposal detailing the development of a new classroom or library program that:

* Promotes awareness of multicultural themes and issues through outstanding literature

* Illustrates the use of exemplary multicultural literature, particularly but not exclusively the works of Virginia Hamilton

* Demonstrates effective organization, methods and/or library service

* Includes a plan for documenting the development of the program throughout the grant period

* Cover sheet with your name, postal and e-mail address, telephone number and project title

* Detailed description of the proposed program that includes:

o Setting (classroom and/or library)

o Population (grade level and/or age range)

o Program goals

o Dates of the program and a detailed timeline of events

o Program procedures, methods and organization

* Evidence that the program will promote awareness of multicultural themes and issues

* A program budget

* Evidence of the use of exemplary multicultural literature; particularly, but not exclusively, the works of Virginia Hamilton

* Plan for documenting the program’s development throughout the grant period

* Program evaluation procedure

Award application deadline is February 28.

Grant recipients will be announced at the annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth at Kent State University, scheduled for April 9 and 10, 2015. For further information about the conference, please visit www.kent.edu/virginiahamiltonconference.

The Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff Creative Outreach Grant is sponsored by the College and Graduate School of Education, Health, and Human Services and the School of Library and Information Science in conjunction with the Kent State University Foundation and the Office of Continuing and Distance Education, with generous support from private donors and Scholastic Press.

“the dignity and difficulties” of teaching – Teacher Man by Frank McCourt

Teacher Man

Teacher Man

Frank McCourt

As he did so adroitly in his previous memoirs, Angela’s Ashes and ‘Tis, McCourt manages to uncover humor in nearly everything. He writes about hilarious misfires, as when he suggested (during his teacher’s exam) that the students write a suicide note, as well as unorthodox assignments that turned into epiphanies for both teacher and students. A dazzling writer with a unique and compelling voice, McCourt describes the dignity and difficulties of a largely thankless profession with incisive, self-deprecating wit and uncommon perception. It may have taken him three decades to figure out how to be an effective teacher, but he ultimately saved his most valuable lesson for himself: how to be his own man.

=> Teacher Man

Beautiful rhyming ghost story – The ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon


The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon

Aaron Blabey

Winner: Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature in the 2013 NSW Premier’s Awards

Life is cursed for the people of the village of Twee. The ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon haunts their every waking hour and they’ve had enough! But then one day, the brave and practical young Herbert Kettle has the most extraordinary idea …
With teaching notes => http://bit.ly/17C1hDX

What do you do when your mum, your dad and sixteen camels are in trouble … Morris Gleitzman


Too Small to Fail

Morris Gleitzman

What do you do when your mum, your dad and sixteen camels are in trouble and only you can save them?
The sometimes sad but mostly funny story of a boy, a girl, a dog and four trillion dollars. => http://bit.ly/ZNS9Zn

The true story of the first woman over Niagara Falls

Queen of the falls

Queen of the Falls 

By Chris Van Allsburg

Any kid who has beheld Niagara Falls—or even taken a good look at pictures of it—will be suitably gobsmacked by the true story of charm-school teacher Annie Edson Taylor, who, at age 62, decided on a whim to fund her golden years by being the first person over the falls.
Read more about the book + watch the trailer

A Better Investment Than Pizza: Discussing Picture Books at Politics and Prose

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Award, Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C., hosted a picture book panel on May 19 called Through the Ages for All Ages. Children’s book historian Leonard S. Marcus moderated the discussion, which drew a standing-room-only crowd; panel participants in the free-ranging and forthright conversation were publisher Neal Porter (r.); picture book authors Jon Scieszka (l.), Meg Medina, and Mac Barnett; and author-illustrators Laura Vaccaro Seeger (center) and Christopher Myers. http://bit.ly/19gn9CS

The Print Friendly Classroom

There is strong emphasis in today’s early childhood world for teachers to be aware of making their classrooms “print friendly.” This used to mean tacking up colorful alphabet cards as decorations in the classroom and moving on to other activities. The only time the alphabet cards were mentioned to students was when the teacher introduced a new letter to the class. That has changed. Print friendly means much more today.

When a teacher is practicing “print friendly” there is evidence everywhere in the classroom. That awareness, literacy awareness, takes the form of age appropriate media being available for all its students. In an infant room “print friendly” means having large colorful pictures around the room, placed at the infant’s eye level. The goal is to help young children focus their attention on printed matter. For infants this may mean placing pictures lower on the walls at their eye level. It is a recognition by the teacher that all the wonderful printed items available will do no good if the child can not see them.
America, long considered the melting pot of the world, often serves families whose primary language is not English. This means children often enter the classroom with no or limited English. These children will be learning a minimum of two languages at the same time, one at home and one at school. In these cases, a teacher’s print friendly environment may include labeling items in English and simultaneously labeling them in the secondary language such as Spanish or Chinese.

Here are a few ways to easily and quickly begin to make a classroom print friendly.

1. Establish an attendance wall chart large enough so that all children are listed and all children can easily record their presence with an check mark. Each child can learn to check in daily. At first the child will learn to find their picture and then mark his attendance. After a while the teacher can replace the picture with a card that now has a smaller picture with the child’s name printed next to it. Soon that card is replaced with a new card and this one will bear only the child’s printed name. By now the child has learned his own name and can check in easily. He’s probably also learned to recognize all of his classmates’ names as well. The important message here is that children learn to go to printed material to retrieve information. He’s beginning to use a new tool.

2. Each learning center within the classroom offers different possibilities for labeling. The Domestic Center may have pictures of common fruits and vegetables along side their printed names. There may be posted recipes that have drawings to explain the measurements. The Block Corner may show diagrams on how to construct a building. These diagrams may or may not used printed words. Again, they lead the child to printed material to retrieve information. Print friendly doesn’t always have to use words.

3. The Library Center can be rich with a variety of books. From board books to pictionaries, from short picture books to chapter books, from recreational books to reference books, there are opportunities for children to learn to use the printed word. Even though a classroom may have children who all speak the same language a print friendly room will include books from different languages. For example, adding Spanish books, Russian books or Chinese books helps children understand that there are many different languages in our world and they all communicate through the printed word.

The classroom teacher sets the print friendly goals in her classroom through labeling, material selection, and curriculum development. The teacher that values language and desires to create readers will find many ways to use words and symbols throughout the room. When children pick up on this enthusiasm they will begin to add to the classroom collection of print friendly materials by contributing newspapers and magazines from home and making their own books. One of the child’s greatest achievements in early childhood education is understanding how to use language and print friendly gives them a strong start.

Elaine S. Rexdale earned a BA in Elementary Education from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL and an MA in Early Childhood Education from Teachers College at Columbia University in NY. She has been an early childhood educator and administrator for the past 30 years and has served in public and private schools in IL, LA, and NY. Her website is http://www.ElaineRexdale.com