Friday, March 30, 2012

Fish for a Free Book: March 30th

Welcome to Fish for a Free Book!

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

This is a guest post by Graham Batstone.

Enchiladas are a traditional dish that originated in Mexico around the time of the Mayans. In their original form, tortillas were rolled and dipped in sauce. Later on, enchilada’s gained fillings and many varieties developed.  In the present day you will usually find several common components in an enchilada, which include a meat filling, cheese and olives. There are vegetarian recipes as well. This particular recipe for Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas involves 8 (6-inch) flour tortillas and 1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch pieces. You will also need 1 Tbsp. of oil, 1 pkg. (1.25 oz.) of taco seasoning, 1 jar (16 oz.) of chunky-style salsa, 1 can (15 oz.) of black beans, rinsed and drained, 1 can (8 oz.) of whole kernel corn, drained, 2 cups of 4 cheese Mexican Cheese, divided, 2 cans (10 oz. each) of mild enchilada sauce, 2 Tbsp. of sliced black olives and 2 Tbsp. of sliced green olives. Your 4 cheese Mexican blend should include Monterey Jack, Mild Cheddar, Queso Quesadilla and Asadero Cheese.

The entire dish can be prepared and cooked in just over half an hour. To prepare your enchiladas, begin by heating the oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add your chicken; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Then, add your taco seasoning; cook for an additional 2 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink. Stir in salsa, beans, corn and 1 cup of cheese. Spread 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking dish. Soften the tortillas according to package directions. Place 2/3 cup of chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla and roll up. Place your enchiladas in the dish, seam-side-down. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle them with the remaining cheese, olives and onions. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the filling is hot. When you are done, you will have an authentic, flavorful dish that serves 8. These cheesy enchiladas are a savory and mildly spicy treat that can be enjoyed by anyone.

Fill Easter baskets with Peepsqueak

Looking for a fun Easter Gift? I love the idea of throwing in a children's book into an Easter basket. Don't get me wrong--I love chocolate like the rest of them, but a book will definitely last a lot longer!

PEEPSQUEAK has arrived just in time for Easter and as soon as he bursts out of his shell, he is on the move! He flutters, he hops, but more than anything, Peepsqueak wants to fly and fly high! Thus, Peepsqueak's adventure begins, despite constantly being told that he can't, don't even try, and you're just a little guy. But Peepsqueak doesn't give up and forgive the cliche, but let's just say where there's a will, there's a way.

Young readers will enjoy Peepsqueak's adventurous spirit and determination as I'm sure they'll relate to being told that they're too little to do something. The repetition of 'He was on the move!' makes for a fun read-aloud and the bright, vibrant illustrations add to the adventure! So move over that chocolate bunny and make room for PEEPSQUEAK!

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 2-5
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (January 24, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0062078011
ISBN-13: 978-0062078018
Source of review copy: Publisher
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Teaching kids about feelings

Have you ever been stumped when it comes to answering one of your toddler's questions? Let's face it, every parent has stumbled once in a while, unsure of what to say or wanting to get the explanation just right. It can be the simplest question, but for some reason, as parents we get stuck. How about the topic of feelings? It can be tricky teaching kids to cope with feelings and relating to how others feel. Enter...A LITTLE BOOK ABOUT FEELINGS from the award-winning "Ruby's Studio: The Feelings Show"

A LITTLE BOOK ABOUT FEELINGS is a helpful book for toddlers and will help them identify emotions. The book dives into feeling happy, mad, sad, shy, curious and more and lets the youngest of readers know that everybody in the world has emotions--even pets! Told as simple as can be, toddlers will be fascinated with the pictures of stuffed animals and parents will love the message that "feelings are clues to help you understand what you need and who you are."

Kindergartners will also appreciate an accompanying book...MY FEELINGS: ACTIVITY BOOK that allows them to write and draw in the book, helping them to identify their feelings while having fun. Ruby's Studio also offers DVDs and apps, so be sure to visit their website.


Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 3-6
Hardcover: 30 pages
ISBN-10: 0615533736
ISBN-13: 978-0615533735
Source of review copy: publicist
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Upload a Video to Thank the Teacher who Changed Your Life

Have you guys heard about this? I love to see projects like these that honor some of the people who really affect our children's lives...

PARENTING'S "MY AMAZING TEACHER" VIDEO PROJECT: Upload a Video to Thank the Teacher who Changed Your Life Today!

Parenting magazine's Mom Congress and the National Education Association are teaming up to let teachers know the positive impact they've had on students' lives.

Join New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and others in showing appreciation for your favorite teacher by uploading a video thank you-note to the "My Amazing Teacher" project here.

Post your video to Facebook (tag @Parenting) and Twitter (hashtag #myamazingteacher) to encourage friends and family to post their own videos--and who knows? Your amazing teacher may even see it!

Like Mom Congress on Facebook for breaking education news,
advocacy resources, and exclusive offers!

Fish for a Free Book: March 24

Welcome to Fish for a Free Book!

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ever wonder about the Easter Bunny's Assistant?

All of you Jan Thomas fans out there will be excited to grab her latest, THE EASTER BUNNY'S ASSISTANT. In Rhyming Dust Bunnies fashion, Thomas has comprised another funny interactive read-aloud that will have young readers roaring.

The book kicks off with who else? The Easter Bunny of course and he introduces us to his assistant, skunk. They're going to show us how to make beautiful Easter eggs. However, as they're hard-boiling the eggs, Easter Bunny wonders, "What is that smell?" Skunk apologizes and replies, "It happens when I get excited." Skunk is instructed to control himself, but he finds every step of coloring eggs "Exciting" which causes a continuous problem. How will the Easter Bunny color all of the eggs without that smell? (Not to mention, hide them?)

Young readers will really get a kick out of this one and find it hilarious. The illustrations really add to the story and they'll enjoy the instructions at the end for making beautiful eggs. And hopefully when you color your own, we can only hope you won't have a skunk in the room!

Browse Inside The Easter Bunny's Assistant by Jan Thomas, Illustrated by Jan Thomas

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 2 and up
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (January 24, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0061692867
ISBN-13: 978-0061692864
Source of review copy: Publisher
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fish for a Free Book: March 16

Welcome to The St. Patrick's Day Edition of Fish for a Free Book!

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Ballpark Mysteries returns with The Astro Outlaw

Mike Walsh and his cousin Kate Hopkins are back in book 4 of THE BALLPARK MYSTERIES, THE ASTRO OUTLAW. I'm a huge fan of this series because it incorporates sports, crime-solving, and facts young readers will eat up.

In THE ASTRO OUTLAW, it's spring break and Mike and Kate are in Houston, Texas. Not only do they get a VIP tour of NASA's Johnson Space Center, but they're also headed for an Astros' game. Commander Rice, an astronaut who gives them a tour of the Space Center will also be at the game with a real moon rock on display. However, when it comes time for him to step on the field, he's missing. That's when Mike and Kate step in to figure out what happened.

Just like the other books in this series, young crime-solvers will eat up this mystery and enjoy solving the crime. Not only that, but they'll learn some history--for example, did you know Union Station was Houston's biggest train station and now it's the main entrance to the Astro's ballpark?  Dugout Notes in the back also provide some fun facts and again, the illustrations by Mark Meyers bring the story to life. Seems as though Kelly has hit it out of the park yet again!

Learn more about THE BALLPARK MYSTERIES at the official website, read my interview with David A. Kelly, and check out my reviews of:
Ballpark Mysteries #1: The Fenway Foul-up
Ballpark Mysteries #2: The Pinstripe Ghost

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 6 and up
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (February 28, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0375868836
ISBN-13: 978-0375868832
Source of review copy: author

Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A unique alphabet book

The ABC Book by Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite books to help kids learn their alphabet. But in the last few years, there has been a surge in alphabet books. Just name it, and chances are it's been done from sports to Christmas to animals and more. That's why when I received a copy of Z IS FOR MOOSE, I was hesitant, thinking, 'Oh great, another alphabet book.' However, as my kids and I read the story, I was pleasantly surprised.

This is an alphabet book unlike any other. Sure, it starts with the usual. A is for Apple, B is for Ball, C is for Cat. However, things get interesting as soon as you turn the page to D and it reads, 'D is for Moose.' It seems as though Moose is a little confused and anxious as he begins to appear on various pages asking, "Is it my turn yet?" Zebra, who is directing his friends to appear on the correct pages really causes problems when he decides to go with mouse for the letter M. Well, let's just say Moose doesn't take it lightly. Will Zebra regain control and save the ABCs?

Young readers will enjoy the humor of this book and how the illustrations interact with the text. Not only will they learn their alphabet, but they'll also get a good laugh.

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (February 28, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0060799846
ISBN-13: 978-0060799847
Source of review copy: Publisher
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fish for a Free Book: March 10th

Welcome to Fish for a Free Book!

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Have you built your leprechaun trap?

St. Patrick's Day is near, so have you set your leprechaun traps? Let me just say that there's nothing more fun than having your kids construct traps to set around the house or classroom in hopes of luring and catching a leprechaun.

I will say, our house is ready and we built a trap that we found on Disney's Family Fun. Here's to catching one of those little green guys!


Irritating Coworker

Guest post of the week by Brittany Booker

I have this annoying coworker who will not ever shut up. She is always blabbing about her personal life, and other stuff that no one cares about. She is really nice, so I feel bad when I get sick of her, but some days I just have too much work to do and I can’t spend 45 minutes listening to her. The other day she came up to my cubicle and started going on and on about clear internet deals and how much she is saving. It was a very busy day and I had to get back to work, so I tried to tell he politely that I didn’t have time to chat. She didn’t get the point and just kept going on and on until the subject changed to her grandchildren. I finally turned my back to her and got back to work because I thought that might be the only way she would understand how busy I was. I know she is upset with me because she hasn’t spoken to me since, but I did what I had to do. I feel bad but at least my problem is solved.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Celebrate Teen Tech Week and Help Share a Story, Shape a Future

Teen Tech Week™ is happening all this week (March 4–10), and YALSA invites you to Geek Out @ your library! This year’s theme encourages libraries to throw open their physical and virtual doors to teens and showcase the outstanding technology they offer, from services such as online homework help and digital literacy-focused programs to resources like e-books, movies, music, audiobooks, databases and more.

Here are a few extra ways you can participate this week:

*Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #ttw12. Your post could be featured on YALSA's homepage
*Check out YALSA's Pinterest board on Teen Tech Week
*Be part of Thursday's Hunger Games tweetup (3:30-5 p.m. Eastern on March 8, using hashtag #THGyalsa)

As if Teen Tech week isn't enough, you can also take part in Share a Story- Shape a Future, an annual blog tour for literacy. Share a Story ~ Shape a Future is, as the name suggests, an opportunity to share ideas, encourage each other, and spread the word about children's literacy. For 5 days in March, they harness the power of the Worldwide web to share ideas about ways to engage kids as readers. Their site states, "You won't find statistics, academic analysis, or judgments that tell you why you should read. You'll hear about favorite books, but you won't see any self-promotion or pitches. This is not an author or book tour. Share a Story-Shape a Future aims to build a community of readers, one person at a time."

The theme this year is the Culture of Reading, and Donalyn Miller kick-starts the event by talking about Creating a Reading Culture. She and her guests will explain what a "reading culture" is, and offer ways to encourage kids to read more at home and school, as well as across age groups.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Kick-Start Your Class with Icebreakers

I'm not a teacher, which is why it's very rare for me to review educational material, but I recently had the chance to read KICK-START YOUR CLASS: 120 ICEBREAKERS TO ENGAGE STUDENTS OF ALL AGES and I have to say, this book is an amazing resource for any educator. It's jam-packed with "icebreakers" or activities that can be used effectively to enhance and support any curriculum. And as an author who conducts school visits, I found it very helpful in coming up with ideas to engage students.

For example, have you ever considered kicking off your class with a chant? The author suggests that chants can be great motivators and if you think teenagers won't like them, think again. How about a beanbag topic toss or birthday circle where classmates must see how quickly they can form a circle with everybody in chronological order by their birthdays?

What I love about this book is that most of the activities can spark other ideas, can be tweaked and adapted to suit a wide variety of ages and will definitely make learning fun. It's difficult to get students to be mentally present in the classroom and this book is just what a teacher needs to engage students, make them feel welcome and allow them to mingle and interact in a fun environment.

Additional Information:
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (April 3, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1118104560
ISBN-13: 978-1118104569
Source of review copy: Amazon Vine Program

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fish for a Free Book: March 2nd

Welcome to Fish for a Free Book and Happy Read Across America Day! What better way to celebrate than to pick up a free children's book or two?

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sylvan Dell Publishing offers ebooks for free on March 2nd

What better way to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday than reading to a child? March 2nd is Read Across America Day. Now in its 15th year, this year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources. NEA’s national reading celebration takes place each year on or near March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss and the 2012 theme is green with the debut of NBC/ Universal's The Lorax. But Random House and the National Education Association aren't the only ones urging you to participate and read to a child.

Sylvan Dell Publishing will be participating in Read Across America Day by offering all of its award-winning eBooks FREE to read at www.sylvandellpublishing.com on March 2.  Participants will have access to Sylvan Dell’s full eBook Site License including eBooks with auto-flip, auto-read, and selectable English and Spanish text and audio. This is in addition to the free activities available every day including a “For Creative Minds” educational section, 40-70 pages of free teaching activities, three quizzes, and a related websites page for each title.

Sylvan Dell co-owner and editor Donna German states, “We are proud to offer children a simple way to participate in Read Across America Day.  By offering our full eBook Site License we also make it easy not only for children to read and explore our great books, but we make it easy for parents and teachers to use each book as a stepping stone to learning with our “For Creative Minds” section and our free teaching activities.”

Sylvan Dell Publishing’s mission is to excite children’s imaginations with artistically spectacular science, math, and nature-themed stories.  Founded in November of 2004, Sylvan Dell has grown to include more than 75 authors and illustrators in the United States and Canada, and 70 titles—honored as finalists or winners of over 70 book awards.  Sylvan Dell’s Science and Math Through Literature Program integrates science, math, geography, character skills, and language learning through fun, cross-curricular activities. 

To participate in Sylvan Dell Publishing’s Read Across America eBook event, simply visit www.sylvandellpublishing.com on March 2 and click on the Read Across America icon in the upper right-hand corner of the website.