Great Books on Gardening For Children + More….

GAILTERP.COM published this wonderful post about gardening for children.  She has some great books and websites that will help you and your child get started on gardening.  

Grow Garden Grow! Gardening Books for Kids

Here in the northeast, gardens are being planned and have been planted. Gardening is a GREAT family activity. There’s research, engaging plans, the great outdoors, and all the lovely tending and harvesting. Here are some books to get you psyched!


First Peas to the Table by Susan Grigsby, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell

Maya’s teacher announces that the class will have a gardening contest just like Thomas Jefferson – and the first student to grow enough peas to fill a bowl wins. Maya really wants to win and works hard to help her pea plants grow. This book has gardening, history and friendship.


It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Gardenby George Ancona

This book carefully documents one school’s garden project. It covers the planning, planting, observing, harvesting and celebrating. There is a good balance between clear text and lots of photographs. Inspiring!


The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

This is a wonderful book! Liam finds a scraggly garden growing on some unused train tracks. He isn’t much of a gardener but he learns over time. When the garden grows curious, it spreads to other areas, wherever it feels like. There is real magic in this book.


Grow Your Own Monsters by Nicola Davies and Simon Hickmott, illustrated by Scoular Anderson

So what kind of monster plants are they talking about? How about Venus Fly Trap (eats flies), Voodoo Lily (looks like a snake and smells like a corpse), Giant Echium (20 feet tall) and others. Careful directions are given.


The Garden Project by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by Mike Gordon

A first grade class at Robin Hill School converts their sandbox into a garden. They plant, water, weed, harvest and eat the plants in their garden. This is a Ready-to-Read Level 1 reader.


Gardening Projects for Kids by Jenny Hendy

This book has lots of information that’s clearly written and colorfully illustrated. It explains how to start your garden and gives projects for growing flowers, fruits, vegetables, plus other garden-related projects. It’s written for parents but kids could find lots to interest them.


Max’s Magic Seeds by Géraldine Elschner, illustrated by Jean-Pierre Corderoch

Max’s Uncle Bill gives him a sack of seeds, telling him to secretly drop them all over town. When the flowers start to bloom, everyone is delighted. Will they figure out who has been planting the seeds? This is a fun story with magical pictures.


A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds by Jean Richards, illustrated by Anca Hariton

I’d never thought of this before but the title makes sense – a fruit is  a suitcase for seeds! And the suitcases are so different – in size, shape, color and how they transport their seeds around.


Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont

This book does an amazing job of showing lots of different food chains in clear and entertaining ways. It uses colorful illustrations, clear text, and speech bubbles to create an interesting and informative book.


The Sunflower House by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt

A boy plants sunflower seeds in a wide circle. When they grow, they create a perfect house for him and his friends. I want to try this!


Talia and the Rude Vegetables by Linda Elovitz Marshall, illustrated by Francesca Assirelli

Talia’s grandmother sends her to the garden to pick root vegetables for a Rosh Hashanah stew. But Talia thinks she said “rude” vegetables. It’s funny how she decides which vegetables are rude. The recipe is included on the last page – looks good!


The Goodbye Cancer Garden by Janna Mattkies, illustrated by Kristi Valiant

When Janie and Jeffrey learn their mother has cancer, Janie suggests they plant a Goodbye Cancer Garden. The kids and their parents each choose 2 vegetables to plant and spend a long spring and summer tending the garden. This is a colorful and hopeful book about family and recovery.


A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Ashton, illustrated by Sylvia Long

I am a big fan of this series (An Egg is Quiet, A Rock is Lively…). This book shows many kinds of seeds, how they grow, and how they get around. The information is clearly presented and the illustrations dance.


Gardening with Children from Earth Easy

Garden Mosaics from the American Community Gardening Association

Rebel Tomato from the American Community Gardening Association

Ten Tips on Gardening with Kids from the American Community Gardening Association

Gardening with Kids from Gardening with Kids

Gardening with Children from the BBC

Stimulating Imagination in the Garden from Kids Gardening

My First Garden from the University of Illinois

School Garden Weekly: Instructional Activities for School Gardens




 Please visit Gail’s site for more posts about gardening as well as other great books and activities for children of all ages.


Cover Reveal! (And Giveaway!)

See the spectacular cover of Sudipta’s new Picture Book: DUCK,DUCK, MOOSE.

Nerdy Chicks Rule

At long last, I am proud to present the cover for my upcoming picture book,


DDM Cover

How adorable is that????? Of course, I had very little to do with the cover. The thanks for that goes to the very fabulous Noah Z. Jones, the illustrator of such wonderful books as The Monster in the Backpack, Stuff, Dance with Me, and Not Norman: A Goldfish Story,

and also the creator of the tremendously entertaining television series Fish Hooks and Almost Naked Animals.

IN CELEBRATION OF THIS FABULOUS COVER, I will be giving away a free 45-minute Virtual Classroom Visit, where I would be happy to tell your chosen class all about how this book came together, from the initial inspiration to the totally terrific art. (Don’t worry if you’re not a teacher — you can donate the Virtual Visit to any class you choose!)

I will accept entries until May…

View original post 177 more words

Fly Fishing 101

If you or your children have always wanted to try the ancient art of fly fishing, now is a great time to get started.  Orvis offers free fly fishing clinics at their stores nationwide now through June 16.   You can learn how to rig and cast a fly rod.  You’ll also be able to get everything you need to head down the nearest river and try your skills.

To find dates/locations,check out:


Today’s post is presented by my guest blogger and science buff Betty Gail Gallender who will demonstrate how art and science join forces to create unique projects.  Here’s Betty:

I have always loved the art of creating. But what I try to understand is the “how and why” of it. This is the “Science of Art.”
Today’s experiment starts off as an art project- but helps us see that science is behind everything we make.

Our kindergarteners created the “stain glass” butterflies pictured in this entry, which inspired me to do the same lesson with the 2nd graders using “dinosaurs of the deep” as the theme.              IMG_1639

My questions were how did they make their “stained glass” and why did it turn out like it did?

The “How” involves some pre-work on the part of an adult. First cut out the shapes you will use on black construction paper leaving a wide outline. Trim away the inside of the design. (I used an exacto knife.) Glue the outline onto a sheet of wax paper. Turn old crayons into shavings using a pencil sharpener, a sharp knife or pair of scissors to scrape them like a carrot.

Divide the shavings by color. Then, let the kids lightly sprinkle the shavings into the open spaces on the back of the wax paper design. (Don’t use too much–a little goes a long way!) Cover the picture with another piece of wax paper. Help them place the prepared picture between a towel or a folded piece of heavy paper.
Have an adult iron over the towel covered wax paper until the crayons melt and seal the design to the second piece of wax paper. Trim the design along its outer edges and hold it up to a window to reveal your “stained glass.” Take another copy of the cutout design and glue to the back to give the picture support and a finished look.


The “Why”—your work of art looks like stain glass is due to the heat and pressure of the iron combined with the translucent qualities of the melted crayons and wax paper. The heat melts the crayons turning a solid into a translucent liquid while the pressure spreads the liquid out. The wax paper is always translucent.

Things to discuss with your kids:
Explain to them that while unmelted crayons are solids that you cannot see through, the wax paper and melted crayons become translucent. This means that you can see through them, but not clearly because they diffuse the light that is passing through them. Point out that the glass in the window is an example of something that is transparent- you can see clearly through it.
Ask them why the crayon shavings changed and discuss how heat and pressure from the iron caused the crayon shavings to melt and spread out.                                                                     IMG_1625

I love experiments like this because they are a perfect example of ways to engage your kids in fun projects that are both educational and entertaining. Science is not boring or hard- it’s all around us. It is something that becomes obvious when we look into the how and why of the things we make and do.
I hope you enjoyed my guest post. If you try this experiment, I’d love for you to leave a comment here or over at

Layered French Crepes Fruit Cake

Here’s a wonderful cake recipe using crepes. I can’t wait to try this out now that fresh strawberries are in season. Thanks!


Layered French Crepes Fruit Cake Recipe By Cupcakepedia, dessert, food, cake, fruit, french food,, crepesIt was my girlfriend Julie’s birthday a few week’s ago and I asked her what birthday cake she wanted. She wanted a light, fruity cake, so I made this Layered French Crepes Fruit Cake. Eveyone at the birthday party loved it, and it was gone so quickly that I was lucky that I had took some pictures before hand.

Look at this amazing cake, there are more than 10 layers of freshly made crepes, strawberries, melons. It took a while to make this cake, but it was worth it. Patience is definitely needed, but I am a patient person as all my friends know, so it is no hassle for me to make it. I actually quite enjoyed making the fresh crepes, and layer them with all the fresh fruits. So enjoyable.

Check out the recipe below if you want to make it. Or to make the recipe simple, do…

View original post 298 more words

It’s National Chocolate Chip Day…Got Cookies?

National Chocolate Chip Day is Wednesday May 15, 2013.  What better way to celebrate this tiny bit of heaven than to have a cookie baking party. You can find some recipes at:  or try this healthier version using oats and whole wheat pastry flour as well as canola oil to replace some of the butter.  You will NOT sacrifice taste.  While you’re at it, bake some extra and help end Childhood Hunger. inspires millions of bakers to donate the money from sold baked goods to help fight childhood hunger by contributing to SHARE OUR STRENGTH’S NO KID HUNGRY campaign fund.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 C white flour      3/4 C whole wheat pastry flour     1/2 C rolled oats      1 tsp baking soda

1 stick softened butter     1/2 C canola oil    1/2 C granulated sugar    1/2 C brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla         2 lg eggs      2 C chocolate morsels      1 C chopped walnuts or other nut of choice

1. Heat oven to 375.  Combine dry ingredients and set aside.

2. Beat butter, oil, sugars and vanilla in large until creamy.  Add eggs and beat until blended.

3. Gradually add dry ingredients and nuts. Mix until combined.                  cookies

4. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.  Remove from pans to cool.

These cookies freeze well and can be jazzed up with sunflower seeds, dried cranberries or whatever other dried fruit you enjoy.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Celebrate the chocolate chip!  Happy eating.

Weekend Literary Festival

Writing and Illustrating


Illustrator Gregory Myers from Syndey, Australia sent in this illustration. He is a freelance illustrator. Studied under Czech artist Petr Herel at Canberra School of Art, and Akira Kurosaki at Kyoto Seika University. Hand-coloured scraperboard artworks like this has proven to be popular with his clients.

Mt. Airy Kids’ Literary Festival

Friday, May 17, through Sunday, May 19, 2013

Big Blue Marble Bookstore is proud to present its seventh annual Mt. Airy Kids’ Literary Festival! All events are FREE and open to the public!

This year, our festival includes events at the Color Book Gallery, 6353 Germantown Avenue (215-844-4200).

All Weekend

The Craft Table! Big Blue Marble Bookstore will have our special craft table open all weekend, stocked with brightly colored paper, collage materials, and all kinds of other supplies to create your own books! (In our Community Room, All Ages. Adult Supervision Required.)

Special Door Prizes! Winners will…

View original post 1,121 more words

Children’s Book Week

There are several ways to celebrate Children’s Book Week – May 13-18 2013.

1. Take the children to your local library for story hour.  Check the library to see what special programs are available during this special week.

2. Visit a local independent bookstore and browse the racks for the latest children’s books.  Call ahead to see if you can co-ordinate your visit with those of authors who might be signing books.

3. Read, read, read your favorite children’s stories as well as some new ones you’ve never read.  There are so many wonderful authors and picture books.  Looking for a place to start? Try the Newbery and Caldacott winners for the best in writing and illustrating for children.

4. Have a book trading party.  Bring books you’ve had for awhile and trade with other parents or children for some new stories. It’s a great way to expand your child’s reading on a tight budget.

4. Dress up as your favorite character from a book and spend the day pretending to BE that character.  What would he/she/it eat, play with, etc?

Happy Book Week!

Last Minute Gifts For Mom

My blogging friend Gail Terp:  collected these awesome websites that are loaded with last minute crafts and gifts the kids can make for Mom or Grandma for Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day is a few days away.  There is still time to make gifts for the Moms in your life.

 Mother’s Day Crafts, Cards, Activities, and Worksheets from Enchanted Learning

flowers, picture frames, cards and printables

 Mother’s Day Crafts for Kids from Martha Stewart

cards, tote bag, check book cover…

 151 Great Mother’s Day Craft Ideas from Mother’s Day Central

LOTS of ideas!

 Mother’s Day Crafts Kids Can Make from Better Homes and Gardens

gift jar (love this!), time capsule, flowers…

 Mother’s Day Activities from DLTK

cards, games, crafts…

 Mother’s Day from Spoonful

gifts, cards, recipes, quotes…

Check out some of these crafts.  Many can be made for birthdays, graduations, parties and any occasion you want to give a home made gift.  I don’t know any woman who doesn’t love a gift made by her children.  To all the wonderful women out there: HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY.

Stamp Out Hunger

The 21st Annual STAMP OUT HUNGER FOOD DRIVE will take place this Saturday 5-11-13.  This worthwhile event is sponsored by the U S Postal Service and it is easy for you and your child to participate and make a difference. Just leave a bag of non-perishable foods such as pasta, peanut butter, tuna, canned fruits and veggies – by your mailbox.  The food will be picked up by letter carriers as they deliver the local mail.

Last year the Postal Service collected over 70 million pounds of food that was distributed to local food banks. Help feed the hungry…one can at a time.