79 Things Kids Don’t Like

For those out there wondering what might make a kid’s smile turn into a frown, check out this post from my blogger friend TARA LAZAR

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

To accompany 500+ Things Kids Like, here’s a list of 100+ things that kids don’t consider their favorites.  Of course there’s probably some kids out there who drool over asparagus, and those who climb into bed without protest, but in general, this list is filled with things children want to avoid.  I hope it helps jump-start your creativity.

  1. Anchovies
  2. Arguments
  3. Asparagus
  4. Bats (Disclaimer: my seven-year-old loves bats.)
  5. Bedtime
  6. Bee Stings
  7. Being Grounded (Punished)
  8. Being Picked Last for a Team
  9. Being Unpopular
  10. Being Scared
  11. Being Sick
  12. Being Teased
  13. Bleu Cheese
  14. Braces
  15. Broccoli
  16. Brussels Sprouts
  17. Bullies
  18. Caviar
  19. Celery
  20. Chicken Pox
  21. Chores
  22. Cleaning up
  23. Confessing
  24. Copycats
  25. Cooties
  26. Crushes
  27. The Dentist
  28. Detention
  29. Divorce
  30. Embarrassing Parents
  31. Escargot
  32. Exams/Tests
  33. Failing
  34. Feeling Left Out
  35. A Fever
  36. The Flu
  37. Fungus
  38. Getting Cheeks Pinched
  39. Giving Up
  40. Glasses
  41. Gorgonzola
  42. Growing Pains
  43. Gum on Their Shoes
  44. Haircuts
  45. Headaches
  46. Homework
  47. Hot Pepper
  48. Lectures
  49. Lima Beans
  50. Long Car Rides
  51. Losing
  52. Loud Noises

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Got Peaches?

I don’t know what it’s been like in your part of the world, but here in NJ we have had a bumper crop of sweet, juicy peaches this summer.  IN addition to eating them out of hand, I’ve made peach crisp, peach pie, and peach smoothies.  But here is a simple recipe you and the kids can use to make the taste of summer last a bit longer.  Try making some homemade Peach Jam.

1. Place 6 large peaches in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute; rinse in cold water and peel.

2. Remove pits and cut peaches into wedges until you have about 6 cups.

3. Transfer to a food processor until coarsely chopped.  NO food processor?  chop or dice by hand.

4.In a medium stainless steel saucepan, (don’t use aluminum…the acid in the peaches leaches out the aluminum and not only gives the peaches a bad taste, it gives the body unwanted aluminum) combine peaches, 2 cups of sugar, 2T chopped ginger, 1 T lemon juice and 1/4 t. salt.   This is medium sweet.  Feel free to adjust the sugar if you like it less sweet or more sweet. 

5. Simmer over medium heat, stirring now and then until thick.  It should take about 30 minutes.  Ladle into mason jars and cool.  Refrigerate overnight.

You can store this for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.  Makes a great last minute gift for a picnic or barbeque.  Serve it over ice cream and watch the rave reviews.

We Can All Be Bucket Fillers

Being a Bucket Filler is a great goal for the upcoming school year.



“All day long, everyone in the whole wide world walks around carrying an invisible bucket.” That is how this wonderful book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today?, begins This bucket, according to author Carol McCloud, contains good thoughts and feelings about ourselves.

How do we keep our buckets full? By filling other people’s buckets. How do we fill other people’s buckets? By our kind words and deeds. What if someone tries to dip into our bucket by being unkind to us? We close the lids of our buckets to the unkind individual.

I stumbled upon this beautiful concept picture book while shopping for school supplies at Mardel. I bought the book right then and there. I shared Have You Filled a Bucket Today? with my family, fellow teachers, and the director of the school where I teach. We are going to spend this school year learning how to…

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How to Be Human

I have recently had the pleasure of reading an amazing book titled HOW TO BE HUMAN by Florida Frenz.  What makes the story so uniquely wonderful is that Florida has autism.  She did all the writing and illustrations herself and she is just 17 years old. The honesty, humor, intelligence and wisdom inherent in her story make this a perfect book for anyone who wants to know what it is like to have autism.  And, it should be essential reading for all of us who wish to be better humans.          ???????????????????????????????

Her book is published by CRESTON BOOKS:  http://www.crestonbooks.co

Outdoor Fun

If you’re looking for some new trails or pathways to hike and bike what’s left of summer and into fall,  check out  http://www.traillink.com

This site is hosted by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a non-profit agency that has helped convert more than 21,000 miles of old railroad beds into trails across the U.S.

Mark Your Calendars!

Take your kids to meet their favorite authors at this NJ event!

Writing and Illustrating

pcbf-2013-logo2Andrew Arnold

Andew Arnold

Andrew Arnold is one of the co-authors of the Adventures in Cartooning series and moonlights [during the day] as a book designer for a children’s book publisher. His work has appeared in several publications, including Nickelodeon Magazine, Cambridge University Press, and Roaring Brook Press. Originally from Houston, TX, Andrew currently lives in New York City.

Andrew Arnold



Avi is part of a family of writers extending back into the 19th century. Born in 1937 and raised in New York City, Avi was educated in local schools, before going to the Midwest and then back to NYC to complete his education.

His first book was Things That Sometimes Happen, published in 1970, and recently reissued. Since then he has published seventy books. Winner of many awards, including the 2003 Newbery Award for Crispin: the Cross of Lead (Hyperion), two Newbery Honors, two Horn Book awards, and an…

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Warning: Adam Lehrhaupt’s Debut Picture Book Is Going to Make You Laugh

Robin Newman did this wonderful interview on her blog “Let’s Talk Books” and I wanted to share it with all of you.

I am thrilled to interview the super funny and wildly creative, Adam Lehrhaupt, today.


Adam has traveled to six continents, performed on Broadway, and lived on a communal farm.  He firmly believes that opening a book is a good thing, even if there are monkeys in it.  Adam lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with his wife, two sons, and two of the most bizarre little dogs that you will ever meet.  In his spare time, Adam does a bit of writing.  His writing spans multiple styles, from poetry to fiction to nonfiction, and is primarily geared towards children.  Adam’s first book, Warning: Do Not Open This Book! (illustrated by Matthew Forsythe, Simon & Schuster), is coming out on August 27, 2013.

Adam, thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview.

My pleasure, Robin.  Happy to be here.  For some reason I feel like that should…

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Be A Famous Writer

Mrs. P…from the fabulous website http://www.mrsp.com is hosting her 5th annual Be-A-Famous-Writer contest for grades K-4.  Beginning in September, your child’s teacher can enter for the classroom.  So if you have a child who loves to tell or write stories, now is the perfect time to have some of those stories published on Mrs. P’s web page. Her site is also filled with stories to read and listen to.  Mrs. P reads some of her favorites in her own unique way.  Be sure to check out her site for the full details.  Happy writing!

Back to School Tips

Here’s my blogger friend Gail Terp with some great tips for getting your kids in Back To School mode.

Back to School TipsSome kids are starting school this week; others will start within the next few weeks. After a summer of less structure, getting back into school mode can be a challenge. Here are a few tips for getting off to a good start.

 Establish a place to keep all school information.

  • Your child’s teacher(s) and contact information
  • Your child’s schedule
  • The school calendar
  • Documents such as report cards, immunizations, a behavior plan, Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), and any document you think you may want to refer to through the year

School Clothes

  • Inventory your child’s school clothes and discard/recycle mismatched socks, clothes that don’t fit, and clothes your child doesn’t like. Getting these things out of the way will streamline getting dressed for school
  • Consider setting out school clothes the night before. This can greatly help the morning preparations.

Morning Routine

  • Brainstorm with your child what needs to be done before he goes out the door in the morning. Things like getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth…
  • Write it down! In the morning, if your child needs reminders, all you need to do is have her check her routine card.
  • Build in a reward. Checklist completed? Brainstorm what can happen (watch TV, get points towards a reward, computer time…)
  • Launching Pad
  • Establish a place near the front door to collect all that needs to go out the door. Things like backpacks, lunch, shoes, jackets—whatever you don’t want to have to search the house for.
  • Homework
  • Set up a routine. This is a very individual thing. A routine is best if your child has input.
  • Consider when your child is freshest and most motivated. Right after school? After dinner? For some kids, the morning is a good time. It’s risky, of course, but it’s something to consider.
  • If possible, establish a dedicated homework area. This will need to reflect your child’s work style. Some kids do just fine in their rooms, others need to be where you can monitor their on-task behavior.

Along with my own experience, I used these sites to write this post. Please check out them out for more ideas.

Friendship Circle

Pragmatic Mom

Stress Free Kids

Here are 2 sites that have downloadable resources you may find helpful.

Reading Rockets

School Family

 Have a great start to the new school year!

Gail Terp

 About Me

I’m a retired teacher who has spent the last 30 years working with enthusiastic and reluctant readers. One of my top goals as a teacher was to connect kids with books they loved. It’s still my goal. My blog, Best Blog for Kids Who Hate to Read, is one way I use to reach it.

Use Your Brain

Since this is a lecture of sorts, I’ll keep it short.  After reading an article in the newspaper – you know, that inky thing that comes to the house via the doorstep – I feel compelled to address the “dumbing of humanity”.  The article mentioned how printed maps are being phased out due to the popularity of GPS devices.

Okay, maybe maps are  a pain, what with having to fold and unfold them and jamming them into an already full glove box.  But… map reading is just one more thing we humans are giving up in favor of having a machine do our thinking for us.  Every time we give up learning new skills, we cheat our brain out of its natural tendency to want to learn and fire new synapses.

There is a whole generation of people who will grow up not knowing how to do some of the following: read a map,  write/read in cursive (many schools don’t teach it any more), sew on buttons or hem a skirt, fix a leaky faucet or rewire a lamp, make ice the old fashioned way with trays, open cans with manual can openers, tie shoes, tell time with an analog clock, build a campfire, make a meal from scratch, write a simple letter to a loved one using no abbreviations.  I could go on, but  I’m sure you can think of some of your own things to add.

Why are we so content to let machines  or others do these important brain/ problem solving exercises for us?  Why are we letting our brains turn to mush?

Technology is great, and I’m not going to throw away my laptop anytime soon. But, if we don’t start exercising our brain with these varied skills and activities, where will we as humans end up? Not as the smartest species surely.  As the old saying goes, “Use it or lose it.”

Give your sexiest organ something to do.