Virtual Museum Visits Are Designed for Kids by Marilyn Ostermiller

(First in a two-part series on how to accompany the children in your life on virtual visits to a variety of museums.)

Museums can introduce children to unknown worlds, spark their imagination and provide them with valuable perspective about the world in which they live.

Museum exhibits are typically so diverse that kids always can skitter around and find something that grabs their attention.

Now, more than ever, the world’s finest museums are accessible digitally. The following are among several international museums that offer free virtual exhibits, tours and dramatizations children can enjoy at home.

The Louvre, Paris:

The children’s section of this website offers several videos, in English, or in French with English subtitles, of stories related to the museum exhibits, such as the theft of the Mona Lisa and a priceless diamond. The story of Little Red Riding Hood features a painting of the girl and the wolf from the museum’s collection. An actress dramatizes the story, which has a surprising ending!


Photo from the Louvre of Little Red Riding Hood, painted by Fleury Francois Richard, (1777 – 1852)

British Museum, London:

The treasures in this museum’s collection range from a clay tablet from Babylon during the time of King Nebuchadnezzar to a miniature solid gold llama figurine that was buried with a king. The free learning resources online range from how Egyptian mummies were made to what Romans ate and drank in ancient times.

You can visit the British Museum’s blog for more information:

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam:

Children will become acquainted with Vincent van Gogh through kid-friendly videos. For six to nine-year-olds, a video introduces the artist as an unassuming young man who loved to paint, shows what he painted, how he did it and where he did it. For nine to fourteen-year-olds, videos tell of a misunderstood, determined man who wouldn’t give up. It’s a story about needing to do what you’re good at. For youngsters who want to immerse themselves in the artist, there are drawings to print and color, crafts, games and books. It’s all in English so it’s easily accessible.

van gogh doll

Books about the works of art, ancient animals, and fossils can compliment the virtual museum tours. Among the options:

13 Artists Children Should Know by Angela Wenzel.

This picture book, suitable for children from eight to 12 years old, features works by some of the world’s greatest painters, including Leonardo de Vinci, Vermeer and Matisse.

13 artists bookcover

Fossils for Kids: A Junior Scientist’s Guide to Dinosaur Bones, Ancient Animals and Prehistoric Life on Earth, by Ashley Hall. From interesting facts about such prehistoric dinosaurs as Velociraptor to Tyrannosaurus rex, the book explains how fossils form, where they are found and how to identify them. Reading age: 6 to 8 years. 

fossil cover

Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalist who seeks out family-friendly activities.



Book Giveaway: MEENA’S MINDFUL MOMENT by Tina Athaide

Leave a a comment on Kathy Temean’s blog for a chance to win a copy of this delightful book!

Writing and Illustrating

Tina Athaide has written a new picture book, MEENA’S MINDFUL MOMENT, illustrated by Åsa Gilland and published by Page Street Kids. Coming out in November. PSK’s has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States and Canada.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Tina and Åsa.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment…

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Halloween Crafts For All Ages.

Several years ago I came upon a wonderful site that teaches craft-lovers of all ages how to make some amazing things. RED TED Art hosted by MAGGY, makes crafts using household objects, paper, yarn, origami, crayons, clay, and more. Here are some great links for Halloween Crafts for kids of all ages.

Halloween crafts for kids

Halloween Activities for Families

If you’re still hesitant about letting your kids go out trick-or-treating this season, they can still have a blast and get into the spirit of the season by making some of these kid-friendly crafts.

Happy Halloween!

In Time For Halloween: Author David Neilsen Presents A Hilarious New Book of Harmless Horrors…

 MIddle grade author David Neilsen is at it again with a world of harmless, but entertaining creatures in his latest book: LILLIAN LOVECRAFT AND THE HARMLESS HORRORS.

lovecraft cover

I recently had the pleasure of reading an ARC of the book in order to provide a blurb for the back cover. I sure am glad I did! What a delightful treat, just in time for Halloween. Here’s my blurb:

“One of the most entertaining collections of mischief, mayhem, and monstrous delight ever to escape from Over There. A sure- fire winner for the middle grade crowd.”

And here is the summary from the blurb on the cover:

Lillian Lovecraft has a problem. A demonic horror from another realm has latched on to her, following her around everywhere and continually asking her for mustard. No one else can see or hear the gelatinous horror (named Frank), so only Lillian can tell when it’s trying to fit kids’ heads into one of its three mouths or flopping on top of her teacher’s head.

The annoying and obnoxious tag-along is only the tip of the iceberg. A demented genius is trying to open up a portal to Frank’s realm, catching the attention of a monstrously-evil being who can only glare out at us with his double-decker bus-sized eyeball until the portal is enlarged. As the demented genius works to rip a bigger and bigger hole in the fabric of reality, more and more horrors slip into our world–many of them not nearly as harmless as Frank.

It is up to Lillian, Frank, and her friends to somehow corral and capture these horrors and stop the demented genius before the portal is large enough to allow the being of ultimate evil to enter our world and devour all of humanity.

If your kids love stories with hysterical and beasties and crazy mayhem, this might just be the perfect gift for the Halloween season and beyond.

New Middle Grade Book: 101 HILARIOUS PRANKS AND PRACTICAL JOKES! Read at Your Own Peril!

Today it is my pleasure to feature author Theresa Julian’s new book on how to be a successful prankster. Her previous book THE JOKE MACHINE provided everything  you need to be a joke teller, so this one is a must read for potential pranksters out there. Here’s Theresa to tell you more about it:

101 Hilarious Pranks and Practical Jokes Cover

Did you know:

  • Cows moo with different accents – depending on where they live?
  • The bones in the human body are held together by marshmallow taffy?
  • Snakes don’t live in swamps, they live in potato chips cans, like this:

thumbnail_Picture 1

If you didn’t know these facts, it’s okay because – none of them are true. I’m pulling your leg. Kidding. Pranking you.

If there’s a little jokester in your life who wants to learn about pranking, check out 101 Hilarious Pranks & Practical Jokes, a middle grade book written by me and illustrated by Pat Lewis. This super silly book includes – you guessed it – 101 pranks, AND explains how to pull the perfect trick.

The book teaches kids how to pace their prank, find the right attitude, and create a story around it. It explains how kids can kick their pranks up a notch through physical humor, which is using their body to make someone laugh. It’s using goofy faces, funny voices, slipping, tripping, and weird smells and sounds to make their pranks extra awesome.

Here are some tips from the book:


Start a prank with the right attitude. How would you feel if you were really in the prank situation? If you’re pretending you’ve just won a million dollars, act thrilled. If you’re pretending you broke a window, act shocked. If you’ve filled the cabinet with ping-pong balls, act casual and wait for someone to open the door. Pick an attitude, commit to it, and sell it.


Create an interesting story around your prank. Let’s say you want to convince your friend that your family has a “dead finger” collection and you’ve brought in your favorite one to show her. But, of course, it’s really just your finger in a box, covered in ketchup and avocado mush.

If you walk up to your friend and show her the box, it may not be very effective. But if you build it up with a story that draws her in, and then show the box, you’ll get a bigger reaction.  thumbnail_Picture 2

Try creating a story like this: You crept down your creaky basement stairs; opened the rusty door to the back room; and gagged at the stench of rotting skin. When you turned on the light, you found that there, in your very own basement, was a dead-finger collection – probably great-grandpa’s from the war. Now, when you show the box, you’ll probably get the reaction you were looking for.


A good prank is carefully paced, not blurted out or rushed.

Picture this: Your brother walks into the kitchen and hasn’t yet seen the fake tarantula on the cheese casserole. Do you jump up and yell, “Look at the cheese casserole, ha ha!”? No, of course not. You sit and wait, distract him with comments about how good you’ve been (which, is always true, right?), and wait for the time to be ripe. It’s sooo much better if he finds the hairy spider himself!

Funny Faces

Let’s face it, facial expressions are key to a good prank because they help sell your story. Picture a face that’s afraid, amazed, annoyed, or bored, like the ones below.


The right face can say a lot more than words. So when you’re pranking, let your face do the talking!

Kooky Arms & Legs

Get your whole body into the prank. If you tell your friend the rat in the garage is THIS BIG, fling out your arms and show just how big. If you’re pretending you’re about to vomit, clutch your stomach, moan and double over in pain. In the prankiverse, body language reinforces your story and paints a picture, and is often funnier than words.

Silly Voices and Sounds

Silly voices and sounds make pranks more believable and fun. If you’re pretending you’ve broken a window, download a crashing glass sound and play it on your phone or computer. If you’ll make a prank call, you’ll need to disguise your voice with an accent or different tone. Funny voices are fun to create and once you’ve nailed a few, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them!

Slipping, Tripping and Prat-falling


101 Hilarious Pranks & Practical Jokes teaches you how to pretend you’re slipping, tripping and falling, so you get the reaction you want. For example, here’s how to pretend you’re hitting your head on a door:

The book also explains how to crack your nose, bite off your finger, detach your head, spit out your teeth, push a pencil through your head, rip your eyeball out, slip in poop, and control gravity. You’re welcome.


So, if there’s a little prankster in your life who’s looking to learn completely ridiculous skills, such as how to use goofy faces, funny voices, bad smells, weird sounds, and smooth body moves to trick their friends, check out 101 HILARIOUS PRANKS AND PRACTICAL JOKES which goes on sale Sept. 28, 2021. Then — watch your back!

Theresa is giving away a signed copy of this “practical ” guide to being a prankster. Leave a comment for one entry into the random drawing. Share this post on social media and get a second entry.  


theresa pic Theresa Julian loves chocolate, changing her ringtones, and writing humorous books for middle graders. Her books have been featured in TIME for Kids magazine, the Barnes & Noble Kid’s Blog, and Theresa is a graduate of Boston College and has a Master’s in Corporate Communications. After many years of writing business documents for large corporations, she’s now happily living on the beach, writing funny books for kids. Her mother claims Theresa spent most of first grade sleeping on her desk, but don’t worry, she’s awake now, dreaming up new ways to keep kids reading and laughing.

Connect with Theresa on
Twitter: @Theresa_Julian
Instagram: @tm_julian

Book Review: WHAT THE WORLD COULD MAKE by Holly McGhee, Illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre

I was the lucky winner of this book in a recent give-away on Kathy Temean’s blog Writing and Illustrating.

From the book jacket: Bunny and Rabbit are kindred spirits who celebrate the gifts of the seasons together―from the smell of lilacs to the wonder of ginkgo leaves, from the taste of sea pickles to the silent beauty of the first snowflakes melting against their warmth. What the World Could Make is a joyous reminder that if we pay attention, hope can always be found in our friendships, in nature, and in generosity toward one another.

Here is my review for this delightful story:  Two friends share the things they love about nature and the changing seasons in this tender and joyful celebration of the wonderful things the world has to offer. A hopeful story, simply and thoughtfully told. Delightful illustrations add a sense of wonder to the tale. 

2021 Collingswood Book Festival…An Outdoor Celebration of Books.

On Saturday, October 2, 2021, I had the pleasure of participating in the 17th Collingswood Book Festival. Because of Covid and everything being virtual last year, it felt especially grand to be outdoors sharing books face-to-face with people who love them. And, it was great reuniting with fellow KidLit Authors. Here are some photos of the day’s events.

coll5YA Authors Marie Andreau and Yvonne Ventresca.


Sharing a table with fellow author Charlotte Bennardo.

coll1Picture book author Robin Newman (below)






Author Nancy Viau (right) and



Author/Illustrator Mike Ciccotello (below)





Some other KidLit Authors Club authors who attended but I never got photos of: Colleen Kosinski, Rachelle Burke, Annette Whipple, David Neilsen. I hope you all enjoyed the day as much as I did.

It was a sunshine-filled afternoon and a great opportunity to reconnect with the writing community. Thank you Collingswood Festival Committee!


coll4MG and YA author Dianne Salerni