ages 9 – 12



                               

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If you’re still on the hunt for educational holiday gift ideas for the elementary school aged children in your life, the Smithsonian Discover and Young Explorers series give glimpses into themes of their world famous museums in book and puzzle form.

Smithsonian Discover: Flight and Smithsonian Discover: Space are fabulous gifts for enthusiastic learners from about age 8 and up. Mixing historical information about the history of flight and scientific explanations for how various flight machines work, along with models for paper airplanes and even a large poster celebrating the concept of flight, Flight is a wonderful hands-on resource perfect for the emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. Space follows the same format with the inclusion of fact cards and a poster, as well, with the focus on aspects of our universe, information about the solar system, and details about the history of space exploration. The planet and glow-in-the-dark star stickers will surely delight, too.

In Smithsonian Young Explorers: Dinosaurs and Smithsonian Young Explorers: Oceans, each box set includes a large poster and a matching 130-piece puzzle, along with a 32-page book that might be deceptive at first glance, for it contains a remarkable amount of interesting information and illustrations for its size. Several dinosaurs and ocean creatures are highlighted in the books ideal for children aged 6 and up, who always enjoy learning- and sharing!- newfound facts.

For those of you fortunate enough to have access to Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and National Museum of Natural History, these books provide reinforcement of the visiting experience. If you’re too far from the nation’s capital to have a visit, then allow these sets to take you there in spirit.

We’re happy to offer a bundle of all four book and puzzle sets to a reader in today’s giveaway! 

Follow the instructions in the widget below to earn one or more entries.

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50 Years of Rudolph #Rudolph50 #Giveaway

When I sat down to write the post on 5 Minutes for Mom celebrating 50 years of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the longest running special in television history, I wasn’t sure what to say. Sure, I grew up watching Rudolph, but could I get nostalgic about it?  It turned out I could, and the more I wrote, the more I realized what a big part that brave reindeer has had in my Christmases over the years. While we own the DVD of the Rankin/Bass special and have several Christmas decorations, we don’t have any Rudolph books, which is kind of amazing. So I was thrilled to receive a box of Rudolph books as part of the review and giveaway, featured over on 5 Minutes for Mom. The books
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Books for Little Women (Tweens and Teens) #Giveaway

I’ve written so much about this series, the Mother-Daughter Bookclub by Heather Vogel Frederick, that I don’t even know what to say anymore. That’s not really true. I get more and more excited, to be honest. Check out the related posts list below to find out more about mine and my daughter’s love for this series. I am beyond thrilled to be able to give away the complete set (well–as of now, since she’s announced that she’s writing another one, even though she thought it was over!), as well as a beautiful picture book, Little Women Christmas, AND her brand new novel (which looks wonderful and I hope to review within the next few weeks). Read my review of A Little Women Christmas over at
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Space Case by Stuart Gibbs

My kids and I all read and like Stuart Gibbs’ Belly Up. I know he’s published books since then, but we haven’t gotten to them. However, when I saw this new space-themed mystery, I jumped at it, hoping it would be just as enjoyable. The entire story in Space Case took place over the course of a couple of days on the moon unit where people are living in the year 2041. Each chapter ends with an excerpt from the “Official Residents’ Guide to Moon Base Alpha” handbook in regards to something that is referenced in that chapter, like meals, safety, exercise, etc. It was an interesting way to share facts and limitations of living in space and give this science fiction a base in
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Sports Illustrated Kids Books on Football and Wildest Plays in Sports

I live in Colorado, and if you follow sports at all, you’ll know that recently the Denver Broncos replaced the Dallas Cowboys as America’s team. Now, I don’t really know what that means, but I’m guessing it has to do with how many people root for the Broncos. And football is huge here — recently when the Broncos played on the Thursday and the game ended at 10pm, the entire half hour news cast was devoted to the game – replays, interviews with players and coaches, the sportscaster insisting the Broncos are going to win the Super Bowl, as he does every night. As I’ve mentioned before, my two boys, ages 11 and 7, are both sports fanatics. They play a different sport every season, watch
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Behold! The Dinosaurs!

Dinosaurs can be awfully fascinating to some children, and books and toys featuring the ancient creatures range from straightforwardly informational to outright silly. A new (sort-of) book by Dustin Harbin, Behold! The Dinosaurs!, presents over 100 dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures from the Devonian to the Cretaceous periods in eye-popping drawings. Did you catch how I called it a “sort-of” book? Well, I have to admit that I learned something new when I received this publication in the mail and I saw it referred to as both a leporello and concertina, and I was compelled to look up the terms before I opened the book. All I would have had to do was open the cover and see the fold-out pages, which measure more than six
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A Collection of Oxford Children’s Classics

The thing with the classics is that you grow up with them, and you love them, and by the time you’re ready to pass them on to your own kids, they are tattered and dog-eared and too-much-loved, and that’s if you’ve managed to hang on to them and not lost them in one of your many moves. It’s time for new versions, and Oxford University Press is obliging by coming out with new editions of all your old favorites. And they are delightful; they contain the original unabridged stories, of course, but also bonus material such as quizzes, reading recommendations, fun and unusual facts about the author, and more. I chose four to look at, but they’re coming out with many more. With these reviews,
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The (Almost) Perfect Guide to Imperfect Boys

At first I thought The (Almost) Perfect Guide to Imperfect Boys was a little too cutesy and contrived, but that feeling didn’t last long. I was immediately taken back to 8th grade (or even better, the fun fictitious version of 8th grade), as I got lost in the story of Maya and Finley. Things are changing, like the fact that they aren’t super-close with all the girls they grew up with. Another thing has really changed, and is constantly changing, and that is the boys. Maya and Finley started classifying the boys in Finley’s science notebook, aka The Amphibian Life Cycle. The tadpoles are those boys who still burp and fart and act like 6th graders. Croakers have voices that croak, showing some sort of
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The Top-Secret Diary of Celie Valentine: Friendship Over

Julie Sternberg, author of Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie and its two sequels (linked to my reviews), writes books for the younger middle grade readers, with shorter chapters and expressive characters who represent the 8-10 year old age extremely well. My own third grade daughter was thrilled when I told her that Sternberg has started a new series. The first book, The Top-Secret Diary of Celie Valentine: Friendship Over introduces another lovable young girl trying to work through a highly-relatable experience. Friendship in childhood can be filled with ups and downs, and ten-year-old Celie is currently low down because her (former) best friend Lula suddenly stopped speaking to her. No explanation, no reason that Celie can think of. Having to see her every day at
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The Scavengers by Michael Perry #Giveaway

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5 Ways My Mom Helped Me Become a Writer {Friday’s Five}

Find out more about Guest Contributor author Mike Perry at his website Sneezing Cow. Stay tuned for Jennifer’s review and giveaway on Monday. If you turn to the very last printed page of my latest book, The Scavengers, you will find the following one-line acknowledgment: Mom, for teaching me to read and filling my world with books. Now then: Of course we thank our moms. I would thank Mom even if she had raised me on gas station beef sticks and poker. There are a million ways to be a good mom. But in my case, Mom’s attention to books and reading altered the course of my life to the very moment of my typing these words. I grew up baling hay and cleaning calf
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The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm

My 10-year-old son and I read The Fourteenth Goldfish aloud together. We often read books aloud, but it can be a slow-going process. The more we like them, the faster we finish, because one or both of us will say “Let’s read one more chapter” in spite of other interests and reading our own books. Sometimes it was him suggesting another chapter, other times it was me. We both equally enjoyed this book. Why? Sciencey stuff, in this case facts about scientists and researches (This won’t surprise fans of her Squish graphic novels) heartfelt family issues (which won’t surprise fans of her works such as Turtle in Paradise) such as adult parent/child relationships and a “broken” family (specifically I loved that in the divorced family
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