Meet the No Internet Dino

Have you ever been without internet and needed a way to entertain the kids for a few minutes? Google Chrome's No-Internet Dino Game to the rescue. The 16-bit game only appears when you're not connected to the internet. If you try to find a website through the Chrome browser when...

Mid-Grade Reads for Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from September 15-October 15 to celebrate the histories, cultures, and influence of past generations who came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. If you'd like to introduce your middle-grade reader to books that depict Hispanic characters and cultures, try these: Solimar:...

The Iguana Gang

As we get ready to launch book four in the Night Buddies series, we jump into the way back machine to answer a burning question: What’s up with the iguanas? The way back machine takes us to a post from eight years ago: Understanding the Iguana Gang. If you’ve read...

Crosley Approved Pumpkin Cheesecake

Labor Day marks the official start of... wait for it... pumpkin spice season! While Crosley, our favorite red crocodile from the Night Buddies series, loves pineapple cheesecake, he does enjoy some seasonal variations. Here, with some help from Kraft foods, is a quick and easy recipe for pumpkin cheesecake that...

The Value of Routines

Simple morning and nighttime routines can reduce stress for everyone and help your pre-teen feel more confident and secure. Routines don't have to be rigid to be effective. Talk with your middle-graders about what tasks must be accomplished every morning and evening, and brainstorm how they want to organize and...

About Friendships (including Crosley and John’s)

Several years ago, a reader posted a question for author Sands Hetherington. “How does your main characters’ friendship develop throughout the series?” Sands shared the story of John and Crosley’s friendship. For starters, Crosley picked out John to be his Night Buddy. There must have been a lot of reasons,...

5 Back-to-School Prep Tips

August means back to school, and the start of a new academic year means changes for the whole family. So we've read several expert posts and condensed the best of the best advice into five back-to-school prep tips. Don't wait for the first bell to start your school-year schedule. First,...

Revisiting Sand’s Favorite Ghost Story

Today we jump in the way-back machine to retell author Sands Hetherington's favorite ghost story. But first, let's explore why we like ghost stories. An article in the Harvard Business Review summarized the psychology behind why we love (or hate) ghost stories. Three reasons we are drawn to horror stories...

Create a Magical Reading Nook

Make reading a destination in your home by creating a space designed just for enjoying books. Make it warm, creative, and screen-free. Here's a list of things to consider when creating your reading nook: Location. Your reading nook doesn't have to be large. It can be a corner, some unused...

What to do When Your Child Struggles with Reading

“Without a strong foundation in reading, children are left behind at the beginning of their education. They lag in every class, year after year because more than 85 percent of the curriculum is taught by reading. And by the end of third grade, 74 percent of struggling readers won’t ever...

Happy Birthday, Night Buddies!

Night Buddies is now ten years old! The very first Night Buddies Adventure, Night Buddies and The Pineapple Cheesecake Scare, was released in the Summer of 2012. The fourth book, Night Buddies and The Evil School Bus will be out soon! It all started with night adventures conjured by author Sands...

Books that Answer the Science Questions Kids are Really Asking

By nature, kids are curious. They want to know how things work. They ask 'why' and 'how' hundreds of times each day. STEAM learning starts with this natural curiosity to build understanding and critical thinking skills in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math. That's a long-winded way of saying...

Make a Summer Meal Together (and Build Literacy Skills!)

Cooking with your kids is a great way to build literacy skills, and it doesn't have to be complicated. Reading simple recipes, even off a box or package, teaches children to pay attention to details, and to read and follow directions. Here's a simple summer meal you can make together...

Books Featuring our Furry (and not so furry) Friends

Night Buddies Adventures star John and his not-so-furry buddy Crosley the Red Crocodile. If you enjoy stories that include animal friends, check out these titles.   Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo We begin our list with a classic. Ten-year-old Opal comes back from the store with a dog instead...

Middle Grade Classics

Don't know what to read or where to direct your tween in the library? Then, revisit these classic middle-grade books. These books have enchanted children for decades and are great to read aloud together. Make it a summer goal to read one or more of the books, then watch the...

A New Night Buddies Adventure!

Later this year, the fourth Night Buddies Adventure will be released! Night Buddies and the Evil School Bus takes young readers and their imaginations on another wild Night Buddies quest. This time, John, Crosley, and their Night Buddies cohorts must defeat a gang of iguanas intent on disrupting the pineapple cheesecake...

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