New York Family


The Best Pumpkin Decorating, Carving Ideas 2021

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By Courtney Ingalls & Tamonda Griffiths

The Best Pumpkin Carving/Decorating Ideas

We’ve suggested all of the best places to pick pumpkins on Long Island. Now, it’s time to gather the little ones around the kitchen table and dig into your carefully selected pumpkins. Whether they are big or small, tall or round, curvy or bumpy, bright orange or starch white, your pumpkin is ready to be transformed into a masterpiece fit for the spook-tacular season! If you are looking for some new ideas, here are the perfect pumpkin carving and decorating ideas for kids of all ages.

Non-Carving Ideas

Glitter Pumpkins

Want to make your pumpkin shine without glow-in-the-dark paint, tea lights or candlesticks? All you need is a little paste and a whole lot of glitter and sparkles! Your kids will love painting their pumpkins with glue before sprinkling their choice of glitter all over their once orange pumpkin. Use fall or winter hues on a faux pumpkin so you can repurpose it for Thanksgiving and Christmas, respectively. Use gold or silver to make your pumpkin look like a million bucks! Or write out Halloween messages like “Boo” or “Beware” in purple, green or black glitter to give trick-or-treaters a fright!

Spider Web Pumpkins

During the Halloween season, spider webs are used as a staple decoration, and now you and your kids can make a spider web on your pumpkins! Grab some tape and create your own spider web on your pumpkin. Once the design is ready, paint over the tape with your favorite color and let dry. Finally peel off the tape and you will see the outline of your spider web!

Mummy Pumpkin

This is one of the easiest decorating ideas ( and one of the cutest!). All you need is some googly eyes, glue, and toilet paper. Wrap the toilet paper around the pumpkin and help your kids apply the glue to keep it in place. Once it’s dry your pumpkin mummy will be ready to display!

Confetti Pumpkins

This decoration idea results in a very colorful pumpkin. Grab your favorite colored tissue paper and help your kids make different sized circles. Now grab your pumpkin ( a white pumpkin is better to see the different colors) and start using modge podge to stick them on.

Carving Ideas

Cookie Cutter Pumpkins

Cookie cutters don’t have to just be used for baking. Once your pumpkin is hallowed out, grab your favorite cutter and decide where you would like it to be placed. Take a rubber mallet and have your kids help you hit the cutter into place. Take out the cutter and parents can use a knife to help go over the outline and then see your different shapes shine through.

Lollipop Pumpkin

Disguise lumps and spots on your pumpkin with lollipops! You can either drill some holes into your pumpkin or let your children poke holes into them using the lollipop sticks or wooden kebab skewers. This Halloween decoration is a two-for-one deal, not only is it a creative use of your treats that gives your pumpkin the illusion of wacky hair, but it’s also a practical way to hand out candy all night long!

Polka-Dot Pumpkin Carving Idea

Using polka dots is always an easy design to put on any craft, and now you can carve them into your pumpkin. This design does require some assistance and supervision from parents. You can either grab a drill and make circles into the pumpkin or you can draw them out and use a serrated knife.

Paw Patrol

Create your favorite Paw Patrol characters on your pumpkin this year. What makes this so easy is that you can use different character stencils. Simply print them out, tape them to the pumpkin and cut it out according to the lines.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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How to Teach Your Children Boundaries to Form Fulfilling Friendships

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By Christina Furnival

There are times when our children come home from school deflated because another kid left them feeling down. If this is occurring with some frequency, we may need to help our children set boundaries to develop fulfilling friendships. 

A healthy relationship boundary is a firm, but flexible, spoken expectation you set with another person to clearly define what you find acceptable (or not) in their actions towards you or others. Boundaries provide clarity by erasing ambiguity, allowing you and the relationship to be authentic. By setting healthy boundaries, you construct the framework for a mutually enjoyable friendship, offering freedom to demonstrate love and respect for one another.

Here are three tools for teaching children to set boundaries.


Setting a boundary begins with your child’s awareness of their feelings, and the ability to describe their feelings and express what they need. To do this you can play games that explore feelings. My favorites are Bright Spots Therapeutic Fun games.

Try validating your child’s experiences. For example, at a family party, you notice that your child doesn’t want to hug a specific auntie. You could reflect with them, “When your aunt asked for a hug, I saw that you turned your body away from her and you looked downwards. It looked like you felt unsure or uncomfortable. I want you to know that I am proud of you for listening to your feelings. You do not have to hug anyone that you do not want to. In the future, you could use your words to say ‘No, thank you’ to be even more clear.”


Explain to your child what a good friend says, how they act, what they do, and how your child will likely feel when they are with such a friend. 

For example, “A good friend says things like, ‘Let’s play’ or ‘I like you’ and they share, take turns, and use their words to solve problems. When you spend time with a nice friend, you feel happy and loved.” 

It’s important that our kiddos know that words and actions should be aligned.


Our kids are always watching how we act and handle challenges, and by modeling boundaries, our children will more deeply understand their power.

Setting healthy boundaries can feel challenging to do, especially at first and if you aren’t used to speaking up for yourself. The same will be true for your children, but they have you to cheer them on and to support their growth. 

Christina Furnival a licensed psychotherapist and author of the Capable Kiddo series. Check out her timely and topical book The Not-So-Friendly Friend: How to Set Boundaries for Healthy Friendships.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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Pi & Pie Mask: Special Sizes for Preschoolers, Teens and Women

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After wearing masks for well over a year now, we’re all too familiar with the struggle of one-size does not fit all. We constantly have to adjust our little one’s masks so they stay on, and even the masks we buy don’t always fit our faces quite right. If we’re going to stay safe & healthy, we need masks that fit our faces. That’s why, Pi & Pie Mask designs special-sized disposable face masks for preschoolers, teens and women.

Pi & Pie takes into account that young kids, teens and women have smaller faces, so they offer toddler/preschooler and petite sizes so that your little one and you can be protected. “Great masks for young kids! Size works well for a small child’s face. Multiple colors to choose from. Quality of the mask is nice, and holds up throughout the school day,” explains Rhiannon M. Because the masks are made in the USA, shipping is quick and communication is easy. And for a price of $2 per pack (including 5 masks), you can’t beat it.

Not only does Pi & Pie take into account size, but also style. “These masks are surprisingly pretty good quality and they fit my 3 year old perfectly. I bought multiple colors/designs to try out and each color/design has also surprisingly been vibrant and opaque and not at all faded like I was expecting them to be,” says Amani. The colors are fun & vibrant, so your kids will surely love wearing them. “I have a 6 year old and a 10 year old. When I gave them the masks, they got so excited about the brilliant purple, blue, green, orange and yellow colors right away,” adds E & E’s mom.

As we get into the fall spirit and gear up for the holidays, Pi & Pie masks are great for staying safe during all of your festivities. Stay tuned for the special holiday-themed masks coming up in November and December, like the Halloween one in October!

The Best Autumn Craft Ideas for Kids

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By Olivia Haveron

Best Fall Crafts for Kids!

Summer has finally come to a close and now we have entered the season of pumpkin picking and hayrides. During this time of the year, it’s easy to find ourselves leaving the house to find the countless fun fall activities. However, if you’re looking to stay in and watch the autumn leaves fall, these fall crafts for kids are the perfect way to embrace the feeling of the season while saving money and keeping your kids busy.

Finger Painted Tree

This craft is one for young and old kids alike as long as you don’t mind a bit of a mess! Sketch the branches on a large white background before setting out small paints. As your kids dip their fingers into the paint, these paints will act as the leaves before transferring them to the branches.

Leaf Crown

Incorporating the fall foliage from right outside your door, this practically free craft allows you and your child to use their creativity to create their very own crown. Not only does it allow for your child to explore the outdoors, but they also can become the king or queen of the Fall! All this craft needs are leaves, twine and a bit of glue to keep it all together.

Crayon Leaf Rubbings

A classic childhood craft, this simple activity also has your child adventuring outdoors for their favorite leaves.  Using a crayon, white paper, and a leaf, place the paper over the leaf and color away. There is nothing more satisfying than watching the details of the leaves appear on the paper.

Halloween Logs

This craft might be a bit more difficult if you don’t have access to logs; however, if you don’t live in an area with ease of access to them, you can buy them from your local hardware store. These cute creepy creatures will haunt your neighborhood. Your child can make anything from a ghoulish ghost using white paint to orange or green paint to create a mortified monster.

Handprint Tree

While there are many handprint crafts, this one differs because of its 3D shape and stand-up structure, making it the perfect fall centerpiece! Cut out as many handprints as you and your child choose in different fall colors to act as the leaves. You’ll also need a paper towel roll, glue stick, tape, paper plate, and green paint.

For the full list of crafts, visit NewYorkFamily.com.

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8 Scheduling Apps to Keep Your Family Organized

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By Courtney Ingalls

Best Scheduling Apps to Keep Families Organized!

All parents know that as their kids get older, their lives start to be consumed by more activities such as school, work, sports, and clubs. Yes, it can sound overwhelming but luckily there are ways to keep your family more organized. Scheduling apps are easy to use and allow the whole family to be in the loop when it comes to each other’s schedules! Here are some of our top picks for scheduling apps that will keep your family organized.

Psst… Check out 13 Fun Fidget Toys to Help Kids Focus- and even parents will love!


With the free Cozi app, not only will you be able to stay in the loop with schedules, but so will everyone else in the family. Cozi uses a color-coding feature where each member of the family has a designated color that will show up next their designated events. The scheduling app also gives you the option to start menu plans and to-do lists that your family can edit.


Have your family’s schedules all on one calendar when you use the TimeTree app! When it comes time for your family to plan a trip or a fun day to spend together, it will be easier to check TimeTree than having to tackle the sometimes impossible task of getting everyone in the same room.


If you are a fan of organizing, then this app is the one for you! Any.do is user friendly and gives you the option to organize your events and lists into categories. You are also able to organize your itinerary even further writing notes and putting deadlines on tasks so every family member can stay in the loop!


Instead of having to take the time to combine everyone’s calendars into one, FamilyWall will let you sync your schedules in minutes. The app also wants to make sure you feel safe when using it, which is why there is security and privacy for all the information you share with other members of your family. Take it one step further and turn on the locator option which will let you check on a family member’s location!


Aside from scheduling events and activities for the family, you also need to keep track of the tasks that everyone is doing around the house. OurHome allows parents to assign different tasks to each kid. Once you designate jobs for everyone you can set due dates, create repeating schedules, add reminders or apply late penalties to make sure your kids are staying on the right track!


Keep your family organized by using Flayk! This scheduling app is a fan favorite and is an easy way to keep your family in the loop with what everyone is doing. Something that makes Flayk unique is that you can pass tasks and events onto other people. Things can come up day to day, which means you might not be able to take the dog on a walk, or grab your kids from soccer practice. With Flayk, you can send out a notification to each family member and you will be notified when someone accepts the task.

Google Calendar

Add another Google app to your phone! The Google Calendar app brings you your family’s schedule with a view. When anyone adds an event to the calendar, you are able to add a photo or a location. This app is even more beneficial to families who have gmail accounts because events that are emailed to you will be added straight to the calendar so your family can stay informed.


This scheduling app is so great that it can pretty much organize your entire life for you. Not only is it used for its calendar, but you can also use it to locate family members, store files, upload and share pictures, create a shopping list and much more. You can also integrate popular services like ones that track your kids time online.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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Parenting Techniques For Raising Resilient Children

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By Cara Zelas

The past 18 months have been rough, the global pandemic has knocked us off our feet and challenged families in all facets of life. It has been a test on our endurance, relationships, and mental health.

The rollercoaster of emotions for parents has been difficult to manage, and as an educator, I want to examine emotional well-being and analyze the consequences for children. I try to view the world from my children’s perspective and attempt to understand how this pandemic has affected their life experiences. I have discovered that children are more resilient than we realize. I want to nurture this resilience, the ability to rebound from setbacks and overcome failures, and to arm them with essential tools to face obstacles that are sure to come their way.

Psst..check out The Best Apps and Devices to Keep Track of Your Kids

8 Active Strategies to Build Resilience:

Build positive relationships 

Helping your child establish positive relationships through clear communication, openness, honesty, and trust helps your child feel like they can take risks and make mistakes knowing they have a strong web to catch them. On a subconscious level, this allows your child to try new things with less hesitation and more confidence.

Develop confidence

Encourage your child to have a positive outlook on who they are. Nurture self-kindness and celebrate unique gifts and strengths. Allow space for mistakes as from mistakes, we learn, grow and gain confidence.

Manage emotions 

Giving feelings a name. With the right vocabulary, children have a way of expressing how they feel. Acknowledging emotions by using simple language, “I see you are feeling (insert emotion),” provides validation and gives your child the affirmation that you are listening and understanding them in the moment. Emotional self-regulation techniques such as simple breathing activities or taking a walk are easy to implement and are effective.

Enable independence 

Give age-appropriate responsibilities. Simple household chores are small, un-directed tasks that give a sense of responsibility and confidence. If your child is old enough, drop them at family or friends for playdates, allow them space to be separate from their home dynamic. Encourage independent thought about events happening in their lives, let them form their own opinions, have a discussion, even if you disagree – this is a wonderful opportunity to show your child how to be respectful of all ideas and points of view.

Set realistic goals

Teaching your child to set goals and following through is important for developing fortitude and perseverance, especially when the going gets tough. Setting goals is important because it helps your child develop intrinsic motivation, responsibility for their actions and is a life-long gift. Try these ideas: let your child pick their goal, break it down into smaller steps, write it down (In a study conducted by Prof. Gail Matthews, people who write down their goals are 20% more successful In accomplishing them than those who did not), put a time frame on it, discuss potential hurdles that they may encounter and help with problem-solving before they begin.

Take risks 

Have a conversation about taking risks and trying new things, rather than saying, “be careful,” tell them the consequences of their actions. Allow for some freedom and space to explore and step back to observe.

See failures as opportunities

Reframe failure as a course correction. Connect with your child by telling them a time you set a goal, made mistakes, or failed but kept going. Sharing personal experiences or stories makes it more meaningful and you can model the steps and outcome.

Don’t rush to their rescue

Unless your child is in immediate danger or in harm’s way, let your child process what is happening when something goes wrong or they are facing a challenge. As parents, we want to save our children from any kind of hardship however this sets up our children to buckle under pressure or any uncomfortable situation in their future. Let your child problem-solve on their own and endeavor to create an environment where your child feels safe to ask for your help when they need it.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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5 Tips For Getting Your Kids Started on Chores

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By Courtney Ingalls

How to Start Your Kids on Chores

Incorporating chores into your kids routines is important but can sometimes be hard to do. You might not know when is the right time to have them start or how to figure out a solid schedule for them to follow. Chores are not only great for showing kids how to do tasks they will need to know once they grow up, but it also teaches them responsibility.

Many times parents have to go through the process of trial and error (A LOT of errors) to figure out their families flow. Not sure how to get started? Here are some tips that will lead you on the right path to having a cleaner house!

Begin at A Early Age

Kids are the most eager to help their parents or any adult with a task when they are in their toddler to preschool years. There is no better time than this age to start introducing the idea of chores to them. Start off by having your little ones “clean” with you. If you are wiping down the windows, give them their own cloth, let them hold the vacuum with you as you clean the living room carpet.

If you really want to go the extra mile, there are also cleaning toys, such as Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House Dust! Sweep! Mop! Play Set, that you can buy your kids so they can get extra excited about helping out!

Make Cleaning a Family Affair

Another reason that kids should have chores is because it connects them more with their family. Once you decide your kids are ready for chores, the best first step is to have a family meeting to discuss why you all will be doing chores and to delegate which family members do what. It is important for kids to see that chores are just as important for adults as it is for them.

If you’re not sure if your kids will be able to complete daily tasks, it is a good idea to designate a day throughout the week where the whole family will clean together. Being able to do chores alongside adults will give kids the confidence that they can complete tasks and will teach them how to complete these chores when it comes time to do it themselves.

Find Age Appropriate Chores

Now that your kids are starting to see why chores are important, it’s now time to give them ones that they will be able to do at their age. For ages 2 and 3, kids can start learning how to do basic chores with the help of their parents such as picking up their toys, dusting and helping their parents pick up spills.

Once they hit the ages of 4-7, most parents feel they can give their kids more responsibilities. These include setting and clearing the table, keeping their own rooms clean, and learning how to fold laundry. When your kids hit the ages of 8 or 9, that’s when many parents believe they are ready for tasks many adults do during their regular day such as learning how to work a washer and dryer, taking out the trash and washing the dishes.

Parents know only too well that every kid is different and every household has unique chores they believe are the most important for their kids to learn, so keep in mind to give out chores that fit your family.

Give Kids Visual Aids

Having visual aids will help your kids stay on a set chore schedule and will help them build a routine. It can be hard for kids (and parents) to remember what their tasks are every week, so keeping these visual aids in places where they will see it often is a perfect way to remind them.

If you have a little one who hasn’t mastered reading yet, then chore cards are great visual aids to get! These cards have illustrations of different chores on them so even though your kids can’t read, they will understand what they need to do from the pictures. For older kids, a chore chart is great to keep them organized. You can either buy a magnetic chart or simply print ones offline that they can check off as they go. Being able to cross chores off on a chart will give your kids a sense of accomplishment and will help your kids stick with it each week!

Praise for Completing (or Trying to Complete) a Task

Everyone loves to hear that they have done a good job on a task and kids are no different when it comes to their chores! Kids will be more willing to continue with their chores if you praise them for the good work that they have done and some kids might feel confident enough to take on other tasks around the house. Adults also have to remember that kids are not going to clean the way we do, so try not to focus on each chore being done perfectly. Instead, make sure to let them know they did a good job and then give them a tip on how they could do it better next time.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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Tips for Traveling With Kids Not Vaccinated For Covid-19

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Traveling with Covid-19 Unvaccinated Kids — An Expert Share Tips

Summer is back, and if you haven’t noticed, people are traveling. As more states and countries start to open up, many of us are frankly itching to visit family or experience a vacation again. But while many of us parents and older kids are vaccinated, our younger children are not vaccinated, which is a concern for many families wanting to travel. Whether you are scouring online to find a great getaway deal or looking to book tickets soon, we chatted with Dr. Steven Gelman, Director of Outpatient Pediatrics at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, about traveling with unvaccinated kids this summer.

Psst… check out our Summer Reading List for Kids of All Ages 2021 

First, is it safe for kids to travel if they have not been vaccinated?

Yes, it is safe for kids to travel if they have not been vaccinated. That said, I would advise that families head to destinations where the positivity rates are lower, which does knock off some locations.

But if kids are too young at this point to be vaccinated, I do encourage their travel companions, such as their parents or relatives, to be vaccinated before travel. This will minimize the potential spread to the children. If parents are not vaccinated, then I discourage travel.

Realistically it’s tough to get a toddler or, even in my case, my special needs child to wear a mask, any tips that can help keep our kids safe this summer? Is this still something that a parent should be concern about?

It is challenging to get some kids to wear their masks and certainly not easy to get them to wear them properly. One of the benefits of summer travel is that many activities are outdoors, decreasing the spread. I would recommend dining outdoors with unvaccinated children and not yet eating indoors.

As much as possible, I would keep your family in a bubble and try to keep the kids close. In some ways, travel now is more challenging than it was a few months ago in that most adults wore their masks then, and you could avoid those that didn’t. Now so many vaccinated adults have removed their masks, so it is harder to know who is vaccinated and who isn’t. This comes back to the idea of traveling to cities and states where the COVID positivity numbers are low and conducive to outdoor activities as much as possible.

We have been seeing and expect to continue to see an increase in other viral pathogens, like common cold germs, increasing in the younger group as the COVID numbers drop. Like in flu season, these kids have to be monitored for any respiratory problems and dehydration. Most clear it like they always did. 

Any idea when young children will be able to get vaccinated?

Currently, children under 12 years old are not eligible for the vaccine, but we hear and are hopeful it will be available to younger children in the fall. While I am excited and hopeful for it to be expanded soon, unless it happens imminently, it wouldn’t help for summer travel. 

Vaccines are free; here is what you need to know.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus.

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Summer Reading List for Early Readers Through Young Adults 2021

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By Courtney Ingalls

Summer Reading List for Kids of All Ages 2021

There is nothing more relaxing and peaceful summer activity than enjoying a great book. Having a summer reading list is an awesome way to pass some time while also keeping your kids’ creative juices flowing and not falling into the summer slide! Whether the kids are sitting at home, away at camp, or on the beach during vacation, a good book opens our kids to adventure, new worlds and broadens their own world.

If looking for a subscription service for the summer and beyond, we are loving ouraan. com, a well-curated book subscription where books are vetted, read, discussed by a team of experts before they are sent to your reader.

In the world of books, there are so many stories and genres that will appeal to kids of all ages and reading levels. We’ve come up with a list of some summer reading books for each age group that will keep kids engaged all summer long!

Looking for cheap and easy activities to do with your kids this summer? Check out 37 Free Things to Do in New York City This Summer

Early Readers


Bye Bye Brain Bully: Knocking Out Self-Doubt by Carin Bail & Carina Hale

Trying to tackle life is something that every child has to navigate while growing up. With the help of Captain Communicator and Believer Achiever, Kate tries to fight against the evil brain bully and to be able to use her voice and develop some courage within herself! Your kids will learn how to combat any mental struggles they have while growing up and how to be confident with themselves! Grades Preschool-3.

Floaty by John Himmelman

Mr. Raisin lives alone in a little house, and that is the way he prefers it. One day he comes across a basket on his front step. When he opens the basket, he doesn’t see anything inside until he looks up to find a floating dog! This funny story focuses on embracing the unexpected and finding friendships that you didn’t know you needed. Floaty is the perfect first book to show little ones how fun reading can be! Grades Preschool-3.




Bo’s Magical New Friend (Unicorn Diaries) by Rebecca Elliott

This book is aimed at newly independent readers and includes easy-to-read text in order to boost reading confidence! Bo Tinseltail is one of the many unicorns that attend Sparklegrove School and has the cool power of granting wishes. Something that Bo wants more than anything is to find a best friend. A new unicorn named Sunny Huckleberry comes to the forest, and we are left wondering if Sunny will be the best friend Bo has been looking for. With this high-interest content and colorful illustrations, kids will not want to put this book down! Grades K-2.



Summer Camp Critter Jitters by Jory John

At this summer camp, all of the animals are nervous about going! The duck is nervous about the other campers finding out he can’t swim, and the sloth is worried that he will have to catch his own lunch. This hilarious book shows how each animal prepares for camp and brings up the question of if the animals will ever get over their nerves and make new friends. Grades Preschool-3.

Upper-Level Books


Marcus Makes a Movie by Kevin Hart

Marcus is stuck in a film class he has no interest in being in but realizes he can use it as an opportunity to make the cartoon superhero he has been drawing into a movie! This book, written by comedian Kevin Hart, follows Marcus’ journey through his film endeavors and how he and some helpful friends make his imagination become a reality! Hart shows through this book that if you have a dream you want to come true, you have to work hard in order to achieve it, which is something that all kids should learn. Grades 3-7.


A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

Ten-year-old Zoe has always dreamed of becoming a great piano player and is waiting to get her first piano in order to start her lessons. When her dad ends up buying her an organ instead of a piano, Zoe’s hopes and dreams seem farther away than ever. However, when Zoe enters an annual organ competition, she realizes that life hands you some unexpected surprises. This book shows kids that even though we might strive for perfection, sometimes it’s better to be a little off-center. Grades 5-7.


Jude Banks, Superhero by Ann Hood

This book is written by New York Times bestselling author Ann Hood and tackles the hard topics of loss, resilience, and how families start to heal. Jude’s sister Katie was his favorite person in the world. She was the one who always called him “Jude Banks, Superhero” and made him feel special. When his sister unexpectedly passed away, Jude didn’t feel like the superhero he was told he was. While trying to figure out how life will be without Katie, Jude meets a new friend with similar struggles and they decide that they will try to tackle their tragedies together. Grades 3-7.




Turtle Boy by M. Evan Wolkenstein

Middle school can be rough, and as kids will be returning to school full time the next school year- this coming sweet book is a must summer read for Tweens and even adults. The story is about Will Levine and how the seventh grade is not going so great. With a considerable part of this from being bullied due to his funny-looking chin. His friendship with the ill older boy RJ changes Will’s life as a friendship is bonded through turtles and RJ’s guidance and bucket list. This book is a heartfelt coming of age story perfect for a summer read for this age group to learn about being brave and getting out of your shell. Grades 5-6.

Grade 8 & Young Adult



Lola: A Ghost Story by J. Torres

Lola is the Tagalog word for a grandmother who Jesse barely knew but was aware, like most of the family, she had visions and was able to see ghosts. Jesse shares this secret power, and while in the Philipines for Lola’s funeral, Jesse sees ghosts and realizes he must face his demons. The book shares Filipino culture and mythology. While this story is beautiful with many visuals, it does have a bit of darkness- like the grandmother trying to drown Jesse as a baby (it was not what it seems, as you will find out later) and a drunk adult. This is why we recommend the recommended age group read this book. Young Adult.

Firekeepers Daughter by Angeline Boulley

As an instant New York Times bestseller, Firekeepers Daughter has become a must-read for young adults this summer! The book follows Daunis Fontaine, a teenager who lives on the Ojibwe reservation, who put her dreams of getting out of her hometown on hold after a family tragedy struck. After witnessing a shocking murder, Fontaine gets involved with an FBI investigation and finds out that finding the truth behind these crimes is harder than she expected. If your kids love crime and mystery books, this will be one your kids will not want to put down this summer. Young Adult.


Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi

This book is based on a true story and is the perfect combination of funny and informative. Readers will be focusing on author and main character Sara Saedi as she tackles the struggles of being an undocumented immigrant in America.On top of the steady progression towards getting her green card, Saedi is also worried about normal teenage things such as whether or not she will be able to get a prom date or if she will ever be able to properly maintain her unibrow. Saedi’s memoir is relatable and is a necessary book to read during today’s climate. Young Adult



Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

This book is the start of the Shadow and Bone trilogy and takes you on an adventure with magical spells and monsters. Alina Starkov is a soldier who has embarked on her first trek into the Shadow Fold. When she and the other soldiers get ambushed, Alina unleashes powerful magic that she didn’t know she had. Now Alina is training with her country’s magical military elite and is uncovering secrets in her past that can put her family and country in danger. Grades 8- Young Adults.


Rule Of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

If Shadow and Bones seems like a book your kids would enjoy, pick up this other magical story written as part of Bardugo’s King of Scars Duology. This book is the second of the duology and follows three people, the demon king preparing for an invasion, the stormwitch who is embracing her powers for her country, and the spy that is going undercover to seek revenge. Together, these three are working to fight off the darkness that is taking over their country before it is too late. Young Adults.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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Signs of ADHD in Children and How to Address Them

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Wondering If Your Child Has ADHD?

Many children are fidgety at times, forget to turn in an occasional assignment, or misplace their favorite shirt.  However, if you find these scenarios frequently occurring with your child or you notice that he is constantly distracted, forgetful, disorganized, or unfocused, your child may have ADHD. ‎

Here are some signs of ADHD in your child to look out for:

  • Your child constantly loses belongings. Papers from school seem to disappear regularly, and she consistently misplaces her notebooks, lunch box, folders, tablet – you name it. One minute she has her belongings, and the next minute you are helping her frantically search your home for them, regularly.

  • ‎Your child misses class instructions. You may have a brilliant child, but he constantly completes assignments incorrectly (and thus loses points) simply because he wasn’t listening to the instructions and didn’t follow the directions correctly.

  • Your child is a daydreamer. His teacher notices that he frequently daydreams and loses focus at school, missing key information and notes from class.

  • Your child has trouble waiting her turn. When playing a game or completing a group activity, your child tends to compulsively jump in and interrupt her peers rather than waiting her turn. This may frustrate her friends and others around her.

  • Your child can’t sit still. When eating dinner, doing a homework assignment, or traveling on a plane, your child can’t sit still. He is constantly wiggling and squirming, unable to stay in one place for a long stretch of time.

  • Your child has trouble completing tasks. She starts one task and then impulsively moves onto the next one before completing the first one. This leads to a multitude of unfinished tasks, assignments, and projects.

  • Your child has trouble keeping his emotions in check. He has regular outbursts, both in private and public places, and can’t seem to contain his emotions.

  • Your child makes careless mistakes. She might be a rock star at math and can correctly answer complex long division and multi-digit multiplication problems, but answers  4+1 incorrectly, possibly even subtracting instead of adding, and rarely self-checks her work.

  • He is completely disorganized. His room is a mess, and the inside of his backpack looks like a load of garbage. Loose papers, notebooks, and old assignments are piled inside of it, and he rarely (if ever) cleans it out.

  • She has poor time management skills.  She rarely turns in ‎assignments on time and underestimates how long it may take to get ready for a party, eat dinner, complete a homework assignment, or study for a test. This makes her, and possibly the rest of your household, constantly late or in a rush.

  • He has trouble maintaining friendships. Your child may not always pick up on social cues, and you might find that his interruptions, lack of sharing and turn-taking, and impulsive behaviors negatively affect social situations. Thus, your child might have difficulty making and keeping close friendships.

So what should you do if your child exhibits some or all of these traits? First off, don’t panic! ADHD is more common than you may think, and it’s certainly not your fault. However, the sooner you can seek a diagnosis, the sooner you can identify a plan of action to help your child. Start by talking to your child’s teacher and see if he or she is noticing the traits above in class.  Ask the teacher whether he or she notices your child having trouble sitting still, remaining focused on activities, listening to instructions, waiting his turn, and staying organized.

If your child’s teacher notices these struggles, and if you are also noticing these challenges at home, you may want to consider having your child evaluated. An evaluation performed by your school district is free, or you can choose to have a neuropsychological evaluation done privately. The evaluation will help determine whether or not your child has ADHD (and/or other learning challenges).

At that point, he or she may qualify for support services either through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 plan. You can also help your child at home by creating routines, limiting distractions, breaking down tasks into individual steps, and encouraging movement. The more proactive you can be at identifying your child’s ADHD and seeking the right strategies and services to support him, the more successful and confident he will be as the demands of school progress.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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