Category: Books for Kids

Gwendolyn Brooks’s new children’s book offers a joyous lesson in empathy

Once in awhile, a children’s book comes along that’s equal parts timely and and classic, and that’s just how I’d describe the We are Shining, penned by the late poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner, Gwendolyn Brooks. It’s filled with exquisite but accessible words of hope, excitement and self-affirmation that even young children can understand and appreciate. And a message they could probably use these days, if they have a sense of some of the more troubling issues in the news lately. Related: What did Frederick Douglass really do? This book helps them (and a few adults) find out. What’s really special to me is how...

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This Is How We Do It: The fabulous new book that teaches kids empathy while celebrating diversity.

One of the best ways our kids can learn empathy and celebrate diversity is to see the myriad of ways different people live their lives all around the world. Which is why I am loving the brand-new children’s book, This Is How We Do It, by Matt Lamothe. My kids get to see that their way of life isn’t the only way. And that’s a really important lesson. For us all. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: 9 lovely children’s books about the immigrant experience to help encourage more kindness and empathy. Related: The One Globe Kids app takes your children around the...

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5 important dystopian novels for tweens and teens to inspire critical thinking and positive action

In the age of “alternative facts,” it’s no surprise that classic dystopian novels, which encourage readers to take a critical look at things, are dominating bestseller lists right now. While dystopian literature has always been popular with middle and high schoolers — probably because adolescence is a time when kids start focusing on their individuality and independence, questioning authority, and caring more about issues in the world — since January of this year, sales of the quintessential dystopian book 1984 has spiked, putting the 70-year-old George Orwell novel at the top of the Amazon bestseller list. Other classic novels warning of oppression, propaganda, and government control have had...

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How a new children’s book is helping Black families discuss police encounters.

Having “the talk” means something different to different families. Your mind may automatically go to the birds and the bees. But for thousands of Black families, it refers to essential conversations they’re having with their children — especially their sons — about encounters with the police. The tragic rise of unarmed Black men (and in some instances, unarmed Black children) tragically killed by police officers has inspired one mother to tackle this very tough subject through a children’s book. Her goal: to help families navigate “the talk.” And as a mother of two biracial children myself, I’m grateful. Momma, Did You Hear the News? by Sanya Whittaker Gragg is about a 10-year-old boy...

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An irresistible collection of teeny, tiny, extraordinarily big family adventures

The brand new children’s book, Atlas of Miniature Adventures is the most charming, wonderful, travel-meets-trivia book. Author Emily Hawkins and illustrator Lucy Letherland sure know how get even the most cynical, “can’t we just stay on the couch and play video games?” couch potato excited to explore the world. (If only via Google.) The colorful, engaging pages take us across all 7 continents, with descriptions of fabulous adventures and natural treasures — but the catch is, they’re all in miniature. Irresistible! You’ll find short descriptions of diverse destinations, both natural and manmade, including the exquisite 1930 fairy castle dollhouse in Chicago’s Museum of...

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Launch Ladies: The new children’s book all about the trailblazing women of space exploration.

We’re all about women in STEM here at CMP, so I was stoked to discover Launch Ladies, a new children’s board book celebrating the inspiring women who’ve pioneered in the field of space exploration but may not be household names like their male counterparts. Yet. But, as we learned in Hidden Figures, they totally should be. Related: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: The best bedtime book you’ll ever read. The Launch Ladies project on Kickstarter aims to give these engineers, computer scientists and astronauts the recognition they deserve for their contributions in the field of space. Which happens to include launching rockets and masterminding the...

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Hooray for Birds! The much-awaited new picture book from Lucy Cousins | Sponsored Message

This is a sponsored message from Candlewick Press If your kids adore the charm and fun of the beloved Maisy series of books, they’ll be thrilled with the brand new Hooray for Birds!, an irresistible new children’s book just out from author and illustrator Lucy Cousins. She’s turned her attention from mice to wonderfully colorful birds that practically fly right off the page, all accompanied by simple prose sure to keep your 2- to 5-year-olds rapt. Budding kindergarten bookworms can even read it themselves, discovering cardinals, roosters, even flamingos in a perfect celebration of spring.   It’s no surprise that Lucy Cousins’ books are such hits...

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We’re All Wonders: Now, R.J. Palacio shares Auggie’s message with younger children too.

A few years ago, R.J. Palacio gave the world Wonder, a middle reader book that we here at Cool Mom Picks believe should be mandatory reading for all children and their parents, which is why we named it among our best children’s books of 2015. The truly moving novel about August (Auggie) Pullman, a boy who was born with a congenital facial abnormality and was heading to school for the first time in the fifth grade, is an important reminder to kids that everyone needs understanding, deserves friendship, and should feel free to be themselves. We couldn’t be more excited that this week,...

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11 inspiring children’s and YA books about historic women for our girls — and especially, our boys.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ve been sharing so many ways to help get our kids excited about historic female heroes both past and present. It made me think to take some time this past weekend to browse through my bookshelf and pull out some inspiring books about historic women for my kids. And that includes my sons too, because it’s so important to me that my boys grow up with the inherent understanding that women are an important part of history and will continue to change the world in so many ways. From Malala to the Queen of Katwe to the underrated women of...

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The Wipebook dry erase notebook: One random office supply gift your kids will absolutely love.

My kids are obsessed with their dry erase boards (it’s the little things, you know?). In fact, my daughter has figured out she can use the dry erase markers on her glossy coloring book covers and wipe those down too. Now, they’re playing games like teacher and student whenever they can, with their markers and books in hand. So when I spotted the reusable Wipebook dry erase notebook over at The Grommet, I instantly knew this would be a huge hit with my kids. Related: The coolest birthday gifts for 7 year olds This notebook has 20 reusable pages that can be written and drawn...

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She Persisted: Chelsea Clinton’s new children’s book becomes a best-seller in one day.

It’s no surprise that She Persisted is now the title of an upcoming book about history-making American women. What’s more interesting though, is that it’s a book written for children, by none other than Chelsea Clinton. The phrase has certainly blown up over the past month, becoming a deeply personal mantra for women. It began back in February when the statement was first uttered — not as a compliment, but as as a scolding of Senator Elizabeth Warren after she was silenced in an attempt to read a letter from Coretta Scott King on the Senate floor during a hearing. Since then, I’ve seen those words on more than...

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Triangle: The clever new kids’ book that will make the whole family smile | Sponsored Message

This is a sponsored message from Candlewick Press For a not-your-average bedtime story that will keep the whole family entertained, you’ll love Triangle, the newest book from New York Times bestselling author Mac Barnett and Caldecott-winning illustrator Jon Klassen, known for the popular, Caldecott-nominated book Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, amongst others. This fun new book is the first in an upcoming series from the dynamic duo known for their irreverence and wry humor. Triangle brings both to life through straightforward prose, charming illustrations, and a simple narrative. As Triangle tries to play a trick on his friend Square — or so he thinks — young readers...

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When words aren’t enough: A goodbye to Amy Krouse Rosenthal

It’s always a strange and complex feeling to feel the loss of someone you’ve never actually met, but that’s just what I feel right now, learning of today’s passing of author and mom of three, Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This is one woman who definitely left us way too soon. F*ck cancer is right. While a lot of you may have learned her name recently, as the author of the unforgettable You May Want to Marry My Husband Modern Love column in the NY Times, we’ve known her for years as a remarkable children’s author who has filled our kids’ bookshelves with the kinds of titles you...

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A magazine for tween girls, by tween girls, about tween girls. Finally!

OMG! We found a magazine for tween girls so cool that the only thing my 10-year-old daughter could find to complain about was that some of the fonts were hard to read. High praise indeed, if you’re familiar with hormonal, too-cool-for-school preteen ways. Seriously, though. If you’ve got a tween girl, you’ve got to check out Bright Lite magazine. Related: 9 great TV shows for tweens that you might not have considered Bright Lite, which is run by two moms, is a magazine for tween girls written by tween girls, and curated by an editorial board of — you guessed...

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Feminist babies: Meet Feminist Baby

I can’t stop smiling at the new board book, Feminist Baby by Loryn Brantz. Filled with adorable, colorful illustrations of a chunky little wide-eyed baby, it paints a picture of a baby who chooses what to wear herself, rejects pants, plays with both dolls and cars, and makes lots of noise — banging on pots and pans with kitchen utensils. Of course the irony is that these are descriptions that apply to pretty much all babies. Especially the part about hating to wear pants. Related: Fantastic children’s board books about activism for our future world changers I would definitely call this Feminist-Lite™, especially compared with outstanding...

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A trés cool graphic novel anthology of inspirational women. Let’s hear it for the girls!

My girls and I love graphic novels, especially when they feature strong female role models, which is why I’m so excited about the Femme Magnifique Kickstarter project, fundraising now. This hardcover anthology of comics will feature 30 strong, fierce, trailblazing women from the fields of politics, science and entertainment. Amazing women like Hillary Clinton, astronaut Sally Ride, and Kat Blaque a transgender African-American feminist vlogger, just to name a few. Related: 10 graphic novels loaded with girl power.  Related: 9 fantastic girl power movies for kids Over 50 of the industry’s best writers and artists are involved in this project. We’re talking award-winning,...

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11 cool, modern ABC books for kids that parents will love too

I adore almost all children’s books, and thank goodness for that since I am a mom of four kids. But there’s one genre — the ABC book — that makes my eyes glaze over. Hey, you can only read “A is for apple” so many times. Over the years, however, I’ve found some really cool and modern takes on the typical ABC books for kids that (gasp) even I sometimes choose when it’s my turn to pick a book to read to my kids. If your child is learning their letters — or even if they’re already reading chapter books — these ABC books will...

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We cannot wait to get our hands on this newly discovered fairy tale by Mark Twain.

Well, this isn’t something we get to share everyday: A new, never-before-published Mark Twain story will be released this fall. (Can you hear us cheering from here?) The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine is a fairy tale that Twain left unfinished, but Philip Stead and Erin Stead, the brilliant Caldecott-winning duo behind A Sick Day for Amos McGee and Lenny and Lucy, have stepped in to finish the story and illustrate it beautifully. We couldn’t be more excited. Related: 9 lovely children’s books about the immigrant experience to help encourage more kindness and empathy Related: This new book for girls has us shouting, WOW! Twain...

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6 wonderful children’s books about African-American pioneers your children may not know — yet

It’s safe to say that during Black History Month in particular, our children are learning all about our nation’s great civil rights leaders, like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks and Frederick Douglass. But, if you’ve seen (or, heck, even heard about) the film Hidden Figures, it’s been an awakening for a lot of parents and educators that there are so many more African-American pioneers who deserve the spotlight too. Even my mother-in-law, an 83-year-old Black woman, had never heard of Katherine Goble Johnson, Mary Jackson, or Dorothy Vaughan — the brilliant women who were instrumental in helping launch the first U.S. astronaut into orbit. Thankfully, that’s...

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What did Frederick Douglass do? This wonderful book helps kids find out.

This week, I am under the impression, for some reason, that lots of folks are searching for information on Frederick Douglass: Who was Frederick Douglass? What did he do that was so important? How did he earn a place in the new Smithsonian African-American history museum? If you’re a parent or educator, this is a good opportunity to rush to your local library, Amazon, or your local bookstore. Then check out the brand new biography picture book, Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History, by the late Walter Dean Myers. Related: 10 outstanding Black History Month books for kids of all...

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A Greyhound, a Groundhog: A fun tongue-twisting book to read with your kids on Groundhog Day

My kids love checking in with the news to see if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow every year on Groundhog Day (SPOILER ALERT: there will be six more weeks of winter this year), and so the new book A Greyhound, a Groundhog by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Chris Appelhans is one we just had to check out. It’s fun for Groundhog Day, but any other day of the year too, because even though it features a groundhog, it’s most definitely not about Groundhog Day. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: The best lists of the best children’s books of 2016, all in...

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9 lovely children’s books about the immigrant experience to help encourage more kindness and empathy.

I’m a child of an immigrant. And so I jumped at the chance to put together a list of some of my favorite children’s books about the immigrant experience. I know first-hand just how difficult it is for someone to get to America for a better life and work toward citizenship, let alone having to leave their homeland, family members, and the only life they’ve known behind, sometimes forever. With immigration a big topic in our country right now, our children are hearing about these issues too. They have so many questions, whether they’re watching the news with you, discussing it in...

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Congrats to the 2017 Caldecott, Newbery, and Coretta Scott King medal winners. They are truly award-worthy!

Today, there’s excitement about the Oscar nominations, but yesterday was the Academy Awards for book lovers. The ALA made its big announcement of the books worthy of the annual Caldecott, Newbery, and Coretta Scott King medal winners, as well as many other notable awards, for children’s lit and young adult books. We are really excited to see that some of our very own recommendations have been honored. They truly deserve it. Related: 18 best children’s books of 2016 | Editors’ Best of 2016 CMP is an rstyle and Amazon affiliate Awarded the 2017 John Newbery Medal The prize given for the most outstanding contribution to...

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A trio of fantastic STEM-inspired picture books that celebrate curious children.

Often, some of the very best children’s books are the ones inspired by a writer’s own child (like Mo Willems’ Knuffle Bunny). These books tend to be favorites among kids and parents alike because they come from a place of authenticity. Which is why I think families will love Andrea Beaty’s trio of STEM-inspired picture books, which was created from the author’s personal experience with her young son who would build things, anything, from random things. The series isn’t new; in fact, the first book published a decade ago. But she continues to add to the series every few years, which is a big...

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The heroes of these fantastic fairy tales? Real women. (Really.)

When it comes to imaginative stories and tales, my kids have always been somewhat confused by what’s real and what’s make-believe. This is especially true of anything Star Wars (“Did his hand really come off?”), Harry Potter (“Do house elves really exist?”), and fairy tales (“Can someone really have hair that long?”). But now, they’ll get the Yes-es they’ve been looking for. And it will surely blow their minds. Related: Girl power! Empowering books for girls In Queen Girls stories, the heroes don’t wait for a magical kiss from a handsome prince, or a swift flick of the wand from a fairy godmother who can quick-fix their...

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An excellent list of MLK books, videos and resources to help kids understand the reason for the holiday.

Over the years, we’ve put together so many fantastic ways to help honor the important, impactful work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., especially to help families be able to discuss how we might all carry on his legacy. We hope you’ll check out these books, videos, websites, craft ideas and activities, with the hope that more of our kids are inspired do their own part to create a world filled with peace, equality and justice for all.   4 Fantastic Books for Kids about Martin Luther King to Help Educate While You Celebrate Here’s his entire I Have a Dream...

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10 outstanding children’s books about activism in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

As we approach MLK Day, we’re thinking it’s the perfect time to get our kids learning about activism and about how one man, through his peaceful and steadfast fight for equal rights for all, made lasting changes and a huge impact on generations. Inspired by his words — “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” — and motivated by his actions, we’ve put together a list of 10 children’s books about activism that we think will inspire our kids, in turn. From stories our littlest readers will enjoy to non-fiction books that motivate our older kids to take action about those things they believe in, we...

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Little Big Girl by Claire Keane: The perfect gift for a new big sister.

When you’ve been the littlest in your family your whole entire life, but things are about to get real because a new sibling comes along, you need the book Little Big Girl by Claire Keane. This sweet story about a little girl growing up and getting bigger and bigger (sniff) has captured the imagination and attention of my three kids, as they’re planning to welcome a new little sister very soon. If you’re looking for a sweet gift to help your child transition to having a new younger sibling, this is it. Related: The ultimate new-baby sibling gift In Little Big Girl, Matisse (the real name of author Claire...

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The best lists of the best children’s books of 2016, all in one place

Once again, we’re happy to have compiled the best lists of all the best children’s books of the year, curated by the top publishers, reviewers, organizations, and bloggers we respect. And boy, was it a fantastic year for children’s literature and storybooks. You’ll surely find lots of great new discoveries from the New York Times to the American Library Association, from NPR to well-curated blogs like Brainpickings and Brightly and…well, us! So start with our own list of the best children’s books of 2016, then check out some other perspectives. We bet a few of your kids’ favorites will be on here, and you’ll surely find some new ones you’ll be excited to add to...

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18 best children’s books of 2016 | Editors’ Best of 2016

As the year comes to a close, we’re looking back at our picks for the best children’s books of 2016 — according to our editors, writers, and of course our children! What a perfect way to kick off our Editors Picks of the Year. As our readers know, we all adore books here at Cool Mom Picks and we’ve collectively read hundreds of great kids’ books this year, from the sweetest board books for babies, to excellent picture books for early readers, to compelling graphic novels  — and it’s not an easy job to whittle it down to just a few favorites. Ultimately, we go with the books...

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