Category: Books for Kids

8 outstanding books that teach empathy for kids with special needs

Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind. ―Henry James   You stocked up on school supplies, bought your kid a cool new lunch box and backpack, and purchased that first day of school outfit, but you may be missing one important item I like to have on my own kids’ back to school lists — books that teach empathy. Especially for those kids with special needs who may be new to a classroom, playgroup, or just the neighborhood this year. Besides feeling...

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The ultimate girls in STEM book of kick-butt Women in Science

True fact: This book is so cool that I had to go steal it back from my fifth grade daughter to review it. It’s called Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World, and it’s geared toward celebrating the contributions women have made to science and the hurdles they’ve faced doing it. Whoo. These ladies were doing STEM before it was STEM. From Hypatia in ancient Egypt to Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian mathematician who was the first-ever woman to win the Fields Medal in 2014, this book perfectly balances well-researched facts with gorgeous, whimsical illustrations making it a...

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They All Saw a Cat: A charming new children’s book by illustrator Brendan Wenzel

One of my preschooler’s very favorite books of last year was Beastly Babies by Ellen Jackson and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel. An animal lover at heart, he couldn’t get enough of its playful illustrations. So when we saw that Brendan Wenzel has a new book out, we were excited to get a copy. And after reading it, we’re certain that if They All Saw a Cat isn’t a contender for the Caldecott Award, we’ll be very, very surprised. The story is simple: a cat with his paws, whiskers and all, goes for a walk. The illustrations show the different animals (and people) whom he encounters...

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A Harry Potter crafts book that renews your faith in magic and hot glue guns

With all the buzz about the brand new Harry Potter and the Cursed Book and JK Rowling’s recent birthday this past weekend, our kids are starting to catch Harry Potter fever all over again. And whether or not they’re ready to imagine him as a full-grown Ministry of Magic employee and dad (gulp!), get them doing more than zoning out to the first eight movies, with the brand new The Unofficial Guide to Crafting the World of Harry Potter. Jamie Harrington has put together 30 clever crafts for kids of all ages into a beautifully produced book, that help reinforce a belief in the...

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How to talk to your kids about politics? Ken Burns has a book for that.

This election cycle has been pretty brutal, leaving a lot of us wondering how to talk to our kids about politics. Well, I just got a copy of Grover Cleveland, Again! by the celebrated documentarian Ken Burns and illustrator Gerald Kelley, and I’m convinced that reading this with my kids is going to help them understand what being presidential is all about. Related: Turning kids into readers – 3 tips from LeVar Burton to help get your kids excited about books Related: 3 inspiring new picture books for kids that should be on every wish list This big, oversized book fills up my kid’s...

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A super simple tip to help your kids with their summer reading right now

It’s probably one of my kids’ least favorite things to talk about these days: Summer reading. Which is odd, because they really do love to read. They just don’t like someone else telling them what they have to read — and when to read it. Recently, though, a friend recommended this very easy tip: Invest in a summer reading journal to make the required reading a bit more exciting. I decided it was worth a try, and so, I picked up this Reading Journal for Kids (available from our affiliate Amazon, in different versions for kids’ ages and reading levels) to help my...

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Girl power! Our 10 new favorite empowering books for girls

My kids and I have encountered some very memorable girls with very memorable experiences in their children’s books over the years — Madeline’s midnight appendectomy, Freckleface Strawberry (a favorite among my brood of redheads) wearing a ski mask on the playground to hide her freckles, and of course, bossy big-sister Olivia the pig — our favorite non-conformist. And lately, I’ve been seeing an increasing number of empowering books for girls, all non-fiction stories written by women in the last 12 months or so, of girls busting stereotypes and fulfilling their dreams. These books teach our kids anything is possible if you work hard enough and...

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7 fantastic children’s books to pick up before they hit theaters this year.

My kids love to read. But they also love to go to the movies. Luckily, that makes our summer reading easy this year, since I’m going to encourage them to pick up some of the great children’s books that are being adapted into movies this summer and fall. From classics like The Little Prince and The BFG to new favorites like The Queen of Katwe, there are a handful of movies based on kids’ books coming out soon that I know they won’t want to miss. So my rule is, you’ve got to read the book first. Smart, right? Here, 7 terrific children’s books turned movies that we...

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3 of our favorite board books for new dads that make awesome Father’s Day gifts

We all know chewable, sturdy board books are a great choice for babies and toddlers who are still in the oral fixation phase of development, but these books aren’t always known for being the most stimulating for adult minds. Especially when kids demand the same book be read over and over. And over. So for this Father’s Day, we’ve rounded up just a few sweet and hilarious board books for new dads — some of which you might even recognize from our 2016 Baby Shower Gift Guide. They’re perfect for a first Father’s Day, a second Father’s Day, an almost dad-to-be, or just for...

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Beyond Oh The Places You’ll Go: 8 inspirational books for graduation gifts that become keepsakes

While there are so many graduation gift ideas that we could give to our accomplished kids, friends and relatives, we especially love the idea of giving a special, inspirational book for graduation gifts. Especially when it delivers messages of empowerment, adventure, and pursuing one’s dreams. Whether you’re feeling wildly sentimental about your babies embarking on the Kindergarten journey or your grown-too-sooners headed off to college, believe us when we say, we know the feeling all too well. So we’ve put together 8 really lovely options that we hope will remain on their bookshelves for life. And yes, we do think those 18-year-olds who are heading...

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Taro Gomi delights again with this new book series for preschoolers

We could not be more excited that famed Japanese author-illustrator, Taro Gomi (you know him, the author behind the widely popular Everyone Poops), recently released a new boxed set called Growing Together. We think it’s the perfect gift for a graduating preschooler who is “all grown up,” and ready to take on the world. The set is intended for children ages 2–4 and includes four small books, each titled after a central task of childhood: Growing, Sharing, Imagining, and Exploring. Related: Amazing Water: The educational book + CD about classical music that actually is amazing. Of course these developmental hurdles can be a challenge, especially...

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Amazing Water: The educational book + CD about classical music that actually is amazing.

I must admit, I was very intrigued when I first heard the idea for Amazing Water, a new book with accompanying CD that introduces kids to classical music and the way that water — namely, rivers, oceans, the canals of Venice — has inspired composers since, well, forever. We’ve all heard by now how classical music is good for little brains (whether it actually makes them smarter, by the way, is debatable). But I wondered if this book could really hold the attention of kids who aren’t crib-bound, and can wander off when they get bored with Bach or Beethoven. But, to my...

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6 clever ways to get your reluctant reader to love reading

Not too long ago, I realized my 8-year-old son was a reluctant reader. He’s a perfectly good reader, but would rather do just about anything but read. And that’s a particular sore spot for me, because there are few things I’d rather do more than sit down with a good book. In fact, I often lament how little time I do have to read. My son is fortunate enough to have an incredibly intuitive teacher who noticed, like I had, that he was a very capable reader, just not an interested one. So when she called me one day to...

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5 inspiring new picture books for National Readathon Day that make kids want to get out and play

As someone who grew up with her nose in a book, I sure spent a lot of time hearing my parents tell me to put down that book and go outside to play! So in honor of today’s National Readathon Day, I’ve rounded up five wonderful new picture books for kids that not only make great stories but also inspire kids to get outdoors and explore this big, beautiful world. Because if there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that books do a darn good job of expanding our world views way beyond the walls and comfort of our homes. Related: 3 brand...

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10 really cool activity books for kids. For summer travel, or for regular boredom, which knows no season.

From books full of creative DIY projects to endless coloring pages, I have tracked down some of the absolute coolest activity books for kids, that I think your kids are sure to love as much as mine this summer. After all, I adore the warm weather and the break from routines, but I am admittedly not ready for summer vacation. With just 3 weeks left until school lets, I’m hoping these kids’ activity books will keep my brood entertained — and off screens — from the minute they wake up. Which is well before I’m able to crawl out of bed, because what is it about...

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D is for Dress-Up: Not the alphabet book you’d think it is

When I receive a book with the subtitle, The ABC’s of What We Wear I admit I’m thinking oh great, another “boys like transportation, girls like fashion” book. But it turns out I am utterly charmed by Maria Carluccio’s D is for Dress-Up, which uses her texturally rich illustrations to take early readers through the alphabet, from Apron and Bow Tie to Yoga Pants and Zippers. (No judgment here about yoga pants, by the way. It’s just kids doing yoga in them.) I absolutely love the authentic diversity of the children depicted throughout the book by artist and textile designer Carluccio. She’s...

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There is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith is pure wonder

I fell in love with this book the moment I opened it, thanks to its luminous illustrations. I shouldn’t be surprised that Lane Smith was behind them, the artist known for kids’ classics like The Stinky Cheese Man, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and so many others. But it’s not just the gorgeous art that makes the brand new There is a Tribe of Kids so moving. Lane Smith’s latest is a story about the search for belonging, a theme so universal and so beautifully portrayed in this story, I pretty much think everyone should read it. Related: Best children’s books of the year:...

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Mo Willems’ new Thank You Book: Why you’ll be grateful for it too.

I was super excited to hear about Mo Willems latest, The Thank You Book, a new adventure in friendship between Gerald and Piggie that’s launching today. The one downside: this is the 25th and final book in the Elephant & Piggie series (say it ain’t so, Mo!) so this is one you Willems fans will definitely want to get your hands on. I mean, for your kids. Related: How Mo Willems can help decorate your child’s room The book is really a lesson in gratitude, something all kids can stand to learn over and over. In the story, Piggie feels so overwhelmed with gratitude that he plans a “Thank-o-rama” to tell...

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Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: The best bedtime book you’ll ever read.

I’m on bedtime duty when I visit my nieces, which means snuggling up and diving into really good stories — tales of women beating the odds and achieving great things. Well, sorta. When we’re done poo-pooing at the lions with Madeline, I often find myself scouring the girls’ bookshelves for something a bit more real-to-life to share with them. Which is why I’m so excited about the Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Kickstarter project, fundraising now. (Update: You can now order the book at RebelGirls.co) Related: My First Book of Girl Power. Lasso of Truth not included.  This book will feature 100 stories of diverse, inspiring...

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Flora and the Peacocks: A simply glorious picture book

If you’re already a fan of Molly Idle’s other popular children’s picture books, Flora and the Penguin and Flora and the Flamingo, then you’re in for a treat with the brand new Flora and the Peacocks. It’s part wordless picture book, part lift-the-flap interactive book, and all parts wonderful. Here, Flora is back with a pair of marvelous peacocks, as you may have guessed from the title. She tries to dance with them, mimic them, play with them…but it’s not quite as easy as she thinks. Three can be a crowd, as we’ve learned — and I’d imagine even young children...

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3 brand new nature-themed activity books will keep kids busy…without screens.

Though it’s certainly easy to hand our kids a screen when we want to keep them busy at the doctor’s office, on a long road trip, or when work needs to get done (and I am as guilty as anyone), I’ve found there is one alternative to handhelds that keep my kids focused, occupied, and truly content: A great sticker book. So I’m thrilled to have discovered the new My Nature Sticker Activity Books series by Olivia Cosneau. Related: Stickers for boys. Or girls. Cool how that works. In the Age of Dinosaurs is ideal for a dino-loving child who is eager to learn all about the peaceful Stegaosaurus and funny...

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A can-do magazine for girls who wanna run the world, featuring some impressive women who already do.

My five brilliant nieces are marching their way toward adolescence (well, one of them is technically crawling her way there at this time), and while I do my best to introduce them to the joys of science, Star Wars, sports, and all the possibilities for women in general, I recognize there are still a lot of forces working against them in those arenas. So I was thrilled when I learned about Erin Bried’s new Kickstarter project for KAZOO magazine, a publication for girls ages 5–10 that is designed, with the help of some very impressive names, to promote creativity, curiosity, exploration, and fun, across topics like science, technology, art, sports,...

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Novels written in verse (yes!), for kids, are must-reads for National Poetry Month

I have a new obsession: novels written in verse. Seriously, I’m flying through a few of these books a week and the best part? My kids are too. The fact that these novels are poetic gives them a lyrical beauty that’s missing in a lot of plot-driven stories for kids, and yet they’re still fascinating page turners — a must when you’re trying to capture a tween’s attention. Even the most pesky readers who feel poetry is boring with a capital B are likely to be hooked after the first couple of pages. I pretty much guarantee it. Related: More of our favorite poetry...

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Making chemistry more fun with My First Science Textbooks

Anyone of us parents who can still recite the Preamble to the Constitution thanks to the animated shorts of Schoolhouse Rock knows how much kids can learn (and retain) when information is presented in the right way, a.k.a, learning without realizing you’re learning. So, we are so intrigued by a series of beginner chemistry books that hope to make the behaviors of protons, neutrons, and atoms as absorbable as, say, the superpowers of Spiderman. My First Science Textbooks by Genius Games founder John Coveyou is currently blowing up Kickstarter by reaching over 10 times its goal. Clearly, there are a lot of us parents who want...

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9 of our favorite children’s books to help you welcome spring.

Finally, spring. And with that extra hour of daylight and warmer temps, I’m looking forward to dinners on the porch, flowers in full bloom, and plenty of family time outside. And when we’re ready to come in, kick off our shoes, settle into the couch, I’ll be ready to encourage some reading by keeping a small stack of spring books on hand. The books I found range from brand-new titles to can’t-miss classics that parents will gladly read aloud over and over and over again. Each book shows the beauty of the changing seasons, the importance of waiting for the good stuff...

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Where’s Warhol? Not hiding in a red and white striped shirt, that’s for sure.

When I first saw a copy of Where’s Warhol?, I had to laugh at this clever twist on the incredibly popular Where’s Waldo books that I devoured when I was a kid. I mean, Andy Warhol was better known for donning a platinum wig than a red-and-white striped cap, but the super-social iconic artist was always just as easy to spot in a crowd. In this new book by art historian Catherine Ingram and illustrator Andrew Rae, it may be a little easier to spot him than Waldo, but no less fun. Here, Andy Warhol makes an appearance in a dozen famous moments you may recall from Art History...

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My First Book of Girl Power. Lasso of Truth, not included.

Hold on to your bracelets of submission, ladies. We’ve found a smart new gift for girls. My First Book of Girl Power by Julie Merberg teaches our little girls what it means to be strong, important, and powerful. The geek in me loves that I’ve found a cool, comic book-inspired gift for the kids in my life (they’re all getting one of these now, by the way), but it’s the mom in me that adores that this board book is not just a nod to comic book culture. There are some important lessons for all kids — boys and girls of all ages — in the pages of...

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4 Valentine’s Day books for kids that you’re going to love too

It’s no secret that a good book is one of our favorite ways to celebrate holidays and important milestones of pretty much any kind, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. So, we’ve collected a few of our favorite Valentine’s Day books for kids this year so you can share the love with your kids too. I find them all to be sweet but not-too-sappy books that you’ll want to read again too. Which is a good thing, because our kids have been requesting them non-stop. CMP is an Amazon and rstyle affiliate.   Related: 21 cool Valentine’s Day gift ideas for...

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The book guaranteed to get more kids wanting a bath. Okay, and probably a puppy.

The new Bathtime with Theo and Beau, from blogger turned social media sensation Jessica Shyba is the book that you think it will be, if you’re familiar with the original Naptime with Theo and Beau. Expect adorable, silly, awwww-invoking photos of her 2.5 year-old son bathing with the world’s cutest SPCA rescue puppy, Theo. (Yes, Theo is the dog. We get confused too sometimes.) While it’s designed for the youngest readers (and us sentimental parents), even my older girls want to tear out every photo and hang it on their walls next to the BB-8s and Kylo Rens. The photos, from the two pals getting...

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The 2016 Coretta Scott King book award winners: Great reads for MLK Day and beyond

I don’t want to let holidays like Martin Luther King Jr. Day slip by with my kids thinking it’s just an extra day off of school. So if you’re like me and are looking for some ways to honor the spirit of MLK while you’re home today, we highly recommend you check out last week’s winners and honorees of the 2016 Coretta Scott King book awards which we briefly mentioned in our roundup of all the best book lists and award-winners of the past year. This is a list of winners we share each year because it’s important for us to seek out diverse stories from diverse authors, that aren’t always...

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