The other night my ten-year-old son was looking for something to read at bedtime. I handed him my review copy of Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, not sure what to expect. When I checked on him an hour later, he was just a few pages away from the end of this 250-page graphic novel. And the next night, he snagged it to read a second time. That’s saying something. So, when I saw that the book became a Newbery honor recipient this week — the award for great writing, not illustration — I knew I had to take a look too. Related: The ultimate list of the best kids’ books...Read More
Category: Books for Kids
The ultimate list of the best kids’ books of 2015: All the annual best-of lists and award winners all in one place.
We’ve loved our annual new year tradition of compiling the best kids’ books of the year, thanks to all the major (and not entirely major) best-of lists and big children’s book awards of 2015 from publications, experts, and organizations we respect. We’re talking everyone from the New York Times and the ALA to NPR, and smaller but beautifully curated lists from the likes of Brainpickings and Brightly. While we recently put together our own list of the best children’s’ books of 2015 that we’re quite proud of, there’s no way we could get through every new book released. So we hope you take a look...Read More
What a treat it is to put together our list of the best children’s books of 2015. Not that it’s easy; we’ve collectively read hundreds of great kids’ books this year — from cute, sweet board books, to excellent picture books for early readers, to heart wrenching YA chapter books — and it’s always a job to whittle it down to just a few favorites. Ultimately, we went with the picture books that we’re gladly picking up to read out loud to our younger kids for the hundredth time and the chapter books that are sparking great conversations with our tweens and teens....Read More
We’ve mentioned before that only 3% of children’s books feature characters of color, and there are even fewer that feature kids with special needs. This makes me really sad for the millions of kids out there who want to open up a book and see someone they can identify with in the story, who looks like then. If you’re a parent who’s struggled to find illustrated kids’ books that represent your children, I’ve got good news. Crayon Crunch is an indie company that makes custom, personalized children’s books with characters that your kids will absolutely connect with — because your child is the main character....Read More
Sponsored message: GiftLit curated book-a-month subscriptions let you give the gift of reading this holiday
This is a sponsored message from GiftLit. You really can’t go wrong when you give books over the holidays, but a special way to make your gift keep on giving all year long is a personalized subscription to GiftLit. GiftLit offers more than 100 different collections in their book-a-month subscriptions — from board books that encourage a love of reading in toddlers, to teen and adult book collections on topics as specific as fantasy and magic, American History, or just the best new releases of the month. And now there’s a special offer for Cool Mom Picks readers, just in time for a perfect Hanukkah or Christmas gift. – Don’t...Read More
We figured this was a pretty good time to start looking around at some great — and effective — books about manners for kids. I’m sure you feel me; my family calendar is already so booked over the next couple months, which means lots of opportunities for my kids to show off their best manners. Or, their worst manners when they get really tired. Which they will. So, books! That’s always a good way to help me better talk to my kids about any subjects without them feeling like I’m nagging them. These six books about manners for kids cover the do’s and don’ts of polite...Read More
Looking for the best Thanksgiving books for kids to share this week is a no-brainer for us; Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s low pressure (unless you’re doing all the cooking), no fancy outfits to shop for, no gifts. Just a weekend with the people I love most in the world. But while the spirit of the holiday for my family is really about togetherness, I’ve also been thinking a lot about the true history of Thanksgiving, and how we’ve become more enlightened in recent years about the longtime misrepresentation of the Native people whose land was decidedly...Read More
This is a sponsored message from I See Me! personalized books. If you’re looking for a special, one-of-a-kind gift for your kids this holiday, check out I See Me! personalized books for kids. These award-winning books are a huge hit with children, because the stories are all about them, using their very own names. – Don’t miss an exclusive discount for Cool Mom Picks readers below – While there are titles about Christmas, Hanukkah, or themes that kids love all year long, the newest addition to the collection is The 12 Days of Christmas. It’s based on the classic Christmas song, with vintage style...Read More
I admit I’m a sucker for fantastic adult authors who turn their talents towards children’s books — and succeed. See also, Neil Gaiman. It’s not an easy task for sure; it’s hard to strike a balance between child-appropriate and childish, and a lot of authors just can’t quite pull it off. Which is why I’m so impressed by Dave Eggers’ brand new release, This Bridge Will Not Be Gray, the true story of the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, brought to life with amazing papercut illustrations by Tucker Nichols. The is one for junior history buffs for sure, but it’s written in such a...Read More
With Halloween coming up, I did some browsing at my local library and bookstore to find some creepy books for kids. But, I wanted books that weren’t necessarily tied to Halloween so that we could read, enjoy, and be spooked by them all year long. These six books range from funny and little spooky, to downright scary. So fair warning, you might not want to read some of them at bedtime; and not just for the kids. You can find all these titles at our affiliate amazon or at your local indie bookstore. At the lighter end of the creepy book spectrum is Creepy Carrots! written by Aaron Reynolds...Read More
RJ Palacio’s Wonder is one of those rare books that simply stays with you for a long time. At least for me and for my daughters, who often bring up this phenomenal YA novel in the course of everyday conversation, and refer back to it when we have those hard talks about injustice or social dynamics or the politics of friendship. So when I saw our friends at Litographs had added a new Wonder tee to their collection of graphic tees all designed from the words of novels, I knew I had a new favorite. Big news all around for Litographs t-shirt...Read More
When we first discovered the Lost My Name books, well, sold. They were about the most beautifully conceived, perfectly executed, personalized books for kids we had ever seen. We’ve since bought them as gifts and recommended them to tons of of our own friends. So of course we were thrilled to have the chance to team up with the smart folks at Lost My Name — who include three cool dads and one cool uncle — for the U.S. launch of their brand new title, The Intergalactic Journey Home, which takes the personalization to a remarkable new level. And yes, we’ve said that...Read More
The Story of Diva and Flea: 2 of our favorite children’s authors/illustrators team up and the results are wonderful.
At very first glance, the cover of the upcoming The Story of Diva and Flea cues some sort of classic French picture book. And then I scanned down to the author credit: As told & shown by Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi. That’s when I knew, whoa. This isn’t going to be your ordinary picture book. In fact, it’s not even a picture book at all; it’s a sweet, funny early-grade chapter book about a pampered little Parisian dog who comes to befriend a French alley cat and open one another’s worlds in surprising ways. And indeed it’s peppered with plenty of great illustrations: beaux...Read More
Helping kids practice the fine art of patience with Waiting, the new children’s book from Kevin Henkes
I don’t know about you, but my kids aren’t the most patient people I know. I’m not either, for that matter, but I’m trying. I promise. And I think my kids are too. Still, it’s hard for all of us to practice waiting in a world where almost everything is on-demand. That’s why I’ve been loving the new book Waiting by Kevin Henkes. The slow-paced, minimally written story is just beautiful. The characters in this story from one of my favorite children’s authors are all toys in a child’s bedroom, each waiting for something different. By the end of the book, everyone...Read More
This week the National Book Award were announced, and now we’ve got about a million hours of reading ahead of us. But we wanted to share the 10 longlisted finalists in Young People’s Literature, from nearly 300 that were submitted, should your teens — and hey, even you — want to read some seriously fine new titles. This isn’t light reading, nor is it for the majority of younger kids, even if they read at a high school level; the topics range from coming out, to the Vietnam War, to mental illness, to a brutally honest memoir about Malcolm X by his daughter. I will say,...Read More
Someone Special Books: Personalized books for kids with special needs of all kinds. Like making friends.
We love personalized books for kids, which always make special gifts for the kid who has everything. Also, what child doesn’t need more books in his or her library? But now we’ve discovered a publisher creating personalized books made just for kids with special needs and conditions, from Down Syndrome to Autism to food allergies and ADHD. This is simply a fantastic find for so many families and classrooms. The customizable books from authors Heather McCartney and Kate Ryan of Someone Special Books allow you to choose the appropriate title, then insert details like your child’s name, birthday, friends, or favorite activities, which are all incorporated into the rhyming text. But...Read More
Superhero Comic Kit: A BIG way for kids to write their very own BIG comics. Did we mention they’re big?
Our superhero-loving kids are going to leap over a tall building to get their hands on The Superhero Comic Kit, an activity book that gives them the chance to write and illustrate their very own comic books. No super skills required, only an active imagination, which we’re pretty sure is their super power anyway. And, wow, will their imagination have a place to play on the pages of this (very) oversized, uniquely hands-on book by British illustrator Jason Ford, also the author of The Super Book for Super Heroes which we love. In his latest release, Ford takes kids through all the...Read More
If you ever pick up a newspaper in front of your children, turn on the news, or even have an adult conversation about the day’s events, there’s no doubt that they are aware in some way of the tensions, divisiveness and frankly, ugliness, in our world right now. As parents, we’re always thinking about ways to explain it all, and ideally, to make our kids part of positive solutions as they learn how to live their best selves. And now our friends at Little Pickle Press have released a new book around the simple theme of kindness, that couldn’t have come at a more perfect...Read More
My ten-year-old is the kind of kid who is still reading in bed long after his siblings have fallen asleep. But it can be hard to keep up with his pace, and continue finding age-appropriate fantasy and adventure books that tweens like him will be excited about. I mean, he really tears through them. If you’re in the same boat, I’ve put together some excellent fantasy and adventure books for tweens that we’ve loved at our house, and a few our local bookstore has recommended that we can’t wait to try. And hey, even if your child isn’t tearing through longer chapter...Read More
The Day the Crayons Quit, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by the amazing Oliver Jeffers, has been sitting on my kids’ bedside table — and getting read every night at bedtime — since the day it came home from the bookstore. It’s quickly become a classic that teaches kids to challenge the “rules” when it comes to creativity. No coloring inside the lines here. Daywalt encourages kids to think outside the (crayon) box in a really fun way. So when the sequel — The Day the Crayons Came Home — showed up in my mailbox, my kids immediately grabbed it to...Read More
This past Sunday, August 9, marked one year since the death of Michael Brown and the subsequent uprising in Ferguson, Missouri. Despite the many months that have passed, trying to make sense of the heartbreak and horror of everything that’s happened in this country recently remains a challenge for so many us. Processing the racial injustice, the hate, the death and devastation is difficult, to say the least. And as parents trying to explain any of it to our children — so many of us don’t even have the words. This is where the children’s book Painting for Peace in Ferguson can...Read More
Fantastic tween books made into movies: 8 adventure-packed stories to help get older kids reading more.
We have no shortage of movie nights in the summer, but I would love to get my kids to crack open their books more often when school isn’t in session. And I think I’ve found a way to encourage them to read more while still keeping movie night on the calendar: I’m going to offer them great action and adventure filled tween books that were made into movies, with the caveat that we can only watch the movie afterwards. Whether you chose to read the titles aloud to your kids as a family story, or if your reader would rather finish the...Read More
It may surprise readers of Cool Mom Tech, but I am pretty much a no-screens-in-the-car kind of a parent. Back when my youngest was still a toddler and four consecutive episodes of Dora meant a needed stretch of quiet. But now, unless it’s an extra extra long car ride, we have a pretty good roster of car games that do the trick. Until I run out. Which is why I’m thrilled to have a copy of Amanda Morin’s new On-the-Go Fun for Kids: More than 250 activities to keep little ones busy and happy anytime, anywhere. 250, mamas. That’s a lot of ideas....Read More
It’s been a big few weeks for America, hasn’t it? From the heartbreak of the Charleston shootings to the landmark #LoveWins Supreme Court decision to the Girl Scouts donor dust-up, people everywhere are talking about prejudice. While I’ve seen such a beautiful swell of love, support and compassion for all kinds of people all over my social media this past month, I’ve also talked to lots of moms who are wondering how to talk to kids about prejudice and racism. Because even as my kids help me pick out wedding presents for all our friends, prejudice most definitely still exists whether it’s because of the color...Read More
When you think of a princess book, and what the lead character wants, what springs to mind? Classically, the story would be about meeting her true love or escaping her horrible life to live in a luxe castle. Then we moved onto more modern princess books including my favorite, The Well at the End of the World, in which the princess demonstrates that beauty isn’t everything, and kindness, loyalty, and good math skills matter more. Well now there’s comic artist Kate Beaton’s brand new The Princess and the Pony, just out today, which brings a fantastic new twist to the genre....Read More
It’s hard not to be completely smitten with the work of Brooklyn artist Ida Pearle as we have for ages. Her cut-paper illustrations beautifully capture the whimsy and joy of childhood. We loved her alphabet book A Child’s Day: An Alphabet of Play, and now she’s out with a new book called The Moon is Going to Addy’s House, a magical and unique look at bedtime. My kids are hooked. In this book, Addy has been at a playdate in the city and she’s headed home for bed. The family drives through the city, over the Brooklyn bridge, and toward their house in the country. The whole time, Addy...Read More
Now that my kids are finally all old enough to know better than to rip out the cut-art from a pop-up book as I flip the pages for them, I’ve been looking around to find some new pop-up books to read to them. And wow, there are some really, really beautiful pop-up books for kids that have been published in the last year, along with some classics I still adore. These are books that I’m enjoying as much as the kids are, even as they give my children a glimpse into another world, teach them a wider appreciation for art, or are just super fun. One will...Read More
As big-time book lovers here, we’ve learned that a love of reading is acquired and not something kids are necessarily born with, like the color of their eyes or their uncanny inability to sleep past 6 AM on a Saturday. So we love putting together tips for parents on ways to get kids excited about reading — and ideally, keep them reading — especially now that summer is here and we all get a little more lax about things like that. Plus, our bookshelves do tend to have some stiff competition with all that extra daylight after dinner. One of our top ideas,...Read More
When you hear about a Neil Gaiman book for kids, you might assume it will be along the lines of Coraline or at least his Hansel & Gretel book, but nope. Gaiman is prolific (if you weren’t yet aware of that) and this time he’s pairing with illustrator Adam Rex again for the third in the series of Chu’s Day books, sweetly titled Chu’s Day at the Beach. There isn’t a hint of darkness in it at all. Just a magical reality set in motion by the Panda known for his gigantic sneeze, taking a seemingly ordinary trip to the beach. Related: Neil Gaiman’s Children’s Book: The...Read More
Every once in a while I come across a kids’ book I love as much (or more) than my kids do. It’s even more rare with board books, but the brilliantly creative BabyLit board books by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver are definitely on that list. I have to admit, the English major in me swells just a little bit when I get to read my children playful interpretation of books like Pride and Prejudice or Moby Dick, only for babies. So I was intrigued when I heard about their newest creation: the clever DoodleLit guided coloring book designed for BabyLit readers’ older siblings. It features nearly 300 pages of coloring...Read More