Category: Books for Kids

Naptime with Theo and Beau: The book that could get more kids napping. Or asking for a puppy.

I can hardly imagine a parent online today who isn’t familiar with the huge viral success of Theo and Beau. This gorgeous photo series comes from our friend and fellow mom Jessica Shyba, who has lovingly documented the daily naptime ritual of her toddler son and their rescue puppy who cuddle together every day. Can you think of anything more made for Instagram than that? Well, now it’s made for the printed page too, with the launch of Naptime with Theo and Beau, the most adorable board book for kids maybe ever. Seriously, the creepy old lady whispering hush has nothing on these two. I...

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4 fantastic books for kids about MLK to help educate kids while you celebrate

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and his innumerable contributions to this nation’s history and advancement and books for kids about MLK can be a great way to help little ones understand the importance of the day. Although it’s a holiday in most states and therefore, understandably, a day to relax, I do like that many Americans instead treat it as a “day on” and seek out ways to volunteer in their communities and participate in one of the Day of Service events scheduled across the country. It’s an excellent opportunity to usher in the concept of service to...

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The Book with No Pictures. Guess what? Your kids won’t miss them.

Can I tell you how big a hit I was as the surprise reader at my son’s second grade class the other day, when I read The Book with No Pictures? It was all, “Again!” and, “More!” If you can get your hands on this book too, you’ll understand why. This hilarious book written by actor and humorist B.J. Novak (you know, from The Office) is true to its title: There are no pictures in it whatsoever. Just pages full of funny dialogue written as if the reader (that’s you) is being forced to say silly things by the writer (a kid). The idea is that the...

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Ella: The amazingly illustrated, totally hilarious, very modern parody of Eloise.

I remember being so excited to share Eloise with my little girls when they were old enough–until I read it again as an adult and realized she a little brattier than I had remembered. Not just me, right? Even so, I still have a certain nostalgia for the precocious title character who lived at the Plaza Hotel with no parents in sight, and clearly so did Mallory Kasdan, author of the brand new, hilariously wonderful Ella: A Cheeky Parody About a Little Girl Who Lives at The Local Hotel. A Brooklyn mom herself, Kasdan perfectly captures what Eloise might be like if she was...

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2014 Best Books for Kids: All the lists, in one place.

Thousands of books are published for children each year, and it seems like there are thousands of “best of” lists published too. If you’re shopping for kids books for Christmas like we are, you’ll want to check these lists out for some great book ideas you might not have heard of yet. We’ve put together the collections here with links to all the 2014 Best Books for Kids awards, and highlighting some of our own faves. We’re definitely celebrating the huge number of women writers who won prizes, the focus on diversity, the growing trend of non-princessy science-loving heroines, rabbits–lots of rabbits–and, of course,...

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Gift a year of creativity with Curious Jane Magazine

If you have a curious, crafty, smart, and creative tween, we have a cool new gift idea that isn’t a craft kit or art supplies, but a brand new magazine that will fill her head with things to make, projects to do, and fun ways to spend her time in the upcoming year. Curious Jane Magazine is the newly-launched magazine from the creators of the Curious Jane summer camps and after-school programs for girls 6-11. Like the camps, which our editor Liz’s daughter has attended and loved, the magazine is designed to give young girls their own space to create, think, and imagine. We’ve...

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Neil Gaiman’s Hansel and Gretel: Spooky amazing.

It’s the time of year to build gingerbread houses covered with candies, but I’ve been mesmerized by the new Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman (a favorite around here) and Lorenzo Mattotti, and their interpretation of the classic Grimm story of the wicked woman who lives in a real gingerbread house. Gaiman is a master storyteller, with a welcoming way of telling even the spookiest story. He draws you in with his words, the way Mattotti does with his illustrations, writing in a captivating first person narrative: Back then, we all lived on the edge of the great forest… Mattotti’s dark, lifelike illustrations have amazing depth and...

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D is for design, in the fantastic new alphabet book by Maira Kalman: Ah Ha to Zig Zag

The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City houses incredible exhibits for lovers of design, including fantastic workshops for kids to help them gain an appreciation for fine design before they even hit kindergarten. And Ah Ha to Zig Zag, the new alphabet book by Maira Kalman, one of our favorite illustrators, celebrates pieces from this collection. Who knows, maybe your children will even be inspired to start their own museum one day. This isn’t your typical “A is for Apple” book. In fact, in Ah Ha to Zig Zag, A is for cAp . . . and every...

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Please judge these beautiful gift books by their covers

A glance through our archives shows that we love wonderful books for kids. If you would like to help get a child in your life as hooked on books as we are, check out this stunning four-book collection of classic children’s titles. With new cover art by Rifle Paper Co’s Anna Bond, whose stationery and gifts have been featured many times on Cool Mom Picks, the In Bloom Book Collection pulls together four well-known titles in children’s literature: Little Women, Heidi, A Little Princess, and Anne of Green Gables. Each of these storybooks could stand on its own as a gift, but these new covers make them especially impressive as...

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3 great Thanksgiving books for kids to be thankful for.

We love Thanksgiving, but we’ll admit it can get the short end of the stick, sandwiched between the Halloween sugar-fest and the merry-and-bright excitement of the holidays. While one of the nice things about Thanksgiving is that it’s about family, not gifts, we still love the idea of putting a few great Thanksgiving books for kids into our storytime rotation. Or hey, set them at the kids’ table, at least long enough to keep them entertained until homemade pie is served.   Combining the traditionally told story of Thanksgiving with the adorably cool Pete the Cat character is a great way to get...

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3 amazing new picture books for kids and parents to love

For those of us who love great illustration as much as a great story, I’ve found three new picture books that are worth making space for in your kids’ bookcase or wrapping to give to a child this holiday. What I love most about all three is that they’ll keep you talking about what you see as you go through the pages and maybe even long after the book cover is closed.   Flora and the Flamingo, one of my family’s favorite recent picture books and a 2013 Caldecott Honor book, has a sequel that is just perfect for these colder days. Flora...

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Sponsored post: Personalized books starring your child. And another favorite star.

This is a sponsored message from Peppa Pig and Me As any kid can tell you, the only thing better than reading a book about one of their favorite cartoon characters is being in a book with one of their favorite cartoon characters. Now, there’s a cool new way to make that happen. Personalized Peppa Pig books allow you to put your favorite child in a Peppa Pig story–not just their names, but their actual image. Can you think of  anything more likely to make a kid want to read a book over and over? – Don’t miss a special discount for Cool Mom Picks readers below – Choose from a selection...

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A Halloween story so spooky it might even give mom and dad the creeps.

As a kid who saw creatures in my bedroom shadows at night, I always identified with the protagonist of Bedtime for Frances, who saw monsters in her bathrobe and had all kinds of other excuses for not going to bed. The new scary story for Halloween that’s sending shivers up my spine, even as an adult, is What There Is Before There Is Anything There by Argentinian author/illustrator Liniers. It’s bedtime, and the young boy in the story sees strange creatures descending into his bedroom when he turns out the light. Unlike some other kids’ books, you actually see the creatures–not just dark imaginings. Spooky. Then, in a seriously creepy...

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A creative activity book that could make a future Duchamps or Dali out of your kid.

A few years ago, we fell in love with artist Marion Deuchars’ smart, fun activity book Let’s Make Some Great Art, which teaches kids about twelve great masters and encourages them to imitate their styles all over the pages. I’m thrilled to find a follow-up book for kids, Draw Paint Print Like the Great Artists, with more than 200 pages of creative inspiration for kids to absorb–and, best of all, draw, paint, or print all over. What makes this Marion Deuchars book so inviting is that it doesn’t look like a stuffy art manual, a boring composition book, or even an art workbook. In...

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Little Humans: The photography book about little kids doing big things.

Whenever I’m scrolling through Facebook updates, I can’t help but stop and read photographer Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York photo feed. He has an incredible talent for capturing interesting portraits and poignant quotes about life from his subjects. You’ve got to check him out if you haven’t already. So I nearly jumped out of my seat at the chance to share his work with my kids when I saw he was releasing a book on his tiniest subjects, Little Humans.  This photographic book is more than just a coffee table book; it features those street photos we love, but this time the...

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Fireflies: A writer’s notebook so great for kids, you may never see it again.

This review almost didn’t happen, because my daughter “lost” this writer’s notebook; she’d written so many hopes, dreams, and ideas in it that she didn’t want anyone, to see it. Ever. It’s that kind of book. It inspires trust and sparks imagination. And she only let me have it back briefly, if I promised not to read what she’d written. And I’m trying really, really hard not to. It’s called Fireflies: A Writer’s Notebook, and although it’s been written for all ages, it’s especially perfect for my precocious eight-year-old writer. The idea is that ideas are like fireflies, which can spark...

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Need a Hunger Games alternative for your tweens to read? Find an unlikely heroine in The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee

The lead character in Barry Jonsberg’s excellent new book for tweens, The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee, isn’t as strong as Katniss in The Hunger Games or as fearless as Divergent’s Tris, but Candice Phee is still my new favorite literary heroine. And the quest she goes on to save her family is as noble and enjoyable to read as those more action-packed books that have captured so many girls’ imaginations lately. If your tweens aren’t quite ready for the intensity of those other books, but are looking for something new to read before bed, that will make them scream “just one more chapter, Mom?” from their rooms, then this is...

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In This Book: A stunning picture book for kids and the parents who love reading to them

Just out in the US from French author Fani Marceau is a new favorite picture book that I expect will become a permanent fixture on many kids’ bookshelves: In This Book. It features the kind of repetitive structure that really appeals to babies and the earliest readers: I am in the tree, said the monkey. I am in the tunnel, said the train. I am in the water, said the swimmer. I am in the forest, said the wolf.  Which doesn’t mean it’s boring. In fact I read it to my seven-year-old and a kindergarten friend of hers and they were equally captivated. Not just...

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Chu’s First Day of School is the coolest new book for kids. Not just because it’s by Neil Gaiman.

I love how books can help kids adjust to new life events, like going to school for the first time. If your preschooler or young elementary student is nervous about these early weeks of school, or you have a kid heading off to a new school this year and having to make all new friends, I am so excited to have found Chu’s First Day of School by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex. Because, Neil Gaiman. Just one of my favorite authors, that’s all. Chu may already be a favorite in your household, considering his inaugural book, Chu’s Day, was a New York Times bestseller. In this...

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Little Elliot, Big City: The next big thing in children’s picture book characters. Or, little thing.

– This is a sponsored message from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group – If you’re particular with your picture books, and prefer the kinds of books you like reading as much as your children do, you need to check out the sweet new release, Little Elliot, Big City, which is just out today. You’ll be captivated right away by author/illustrator Mike Curato’s charming, cinematic depictions of New York City that invoke a retro noir, 40’s-era style you’ll want to frame and hang on the walls. But it’s the enchanting story of a kind little polka dotted elephant with a sweet tooth that will really make this a bookshelf staple for...

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We’re nuts for Eric Litwin’s Bedtime at the Nut House. (Yeah, we went there.)

I don’t know about you, but the books that get my reluctant reader the most excited are the ones that drive me nuts. You know, the ones that include a catchy little song that he can shout at bedtime, when he’s supposed to be relaxing? His most recent favorite is Bedtime at the Nut House, with just that very sort of catchy chorus. And you might recognize the style considering it was written by Eric Litwin, author of our own bookshelf staple, Pete the Cat.   What happens when Wally and Hazel Nut refuse to go to bed? Let’s just say that...

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Mix It Up! A wonderful, interactive book for kids. No not an e-book, an actual book.

I was instantly captivated by Hervé Tullet’s 2011 best-selling Press Here, with it’s “interactive” pages that remind us you don’t need a screen to engage a child. Now he’s back with a wonderful follow-up in Mix It Up! which is similarly playful and engaging, only this time with a focus on painting and color mixing. Each page beckons the reader to do something simple–tap a fingerprint, press down a hand and count to five, “mix” two dabs of colored paint together–and the next page shows the results with charming messages of encouragement. What’s particularly clever is the way he asks you to close...

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Quest by Aaron Becker: A first look at this gorgeous new children’s book

Summer’s dragging on at our house, and my kids are ready for an adventure. I haven’t booked us a family expedition to, well, anywhere, so they’re turning to books to satisfy their cravings. For my youngest, who still prefers picture books to chapter books, that mystery and excitement is coming from the pages of Quest by Aaron Becker. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because you may have seen his first wordless picture book, the Caldecott honoree, Journey.  I’m not quite sure how he’s able to tell such a vivid story in pictures alone, but my kids are mesmerized. In Quest, a king surprises...

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The Bear’s Song: A new bedtime book for kids that I don’t mind reading over and over.

I have a few non-negotiable criteria when I’m looking for a new bedtime book to read with my kids and The Bear’s Song by Benjamin Chaud exceeds my expectations on all counts. This book is my kids’ and my own current favorite bedtime story. The art is reminiscent of Richard Scarry’s busy world–only more artful than cartoony–making it fascinating for the kids. They quietly listen as I read because they’re so mesmerized by the images. Plus, the book isn’t too wordy which means it’s absolutely re-readable; one of my essential requirements.  Plus the plot is adventuresome, and our favorite part is to try...

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It’s World Cup time, and this new soccer book for kids is a winner.

Everyone’s eyes are on World Cup soccer for the next month, and The Soccer Fence by Phil Bildner, a thought-provoking and hope-filled soccer book for kids set in the waning days of South African Apartheid, is perfect for reading breaks between games. The book tells the story of Hector, a soccer-loving young Black child living in a Johannesburg township. When he travels to the wealthier “whites only” sections with his mother, he notices the stark difference between his neighborhood’s dirt-and-gravel makeshift soccer fields and the white kids’ lush green lawns. He also sadly notices how he is ignored and not invited to play by...

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Get dirty this summer with 52 cool gardening project for kids

We’ve featured some really great micro-gardening tools here over the years, like the cool Foodie Garden Kits and the Click & Grow smart herb garden which help to create gardening projects for those of you with kids, but not a lot of space for traditional sowing and planting. However if you’re ready to take it outside, be sure to take a look at Gardening Lab for Kids by Renata Fossen Brown. This fun collection of DIY activities–or gardening “experiments,” as the author calls them–ranges from building rain barrels and gardening tool boxes to making a desert terrarium or growing a tropical porch container. My kids were immediately drawn...

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The Baby Tree: May we never ever talk about storks again.

I admit, the folk tales and stork mythology stories that seek to answer “where do babies come from?” don’t appeal to me a bit. I want my kids to understand the actual facts in age appropriate ways and the right book can be perfect for that very thing. Especially if you’re feeling awkward about it yourself. So was thrilled to find just what I have been looking for–and probably a lot of you too–in the absolutely charming, wonderful, relatable The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall whose title belies the informative lesson about reproduction for young kids. A child  about to have a baby sibling sets out to...

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PhotoPlay! The cool coloring book gets bigger and better.

When I first got my hands on the open-ended coloring book Fotoplay! back in 2012, I fell in love with the way photographer M. J. Bronstein used her snapshots as prompts, encouraging kids  to draw all over them to create their own personal masterpiece. Her new coloring book, PhotoPlay!: Doodle. Design. Draw. is just as cool, and with more than double the pages to keep kids engaged for a good long time on a road trip or a rainy day. Every page in PhotoPlay! features an interesting black-and-white photograph with a prompt or idea for how to finish the picture, like Jesse and...

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Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments that moms think are awesome too

When cool dad and author Mike Adamick’s new Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments (phew!) arrived at our door, my oldest daughter screamed with delight and I haven’t seen the book since. Whether you’re looking to get your kids more excited about science or are just looking for some weekend rainy-day activities, this is the book for you. And your screaming kids. Similar to Adamick’s first book Dad’s Book of Awesome Projects which helps bring more dads into the crafting fray with their kids, this sequel is chock full of fun activities for parents (of any sex) and kids, though this time...

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The Pigeon Needs a Bath: Yay for the newest book from Mo Willems!

I am an unapologetic Mo Willems groupie, in part because I don’t think the author/illustrator has ever had a miss. Now, the .500 streak continues with his newest in the popular Pigeon Series, The Pigeon Needs a Bath. All just in time for our favorite wry, difficult, endearingly persistent urban bird’s tenth anniversary. He’s up to his same shenanigans, devising  tons of reasons why a bath would be a very bad idea, as you can imagine. (I took one last month! All these flies buzzing around me are purely coincidental!) Some of them may even sound familiar to parents. Which...

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