Category: Books for Kids

The Odd One Out: A welcome twist on the classic find-it book

Thanks to a recommendation from our friends at Zoobean, I recently discovered a new book my kids are obsessing over. The Odd One Out: A Spotting Book by Britta Teckentrup puts a modern twist on the classic kids find-it book. You know, those books where they’re supposed to look for something tiny in a big, busy page of cartoons? We’re big fans of artists who don’t dumb down their art (or their vocabulary, for that matter) for kids, which is why what could be an otherwise annoying read is actually a lovely experience for parents as well as children....

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Your bookshelf needs this ninja. Unless the ninja’s already there…

Ninjas are very stealthy and there could very well already be one on your child’s bookshelf, hiding between The House on Pooh Corner and Goodnight, Moon. As for the the ninja in the board book Hello Ninja, don’t worry. He’s helpful and well-mannered and only chops watermelons. When I first opened up Hello Ninja, the author’s name kept ringing a bell. That’s because ND Wilson also wrote the 100 Cupboards series for middle graders, which I loved. That same optimism and sweetness can be found in Hello Ninja, which brings the universal appeal of ninjas to the level of board...

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The Alexander Calder pop-up book that will make kids fall in love with art forever.

When a book gets your kids excited to read more, that’s about the most beautiful thing in the world. But when a book gets your kids excited to create too, it’s absolutely thrilling. And that’s just what happened when my girls discovered the gorgeously produced new Alexander Calder pop-up book,  Alexander Calder: Meet the Artist! by Patricia Geis. If your child hasn’t yet been introduced to the magic of Calder–I fell in love with his mobiles at the Whitney Museum when I was a little girl– this is the perfect book to set kids off on a lifelong love of...

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Little Red Writing book: A picture book that inspires kids to write, not just read

Our favorite picture books inspire our kids to come up with stories of their own, though I’m especially excited about the Little Red Writing book, which also teaches them the how to construct the story so that it’s entertaining and fun. Because while I have always loved my kids’ stories, they definitely get better when they aren’t one big run-on sentence. (Sorry kids.) Written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, the book packs several grammar lessons into a story borrowed heavily from Little Red Riding Hood, as you might have guessed. Little Red is a pencil who is assigned a writing...

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Forget the Grammys. The 2014 Newbery Award and Caldecott Award winners are here.

If you liked our round-up of the best kids books of 2013, you’ll appreciate this year’s crop of books named best of 2013 by the American Library Association, and awarded a 2014 Newbery Award, Caldecott Award, Coretta Scott King Book Award and Michael L. Printz Book Award. Even when I was six and our local library was in an abandoned mall, I remember the bumpy, weighty feeling of a Caldecott Medal under my fingertip and how it symbolized a book I knew I could trust. Here, four more your children will feel that way about today. 2014 Caldecott Award Winner...

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Baby Penguins: Two happy little books for Penguin Awareness Day

Yesterday was Penguin Awareness Day, but you probably already knew that. (Right.) Still, how fun is a day celebrating penguins? At my house, we read one of our new favorite picture books, Baby Penguins Everywhere by Melissa Guion. Here, Mama penguin has lots and lots of babies. She’s happy to be a mama, but taking care of a family is hard, and Mama could really just use a moment alone every now and then (maybe without having to lock herself in the bathroom, right?) , making this a playful story that my kids ask for again and again. And now,...

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Josephine: A children’s book as complex, vibrant, and endearing as Josephine Baker herself.

It’s clear that Josephine Baker is one of those few celebrity icons who transcends generations. My parents loved her, I loved her, and now my girls love her thanks to the new book, Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker. And despite it being a book for kids, if it weren’t for Christian Robinson’s wonderful illustrations, you might think it was an adult-targeted poetic ode to the legendary performer. Patricia Hruby Powell’s prose feels like jazz itself, dancing across the pages with a kind of defiant playfulness; the random line breaks, indentations, metaphors, erratic use of all-cap words are writers’ tools...

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The Crabtree book will make your kids laugh, make them think, possibly make them want to clean.

I don’t know about you, but when I pick up a kids’ book published by McSweeney’s McMullens, and endorsed by the likes of Maira Kalman, Lemony Snicket, and Patton Oswald, it’s a pretty good bet that I will need to bring it home immediately, hand it to my children, and insist that they declare it their favorite. Enter: Crabtree by Jon and Tucker Nichols. Fortunately I didn’t have to insist on such a thing, since my children, especially my six-year-old, fell immediately, madly in love with the quirky, hilarious story of Alfred Crabtree’s search for his missing false teeth. His quest requires...

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Sad Santa, a new Christmas classic that will make you happy

You’d think a book called Sad Santa, complete with a morose bearded guy in red on the cover, would be a real downer at the holidays. But fortunately, illustrator and author Tad Carpenter’s story will put a smile on your face. And–spoiler alert–Old St. Nick will be just fine too. In this wonderfully illustrated picture book, Santa finds himself with a case of the post-holiday blues. The excitement of Christmas is over, and now the kids are busy with all their wonderful toys, leaving Santa with not a lot to look forward to. Those cheery elves do their best...

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The best books for kids 2013: A round-up of the best 2013 round-ups of the best books for kids.

We wanted to find the best books for kids in 2013, but over 1350 books are published every week! It’s easy to miss a story your kids would love. So we’ve rounded up 15 of the best round-ups on the internet from all kinds of writers, editors and bloggers, of this year’s best books especially for children. May you find the perfect kids’ books to gift wrap under the tree.   1. 13 Best Children’s, Illustrated, and Picture Books  via Brain Pickings The Mighty LaLouche by Matthew Olshan and Sophie Blackall You know this list from the wonderful site Brain Pickings...

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A personalized Night Before Christmas book makes for a very special storytime

Reading The Night Before Christmas is a holiday staple in our house, though this new personalized Night Before Christmas book for kids that stars one special child throughout the pages is sure to be the new Christmas favorite for years to come. Best of all? Though the little personalized touches are found on almost every page, it only takes a few minutes to get this special gift all wrapped up before Santa’s sleigh takes flight.     One of Chronicle Books’ personalized gifts which we’ve written about before, Night Before Christmas is a vividly illustrated and fun-to-read twist on Clement Moore’s classic. Personalize...

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Wild things, you make our heart sing with this gorgeous picture book

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what I did when this fabulous new picture book arrived on my doorstep this week. I could instantly tell we were going to love it. And we did! Everyone in the nameless town where Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is set seems to be perfectly fine with the prim-and-proper status quo. But Mr. Tiger has had enough. Something just isn’t satisfying him in bland exchanges about the weather. So he decides he must break free. He journeys to the Wilderness, where he has an epiphany of sorts. The question...

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Two super new superhero books for your little caped crusaders

Look! It’s not a bird or a plane, but two super new books for our young superheroes-in-training. Because not even the most energetic superheroes can spend all their time leaping tall (LEGO) buildings or running faster than a speeding (Nerf) bullet. For those quieter moments when your little caped crusaders want to exercise their creative muscles, or just need a little snack before returning to Gotham, here are two activity books to add to their crime-fighting collection. The Super Book for Super Heroes is jam-packed with drawing and coloring pages for kids with active imaginations and possibly a future in...

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A fun new alphabet book that will give your kids a feel for the ABCs

Learning the alphabet is one of those huge milestones in your child’s life, so much so that you should be ready to brag she second they’ve sung the song right for the first time–and probably the millionth. If you’re looking for some variation from basic board books and TV shows in your teaching the ABCs routine, you’ll want to check out this very cool new book. There are some great alphabet books out there–check out the awesome photographs from ABC NYC for some big-city letter play–but what makes Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli stand out from the crowd is that each letter is die-cut,...

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We predict your kid’s next favorite book will be an atlas. Really.

Lately my kids and I have been snuggling up on the couch in front of the fireplace and browsing through a stunning new coffee table book featuring exquisite hand-drawn maps of countries around the world. It’s delightfully wonderful. I really, really love it. Maps, by Polish artists Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński, is a lavish collection of 52 maps of countries from every continent around the globe. But you’re not just getting topography and political markers with this book. The pages are filled with winsome illustrations of cultural icons from that region. Germany’s map, for example, shows a girl...

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Andy Warhol, Bugaboo, and so many twinkling stars. Can you think of a cooler combination?

Last week, the MoMA Design Store free author events for children continued in New York with none other than Andy Warhol. Of course he was not there himself (that would be a little weird–though very Andy) but we were excited to learn about a new board book out for children featuring some amazing new illustrations. What’s more, there’s a stroller to match. Really. So Many Stars is a beautiful board book, including never-before published images almost entirely from 1958. The collection was put together by none other than Bugaboo, as part of the Andy Warhol stroller collection we’ve recently featured. Their newest edition is the...

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Personalized books for kids that will blow their minds. And yours.

We’ve looked at many personalized books for kids over the years. Some are really lovely; others, not so much. Now there’s one more to add to the lovely column, but with an extra-special touch that makes it way more impressive than any I’ve seen. The difference between the Lost My Name Books and others that simply incorporate your child’s name or details about them is that the entire story is customized–not just a few name mentions scattered about here and there. That means every single book is completely different–what a genius gift if you have more than one child...

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Cozy Classics reinvent board books. And classics. And totally dark baby gifts.

When I think of the perfect book gift for a brand new baby, Les Miserables doesn’t exactly spring to mind. Or does it? If you’ve got a literary family–or a lit lover raising the next generation of lit lovers–the Cozy Classics board books from Holman and Jack Wang may be the perfect, vaguely irreverent, and super erudite baby gift. There are a Pride and Prejudice board book and an Emma board book should you want something a little light–and that’s as light as they go. Other titles include War and Peace, Moby Dick, and, if you dare, Les Miserables. The needle felted photography that illustrates each page is...

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A numbers book for kids who like animals. Or an animal book for kids who like numbers.

Now that my oldest is eight and reading full-on chapter books, it’s hard to find a kids’ book that will captivate her, her first-grade sister, and younger cousins who come to visit too. But that’s just what author Lola M. Schaefer manages to do in this beautifully captivating new children’s book about animals, and new ways to look at their lives.    LIFETIME: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives works as an engaging teaching tool on so many levels. Each spread describes statistics about one of 11 animals in interesting numbers, like in one lifetime, this alpaca will grow 20...

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The Day the Crayons Quit: A very cool creativity manifesto

I have a child who once angrily crumpled up any coloring page if it didn’t turn out “perfect.” Grass had to be the perfect green, sky had to be the perfect blue, and don’t even get me started on the perfect cherry red needed for superhero capes. So maybe that’s why now–a few years later–she is crazy about a book featuring crayons which plead with the reader to reconsider boring old color roles and rules. Let’s hear it for creativity. And talking crayons. The Day the Crayons Quit is a delightfully funny book about a box of crayons who...

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The only thing cooler than Hoth is this Star Wars book shelf

You can’t buy your kid a life-sized AT-AT or landspeeder. But you can give them the coolest Star Wars-themed book shelf we’ve ever seen. This AT-AT Imperial Bookcase from WhittledinWood on Etsy is a masterpiece of engineering. Handmade of birch plywood, it’s made to order in Vidor, Texas and arrives raw and unpainted.  The cool thing is that the company can make a bookcase out of almost anything your heart desires–the website currently shows this AT-AT, a Millennium Falcon, an unbelievable tree, and the Incredible Hulk. The prices aren’t as insane as they could be for bespoke geek furniture,...

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Our children’s favorite books for ages 2-12: Lots of ideas for summer reading and beyond

  With later sunsets and later bedtimes in the summer, one of the things we’ve been trying to do is spend more time reading with our kids at night before bed–or encouraging them to do it on their own. We imagine we’re not the only ones, since we’ve gotten so many letters, Tweets and comments from readers recently asking us for our favorite kids’ books for children of all ages. So we checked with some of the Cool Mom Picks contributors as to what their own kids are reading, and we’ve got them all right here for you. From...

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Xavier Deneux board books to make babies touch, think, and learn. And probably laugh.

Books make the best baby gifts, especially when you know it’s not a book that the mom has already been showered with 14 times. And now there’s a whole new kind of board book series just launched that’s aiming not only to freshen up the genre, but maybe even reinvent it. Xavier Deneux is a wonderful French illustrator who jumped into the baby book game a few years ago. Now he’s out with TouchThinkLearn: Colors and TouchThinkLearn: Opposites, the pages of which feel more like works of art or interactive sculpture, designed encourage kids to engage with the books in...

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Taro Gomi’s new board books. Not bored books.

When there is a new board book from Taro Gomi, I am always interested. Because that means a near guarantee that I’ll have fun reading it to my kids too. And hooray–the prolific writer/illustrator has not just one but three great new board books out. Wiggle by Taro Gomi is a delightful little board book which, in the spirit of Pat the Bunny and other “interactive” books, allows you to stick a finger through a hole and wiggle it, creating a cat’s tail, elephant’s trunk, crocodile’s fang and more. No plot, no surprise ending–just fun for the youngest babies...

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A fun numbers book for your happy little punks and hipsters in training

With their penchant for throwing things, screeching at high decibels, and staying up way past bedtime, toddlers are naturally great punk rockers. But since they still need their parents to tuck them in at night, here’s a great bedtime story that will fill their heads with visions of fun music and friends (not anarchy) as they drop off to sleep. They can save the anarchy for when you try to serve mashed peas again. Happy Punks 1 2 3: A Counting Story runs up the numbers from 1 to 12 in a charming story about friends getting together for...

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The best poetry books for kids: make some time for a little rhyme

What can I say? My kids just love poetry. Maybe it’s because my singing voice sounds like a goat gargling, and maybe it’s because they can always convince me to read just one more poem. There’s also the possibility that poetry is a beautiful, rhythmic exploration of story and feelings accessible by all ages? (Naw, probably just the goat gargling part.) We hope you’ll make a connection with this small collection of poetry books that Cool Mom Picks has covered, including two of my family’s all-time favorites. This colorful, nonesensical volume is my daughter’s all-time favorite poetry book, thanks...

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The prettiest coloring book in the world

First thing each morning my kids usually plop themselves down at our kitchen table and proceed to sketch, color, and print until they’re practically late for school. I love how focused they are on their little projects. I also love that it gives my husband and I some peace and quiet while we prepare for the day. Having just discovered The Secret Garden coloring book, I think I’ve found the perfect way to enrich their morning art party (and my quiet breakfast) for weeks to come. The Secret Garden is an “inky treasure hunt” filled with elaborate black and white...

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A book your kids will love when you can’t be there

I’ll never forget driving away to give birth to baby number two while my firstborn screamed from her grandmother’s arms in the doorway. Yeah, trying to leave the kids for a business trip, a hospital stay, or any other reason, can be a gut-wrenching experience for us parents. Along with little “love notes” left under pillows and frequent phone calls, I’ve found a sweet new picture book that helps young children cope with a parent who is away. And it may make it a little easier on us parents too. [Keep reading for your chance to win two copies—one...

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Maurice Sendak prints. A.K.A. Where the wild things art. (Ha.)

You can’t grab an original piece of art by kid-lit favorite and real-life wild thing Maurice Sendak unless you’ve got super deep pockets. But you can snag the next best thing: Sendak’s artwork, already framed, and hand-selected by the master himself. Oh, and it’s on sale, too. Our pals at Fab.com are currently hosting a gorgeous collection of fine art reproductions presented by 1000Museums and hand-selected by Maurice Sendak himself from his portfolio. Each 1971 piece from one of eight books (including faves Where the Wild Things Are, Little Bear, and In The Night Kitchen) comes in a black...

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Who knew the big bad wolf was really only somewhat bad?

If you like children’s books in the spirit of The Stinky Cheese Man–and I sure do-–then this funny, modern retelling of the classic Three Little Pigs story is going to be right at home on your bookshelf. Mark Teague’s The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf is true enough to the original story that the lessons about planning and hard work still come through, but updated with enough 21st century details, and a sub-theme about nutrition, that even older kids will laugh when you’re reading it to little ones. From the first page, when the farmer tells...

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