Category: Books for Kids

Read much and dream big with Isabella: Star Of The Story

I was a crazy obsessive reader as a child (still am), and I can still remember the absolute thrill of opening a new book and entering the new world of a story. So it was pure joy to relive that feeling with my daughter as we opened a new world together: the world of Jennifer Fosberry’s Isabella. Those familiar with the award-winning Isabella series know that our girl Izzy explores the idea of herself as famous women in history (My Name Is Not Isabella) and travels the world without leaving her neighborhood (Isabella: Girl On The Go), but my favorite...

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Some of the very best baby book gift sets (just add cute wrapping paper)

I still remember, before I had kids, being so excited to get a friend’s new baby a set of classic books like Alice and Wonderland and Peter Pan–and the way she looked at me when she said her daughter would love them in 10 years or so. Hey, I still thought it was cool, but with these baby book gift sets I found, at least the mom to be can start reading them at the very first bedtime. –Liz Peter Rabbit book collection: Traditionalists will love this Beatrix Potter collection, and though what’s outside a book is never more...

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Albert Einstein for kids. Smart kids. Of course.

If you think a book about Albert Einstein for kids will be dry, think again. The new picture book On a Beam of Light: The Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne is an absolutely delightful introduction to a super cool guy. In a way, the narrative feels like any children’s storybook, with simple prose, a few manageable lines per page, and gorgeous illustrations by Vladimir Radunsky. But what will captivate kids right away is that it starts at the beginning–when Albert is a little kid who refused to talk until he was about three. His parents worried how different...

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I Scream for I Scream for Ice Cream

Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal is on a tear with her awesome children’s books, and her latest is no exception. I Scream, Ice Cream: A Book of Wordles is so much fun if you’ve got kids, like mine, obsessed with wordplay and homophones. (Not the same as homonyms as I recently realized. Oops.) In other words, phrases or words that sound the same but mean different things like…well, I Scream/ Ice Cream. Heroes/He Rows. Or Pants Knees/Pant…Sneeze. Each set of wordles comes to life with wonderful, evocative illustrations by Serge Bloch, some of which incorporate woodcut illustrations or actual photos for an extra...

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A strong girl fairy tale when you need an alternative to Cinderella

We’ve always loved going on a “literary journey” from the comfort of our couch by reading stories from other countries. Next stop? Tehran’s traditional story about a girl and a mean stepmother, though it’s definitely not the story you’ve heard before. The Girl With a Brave Heart, from Tehran-born Israeli singer Rita Jahanforuz, had me thinking “Cinderella” at the start, but rather than being “saved” by a shoe and a prince, this heroine has a much more satisfying lesson for my two girls to hear. Shiraz is a little girl who spends her days indoors cooking and cleaning without...

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Tickled pink: a wordless and wonderful picture book

Although I’m a passionate lover of words, I’m in love with this gorgeously illustrated picture book for kids that tells an entire story about friendship, acceptance, and beauty. . . without a single word. Flora and the Flamingo is pure delight for the young (and young-at-heart.) Even if your kids don’t typically adore all-things-pink, or don’t have a yearning to be a ballerina, you’ll find that this book is so much more than that. The story shows little Flora beside a tall, proud flamingo. She immediately tries to copy his poses, until the cheeky bird squawks at her, which...

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Wonderful new personalized books for kids: If it’s in print, it must be true…I love you!

Did you know that it only takes three little words to fill an entire book? At least in this case. We have long been fans of Paper Hat Press and their groovy personalized books for kids, but it’s their latest and greatest that has us head over heels. The I Love You personalized book is a very sweet love story gorgeously illustrated by the super talented Paper Hat Press designer Micha Player. The book is meant to be a declaration of love from parent/grandparent/caregiver to child, but what will really make it the new favorite read is the detail that the clever...

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Taro Gomi gets back to baby board books. Yay for your baby!

If you’re not yet smitten with Japanese illustrator and all-around genius (says us) Taro Gomi, then it’s high time. Best known for the breakout hit Everyone Poops, soon followed by his wonderful open-ended Scribbles coloring book for older kids and then, oh, about 350 other titles, he’s now starting to build a little baby board book empire, including this fun new title. Taro Gomi’s Mommy! Mommy! is a fabulous addition to a baby’s beginner library, when you can’t handle one more copy of Goodnight Moon and I Love You This Much. As with the popular Are You My Mother? here...

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Honoring Black History Month with poetry

In honor of Black History Month, I’ve started sharing a beautifully illustrated new book with my kids that introduces them to 200 years of poetry from some of the most influential African-American poets. Even more than a history book, these words will paint a picture in their minds of a time in the not-so-distant-past when their own friends would not have been allowed to share an ice cream at the restaurant or ride bikes down the street. The latest in the Poetry for Young People series, their collection African American Poetry includes over 30 poems from household names like...

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A book to help kids look at the Presidents in a whole new way

My kids can remember who was the first president, who ended slavery, and who was president during the Great Depression. But there are so many other great stories and interesting personality quirks about these leaders of our nation; the challenge is how to remember some of them.  I’m delighted to have found a unique picture book about some of our presidents by illustrator Hanoch Piven, whose Faces I Make app is among our favorites. And I think his presidential portraits will be ones your kids will be staring at for a good long time.  What Presidents Are Made Of includes 18 “portraits” of Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Nixon, and Obama, among others. But unlike every other portrait I’ve ever seen, in this book, each president’s face is created of paint with three-dimensional objects affixed to fill in the features in sort of a visual mnemonic about their lives. Kids will remember not only President Carter’s past as a peanut farmer–his nose is a peanut–but the ladder for his mouth will remind them of his work for Habitat for Humanity. President Nixon’s face is created of tape recorder parts, an obvious nod to the Watergate scandal. And George Washington is shown in a fireman’s suit, racing to put out a fire, something he really did at the age of 67. With only 18 presidents represented, there are obviously far more that...

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Thumb doodling: May the Creative Force be with you and your kids

Luke has the Force and a lightsaber. Your kid has fingers and some ink. And now they can rule the universe together…or at least make some cool art. The Star Wars Thumb Doodles book from Klutz is exactly what it sounds like. The kit includes four ink pads, a black marker, and a dual-color tipped pencil that looks like a lightsaber. Kids can follow the simple step-by-step directions right on the page to produce oodles of doodles of Star Wars characters. Ewoks, Wookiees, Jedi, aliens, and Jabba are all on the list, and there’s plenty of room in the...

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The coolest gifts for Year of the Snake babies

Happy Chinese New Year, mamas! I have to admit that I’ve always loved the Chinese Zodiac and it’s not just because I’m Chinese American. There’s just such a fascinating history behind each of the animal signs and what they mean. Now if you’ve got a little Year of the Snake baby or are expecting one, here are some wonderful gifts to help celebrate. Kung Hei Fat Choi! I’ve been a long time fan of Tree by Kerri Lee, whose Chinese Zodiac gifts, like the Birth Year Blocks, are simply gorgeous. We received one of her birth year wooden music boxes for our youngest and...

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A new kids’ book that’s a real page-turner

I love the fact that my kids can carry around dozens of their favorite books on one compact tablet instead of lugging around a giant backpack. But, we still find it so satisfying to snuggle on the couch and share an actual storybook together, with pages to turn and no screen to tap for “special effects.” So check out this new picture book that is such a fun page-turner, I think it’ll make kids really appreciate how cool a paper book can be. Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier isn’t just one book, but actually a bunch of little...

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A book with illustrations worthy of Dr. King’s most famous speech

Yes, having a day off from school is exciting for the kids, but on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I’d also like for them to reflect upon the reason they are getting a day away from lessons. And even though they are old enough to have heard Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech a few times, there is a new book that brings it to life with such compelling illustrations, I don’t think they’ll mind cracking a book today. The recently released I Have a Dream book and CD take the unforgettable words of Martin Luther King Jr. and make...

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What Does the President Look Like? A book to help make history cool.

With the Inauguration coming up, a lot of us will be watching and following the day’s events on TV. That also means a lot of questions from curious kids about…well, all kinds of things. There are a lot of books that talk about politics for kids, but my own girls have been enjoying What Does the President Look Like?, an original book that describes presidential history through the lens (no pun intended) of media and technology through the years. Author and political historian Jane Hampton Cook’s premise is that while we’re all familiar with President Obama’s face from TV...

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Baby board books that show love from all parents, not just mommies.

Illustrator Lorena Siminovich of Petit Collage is one of those artists who just keeps producing lovely things. From her line of nursery decor to flash cards to adorable dolls, count us as ongoing fans. And now she’s giving us two more reasons, with two new baby board books that will be terrific additions to that starter library. You Are My Baby: Farm and You Are My Baby: Safari are as great for manipulation and motor skills as they are for those little eyes and ears. The prose is a simple, repetitive story that matches parent to child; things like You swim in the...

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Delightful dinosaur board books for budding paleontologists

Perfect prezzie alert: At some point (usually during the Late Toddler/Early Preschool Era), most kids go through a fascination with the creatures of the Mesozoic Era, otherwise known as dinosaurs. If you have a toddler who adores all things Large, Scaly, and Extinct, you’ve got to check out this set of board books that bring dinosaurs back to teach kiddos a thing or two. These four bright and colorful board books feature a wide range of rainbow-hued dinosaurs covering everything from the alphabet to numbers. Sure, their colors may not be historically accurate, but it makes for great visuals...

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Great gift books for every little reader on your holiday list, because we still think they make the best gifts of all

Even in the sea of toys piled high under our Christmas tree, my kids are always excited to receive books as holiday gifts. Always. And I admit, I’m pretty happy too. They’re gifts that all my kids will enjoy at one time or another, and perhaps even their kids too. We’ve loved the mom-founded publisher Barefoot Books ever since we first featured them on Cool Mom Picks many, many years ago, so how exciting that they’re our newest sponsor! We’ve gone through their catalog to pick out some of our favorite gift book sets that you can still get...

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A Santa-approved personalized book: The Mouse Who Saved Christmas

Ready or not, mamas, the holiday season is on us. Here’s a good way to get a jump on Christmas morning: an adorably customized book with your kid as a main character–and a major part of the plotline. ‘Twas the Mouse who Saved Christmas  is a sweet and welcome entry into the your-kid’s-name-here category of gifts. Occasionally, personalized kids’ books seem to have pretty random placements of your child’s name in the text. But the creators of this book incorporate your child’s name in a thoughtful and unique way, making your little one a truly central character in the...

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Custom books for kids from Chronicle Books. We like it when they get personal.

Search our archives and past gift guides for the publisher Chronicle Books, and it’s pretty obvious we’ve been big fans of many of their printed products, from the helpful Chore Board chore chart, to the sweetest tooth fairy keepsake book, and loads of other titles in between. Now, just in time for the holidays, they have added personalization to some of their titles, which makes them an even more special book to gift or receive. {Keep reading for a big limited time discount AND a chance to win a free personalized book!} Of the new books in Chronicle’s personalized section, my...

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Brand-new inspiration for your LEGO lovers

Chances are, if there is a new LEGO anything, my kiddos have heard about it. But buying a new LEGO set every time they want one (read: always) can get expensive. So how do you inspire your kids to keep building with the pieces that they already own? Fortunately, that’s where an excellent new book comes in, with novel step-by-step ideas–and big-time inspiration–for the kids’ old LEGO stash. Nice. Meet The LEGO Adventure Book, a brick-by-brick guide to building cars, castles and more–with pieces you already own. I’m a visual learner, and written directions usually intimidate me. But this guide...

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Why your little one should see this book before a trip to the eye doctor

My daughter was a bit nervous before her first trip to the eye doctor, especially since she knew there was a good chance she’d need reading glasses. Fortunately it wasn’t a scary visit, and she loves her cool new fuchsia frames, but I wish Arlo had been around back then to demystify the entire process a bit. In the adorable pop-up, interactive board book Arlo Needs Glasses, Arlo the pooch finds he can’t see his beloved ball very well anymore. And while the story is fairly predictable–Arlo goes to the eye doctor, gets glasses, and gets his vision back–the...

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Ghost stories. Ooooooooo!

My tween is finally beyond the check-under-the-bed-for-monsters stage, and is now onto reading scary stories “for fun.” So once she hangs up her Halloween trick-or-treat bag for the night, I know she’ll enjoy digging into this smart and spooky guide that deals with all of those things that go bump in the night.  The Girls’ Ghost Hunting Guide may look sweet and light—that ghost has eyelashes!—but don’t let the cover fool you. The content in this little guide is packed with loads of information for those interested in the paranormal. And some of it is spooky enough that I...

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Book log for kids? Reader Q&A

Do you have a recommendation for a good “Books I’ve Read” journal or notebook for kids? -Suzanne, via Facebook Book logs or journals are a great way to give kids tangible pride in all the reading they’ve done, as well as a place to look back to remember some of their favorite titles. Keep reading for some of my favorite options for helping kids keep track of the books they’ve read. –Christina I love The Bookworm Journal for younger kids because it offers a nice, simple format to record the books they’ve read. Kids are also encouraged to tear...

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Count us in: BabyLit scores with a spooky number book

Jennifer Adams and Allison Oliver hooked us with their beautiful BabyLit counting and color board books based on classic literature like Alice in Wonderland and Jane Eyre. They’ve done it again–this time, with a counting Count Dracula. Little Master Stoker’s Dracula is a very different counting count, spookier than the snuggly number-maestro of Sesame Street, and perfect for Halloween. Just a little bit dark (think semisweet chocolate), and just as modern and pretty as the other books in the BabyLit family, Dracula uses imagery from Bram Stoker’s original Dracula tale to teach counting from one to ten. The illustrations are atmospheric and...

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The terrible tale of a trick-or-treater’s worst nightmare: no candy!

Of all the scary things my kids might face on Halloween night, one thing looms most terrifying in their minds: the prospect of trick-or-treating at homes with no candy left to give. (Yes, First World Problems, I know.) Which is why this little Halloween tale is a true horror story to their young minds.  The Trick or Freaks is a clever, independently printed little rhyming story with a mystery built into it: Who has taken all the Halloween candy?  No, it’s not exactly Hitchcock, but hey, it’s just about as dark a story as I dare to read to...

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A creative approach to help kids coping with childhood asthma

I developed asthma as an adult. So I can only imagine how scary it is for a young child to have to deal with the coughing, wheezing, and breathlessness that comes with the disease. Not to mention the fear of being “different” from all your friends when you’re reaching for an inhaler in class or before soccer practice.  The good news? Kids can breathe easier now, thanks to one Australian company that’s taking a creative, colorful approach to helping kids with asthma to stay medicated–and healthy. Asthma Peeps’ unique line of asthma-management products were developed by one family who wanted...

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Give your kids a passport to faraway lands with Hartlyn Kids’ new series of books

Though my kids are mildly amused by the stories of my youth (what do you mean, there was no internet?), they are much more fascinated by stories about kids from faraway lands. So I’m excited to find a new series of globe-trotting books that offers my kids a glimpse of life outside of our suburban town. With two books published so far by two-mom team Christine and Aisha, Hartlyn Kids is on its way to creating an entire series about kids from all over the world. What I especially love about The Bamboo Dance and Adventures that Lead to...

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The Little Book of Hindu Deities: a beautifully illustrated guide

These days, there’s so much intolerance in the world, it’s dismaying. As a mom, I try to counteract the negative messages out there by teaching my kids to celebrate diversity, and by taking time as a family to learn about cultures and religions different from ours. So I’m smitten with this beautiful, gentle, and respectful introduction to Hindu beliefs. The Little Book of Hindu Deities is a labor of love by Pixar illustrator Sanjay Patel, who was inspired by the art of Japanese animation and the rich tales of Hindu gods and goddesses. Each lively illustration is accompanied by a...

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Ding, dong, the witch is read: nifty 3D bookmarks

Book lovers, we’ve come across some major cuteness for you. We think you and your Munchkins are going to go (winged) ape for these adorable 3D bookmarks. And if you’re not into The Wizard of Oz, they come in several other shapes, including pirates, zombies, and Louboutins…oh my! From the Wicked Witch’s stripey socks to Dorothy’s demurely folded socks and famous ruby slippers, MyBOOKmark on Etsy offers dozens of unique and clever three-dimensional bookmarks for bibliophiles with a sense of humor. Each pair of legs pokes two inches or so out of your book. They’re hand-crafted of polymer clay, painted,...

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