Category: Books for Kids

An alphabet book for your little road warrior

The very first word my son ever spelled was S-T-O-P, which is not surprising given how many hours he spent accompanying his older sisters to their many activities. If you also have a little road warrior who’s more interested in street signs than a DVD player, you’ll want to take this unique new alphabet book out for a spin.< Backseat A-B-See is a simple ABC book for beginner readers or kids who just like looking at the bold graphics, and then exclaiming when they see the same signs whizzing by the windows. Street sign graphics really pop as they...

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Two adorable Kokeshi dolls that are made to be read

As much as my kids and I love Japanese Kokeshi dolls, I can’t bring myself to let another collection into the house, what with all the stuffed animals and favorite rocks already displayed around my girls’ room.  But, I’ve found a way to combine Kokeshi cute with another collection I can totally get behind: Books! And, trust me, these adorable stories are just as sweet as a shelf full of dolls. Chronicle Books’ two new stories, Yumi and Aoki, follow the “day in the life” of two Kokeshi–little Japanese wooden dolls. What I love about the titles is that...

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123’s with Orla Kiely

London designer Orla Kiely has had me under her spell for a few years now. I have always found her patterns and designs bursting with life, color, energy and a wonderful sense of playfulness. Orla has shown her love to mommies before with her gorgeous line of diaper bags. Now, she has gone even further catering to our little ones with her two new baby books. Orla Kiely’s Colors and Orla Kiely’s Numbers are board books featuring Orla’s signature shapes and patterns–stems, flowers, cars, pears and beyond.  The books are rewarding to fans and are delight to the child’s...

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The perfect book for a new big sister (lucky thing)

We get a lot of requests for books for kids about to welcome a new sibling into the family. Some of the better known titles are pretty sappy, which isn’t such a bad thing, but I never really liked the stories about how perfect it is to have a baby around. I’d imagine that if your kid is older than about two, they see right through that. Instead, take a look at the new Chloe, Instead, written and illustrated by Micah Player. It’s a vibrantly colorful, gorgeously illustrated story; not surprising considering his past as a designer at Paul...

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BabyLit board books – Lovely little lessons with Alice and Jane

Good news, bibliophiles! Your toddlers can now enjoy Alice in Wonderland and Jane Eyre, and not just as teething toys. Thanks to gorgeous illustrations and clever literary touches, you might enjoy this collection of amazing board books at bedtime even more than they do. The BabyLit board books by Jennifer Adams are so fantastic that I want to keep them all for myself. Whether you’re learning colors with Alice in Wonderland or counting with Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice, or Romeo & Juliet (as seen in our Baby Shower Gift Guide), the books work on a lot of levels...

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A kids’ Haggadah that’s cooler than even finding the afikomen

Last year I raved about the wonderfully creative My Haggadah, Made it Myself. This interactive coloring book meets journal meets interactive Passover Haggadah is a joy for kids about four and up, and this year, it’s been updated with professional binding and a shiny new cover. It’s not too late to grab one for your first (or second) seder if you order on Amazon, where it’s now available. I say, go for it. It’s now one of the best parts of our own Passover tradition. Find our review of of My Haggadah, Made it Myself at this link, with ordering info....

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A progressive coloring book for progressive kids

When the airport gift shop coloring book choices “for girls” range from princesses to uh, princesses (and maybe the occasional princess) I’m reminded of how easily 21st century gender stereotypes are reinforced pretty much everywhere we look. Well hooray for a coloring book that goes in the entirely opposite direction. Or more like, runs in the opposite direction, wearing sneakers and a dress, Atalanta style. The title alone, Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away With Another Spoon, should give you a pretty good clue that this is not your ordinary coloring book. It’s all about challenging traditional gender sterotypes. Pages...

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Our favorite Dr. Seuss books – Happy birthday Theodore Geisel!

Of all the children’s books we have amassed on our collective bookshelves over the years, there are several Dr. Seuss books that my would be in the short stack of our kids’ favorite titles. We suspect the same would be true for many of us grown-ups. So in honor of both Dr. Seuss’ 108th birthday and the Read Across America campaign begun in his honor, the Cool Mom Picks contributors have each picked one of our favorite Dr. Seuss books to share. It’s interesting how a book choice says so much about the reader! We’re pretty sure you’ve got...

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A coloring book to inspire art, creativity and belly laughs

A little bit Shel Silverstein, a little bit Mo Willems, a little bit Seuss, a little bit Lemony Snicket, and a little bit Taro Gomi. If those names–especially together–sound like your idea of heaven on paper, then you’re going to love this awesome new coloring book for kids from Calef Brown. Dragon, Robot, Gatorbunny (yes, Gatorbunny is one thing, not two) has the subhead Pick one, draw it, make it funny! and that should give you a good sense of why your kids will never want to put it down. This wonderfully imaginative book from the illustrator of my...

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Journey to Africa for Black History Month and beyond

Black History Month is rolling to a close, but it’s never to late to share new learning resources with your kids. Along with some great books, movies and music picks that honor African American culture and history, I have recently come upon some more terrific books and media that help expose kids of any skin color to the diversity and wonder of the continent of Africa.  –Christina We have long owned a copy of the African folk tale Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears in our home, but I love hearing James Earl Jones narrating it on the Scholastic Storybook Treasures DVD version. Like...

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Honor Black History Month with We March

Every February our communities focus on a very important part of our nation’s past during Black History Month. So I’m taking a cue from our schools and continuing the discussion about civil rights at home. Our pick to get the conversations rolling with your kids: We March by Shane W. Evans. In We March, author Shane W. Evans embraces the challenge of explaining Civil Rights and the historic March on Washington to young readers. For a picture book, it is dramatic and powerful, with expressive illustrations that are so expressive that they could almost tell the story all by...

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You are my cupcake, my cutie pie, and my mushy little sweet pea

After seeing Joyce Wan’s board book, We Belong Together I am so in love with her. So of course I had to check out You Are My Cupcake, in the same series. Let’s just say it’s absolutely delicious and I want to eat it up in a major way. Each page pops with vibrant colors and sweet illustrations that are textured, giving babies a sensory experience. All of the terms of endearment are covered here–starting with “cupcake”–but with a twist. We call our babe a “sweet pea,” but in Wan’s world, she’s a “mushy little sweet pea.” Your cutie...

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How do you feel?

Sometimes it’s hard for my kids to talk about their feelings. In the heat of the moment, they find it a lot easier to cry (or let’s face it, whine) than to confront their emotions. As the child of a child psychologist, I am always on the lookout for great books to help me make my job a bit easier in that respect, and I’ve found a nice solution with this smart book and accompanying journal.  A Little Book About Feelings is eye-catching in a major way. The main characters are funky, hand-made felt creatures, like little Etsy wunderkinds....

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The perfect board book for baby’s first Valentine

If you’re looking for a ridiculously adorable Valentine for your baby too young for sweets, we’ve got just the thing. And it’s not edible. But that doesn’t mean your baby won’t try to eat it. Created by Joyce Wan, the artist behind Kiwi and Pear, We Belong Together a board book with a simple message: sometimes love is as simple as peanut butter and jelly–it’s just meant to be. It’s a soothing message that the youngest children (and their parents) will appreciate. The board book features sweetly illustrated pairs that go perfectly together like cookies and milk or marshmallows and cocoa, and...

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Pictures worth at least a thousand words

I want my kids to be book lovers, as in sneak a flashlight under the covers, beg for a nighttime story, know their way around the library kind of book lovers. So along with a sturdy bookshelf packed with favorite childhood titles and their very own library card, I love these prints that turn a storybook into something as magical as the story itself: Art. Spineless Classics takes those beloved stories like Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and the Wizard of Oz and uses the words to form an image from the story, like Peter Pan with Tinkerbell or...

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Close like Chopsticks

We do quite a bit of reading in our house especially now that bedtime has somehow extended to an hour. The hour mostly involves the reading and re-reading of a single book over and over and over. So I know a book has gotten a major kiddo thumbs up when it makes the evening rotation. Our newest addition? Chopsticks by New York Times best seller and CMP favorite, Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Overall it’s a very cute story about the importance of friendship and independence. Similar to its predecessor Spoon, Amy’s story, accompanied by Scott Magoon’s adorable illustrations, is centered on the friendship of a...

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Cupcakes and Comics, oh my!

I love cupcakes. For me, this is no fad. They represent happiness and goodness and celebrations in every bite. But a talking cupcake? This brings my love to an entirely new level. Expect crazy fun with Sara Varon’s newest graphic novel, Bake Sale. The premise is this: Cupcake is losing his inspiration. Every new recipe he tries just doesn’t work out. When Cupcake’s friend, Eggplant, proposes a trip to Turkey, things really start to happen. I don’t want to spoil the fun, so that’s all I’m going to give you. The illustrations are super detailed and there is so...

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Meryl Streep, meet my kids’ bedtime

I love reading books out loud. They really make the stories come alive in a fun and vibrant way. But I’ll admit I’m no Meryl Streep. Know who is a Meryl Streep? Meryl Streep. And now she’s narrating one of my favorite children’s stories from one of my favorite authors in a terrific book/audio book set. Brave Irene by William Steig (of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and Shrek fame) features a seriously strong broad with major willpower. That’s kind of how I see Meryl Streep too, so her voice on the companion CD that pairs with the book...

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11 of our families’ favorite holiday books, with a whole lot of surprises

One of my favorite aspects of the holidays is pulling out all our holiday books and reading together with all my kids huddled under a blanket with popcorn and hot chocolate. But even though we really only read our books once a year, I’m sort of ready to retire our same version of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” and add a few new books to our collection. So, we asked our editors and contributors to share their own family’s favorite holiday books and why they love them. Here’s hoping you enjoy this list as much as I will. The...

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Your kids will be speaking three languages before you can say one, dos, trois

How often do you find yourself struggling to come up with a special holiday gift for the trilingual baby in your life? Heh. Well, look no further than the two new books from Little Pim, makers of the wonderful foreign language learning videos. And if baby isn’t trilingual yet, she will be soon. These sweet little books teach both Spanish and French in a fun, lift-the-flap-and-pull-the-tab kind of way. There are two in the series so far: Feelings and Colors. All three of my kids enjoy reading them, though I think they’re most suited to my preschooler as the...

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A new holiday tradition, and it involves cake!

I love teaching my children about different cultures and how to appreciate the beauty of family traditions. This lesson is most important around the holidays. There is a Christmas tree on every corner, sometimes with a Hanukkah menorah making its presence known. Kwanzaa is being taught in many school children nationwide. But it’s the lesser known holidays that seem to get lost in the shuffle. One perfect example is a Greek tradition on New Year’s Day that I honestly never heard of. Thankfully, The Lucky Cake to the rescue! The illustrations are so fun. They remind me of the...

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The paper book that’s as interactive as a digital one

With all the cool apps and e-books on my iPad, I sometimes worry that my kids will have a hard time appreciating real books. But then I find ones that remind me that children’s books can be just as engaging, if not more, than the ones with all the technological bells and whistles. Just wait until your kids get their hands on Razzle Dazzle Ruby, the beautiful new book by Masha D’yans that comes to life with pop-ups, pull-outs, and all sorts of actions that can give ibooks a run for their money. The story features an adventurous, imaginative...

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Why you should look for The Man in the Moon

When I was little, I used to stare at the moon looking for a tiny dot moving around, going about his business. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that the “man in the moon” was a shadowy face on a full-moon’s facade—I liked my idea a lot better. Apparently, so does author/illustrator William Joyce who has created such a gorgeously illustrated, fanciful story about the man in the moon legend that it has become an instant classic in my household. The first in a planned fifteen-book-series called The Guardians of Childhood, The Man in the Moon reads...

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A children’s book worth a thousand words

The Conductor is the kind of children’s book I’ve always adored having in our collection; it’s richly illustrated, with a story that kids can appreciate in different ways at different ages. It’s got another aspect I happen to like a lot too: there’s not a single word in it. French illustrator/artist Laetita Devernay’s beautiful skyscraper of a book tells the simple, illustrated story of a conductor who climbs into a grove of trees and orchestrates a symphony of flight when leaves turn into birds. (Or do they?) My youngest daughter likes the environmental cues, while my six year-old is...

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Audio books for toddler? Reader Q&A

My daughter is turning 3 next month and is starting to outgrow her naps! I am trying to enforce quiet time on the days she won’t nap, and someone gave me the idea of letting her listen to audio books as her quiet time activity. I was hoping you had some ideas or could point me in the right direction of somewhere to start. Many thanks in advance for your help! -Rebecca   I agree that audio books are a great way to get her to hold still for a little bit and relax, and we’ve pulled together a...

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A Zeal of Zebras for your kid’s zeal for animals

When I explained to my daughter that every group of animals has its own name, she was absolutely entranced. “You know, like a gaggle of geese. Or a flock of seagulls,” said me, Mrs. Smartypants. Just before realizing that I couldn’t name a third. D’oh. Just in time, the brilliantly colorful new book from WOOP Studios: A Zeal of Zebras: An Alphabet of Collective Nouns. As you might expect, the book takes us through the alphabet from an Aurora of Polar Bears to those zebras, all with big bold type that early readers will love, and playful, vibrant illustrations...

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A Street Through Time : Timeless

It is rare to find a book that all three of my boys can enjoy together. With such varied interests, I long for something captivating (and non-electronic) that has the ability to sustain their attention long enough for me to take a shower. DK Publishing has answered my prayers. A Street Through Time is a beautiful book, and educational to boot. The premise is simple; each page follows the same street through thousands of years of history using hyper-detailed illustrations. The book begins with stone age hunters, and each page that you flip takes you to another era in...

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Butt Art that isn’t raunchy, promise

As all parents know, kids laugh at the word “butt.” There is something very funny about a word that is used constantly as a conjunction, a sometime preposition and also as a word for your behind. What could be funnier than that to a five year old? The answer? Nothing. Now combine the humor of a butt with a bona fide art book. It doesn’t get any cooler than Everything Butt Art at the Zoo. The premise is awesome: all of the animals that you see at the zoo can be drawn with the fabulous gluteus maximus as the...

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The cow says moo. That you know of.

Recently, my daughter asked why a friend’s two year-old brother couldn’t “act like a cow” without saying moo. I explained that animal sounds are the first way that children start to understand how to define animals. And that’s why every baby’s first library isn’t complete without at least 17 books on animal sounds. (She bought it, but she still asserted he was cheating at charades.) Well now there’s an all new book about animal sounds worth adding to the bookshelf, written by a very cool mom herself. In her past life, Angela DiTerlizzi was a makeup artist responsible for...

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Personalized books for kids that are better than those other personalized books for kids

I’ve never been a big fan of personalized books. Books on their own can be so magical – why would I need my child worked into the plot somehow? There are a few personalized books for kids that we’ve reviewed that do the job beautifully, but in most that we’ve seen (and not recommended) the added-on details always look like they were, at best, rubber stamped in. Well here’s another one in the former category. Following Featherbottom is a personalized book that is actually done in a nifty fashion. The hardcover child’s book is customized with the child’s name...

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