One of our most favorite parts of the holidays (no, not presents, though we like those too) are the family traditions we celebrate year after year. There’s just something so special about looking forward to our annual holiday rituals, whether they started spontaneously one year and just kept going, or they’ve been passed down through the generations. If you’re like us, one of the best ever holiday traditions for families is to snuggle up and watch your favorite seasonal movies and television shows, which is something our newest sponsor Amazon Studios knows a whole lot about. Their two newest holiday specials, If You Give...Read More
Tag: books for kids
If there’s one thing we know that every new mom needs, it’s sleep. Lots of it. Lots and lots of it. So what better baby shower gift to consider than one aimed at getting her just what she needs? We are so excited to put together tons of recommendations in this next installment of our Baby Registry Essentials Guide series on behalf of our partner, Gugu Guru. It’s a free online baby registry that actually gives you custom product recommendations based on your taste and lifestyle, though when it comes to sleep, that’s something every single parent wants and needs. You’ll find all 9 of these smart gift...Read More
These 6 new books for kids about the arts are sure to inspire young painters, musicians, and writers.
I’ve noticed a trend lately among the hundreds of children’s books I receive for review: stellar new books for kids about the arts. We tend to promote a lot of STEM toys, books, and opportunities for kids because we’re passionate about science and technology and the digital world our kids will live and work in. But we still love to find great books for kids about the arts that can inspire young painters, musicians, and writers too. These 6 books for kids about the arts will encourage your littlest ones to try their hand at creativity, or they can be used to supplement your elementary-age children’s...Read More
Graphic novels are so popular in children’s literature these days and it’s easy to see why. The long misunderstood genre (“comic books” no more) is finally receiving recognition as engaging literature that combines visual and compelling storylines to appeal to kids who may not be ordinarily inclined to choose a book over a screen. But one common misconception about graphic novels is that they appeal mostly to boys. In fact, my own daughters, and lots of other girls I know, love graphic novels too — especially the titles that feature smart, engaging, strong, and courageous female characters. And if anything has become apparent over the past year, it’s that...Read More
With all the negative discourse going in the world right now (particularly right now), I’ve been on the lookout for positive things that make me and my children feel better. I try to take some time each day to find the good in the world: reading about random acts of kindness, watching videos of parents giving pep talks to their kids, and reading books that teach empathy with my girls. So I was really excited when just recently I received a copy of The Barefoot Book of Children to review. If, like me, you’re already a fan of Barefoot Books, then...Read More
My kids hate to see me cry, but there have been times when I’m following the Syrian refugee crisis that I can’t help it. They’ve caught me looking at the haunting photo of Omran Daqneesh in the ambulance, seeing the tragic body of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi on a Turkish beach, and watching desperate mothers and fathers trying to get their families to safety while “reporters” trip them as they run from armed guards. But, you know, I think it’s a good thing that they see me cry at images like this. As strongly as I feel about it, I’ve still struggled to explain the Syrian...Read More
Move over family movie night — we found 4 fun art activity books the whole family can enjoy together.
In an effort to reduce screentime at home, especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks around the bend, I’ve been stocking up on some arts and crafts-type activity books for kids. Instead of everyone sitting on the couch, looking at their own devices, now we sit around the kitchen table and work on these projects together. And yes, of course, it’s blissfully peaceful and it happens every single night. Heh. In reality, though, sometimes I just pass an art activity book over to my kid to keep them busy while I’m working on something else. There’s no craft supply shopping or Pinterest-searching required;...Read More
Let’s face it: women are rad. At everything — from sports to science, and painting and political activism. And since so much of our history focuses on men, and the Eurocentric ones at that, we love books that introduce us to new heroines from places beyond our daily view. Which is why I am so stoked to have found Rad Women Worldwide, written and illustrated by the women behind another of our favorites and New York Times bestselling, Rad American Women A-Z. Related: How about some rad women in the STEM fields? Yep, we’ve got those, too. This awesome book is a beautiful...Read More
This is a sponsored message from Brightly Gifts Whether you’re shopping for a special gift for your own child, grandchild, niece, nephew or best friend’s cool kid, books are at the top of so many wish lists. Which is why you’ll want to check out Brightly Gifts, a brand new shop filled with thoughtfully curated, high quality gift boxes of books to suit babies and early readers. Special offer for Cool Mom Picks readers: Save 20% off your order + get free ground shipping at Brightly Gifts with code CMPGIFTS2016. From the creators of Brightly, a popular site trusted by thousands...Read More
Like many people who love the cooler months of the year, I am very happy we’ve enter the season of crisp air, cozy sweaters, and pumpkin spice everything. But one of my favorite things about fall is the colors. Those breathtakingly beautiful fall colors. And I love that there are so many gorgeous new picture books for kids that capture what I love about the season — and all just in time for the later fall foliage we’re experiencing this year in the northeast. So, no rushing into holiday and snow stories just yet! For now, curl up with the kids under a warmer quilt, and check...Read More
For those of you still mourning the final installment of Elephant and Piggie, there’s good news. Mo Willems has delivered to us a new heroine who’s equally lovable. His newest children’s book Nanette’s Baguette follows Nanette as she embarks on her first big adventure: bringing home a baguette for dinner. Related: 6 clever ways to get your reluctant reader to love reading This rhyming for days children’s book explores Nanette’s commitment to her duty, which is unflagging, unwavering, rock solid! Except when she runs into her friends Georgette, Suzette, and Bret with his clarinet. And then again when the temptation of freshly baked bread gets...Read More
Just Like Me: A book subscription box created for children of color who want to see themselves in the books they read, too.
I did the research, and in 2013, out of 3,200 children’s books published, only 93 featured African American characters. Sadly, that’s even more than I had expected. And the numbers aren’t much better for other races and ethnicities. Thankfully, campaigns like #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #1000blackgirlbooks have brought some awareness and change to the publishing industry, which I’m definitely cheering — I know that moms of all kinds would love to fill their kids’ bookshelves with more diverse stories about more diverse characters. But as the mother of two biracial girls, this is really personal for me. That’s why I’m thrilled to find the new Just Like Me! Book Box, a monthly...Read More
Web coolness: The Maya Angelou doc, an entire city of women, the ultimate in cosmetic geekery + more
Here are some links we’ve liked reading around the web this week. And….it’s been a tough week. So nothing heavy. Just optimism and fun. We hope you like them too. Tonight, the premier of the Maya Angelou documentary, Still I Rise. Here’s where to find tickets. 15 terrific strong girl costume ideas for Halloween. (Add Maya Angelou to the mix, while you’re at it.) Absolutely love this story: A barber who charges less when kids read aloud to him. Bravo, Alex Fuller! Whoa — our kids never had a science fair project like what this 12-year-old girl created. Why...Read More
Dan Yaccarino’s Happyland board books help our kids understand worry, gratitude and sharing. You know, the easy stuff.
If you’ve ever had this tune stuck in your head, “We’ve got the whole wide world in our yard to explore…”, you can thank Dan Yaccarino. He designed Pablo, Uniqua and the rest of the Backyardigans crew, and he’s also the creator of the adorable show Oswald. Best of all, he’s been a huge help to our kids in developing their imaginations and learning how to work well with others. With his new Happyland board books series, he’s aiming to teach children about social-emotional aspects of growing up — and, in our opinion, he nails it. We can only hope there are more books to...Read More
Got a kid who loves cars, planes, boats and art? They need the new book Project Kid: Crafts that Go.
Two years ago, when I learned about Parents magazine lifestyle editor Amanda Kingloff’s cool, modern crafts book Project Kid, I flipped. For joy. These were crafts my kids could easily make, and I’d actually want to keep. (Sorry, glitter macaroni necklace. You’re hitting the trash.) So when I found out her new book, Project Kid: Crafts that Go, is focused completely on crafts for kids who love planes, cars, trains, and boats, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Of course, it’s every bit as awesome as her first book. I love her ingenious hacks for household items — like turning an old cardboard box into...Read More
We’re all big fans of artful, creative pop-up books around here, but when I checked out a copy of Midnight Creatures: A Pop-up Shadow Search, it didn’t cross my mind just how extraordinarily creative it would be — and how much it would captivate even my 9-year-old. Illustrator and cut-paper artist Helen Friel’s book is truly a marvel; a series of spreads that introduce nocturnal animals who inhabit the ocean, the woods, caves and beyond. At first, each of the three black, die-cut pop ups on each spread looks somewhat abstract. But on closer glance, you see they’re filled with the hidden shapes of creatures identified on...Read More
As a first time mom-to-be, I am already thinking about creating a household where my child can be whatever they want to be. A doctor, lawyer, sandwich artistan, or even a Silicon Valley techno mastermind. And given that my husband’s an IT professional who builds his own computers for fun (what the heck is a Hackintosh, anyway?), our kid is likely to inherit an aptitude for computer sciences. We can only hope, anyway. If we have a girl (maybe, especially if we have a girl), I want to make sure she has plenty of STEM role models that can help her get excited...Read More
Today we’re speaking with humorist, best-selling author and actual real-life teacher Robert Wilder about raising teens! We first discovered his hilarious Daddy Needs a Drink way back in the early CMP days, and we’ve been fans ever since. Break up your day with this fun discussion about his much-lauded first YA novel, Nickel, horror stories to make you laugh out loud, and tips to help you get through it all — whether you’re in the thick of it, been there/survived that, or it still feels a million years away. Listen right here, or check out Spawned with Kristen + Liz on iTunes. Now!...Read More
I’m always a sucker for books for toddlers and early readers that make use of modern art. We’ve covered Where’s Warhol (a Where’s Waldo parody) most recently, Henri Matisse and Alexander Calder pop-up books, and now there’s a cool new one — Roy’s House, by Susan Goldman Rubin with art by Roy Lichtenstein. Rubin’s simple, playful text welcomes readers, then takes us on a tour through Lichtenstein’s iconic pop art, which combine to make up quite the house when viewed all together. His infamous paintings of interiors introduce us to a great big couch for entertaining many friends, a kitchen for snacking, and the studio where “Roy paints pictures.”...Read More
As we turn the corner into All Things Pumpkin Spice, let us not forget that being up all night with a scary book can be truly delicious. These YA reads for teens (and adults!) who dig dark themes range from silly vampires to magical devils to absolute terror — and they all happen to be written by women. Several of them carry my personal Seal of Scareproval, and the rest were recommended by other YA authors and editors I trust, being a fantasy author myself, so you know we know our stuff. Hope one of these 16 novels is just...Read More