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
Celebrate Everything by Darcy Miller: The party planning guidebook so inspiring it will make you celebrate…oh heck. Tuesdays.
The holidays are fast approaching, which means it’s party season! I’m thinking all about Halloween this week, but before you know it we’ll be planning New Year’s parties. Not to mention the, oh… 1,285 family birthdays that my family seems to celebrate in November and December alone. I could use a little fresh inspiration to make each of these parties really special, and I’m finding lots of it in the wonderful new party idea book, Celebrate Everything, by Martha Stewart Weddings editor and party planner extraordinaire, Darcy Miller. Whether you’re looking for something as simple as a fun cocktail recipe, a jolt of inspiration for a central...Read More
The self-deprecating mom advice book is a genre I can get behind, but it’s not always done well. I’m still recommending the edgy Sh*tty Mom series and the offbeat Let’s Panic About Babies, but a lot of the other titles start to run together in my mind, especially after you’ve read as many as I have. However I can honestly say that the new The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting absolutely jumps out from the pack. From Iana Wiles, author of the popular blog Mommy Shorts (and Cool Mom Picks buddy), the book feels like it’s spun off from both her blog and her popular Instagram feeds,...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
My daughter is 10 and already bemoaning her leg hair and asking why the boy who used to be her friend now teases her mercilessly. No wonder she gravitated toward a fabulous new book the moment it landed in our mailbox. Crafting with Feminism by noted geek and author Bonnie Burton (whom you might know from Felicia Day’s Vaginal Fantasy Book Club? No? Okay, anyway she’s awesome…) has put together 25 cool, easy, and fun crafts centered on taking pride in feminism. So far, my daughter is determined to make matching NOPE necklaces (for herself and me), Monster Week Maxipad Cases, and Food...Read More
The Belly Art Project by Sara Blakely: A fun gift for new moms that also happens to help moms in need.
Sara Blakely has been fantastically successful helping us hide our post-baby bellies with her magical Spanx products, but now she’s asking women to show off their bellies all in the name of charity. Her new book, The Belly Art Project, is a fun gift that gives back to new moms who need our help the most. Plus it gives back a sense of humor to our pregnant friends who just might need a few laughs to get through those grueling last few weeks of pregnancy. I remember; it’s rough. Related: Sex after pregnancy: 5 tips from Rosie Pope to help you get back in the saddle again In the book,...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
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
My absolute favorite feature on my iPhone isn’t the smart to-do list that keeps my life sane or the ability to look up random facts on Google whenever I want — it is, of course, the camera. I take thousands of pictures each year, and as a result, I kind of believe myself to be a pretty decent photographer (thanks, Instagram filters). But the truth is, I have a lot to learn about getting the best angle or action shot. And the Real Life Family Photography book by professional photographer Amy Drucker has tons of these kinds of really smart family photography tips to help novices —...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
I love having a daughter. Her bright, energetic, and (yes) sometimes emotional personality is such a treat to have in our home. We’ve had a very open relationship so far, which I am very grateful for, and now she’s creeping up on the age where we’re going to start talking about how her body is changing. Let’s face it, she’ll be a (gulp) teenager soon. Even though I know she’s comfortable asking me pretty much anything, there’s only so much my words can communicate to her. She’s going to need pictures, and for that I’m turning to some of...Read More
I have a soft spot for quirky children’s books with captivating illustrations, which is why I keep picking up the brand new Pablo and His Chair by the French artist and author Delphine Perret to read to my kids. The story is simple — a fidgety boy receives a chair for his birthday (“so he’ll sit down for once”). Just what a kid wants, right? But the way this imaginative little boy makes the most of his gift — and his talents — is what makes this book so memorable. Related: Home by Carson Ellis beautifully celebrates the way we all live Related: They...Read More
My youngest child started Kindergarten this week — sniff — and he’s learning to read so quickly. I’m thrilled to find out he loves books, and I’ve been scouring our bookshelves and grilling our librarian for some great beginner chapter book series. Of course, there are the classic favorites like Junie B. Jones, Magic Treehouse, Ruby and the Booker Boys, and Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo. But I was excited to find a few new options too, and all of these series have just added new volumes to their collection over the last few months. So, whether you’re trying to find age-appropriate books for your young...Read More
My younger kids usually need a little one-on-one time to decompress after school, and one of our favorite ways to do this is reading together. After a few minutes in my lap, they’re ready to go play again. But, I have to admit, I’d much rather read a cool indie book like Carson Ellis’ Home than anything Dora or Clifford or, heaven help us, Caillou. I think it’s hard to find artfully designed board books for preschoolers — although we do love Cozy Classics and BabyLit — but the new board book for kids, Air by Kyla Ryman with beautiful cut-paper illustrations by Nathalie Trovato, is now right up...Read More
There’s something so special about sharing our very favorite childhood books with our kids. When we see our kids falling in love with Anne of Green Gables, or imaging themselves racing through Narnia to defeat the White Witch, there’s a certain jolt of nostalgia that just makes you want to be a kid again, discovering these books for the very first time. So we are so happy to welcome our newest sponsor Epic!, whose affordable e-book subscription service lives right on our kids tablets and gives them access to more than 15,000 books they can read anytime. (And yes, the exclamation point...Read More
Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind. ―Henry James You stocked up on school supplies, bought your kid a cool new lunch box and backpack, and purchased that first day of school outfit, but you may be missing one important item I like to have on my own kids’ back to school lists — books that teach empathy. Especially for those kids with special needs who may be new to a classroom, playgroup, or just the neighborhood this year. Besides feeling...Read More
True fact: This book is so cool that I had to go steal it back from my fifth grade daughter to review it. It’s called Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World, and it’s geared toward celebrating the contributions women have made to science and the hurdles they’ve faced doing it. Whoo. These ladies were doing STEM before it was STEM. From Hypatia in ancient Egypt to Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian mathematician who was the first-ever woman to win the Fields Medal in 2014, this book perfectly balances well-researched facts with gorgeous, whimsical illustrations making it a...Read More
One of my preschooler’s very favorite books of last year was Beastly Babies by Ellen Jackson and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel. An animal lover at heart, he couldn’t get enough of its playful illustrations. So when we saw that Brendan Wenzel has a new book out, we were excited to get a copy. And after reading it, we’re certain that if They All Saw a Cat isn’t a contender for the Caldecott Award, we’ll be very, very surprised. The story is simple: a cat with his paws, whiskers and all, goes for a walk. The illustrations show the different animals (and people) whom he encounters...Read More