Yep, I’m one of those suckers who dives head-first into the self-help section every January. Not only because I actually have a few days of leisure to read as long as I wish, but also because the cold, dreary weather makes me want to hit my reset button and make a little sunshine of my own. Here are some of my favorite self-help books that focus on laughs, positive steps, good health, loving yourself, and focusing on the things you can actually control. No impossible goals, fasting, six-hour workouts, tough love, or house-wide decluttering. Promise. CMP is an rstyle affiliate...Read More
When you’ve been the littlest in your family your whole entire life, but things are about to get real because a new sibling comes along, you need the book Little Big Girl by Claire Keane. This sweet story about a little girl growing up and getting bigger and bigger (sniff) has captured the imagination and attention of my three kids, as they’re planning to welcome a new little sister very soon. If you’re looking for a sweet gift to help your child transition to having a new younger sibling, this is it. Related: The ultimate new-baby sibling gift In Little Big Girl, Matisse (the real name of author Claire...Read More
Once again, we’re happy to have compiled the best lists of all the best children’s books of the year, curated by the top publishers, reviewers, organizations, and bloggers we respect. And boy, was it a fantastic year for children’s literature and storybooks. You’ll surely find lots of great new discoveries from the New York Times to the American Library Association, from NPR to well-curated blogs like Brainpickings and Brightly and…well, us! So start with our own list of the best children’s books of 2016, then check out some other perspectives. We bet a few of your kids’ favorites will be on here, and you’ll surely find some new ones you’ll be excited to add to...Read More
My family has a tradition of reading Christmas books at bedtime every night during Advent. Some years, I wrap each holiday book in our collection, so they’ll be surprised which book we’re reading each night. Other years, we take turns choosing a favorite. But every year, I like to add new books to our collection. And this year is no exception. I was excited to find some new, beautifully illustrated traditional stories as well as some clever books that are quick, funny reads (perfect for those nights when we’ve been out to a holiday party way past bedtime). I’ll be adding a couple of...Read More
This is a sponsored message from Candlewick Press Award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers and fine artist Sam Winston have teamed up to create a gorgeous children’s book that’s a tribute to the power of a great story — and just in time for holiday gifting. The 2016 New York Times #1 bestseller, A Child of Books, is an imaginative adventure through the world of storytelling. The two young main characters discover the magic found in books, as they explore forests of fairy tales, sneak past monsters in haunted castles, and climb mountains of make-believe — all presented to the reader with a genius visual...Read More
Looking for a cool holiday gift this season? Well, we do have 350 cool gift ideas in this year’s holiday gift guide, including a whole category of empowering gifts for girls who are going to grow up to run the world. And now here’s one for those same empowered, amazing, inspiring girls, once they’re already grown up. Prime: Reflections on Time and Beauty is a photo collection of extraordinary women by famed portrait photographer Peter Freed. While there are plenty of photo books of celebs and notable women on the shelves, what’s special about these 130 stunning black-and-white photos of women is that they’re all unretouched,...Read More
WOWsdom! The Girl’s Guide to the Positive and the Possible is a new interactive book I found recently on Kickstarter that has one very important mission: to help raise our female leaders of tomorrow. And they’ve set out to do just that by sharing the intimate and life-changing experiences of other women and girls so that those who may not have a mentor in their lives can still find ways to connect, learn, and grow into smart, empowered women. Truly wow-worthy, in my opinion. Related: Epic tees for epic teens and tweens, designed by epic teens and tweens. Epic. WOWsdom! is the work of Generation WOW, an organization...Read More
Web coolness: Fall crafts, Thanksgiving survival, must-read book award winners, and a big viral grandma oops.
Here are some things we’ve been reading around the web this week. We hope you like them too. The turkey countdown has started! Here are 8 fun and easy Thanksgiving crafts for kids beyond tracing a hand to look like a turkey. Get the kids outside with these 6 adorable pinecone crafts, like the DIY ombre pinecones from Whimzeecal shown above. Love! A little help for surviving Thanksgiving for those of you dreading it this year. Thoughtful list of articles and posts about taking action and taking care of your feelings if you’re struggling post-election. SO many Thanksgiving recipes and...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
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
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