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
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