The other night my ten-year-old son was looking for something to read at bedtime. I handed him my review copy of Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, not sure what to expect. When I checked on him an hour later, he was just a few pages away from the end of this 250-page graphic novel. And the next night, he snagged it to read a second time. That’s saying something. So, when I saw that the book became a Newbery honor recipient this week — the award for great writing, not illustration — I knew I had to take a look too. Related: The ultimate list of the best kids’ books...Read More
The ultimate list of the best kids’ books of 2015: All the annual best-of lists and award winners all in one place.
We’ve loved our annual new year tradition of compiling the best kids’ books of the year, thanks to all the major (and not entirely major) best-of lists and big children’s book awards of 2015 from publications, experts, and organizations we respect. We’re talking everyone from the New York Times and the ALA to NPR, and smaller but beautifully curated lists from the likes of Brainpickings and Brightly. While we recently put together our own list of the best children’s’ books of 2015 that we’re quite proud of, there’s no way we could get through every new book released. So we hope you take a look...Read More
What a treat it is to put together our list of the best children’s books of 2015. Not that it’s easy; we’ve collectively read hundreds of great kids’ books this year — from cute, sweet board books, to excellent picture books for early readers, to heart wrenching YA chapter books — and it’s always a job to whittle it down to just a few favorites. Ultimately, we went with the picture books that we’re gladly picking up to read out loud to our younger kids for the hundredth time and the chapter books that are sparking great conversations with our tweens and teens....Read More
We’ve mentioned before that only 3% of children’s books feature characters of color, and there are even fewer that feature kids with special needs. This makes me really sad for the millions of kids out there who want to open up a book and see someone they can identify with in the story, who looks like then. If you’re a parent who’s struggled to find illustrated kids’ books that represent your children, I’ve got good news. Crayon Crunch is an indie company that makes custom, personalized children’s books with characters that your kids will absolutely connect with — because your child is the main character....Read More
The Only Child by Guojing: A beautiful new wordless book your child will love, whether they have siblings or not
Every once in a while, a children’s picture book will capture me in a way that I just don’t expect it to. The Only Child by Guojing is one that has got me right now. This beautiful story, told only through illustrations, includes a little child and snow and a reindeer, which makes it a nice read for this time of year, but it’s so much more than that. This is a beautiful story about realizing you’re lost, making new friends, and finding your way back home again. Chinese illustrator Guojing grew up a very lonely only child in China, and this book is loosely based on an...Read More
Sponsored message: GiftLit curated book-a-month subscriptions let you give the gift of reading this holiday
This is a sponsored message from GiftLit. You really can’t go wrong when you give books over the holidays, but a special way to make your gift keep on giving all year long is a personalized subscription to GiftLit. GiftLit offers more than 100 different collections in their book-a-month subscriptions — from board books that encourage a love of reading in toddlers, to teen and adult book collections on topics as specific as fantasy and magic, American History, or just the best new releases of the month. And now there’s a special offer for Cool Mom Picks readers, just in time for a perfect Hanukkah or Christmas gift. – Don’t...Read More
We figured this was a pretty good time to start looking around at some great — and effective — books about manners for kids. I’m sure you feel me; my family calendar is already so booked over the next couple months, which means lots of opportunities for my kids to show off their best manners. Or, their worst manners when they get really tired. Which they will. So, books! That’s always a good way to help me better talk to my kids about any subjects without them feeling like I’m nagging them. These six books about manners for kids cover the do’s and don’ts of polite...Read More
Looking for the best Thanksgiving books for kids to share this week is a no-brainer for us; Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s low pressure (unless you’re doing all the cooking), no fancy outfits to shop for, no gifts. Just a weekend with the people I love most in the world. But while the spirit of the holiday for my family is really about togetherness, I’ve also been thinking a lot about the true history of Thanksgiving, and how we’ve become more enlightened in recent years about the longtime misrepresentation of the Native people whose land was decidedly...Read More
Okay so yeah. The Starbucks red cup controversy. We just couldn’t help but weigh in on whether we approve of Satan’s own minimalist design on this week’s Spawned with Kristen and Liz. Then we talk about raising kids in a world that’s so obsessed with beauty and image. How do we talk to them about makeup, retouching school photos, Instagram trickery, self-esteem and other tough questions? Plus, we’ve got two very cool, and very different, cool picks of the week. You can listen via SoundCloud right now (why wait?), or just subscribe to Spawned on iTunes and listen in the...Read More
This is a sponsored message from I See Me! personalized books. If you’re looking for a special, one-of-a-kind gift for your kids this holiday, check out I See Me! personalized books for kids. These award-winning books are a huge hit with children, because the stories are all about them, using their very own names. – Don’t miss an exclusive discount for Cool Mom Picks readers below – While there are titles about Christmas, Hanukkah, or themes that kids love all year long, the newest addition to the collection is The 12 Days of Christmas. It’s based on the classic Christmas song, with vintage style...Read More
We’re getting close to the holidays, which for many families means road trips with the kids. And there’s nothing more fun, right? Hahahahha. I recently did 16 hours in the car with my three kids — each way — and lived to tell the tale. If there’s one thing I learned on that trip (other than that I’ll never do it again) it’s that movies are an easy way to pass the time, but at some point the kids need their alone time. And books are great for that. So, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite travel books for kids of...Read More
I admit I’m a sucker for fantastic adult authors who turn their talents towards children’s books — and succeed. See also, Neil Gaiman. It’s not an easy task for sure; it’s hard to strike a balance between child-appropriate and childish, and a lot of authors just can’t quite pull it off. Which is why I’m so impressed by Dave Eggers’ brand new release, This Bridge Will Not Be Gray, the true story of the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, brought to life with amazing papercut illustrations by Tucker Nichols. The is one for junior history buffs for sure, but it’s written in such a...Read More
With Halloween coming up, I did some browsing at my local library and bookstore to find some creepy books for kids. But, I wanted books that weren’t necessarily tied to Halloween so that we could read, enjoy, and be spooked by them all year long. These six books range from funny and little spooky, to downright scary. So fair warning, you might not want to read some of them at bedtime; and not just for the kids. You can find all these titles at our affiliate amazon or at your local indie bookstore. At the lighter end of the creepy book spectrum is Creepy Carrots! written by Aaron Reynolds...Read More
RJ Palacio’s Wonder is one of those rare books that simply stays with you for a long time. At least for me and for my daughters, who often bring up this phenomenal YA novel in the course of everyday conversation, and refer back to it when we have those hard talks about injustice or social dynamics or the politics of friendship. So when I saw our friends at Litographs had added a new Wonder tee to their collection of graphic tees all designed from the words of novels, I knew I had a new favorite. Big news all around for Litographs t-shirt...Read More
The Story of Diva and Flea: 2 of our favorite children’s authors/illustrators team up and the results are wonderful.
At very first glance, the cover of the upcoming The Story of Diva and Flea cues some sort of classic French picture book. And then I scanned down to the author credit: As told & shown by Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi. That’s when I knew, whoa. This isn’t going to be your ordinary picture book. In fact, it’s not even a picture book at all; it’s a sweet, funny early-grade chapter book about a pampered little Parisian dog who comes to befriend a French alley cat and open one another’s worlds in surprising ways. And indeed it’s peppered with plenty of great illustrations: beaux...Read More
Every family has those terribly awkward and humiliating baby pictures capturing those off-moments you can’t escape. Lucky for you, yours likely aren’t included in a new book to be shared with the masses from the folks who brought us Awkward Family Photos. They’ve done it again, this time letting the kids take the fall in the hilarious new paperback, Born to Be Awkward: Celebrating Those Imperfect Moments of Babyhood. Seeing as how babies have pretty much no motor skills and little self-control, there are plenty of fails to be giggled at, just like on your own camera roll: funny faces, spit ups, diaper blow outs, as well as a fine...Read More
Here are our favorite links from around the web this week. We hope you like them too. Walk a mile in the Dark Lord’s shoes: Sign up for an alert for when the limited edition kids Darth Vader sneakers goes on preorder so you can grab one. New Pinterest board just for Halloween party recipes and treats. It’s that time! Fun Halloween crafts just for preschoolers. The costumes your kids should not be wearing this year. We hope. (Eep!) We can’t believe the coding projects these young kids came up with all by themselves. Coffee cocktails. Yes please. Change One Thing:...Read More
Helping kids practice the fine art of patience with Waiting, the new children’s book from Kevin Henkes
I don’t know about you, but my kids aren’t the most patient people I know. I’m not either, for that matter, but I’m trying. I promise. And I think my kids are too. Still, it’s hard for all of us to practice waiting in a world where almost everything is on-demand. That’s why I’ve been loving the new book Waiting by Kevin Henkes. The slow-paced, minimally written story is just beautiful. The characters in this story from one of my favorite children’s authors are all toys in a child’s bedroom, each waiting for something different. By the end of the book, everyone...Read More
Someone Special Books: Personalized books for kids with special needs of all kinds. Like making friends.
We love personalized books for kids, which always make special gifts for the kid who has everything. Also, what child doesn’t need more books in his or her library? But now we’ve discovered a publisher creating personalized books made just for kids with special needs and conditions, from Down Syndrome to Autism to food allergies and ADHD. This is simply a fantastic find for so many families and classrooms. The customizable books from authors Heather McCartney and Kate Ryan of Someone Special Books allow you to choose the appropriate title, then insert details like your child’s name, birthday, friends, or favorite activities, which are all incorporated into the rhyming text. But...Read More
Superhero Comic Kit: A BIG way for kids to write their very own BIG comics. Did we mention they’re big?
Our superhero-loving kids are going to leap over a tall building to get their hands on The Superhero Comic Kit, an activity book that gives them the chance to write and illustrate their very own comic books. No super skills required, only an active imagination, which we’re pretty sure is their super power anyway. And, wow, will their imagination have a place to play on the pages of this (very) oversized, uniquely hands-on book by British illustrator Jason Ford, also the author of The Super Book for Super Heroes which we love. In his latest release, Ford takes kids through all the...Read More