When you’ve got a precocious reader in the house, it can be hard to find books they haven’t yet discovered and devoured. I know this because I am that reader and I spawned that reader. Luckily, we found a subscription service — you know we love subscription services!– that will send you the newest, most carefully vetted books for teens, kids who read on the teen level, and adults who love the fast pace and swoony tummy-flutters that YA books can provide. It’s called Uppercase Box, and it’s a YA book subscription service for readers 13 and up that...Read More
Sponsored Message: I See Me! personalized books make a special gift kids will enjoy way beyond Easter
This is a sponsored message for I See! Me books If you want to cut down on sugary treats this Easter and instead grab gifts that your kids will enjoy way beyond the holiday, check out the range of the award-winning I See Me! personalized books which are wildly popular with both kids and parents. – Don’t miss an exclusive discount for Cool Mom Picks readers below – There tons of books to choose from featuring all sorts of interests, whether it’s pirates or princesses, race cars or farm animals, or alphabet and counting basics. So you’re sure to find something for everyone’s Easter basket whether you’re shopping for a little pre-readers...Read More
With daylight savings coming up, I know I’m not the only one itching to open up windows and start spring cleaning the house from top to bottom. So I decided to try out the popular Konmari method of organization from the book by Japanese sensation Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, if a little reluctantly as a parent. All I can say is, this book has rocked my world. And soon will rock my entire house. However there are some aspects that parents should be aware of. Related: The best of the eco-friendly cleaning...Read More
Small Thyme Cooks: The coloring and activity book for kids who don’t have to ask, who’s Eric Ripert?
Sometimes the activity books for kids that we find are as much for the parents as they are for the kids, and such is the case with the Small Thyme Cooks Activity and Coloring Book. Created by Andre Huseston Mack, former French Laundry sommelier, creative thinker, and guy I’m dying to meet, this is a clever activity book for kids. But not just any kids; more like the ones who are up for unscrambling the names of the fish on the Le Bernadin menu or working their way through a maze that takes you from a farm to, of course, table. Of course this...Read More
Last year, just about this time, I fell in love with the Alexander Calder pop-up book by the extremely talented Patricia Geis. It introduced kids to one of my favorite childhood artists in the most perfect way. And while Matisse wasn’t known for 3-D sculptures and mobiles, the format of storytelling plus interactive pop-up visuals that’s back in the new Meet the Artist: Henri Matisse pop-up book is still a spectacular way to bring his work to life. The book is designed for kids as young as maybe six who will love the photos and interactive flaps and pop-ups (gentle, now…) and will understand the finer points of...Read More
Bright, fun, and very, very easy, the new oversized search-and-find books Animal Fun Search & Find and Fairy Tale Search & Find by Stephanie Hinton are absolutely charming me. And my preschoolers. They’re perfect for kids who are too young to find Waldo, considering the bold, bright illustrations have been with us now to the supermarket, the doctor’s office, and a trip to Grandma’s, I’d call them a hit. There’s a lot of variety in the pages of these books, which is what keeps my kids coming back to them. Animal Fun, as you might expect, features a fabulous menagerie of woodland, farm, ocean, polar, and African animals....Read More
Sometimes the simplest books are a parent’s best friend at bedtime. Few words, pretty pictures, calming premise. These are the elements that come together perfectly in Case Jernigan’s A Place to Live, a lovely book for a new reader–or a parent desperate to put a toddler to sleep. Either way, the results are magical. A Place to Live hails from Home Grown Books, an outstanding small press in NYC, should you be the kind of parent always looking for something special for the bookshelf. All their books are developed in collaborations between outstanding artists and educators, and produced locally or with the help of fair trade global collectives. But...Read More
Pick up the new illustrated children’s book Home by Carson Ellis, and you and your kids will be instantly transported to the many different places that people around the world call home. The celebrated illustrator of the fantastic Wildwood YA series has drawn me into wonderfully diverse living spaces in her new book and I can’t recommend it more highly. From city apartments and country farms to French castles and Norse temples, my kids are fascinated to see that so many people live in places beyond the kind of building we happen to call home. The story reminds me of the classic children’s book A House is a...Read More
12 ideas for fabulous last minute Valentines gifts you can still get in time. Procrastinators, this one’s for you.
So yes, of course you can brave the crowds, hit the store, and track down something perfectly lovely as a last minute Valentines gift this week. But should you have actual kids to wrangle, or you know, job responsibilities or Netflix to catch up on, I could see where you might want to stay home and shop online. So here are a few last minute gift ideas for Valentine’s Day that you can still order in time, plus drop-dead shipping deadlines from lots of stores that are keeping FedEx in business this week. Just be sure to confirm them before you...Read More
Black History Month is the perfect time for us to widen our scope on the lives of Black people in this country and their ongoing contributions to its advancement. In school, our kids typically learn about the impact that people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and George Washington Carver had and continue to have on our lives. But there are so many more people — unsung heroes, revolutionaries, artists, writers, activists, and everyday citizens — who have done remarkable things that deserve the spotlight as well. To honor them and their work, here are 10 excellent...Read More
If you’re thinking red Valentine’s gifts of for kids, here’s an idea a bit off the beaten path: Red, A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall, just out this week. It’s a beautifully told, wonderfully illustrated story (in crayon, natch) about a red crayon who just isn’t very good at being red. In fact, whatever he tries to draw, at his grandparents’ or teacher’s or fellow crayon classmates’ urging, comes out blue, whether it’s an orange or a strawberry. Of course Red finally figures out his true calling, finding the joy and freedom that comes with accepting himself for what he is. It makes for more than happy...Read More
Yesterday’s big awards news had nothing to do with Bradley Cooper or the Oscars (which I can’t wait for either). The American Library Association announced the 2015 Caldecott and Newbery medal winners for young adult literature, and we were really excited to see some of the best books for kids that we’ve recommended here before rise to the top as winners. If you’re looking for your next favorite book, whether it’s a picture book for your young kids or a novel for your teens (or yourself), this is a great place to start. And if your favorite online shop is sold out,...Read More
Sometimes I see the same crafts in crafting books for kids over and over again, but the ideas in the new e-book Happy Handmade, are fresh and fun, with diverse perspectives from 17 creative contributors. We’re talking respected craft and DIY bloggers like Mari Richards at Small for Big, Eva Monleón at Misako Mimoko, and Ana at Babble Dabble Do. From scented orange-peel candles to a braided belt to sock puppets and doll houses made from shoe boxes, there’s something for every crafty kid here. And fear not crafting newbies; these are mostly simple, 101-level craft projects you can make with materials you likely already have at home, like toilet...Read More
I can hardly imagine a parent online today who isn’t familiar with the huge viral success of Theo and Beau. This gorgeous photo series comes from our friend and fellow mom Jessica Shyba, who has lovingly documented the daily naptime ritual of her toddler son and their rescue puppy who cuddle together every day. Can you think of anything more made for Instagram than that? Well, now it’s made for the printed page too, with the launch of Naptime with Theo and Beau, the most adorable board book for kids maybe ever. Seriously, the creepy old lady whispering hush has nothing on these two. I...Read More
If you have young ones, we recently shared 23 fun, educational activities for preschoolers and young kids. But as your kids get older, it can even more challenging to find cool, educational indoor activities when they’re clamoring to play with the XBox. So we’ve put together 21 fantastic ideas early grade schoolers, to help grow their minds and muscles, whether you’re snowed in, watching a cold rainfall outside, or live in Southern California and just need to get out of the balmy 73-degree weather for an hour or two. (Oh, the problems.) These are the ideas that we put to use...Read More
23 ideas for fun, educational indoor activities for preschoolers and young kids. Because we need all the ideas we can get!
After the initial “yay, snow!” cheers comes the realization that you now have to come up with educational activities for your preschoolers or kindergarteners, to help keep them busy–and ideally, learning–all day long. And while I totally understand letting PBS air a few more shows than you might normally allow, I also think an unexpected day stuck indoors is a great way to try out new activities that give their brains a workout and help reinforce important skills. It’s the kind of stuff you may not have time to do together on a regular old day. That’s why I’m so pleased...Read More
Today we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and his innumerable contributions to this nation’s history and advancement and books for kids about MLK can be a great way to help little ones understand the importance of the day. Although it’s a holiday in most states and therefore, understandably, a day to relax, I do like that many Americans instead treat it as a “day on” and seek out ways to volunteer in their communities and participate in one of the Day of Service events scheduled across the country. It’s an excellent opportunity to usher in the concept of service to...Read More
Can I tell you how big a hit I was as the surprise reader at my son’s second grade class the other day, when I read The Book with No Pictures? It was all, “Again!” and, “More!” If you can get your hands on this book too, you’ll understand why. This hilarious book written by actor and humorist B.J. Novak (you know, from The Office) is true to its title: There are no pictures in it whatsoever. Just pages full of funny dialogue written as if the reader (that’s you) is being forced to say silly things by the writer (a kid). The idea is that the...Read More
I remember being so excited to share Eloise with my little girls when they were old enough–until I read it again as an adult and realized she a little brattier than I had remembered. Not just me, right? Even so, I still have a certain nostalgia for the precocious title character who lived at the Plaza Hotel with no parents in sight, and clearly so did Mallory Kasdan, author of the brand new, hilariously wonderful Ella: A Cheeky Parody About a Little Girl Who Lives at The Local Hotel. A Brooklyn mom herself, Kasdan perfectly captures what Eloise might be like if she was...Read More
Another year, another pile of cookbooks. I’ve added some amazing titles to my cookbook collection this year, but eight in particular are in heavy rotation in my family kitchen, which I think makes them among the best cookbooks for families–indispensable resources especially for parents. Because hey, we aren’t just home cooks; we’re time-crunched, picky-busting, budget-watching home cooks who are constantly trying to feed multiple tastes. There are many fabulous cookbooks from this year, but it takes special cookbooks like these eight that I’ve narrowed down, to provide parents just what we need to get the family cooking job done right. In no particular order,...Read More