Tag: books

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...

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9 outstanding Black History Month books for kids of all ages

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...

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Red: A Crayon’s Story. The perfect children’s book at the perfect time.

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...

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The 2015 Caldecott and Newbery medal winners are here. More great reading for all!

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,...

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Happy Handmade: The super-fun, super doable new craft e-book for kids.

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...

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Naptime with Theo and Beau: The book that could get more kids napping. Or asking for a puppy.

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...

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21 interesting, educational indoor activities to keep kids happy when you’re stuck indoors

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...

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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...

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4 fantastic books for kids about MLK to help educate kids while you celebrate

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...

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The Book with No Pictures. Guess what? Your kids won’t miss them.

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...

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Ella: The amazingly illustrated, totally hilarious, very modern parody of Eloise.

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...

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The best cookbooks for families: Editors’ Best of 2014

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,...

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16 fantastic last-minute Christmas gift ideas: It’s never too late!

Breaking news: We’ve got two days until Christmas. And I’m guessing I’m not the only one who hasn’t finished holiday shopping yet. Deep breath. Don’t panic. And don’t break your budget on $39 overnight shipping just because you get desperate. Instead, snag one of these easy, last-minute Christmas gift ideas, which can all be pulled together quickly. There’s something here for every price range too. And, just like that, your holidays are saved. The great thing about last-minute gifts is that they can inspire you to think outside the box and shop for things you may not normally think of, which can end up making...

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2014 Best Books for Kids: All the lists, in one place.

Thousands of books are published for children each year, and it seems like there are thousands of “best of” lists published too. If you’re shopping for kids books for Christmas like we are, you’ll want to check these lists out for some great book ideas you might not have heard of yet. We’ve put together the collections here with links to all the 2014 Best Books for Kids awards, and highlighting some of our own faves. We’re definitely celebrating the huge number of women writers who won prizes, the focus on diversity, the growing trend of non-princessy science-loving heroines, rabbits–lots of rabbits–and, of course,...

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Neil Gaiman’s Hansel and Gretel: Spooky amazing.

It’s the time of year to build gingerbread houses covered with candies, but I’ve been mesmerized by the new Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman (a favorite around here) and Lorenzo Mattotti, and their interpretation of the classic Grimm story of the wicked woman who lives in a real gingerbread house. Gaiman is a master storyteller, with a welcoming way of telling even the spookiest story. He draws you in with his words, the way Mattotti does with his illustrations, writing in a captivating first person narrative: Back then, we all lived on the edge of the great forest… Mattotti’s dark, lifelike illustrations have amazing depth and...

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D is for design, in the fantastic new alphabet book by Maira Kalman: Ah Ha to Zig Zag

The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City houses incredible exhibits for lovers of design, including fantastic workshops for kids to help them gain an appreciation for fine design before they even hit kindergarten. And Ah Ha to Zig Zag, the new alphabet book by Maira Kalman, one of our favorite illustrators, celebrates pieces from this collection. Who knows, maybe your children will even be inspired to start their own museum one day. This isn’t your typical “A is for Apple” book. In fact, in Ah Ha to Zig Zag, A is for cAp . . . and every...

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Please judge these beautiful gift books by their covers

A glance through our archives shows that we love wonderful books for kids. If you would like to help get a child in your life as hooked on books as we are, check out this stunning four-book collection of classic children’s titles. With new cover art by Rifle Paper Co’s Anna Bond, whose stationery and gifts have been featured many times on Cool Mom Picks, the In Bloom Book Collection pulls together four well-known titles in children’s literature: Little Women, Heidi, A Little Princess, and Anne of Green Gables. Each of these storybooks could stand on its own as a gift, but these new covers make them especially impressive as...

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Wait wait, don’t tell me: Awesome gifts from NPR

Working in the independent music world, I have a high esteem for non-commercial radio and of course the mother of it all, NPR. Supporting public radio is so important to me, as they rely heavily on listener funding to stay afloat. So if you find yourself still looking for that clever gift for the in-tune intellectual on your list, I’ve got some ideas for awesome NPR gifts from their incredibly smart and hip shop. You know, should you already have an Ira Glass finger puppet.   We love reusable grocery bags and naturally a bag is a great place to proclaim your love for public...

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Family road trip tips: Tons of sanity-savers, tricks, and essential products to keep the back seat under control and save your vacation.

A lot of us are heading out for family vacations this month, and while a lot of parents consider a long car road trip with the kids the seventh circle of hell, I like to think of it as…a character building experience. But as tired as I get of hearing, “How much longer?” I’m sure it’s less fun for my kids, who are squished together in the back seat on a seemingly endless journey. When we took a 16-hour road trip (each way) with a 3-year-old and an 18-month-old, I had plenty of time to discover what works and what doesn’t. And after talking...

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2 cool new coloring books to inspire creativity in older kids

I never think we can have enough coloring books around the house–or stashed in the travel bags for road trips and plane rides. As much as I love handing my kids plain sheets of paper for open-ended creativity, there’s something about coloring in the lines and having a jumping-off point for coloring that’s still really engaging for them. So I love that there are two new coloring books out for older kids too, that make really thoughtful, affordable gifts under $10. Especially because both were written by independent artists we know and love.   Coloring Animal Mandalas, by Wendy Piersall is a pretty awesome take on...

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