Tag: reading

When Lyla Got Lost (and Found): A really helpful safety book for kids

I know that teaching my kids about personal safety is so important, but there seems to be a fine line between preparing kids for emergencies and scaring them about Things That Could Happen. Like all parents, I definitely don’t want to tell them more than they need to hear. But lately we’ve been getting our talks just right with the help of reading When Lyla Got Lost (and Found), the latest in The Mother Company’s new series of safety books for kids. Thanks to authors Abbie Schiller and Samantha Kurtzman-Counter, my kids are learning some great safety strategies that will work for them in the real world,...

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RAD American Women A-Z: Required reading for our girls. And definitely our boys.

As you probably know, a good alphabet book is one of those must-haves in any child’s library. Over the years my kids have loved learning about design in Maira Kalman’s Ah Ha to Zig Zag, getting a real feel for their letters in Franceschelli and Peskimo’s Alphablock, and playing with the wild alliteration in Augie to Zebra by husband-wife duo Caspar Babypants and Kate Endle. But the new alphabet book, RAD American Women A – Z, written by Kate Schatz and accompanied by edgy, minimalist illustrations by Miriam Klein Stahl is one I’m excited to read with my ten-year-old. And just when you’d start to think he’s too old for alphabet books. The list of women...

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The Book of Life is one fascinating website. Or is it a book.

So, there’s this really interesting website called The Book of Life. And I’m trying to figure out how to describe it, but I keep coming up empty. Is it an encyclopedic resource? An online self-help book? A place to turn for philosophical discourse? It’s kind of all of that and more and it’s unlike any website I’ve ever seen. Brought to you by London’s The School of Life, they’re calling it a book, which it mostly is and a little bit isn’t, because that’s how we’re to use it; by navigating chapters written by multiple contributing authors. The chapters focus on what...

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A Place to Live is a picture book that charms, engages, and hopefully lulls to sleep.

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...

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Beep beep! Reader coming through

Bookends are always a smart way to blend function with design in a kid’s room, so I’m often looking for cool ones. I’m taken with the wooden car bookends on My Sweet Muffin, which also happen to be on sale right now. They’re handmade in the Netherlands from rubberwood, then screenprinted. All three designs are pretty cool, but I have to admit a fondness for the not-specifically-a-VW minibus.   The one tough thing will be to get your kids to resist the urge to color them in. Or hey…let them paint them. Why not, right? Find the wooden car bookends on My...

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An Elements of Style t-shirt for those who don’t have to ask what that is.

As a bona fide (oh look, I used a fancy Latin word!) word nerd, I have a particular fondness for gifts that we’ve featured here like the grammar police mugs or fun books for kids that play with language. But then, alas, I am imperfect. I spell occasionally wrong the first three times, every time; and I can never remember the difference between toward and towards. So I thank the heavens for Mr. Strunk and Mr. White, whose dogeared Elements of Style I bought in college—yes, the actual paperback book–still remains within arms-reach of my computer. So of course I’m happy to see that our friends at...

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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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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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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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3 amazing new picture books for kids and parents to love

For those of us who love great illustration as much as a great story, I’ve found three new picture books that are worth making space for in your kids’ bookcase or wrapping to give to a child this holiday. What I love most about all three is that they’ll keep you talking about what you see as you go through the pages and maybe even long after the book cover is closed.   Flora and the Flamingo, one of my family’s favorite recent picture books and a 2013 Caldecott Honor book, has a sequel that is just perfect for these colder days. Flora...

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10 tips to make reading fun for young kids: Turn your preschooler into a serious book lover.

There’s nothing quite like seeing your child pick up a book and read it to himself for the first time. And even though we’ve been known to tell our kids to putdownthatbookrightnow! when we’re trying to get them out the door for school, we secretly love that kind of reading obsession. Even if your kid isn’t paging through Moby Dick—or even Mo Willems—yet, you can foster that love of learning early. So on behalf of our newest partner P’kolino, a company we’ve loved and supported for ages, we’ve put together some of our top tips to help make reading fun, so your pre-reader will be on her...

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Need a Hunger Games alternative for your tweens to read? Find an unlikely heroine in The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee

The lead character in Barry Jonsberg’s excellent new book for tweens, The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee, isn’t as strong as Katniss in The Hunger Games or as fearless as Divergent’s Tris, but Candice Phee is still my new favorite literary heroine. And the quest she goes on to save her family is as noble and enjoyable to read as those more action-packed books that have captured so many girls’ imaginations lately. If your tweens aren’t quite ready for the intensity of those other books, but are looking for something new to read before bed, that will make them scream “just one more chapter, Mom?” from their rooms, then this is...

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Banned Books Week: Rallying book lovers right down to their toes.

If you love the written word, if you’re an avid supporter of your local library, or if you think Fahrenheit 451 should be required reading for anyone over the age of five, you might already know that this is the start of Banned Books Week which, honestly, it’s hard to believe there’s still a need for. And yet, there is. If you’re nodding along, you’ll probably be as taken with these literary socks as I am, and the excellent cause they support. From our friends at Out of Print Clothing, who make everything from e-reader covers to  cool kids’ tees featuring original book cover art, they’re now making...

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Web Coolness: The Portlandia cookbook, how to get the most for your old iPhone, and tips for taming after-school clutter

Here’s what we found on the Internet this week. Hope you like them too.   We can’t wait to get our hands on the upcoming Portlandia cookbook! (via Laughing Squid) This travel guide for chocolate lovers has us drooling. We can’t believe our friend, fellow blogger and former Cool Mom Picks contributor Rebecca Woolf’s twins have turned three. Her birthday post to them is lovely. 9 questions moms are tired of answering, from our own Nicole Blades. Get the very most money for your old iPhone (as in $200 for an iPhone 4!). How fun are these DIY headboards for kids? A helpful...

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In This Book: A stunning picture book for kids and the parents who love reading to them

Just out in the US from French author Fani Marceau is a new favorite picture book that I expect will become a permanent fixture on many kids’ bookshelves: In This Book. It features the kind of repetitive structure that really appeals to babies and the earliest readers: I am in the tree, said the monkey. I am in the tunnel, said the train. I am in the water, said the swimmer. I am in the forest, said the wolf.  Which doesn’t mean it’s boring. In fact I read it to my seven-year-old and a kindergarten friend of hers and they were equally captivated. Not just...

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5 of our favorite cool tech picks you don’t want to miss this week

In case you missed them, here are 5 of our most popular cool tech picks from Cool Mom Tech this past week. Enjoy!   1. A huge round-up of the best science apps for kids of all ages. 2. A helpful website that tells you all about those ingredients you can’t pronounce. 3. Need reading help? Our picks for best reading apps for kids to the rescue. 4. Turn your iPad into a sketch book with these cool apps and tools. Wow! 5. Boy, we wish these emoji were real. Hilarious!...

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We’re nuts for Eric Litwin’s Bedtime at the Nut House. (Yeah, we went there.)

I don’t know about you, but the books that get my reluctant reader the most excited are the ones that drive me nuts. You know, the ones that include a catchy little song that he can shout at bedtime, when he’s supposed to be relaxing? His most recent favorite is Bedtime at the Nut House, with just that very sort of catchy chorus. And you might recognize the style considering it was written by Eric Litwin, author of our own bookshelf staple, Pete the Cat.   What happens when Wally and Hazel Nut refuse to go to bed? Let’s just say that...

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Lovely literary pencils for your favorite young writer

Why settle for #2 pencils when these literary pencils are bound to be #1 on any bookish kid’s school supply list? Whether you’ve got a tween into Harry Potter and Ramona Quimby or a teen with a soft spot for Alice or a hankering to be Divergent, those plain yellow wood pencils on the school supply list are  yesterday’s news. Bouncing Ball Creation on Etsy hand-rolls #2 pencils with book pages to create pencils that will please the most persnickety teacher and amuse the writer. Each set includes five standard pencils, pre-sharped and ready for the first day of school,...

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It’s World Cup time, and this new soccer book for kids is a winner.

Everyone’s eyes are on World Cup soccer for the next month, and The Soccer Fence by Phil Bildner, a thought-provoking and hope-filled soccer book for kids set in the waning days of South African Apartheid, is perfect for reading breaks between games. The book tells the story of Hector, a soccer-loving young Black child living in a Johannesburg township. When he travels to the wealthier “whites only” sections with his mother, he notices the stark difference between his neighborhood’s dirt-and-gravel makeshift soccer fields and the white kids’ lush green lawns. He also sadly notices how he is ignored and not invited to play by...

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The Pigeon Needs a Bath: Yay for the newest book from Mo Willems!

I am an unapologetic Mo Willems groupie, in part because I don’t think the author/illustrator has ever had a miss. Now, the .500 streak continues with his newest in the popular Pigeon Series, The Pigeon Needs a Bath. All just in time for our favorite wry, difficult, endearingly persistent urban bird’s tenth anniversary. He’s up to his same shenanigans, devising  tons of reasons why a bath would be a very bad idea, as you can imagine. (I took one last month! All these flies buzzing around me are purely coincidental!) Some of them may even sound familiar to parents. Which...

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