Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fun Reads For 7-Year Olds

The key to getting children to read more is making it a fun activity, rather than a strictly educational task. This requires exciting stories -- brimming with adventure and relatable characters! The best books for 7-year olds are a mixture of tried-and-true classics, as well as new and modern tales; kids don't mind the written era as long as the stories are fantastic. Plus, regular casual reading will instill an appreciation for books that will last a lifetime, passing on through generations.

A couple fun favorites are:


Oh, the Places You'll Go! (Dr. Seuss)

You can't go wrong with Seuss! A tale that touches the heart of kids and adults alike, this serious subject of moving out into the world is met with Seuss humor and rhythm. Describing the pitfalls and highs of life, the master of rollicking rhymes assures children that their dreams can come true. Uplifting for all ages, Seuss captures the fear and excitement that all people feel when venturing outside their comfort zones.  

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go."


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl)

Your kids might remember this classic from movies, but the story is 100 times better. Willy Wonka, chocolate-maker extraordinaire, is opening his factory to 5 children and 1 guest each of their choice. Thousands search frantically in candy bars for the golden tickets, their entrance guarantees. Among the winners are the most gluttonous, spoiled, television-obsessed, and dim-witted brats in the entire world; all except the protagonist and perfect hero of the tale, Charlie Bucket. Wonka's world is rife with eccentric anecdotes, delicious secrets, and humor galore.

"The one thing he longed for more than anything else was... CHOCOLATE."


Find current favorites in 7 year old children's books:

Rhyming Stories For 6-Year Olds

Clad in paperback or a hardcover, kids' poetry and rhyming stories are coveted as some of the best books for children 6 years old and up. The tales within each flowing flip of the pages are sentimental, humorous, and meaningful, while also being simple enough for a child's understanding.

These zesty collections are generational gems that children will remember through their entire lives, passing them on to their own kids to keep the harmonious words of poetic authors alive.

For example:


Where the Sidewalk Ends: 30th Anniversary (Shel Silverstein)

A true master of children's poetry, Silverstein takes everyday thoughts and turns them into the silliest stories. Writing in no particular poetic manner, the author spins a web of clever prose to create the best-loved books that parents and grandparents will remember fondly. Works include tales like Boa Constrictor, Colors, The Acrobats, Alice, and so much more in 192-pages of simple pen-and-ink drawings paired with heartwarming, hilarious, interesting, and sometimes icky subjects.

"Where everyone kisses, and everyone grins. Where everyone cuddles, and everyone wins."


The Lorax (Dr. Seuss)

A tried-and-true classic, Dr. Seuss approaches a serious subject with beautiful illustrations and whimsical, laugh-out-loud rhymes. Teaching kids about the mindless devastation to Earth's natural beauty, Seuss takes them on an adventure where all it takes is someone to care to really make a difference in the world. Children and adults alike can bond over the sweet faces of the Brown Bar-Ba-loots as they indulge in the finest Truffula Fruits. Or take a trip to the Once-ler's house to pay him a fee at the end of his rope of fifteen cents, a nail, and the shell of a great-great-great-grandfather snail. It's a unique, heartwarming, and humorous tale that is sure to be a tradition at bedtime!

"Unless someone like you...cares a whole awful lot...nothing is going to get's not."


Find more great books for kids 6 years of age:

Baby Books: Developing a Love for Reading

Literacy and strong reading skills grow over time, beginning with the nurturing bedtime favorites from childhood. By starting out with the top selling books for babies, parents can assist in developing a child's love for reading. The best stories are easily understood, lighthearted, interactive, and thought-provoking, especially for the growing minds of flourishing tots.

Colorful and evoking of shrill, happy giggles, the following baby books are abundant in vibrant humor, cute characters, and amusing concepts:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle)

"In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf."

This is a story that generations will remember! Captivating and beautiful, the book follows the hunger pangs of a little caterpillar as he crawls and inches his way through the leaves of each page. Gnawing on everything in sight, the fuzzy worm fills his belly until he simpl can't eat anymore. Rolling into a cocoon, the book ends with a stunning transformation when the caterpillar emerges as a colorful butterfly. Little ones will appreciate the colors and splendor of the butterfly and the overall simplicity of the story, while parents will have fun answering the barrage of questions about transformation afterwards.


The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein)

"One there was a tree... and she loved a little boy."

A story of unconditional love and compassion, Silverstein tells the tale of a little boy who loved a tree, and a tree that returned the little boy's affections. Friends forever and growing old together, the boy and the tree go through the motions of aging. It's a journey through the lives of two living things -- one human and expectant, the other inanimate but compassionate. The overall story is tender, striking at the heart strings of the reader and listener as the boy returns as an old man to sit and rest with the tree one last time.

The Best Animal Stories For 5-Year Olds

It comes as no surprise that the best books for 5-year olds would have stories of adventure, subtle life lessons, and humor. It's also redundant to say that most of the aforementioned stories feature animals, as most children go gaga over cute furballs, scaly slithers, and bubble-blowing fish.

The following books are a few of the greatest, most engaging tales for modern kids. Why? Because each one features a relatable, sometimes fuzzy, sometimes scaled animal, and a whole bunch of laughs!


Dragons Love Tacos (Adam Rubin)

Apparently, dragons love tacos! And not just one or two for dinner, but buckets filled to overflowing! These fire-breathing fliers are beautifully illustrated and bursting with taco-flavored love. It's a silly tale that features all kinds of dragons indulging in the one treat they can't get enough of... from chicken to beef, big or small, these winged creatures love them all. Unfortunately and surprisingly, salsa is not a dragon's friend, as these mythical animals can't stand the spiciness of certain foods. Hilarity ensues when one too many dragons eat way too many salsa-filled tacos.


Llama Llama Red Pajama (Anna Dewdney)

A read-aloud for bedtime or anytime, this story centers on a baby llama that turns his sleepy time into nothing but drama for his Mama. As the tale progresses in whimsical rhymes and entertaining prose, baby llama does all he can to thwart his Mama's attempt at putting him peacefully to bed. Kids will relate to baby's need for comfort and reassurance, as Mama returns to offer back rubs, sweet nothings, and soft whispers to soothe llama into sleep.


The Going-To-Bed Book (Sandra Boynton)

Featuring a variety of awesome animals, this book is about bedtime routines and all the silly things kids will do to avoid sleep. A board book for all ages, the simple text and cool illustrations follow each of the Ark animals as they prepare for sleep.


Find the current top-selling and highly rated books for kids 5 years of age:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Interactive Stories For 4-Years & Older

The best books for 4-year olds in 2013 are, unsurprisingly, the tried-and-true favorites and instant classics of most parents' childhoods. At this age, kids need something inspiring to education and teach them reading, counting, and everything in-between.

With the following interactive short-list of books, children will use their imaginations and creative skills to tell stories, memorizing essential skills along the way.


Press Here (Herve Tullet)

This book is a step-by-step guide through a tilting, shaking, pressing, growing tale. Kids will embark on a hands-on journey with the simple press of the yellow button on the book's cover. The pages lead parents and children through a story of yellow buttons; ones that multiply, scatter, line-up, and group together for a giggling good time. It's a book without gadgets; it's a book that relies on colors, circles, and basic sentences to tell a simple tale, amusing the kid in all of us.


Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers [Box Set] (Bobby Lynn Maslen)

Young readers are encouraged to learn their alphabet, ABC sounds, and simple grammatical meanings with basic tales about Bob and his friends. The original fundamental elements of reading and learning are presented in 5 sets, with 3 levels per set, and 4 letters in each story. Kids will learn at their own pace, gaining understanding through a handful of characters and their designated stories.


Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book (Rod Campbell)

An old-fashioned board book and my personal favorite, this tale is celebrating 30-years of reader popularity. Generations have read and loved this book, from the very first elephant. Each of the 18-pages features an interactive component, revealing a new zoo animal with the flip of every flap. The humor is appealing to kids and adults alike, and includes a gentle nudge towards educational building of simple reading and instructional skills.

Interactive Books For Babies

Most people don't see 1-2 year olds being very interactive, when in fact, they're constantly learning through interaction with random objects and people. For example, the best baby books in 2013 have everything a toddler or pre-tot would need to learn easy tasks, such as lifting a flap or turning a page. 

My favorites are:


Where is Baby's Belly Button? A Lift-the-Flap Book (Karen Katz)

This durable board book features peek-a-boo between your baby and adorable characters. Each flap is hiding a baby's body part, such as a belly button or baby's eyes. Kids can reveal each part of these happy babies as they hide in bubbles, behind hats, or under juice cups. At an age of discovery and exploration, toddlers will feel compelled to inspect their own faces and belly buttons, revealing similar pieces of themselves and learning the names for their body parts. 

Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book (Rod Campbell)

Another board book built for years of flipping pages, this one tells the story of the animals in the zoo. Hidden behind flaps and cute panels, kids can reveal their favorite animals after having a chance to guess what those animals are. For instance, "I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet. They sent me a..." with a reveal of an Elephant out of a crate marked "very heavy." Detailed and colorful, this book will keep children guessing all the way through. What could the narrators perfect pet be?


Moo Baa La La La (Sandra Boynton)

In a silly story, this book is all about the enchanting, hilarious sounds of barnyard animals. From "Moo's" and "Baa's," this tale covers every sound that emanates from a farm animal. It's a cool twist on the traditional "Old MacDonald" song! This book is also filled with humor to entice kids to re-enact the actions of their favorite characters. Perhaps thair coveted character said "Moo," you can expect your little reader to say the same with a cute, happy little giggle to accentuate the end.

The Best Classic Disney & Pixar Stories

The best Disney books are comprised of a wholesome, family-friendly tale, paired with loveable characters who face every obstacle with unflinching courage. They're the brave, adventurous, beautiful, and extraordinary spirits in every Disney or Pixar tale -- the iconic favorites who are famous for their timeless stories, quirky personalities, and beloved comic counterparts.

The following short-list of Disney and Pixar books combine all of the greatness of the two studio giants, bringing their characters and concepts to a bedtime near you:


Disney Junior Encyclopedia of Animated Characters

From Abu to Zazu, this 192-page book is rife with trivia, fun facts, and memorable quotes. In alphabetical order, each page features a new Disney character with the movies they've appeared in, traits they're famed for, and what makes them unique. The beginning features custom salutations from a bunch of animated main characters and their ever-valuable sidekicks. Your child will be delighted to know that Mickey Mouse is a jack-of-all-trades, specializing in positions like an astronaut, detective, and firefighter. Or little readers might be surprised to discover that Jasmine was only a few days from her 16th birthday when she married Aladdin. Stunning illustrations grace every page!


Disney Princess: Ariel - The Birthday Surprise

An original story featuring Ariel (The Little Mermaid), this book is all about family celebration and enduring love. Trapped by a harmless wish, Ariel has to find a way to break a powerful spell in hopes of returning to her Prince Eric. It's a surprising tale that isn't as popular as the film counterpart; however, Ariel remains undaunted, lovely, and as classic as ever.


Disney Nursery Rhymes & Fairy Tales

Well-known Disney characters take the place of popular Mother Goose tales in this 304-page, hardcover edition. A storybook that features make-believe favorites like "The Gingerbread Man," "The Ugly Duckling," and "Rapunzel" have Disney-inspired twists. For example, Minnie Mouse morphs into a frolicking beauty in a red cape, headed to grandmouse's house in "Little Red Riding Minnie." Whereas, Daisy Duck lets her curiosity explore through someone else's home in "Daisylocks." Classic and beautiful, each page is overflowing with detailed pictures and rhythmic, everlasting stories.


Find the current top-selling Disney and Pixar books for children:

Marvelous Fairy Tales For Children

Most people will look at the title and think marvelous means fantastic, when this is only a half-truth. According to English dictionaries, marvelous describes something extraordinary, unique, remarkable, and non-traditional; all words that encompass the following short-list of fairy tale books for children. Each of the stories in these books is unusual, bizarre, completely original, and 100% entertaining. They're not typical, and that's why they're so adored! With bedtime tales like these, there's almost no hope of an average, normal, or dull dream when the story's over.


Fairy Tales (E.E. Cummings)

Created for his story-loving daughter, Cummings dreamed up a make-believe world that spans 4 stories. With whimsical, different creatures and a variety of instantly timeless characters, each of the 64 pages is overflowing with imagination. One of the most popular in the small series is called "The Old Man Who Said Why" -- a humorous tale with an ending that will pull at your child's heart strings, giving them a sense of confidence, love, warmth, and safety. This entire book is a poetic testament to the bond between a parent and child, as it's filled with tender moments and family-friendly, watercolor illustrations.


The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (Jon Scieszka)

Hilarious and far different than your typical fairy tale compilation, this book features stories of stinky cheese and other odd objects that, at first glance, might not be considered fairy tale material. Fortunately, each of these stories is written in a positive way, shedding light on weird situations from the imaginative mind of an eccentric author. The illustrations are laugh-out-loud funny with cool, modern spins on usually dull and boring topics.


Grimm's Fairy Tales (Jacob and Wilhelm Grim)

These stories are traditional, but not in the light-hearted sense. Dark, morbid, and ripped with unusual humor, the Grimm fairy tales are spot-on for children who appreciate the stranger story traits. 64 collected tales are bound and exquisitely illustrated, told without kind spins; which means most of these stories lack a happy ending.

Pokemon Books For Art Fanatics

Most kids have a divine interest in gaming because of the appeal of animation. They love the drawings! And the majority of these kids will seek to recreate the game characters, hoping to draw inspiration for their own creations one day. After all, the best form of flattery is imitation! This extends to Pokemon books for kids, with drawing and art-specific sections that detail the characters, their unique stylings, and how-tos on their creation.

For example:


Pokemon Essential Handbook (Inc Scholastic and Cris Silvestri)

Updated to include all Pokemon aspects and characters up to 2012, this handbook features 368 pages of debut Pokemon in the latest videogames. The statistics, facts, and tricky trivia enhances the 646 character experience, with quotes from the authors and illustrators along the way. Why is this a great book for aspiring Pokemon-inspired artists? Every Pokemon is represented! While there aren't any outlines or guidelines to drawing these characters, the pictures are simple and detailed, providing a clear and concise view for kids who want to recreate their gaming favorites. It's also a huge advantage for kids who actually play the videogames on a regular basis!


How to Draw Pokemon (Tracey West)

For beginners and practicioners, this guide book features step-by-step outlines to drawing the most famous Pokemon, such as Pikachy, Lugia, and Pichu. The pages start with simple details, adding bonus action poses as the book (and the artist) advances. By the end, children will be able to create their own unique battle scenes between their favorite Pokemon characters.


Pokemon Mega Sticker Collection (Pikachu Press)

Instead of illustrations, this book encourages Pokemon collages! With over 650 different stickers, there are hundreds of awesome options for make-believe battle scenes on custom drawings or blank pieces of paper. Kids will love the option of decorating nearly anything with their Pokemon past-time!


To find the current top sellers in all kinds of Pokemon books for kids, visit:

Monday, May 27, 2013

Life Lessons in Stories for Kids

Once upon a time, fables were the only books really associated with morals and life lessons. These tales were the roundabout way to teach people right from wrong. While these still exist as fascinating glimpses into the past, modern children are more interested in hilarious rhymes, relatable characters, detailed illustrations, and cool book designs. With that said, the best books for 6-year olds are subtle when delivering a life lesson, tugging at a child's heartstrings with happy endings and laugh-out-loud concepts.

For example:


The Dark (Lemony Snicket)

Taken from a universal fear, this tale is about a little boy named Laszlo who is terrified of the dark. Or really, "the dark" in his home's basement! He pictures all manner of creepy, horrifying monsters down there, waiting to gobble him up. So, he avoids this part of the house... until he wakes up to discover the dark has crept into his room while he was sleeping. This book is how Laszlo learned to face his fears and quit being afraid of the dark. Through emotional insight, poetic rhythm, and humorous anecdotes, Snicket lets kids know that they too, like Laszlo, can face their fears... against anything.


Advice to Little Girls (Mark Twain)

As anyone in the literary world would know, Mark Twain was a rascal when it came to his humor. This book is proof! A tale of snarky, cute "advice" and tips for little ladies, this short work features simple pen-and-ink drawings of hilarious situations. It's a chuckle with thought-provoking passages; something children can pass on and revel in as their childhood progresses. It's definitely a story that will morph as minds mature!

"You should ever bear in mind that it is to your kind parents that you are indebted for your food, and for the privilege of staying home from school when you let on that you are sick."


Find this year's current top selections in books for kids 6 years of age:

Classic Fairy Tales For Every Generation

The best fairy tale books are tried-and-true favorites; stories that have been around for generations, entertaining children for centuries. Thousands of authors have made their names well-known with unique illustrations and new twists on timeless tales. These stories, although rejuvenated with hardcovers and gilded pages, are classics, destined to be remembered, appreciated, and re-woven a million times over.

The following storybooks are considered all-encompassing, bound chronicles of cultural, bedtime "golden oldies" that continue to thrill and excite children and adults alike:


The Random House Book of Fairy Tales (Amy Ehrlich)

Sensationally illustrated with intricate, dainty drawings, the 244-pages in this book feature 19 captivating fairy tales. The original masters of the genre are all represented, from the Grimm brothers, to Hans Christian Andersen, and so many others. Children will befriend the Steadfast Tin Soldier as he stands everlasting, courageous, and brave against all oncoming (and unexpected) obstacles. Those same kids will feel astounded and struck with giggles when the hard-headed Emperor models his new clothes for the whole village to see (and mock). It's an engaging hand-me-down for the sentimental readers in every family.


A First Book of Fairy Tales (Mary Hoffman)

Originally, most of the fairy tales of previous centuries were told in different languages, to various cultures. Author Mary Hoffman has refreshed a child's ability to understand the best older stories with a new spin. Ideal for 7 and up, this book features 14 fairy tale favorites, such as Rapunzel, The Princess and the Pea, The Snow Queen, and tons more. Detailed illustrations make every tale all the more interesting, adding to the storytelling excitement!


The Golden Book of Fairy Tales

This book was originally published in 1958, with a recent revamp in a hardcover for durability and detailed illustrations to amuse all readers. Colorful and exquisite, this storybook features 28 traditional tales from around the world, culminating between 160 gilded pages. The Frog Prince, Puss in Boots, and Thumbelina start the collection, with a following of Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella to round it out.


Find more current top selections in fairy tales for all ages:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sticker Books From Roger Priddy

An art major who has made a name for himself in the educational world of children's activities, Roger Priddy is the reigning sticker-creating champion. His concepts and themes in sticker books for kids are informative, amusing, and delightfully entertaining for all ages. These books teach basic skills to preschool and school-age children, offering them a fun outlet for their creativity while giving them an extra nudge in the direction of learning. A great way to get kids interested in their ABCs, numbers, and colors, the following sticker books are Priddy's bestsellers.


Sticker Activity ABC

This simple learning tool is filled with 100 stickers and a wide range of enjoyable activities for children. Each page is a section from the ABCs, asking questions like "What insect flies and goes 'buzz, buzz." These kinds of questions are incorporated with shaped stickers for kids to peel and choose the best answers, giving them a sense of satisfaction and confidence. The alphabet and object names are learned as children find the correct stickers!


Sticker Activity Numbers

Another 100 sticker compilation, this addition to Priddy's book collection features numbers from 1 to 10 and the corresponding stickers to represent each numeral. For example, "How many balls are in this picture?" or "How many pencils can you see?" Counting and learning are assembled on numerous gloss pages with photographic, realistic stickers for each object and number.


Preschool Color & Activity Book

Geared towards small children of preschool age, this book is an advantage in learning through sticker-filled puzzles, mazes, and drawing activities. Youngsters have over 200 stickers to assemble on either a blank piece of paper or in one of the book's mini scenarios. For example, one section features a large dinosaur with the statement, "give the purple dino some spikes." It's a great way to get your toddler learning, comprehending, and thinking from an early age!

Disney Classics in Collections

There's nothing more wholesome than Disney books for kids!  They're perfect for younger children that just want to listen to an enticing story, as well as older kids (and adults) that would prefer to read a tantalizing treasury. Wrapped in beauty and presented with an elegance that only Disney could provide, these books are perfect for every age and audience.

Filled to brimming with colorful characters, lovable villains, and timeless stories, each of the following collections have offer the utmost in bedtime tale entertainment:

Disney Storybook Collection

Classic! The title of this storybook tells it all. Featuring the most beloved Disney characters, each tale has delighted millions of fans for decades. Not only are the stories top-notch, but the entire book is a pleasant presentation of tradition -- with 250 full-color, original illustations -- and durability -- with a hard cover and strong, gilded pages. Aladdin, Pinnochio, The Lion King, and so many others have been recreated to amuse and entertain all audiences and ages.


Disney Princess Collection

Another title that speaks for itself, this book is packed with princess power of every caliber. Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Jasmine, and several others tell their stories with over 250 colorful, beautiful illustrations and durable, gilded pages. The entire hardcover is strong for generations of reading, as this book will certainly be a fantastic hand-me-down from sibling-to-sibling or parent-to-child. Plus, there are several smaller tales that Disney lovers have never heard before.


Disney Pixar Storybook Collection

For animation fanatics, this book encompasses the updated versions of 18 Pixar characters in bedtime-length stories. Wall-E, Buzz Lightyear, Nemo, and other newly animated Disney favorites swarm across 250 gorgeous illustrated pages. These characters are icons of the new Disney for younger generations, with inclusions of Pixar movies up to 2011. Strong enough to withstand years of youngster page-flipping, this storybook would be the ideal addition to any Disney-lover's bookshelf.


Find more - the "best of the best" in children's Disney books:

Friday, May 24, 2013

Night-Time Reads For Little Dreamers

On a short-list of the best books for 4-year olds, 3 have been dubbed the grandest, most tried-and-true nighttime reads for little dreamers. In an ever-changing world of schedules and routines, kids and parents can still rely on the pure bonding of bedtime stories, designed to lull a child into a peaceful dreamland where nightmares are banished.

The following are those aforementioned 3 books; the ones that made the grade for being spectacular and memorable for your dream-bound dozers:


Steam Train, Dream Train (Sherri Duskey Rinker)

This 40-page addition to the bedtime regime is an instant classic for train enthusiasts and dreamland revelers. Your sleepy babes will be awe-struck and inspired with imaginative prose about polar bears, penguins, elephants, and an array of other animals, all preparing for a great night's sleep on the dream train.

"The flatbed cars are rolling beds. The weary craw can rest their heads, and settle in, and tuck in tight. Their work is finished for tonight."


Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site (Sherri Duskey Rinker)

From the author and illustrator who brought "Steam Train, Dream Train" to life, this book is about the nightly routines of tow trucks, cranes, and construction vehicles. After a long day hauling and working, these mobiles are exhausted! The dazzling 32-pages of rhyme is brimming with vibrant pictures to keep little imaginations delighted.

"Reaching, stretching, lifting high. He swings the beam into the sky. He'll set it down right on its mark, then off to bed; it's almost dark."


The Going-To-Bed Book (Sandra Boynton)

Whimsical and hilarious, this board book is perfect for a short read on a rushed evening. There are 14-pages of silliness for all ages, with relatable animal characters who will do anything not to fall asleep. Sound familiar? This book is sure to gain giggles from parents and kids alike.

"The moon is high. The sea is deep. They rock, and rock, and rock to sleep."