Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Coolest Books for 7-Year Old Kiddos in 2014

The coolest books for 7 year old kids this year combine various themes – some of them are hilarious with giggle-worthy rhymes and kid-friendly one-liners. Others strive to evoke heart-warming feelings of love, friendship, and the ever-enduring greatness of a close-knit family. And out of these various books, a simple trio have made this list because of their thought-provoking content and laugh-out-loud scenarios.

These are also my personal favorites among the best books for 7 year olds as one has been around for decades, another is new AND humorous, and the last is educational with an encouraging life-lesson. All 3 are guaranteed to be timeless must-haves for bedtime rituals – or anytime, really.


LEGO Play Book: Ideas to Bring Your Bricks to Life by Daniel Lipkowitz

I love LEGOs! To this day, I can sit for hours and play LEGOs with the kiddos, racking my brain to make houses, dinosaurs, and anything fantastical. This book inspires with pictures and step-by-step instructions to get LEGO-loving brains moving. There are over 200 building ideas, broken into sections of fantasy, future, small worlds, untamed wilderness, and monsters.

Youngsters (and those young-at-heart) can build troll bridges, fairytale castles, giants, enchanted forests, and under-the-sea scenes. They can also construct amazing, witchy hovels, zoo animals, dragons, and hundreds of “vacation” areas where they would love to go one day.


The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Despereaux Tilling is a brave mouse with an adventurous spirit – much to the dismay of his meek family.

After being banished for being too courageous, the little gentleman befriends a rat named Roscuro. Together, the duo traverse a lonely kingdom where the King is always sad and the Princess longs for normalcy, purpose, and happiness.

There’s also a stable girl turned hand-maiden, and she only wants to be recognized. Their stories intertwine, weaving new fates that give them all exactly what they want and need.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie Bucket is a poverty-stricken little boy from a poor family of 7 – all of them live in a tumble-down shack, feasting on cabbage-water soup with crusts of bread for their evening dinners.

Charlie longs for change, something better for him and his family – he wants an adventure. And that is exactly what Charlie gets when he finds the golden ticket that allows him and 4 other children to visit Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory; a place of oddities, wonders, and Oompa Loompas.


Here is a video about the first book on this list - the LEGO Play Book (possibly my favorite kids' book this year)...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

3 Great Bedtime Books for 5-Year Olds

When I was a young’un, my parents got me interested in reading with bedtime stories. Every night was a new tale of thought-provoking adventure between vividly colored illustrations. And when our books had been read a million times, my parents and I would make up stories until I drifted off to sleep.

With this in mind, I’ve pinpointed a trio of 5-year old children’s books for the amusement of slumber-ready tykes everywhere.

Reading together before drifting into dreamland is a tried-and-true tradition that (in my humble opinion) ALL devoted, adoring parents should practice. Bedtime stories, whether imagined or read, can inspire a child’s love of learning at a young age – making all the difference.


Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker

What happens when the sunshine disappears over the horizon of a construction site? The machinery and equipment goes to sleep, of course!

This concept isn’t one that adults usually associate with construction sites, but the imagination behind the idea is amazing. Cement Mixers, Bulldozers, and a plethora of other massive, sometimes scary machinery yawns, smiles, and says goodnight after a rough-and-tumble day of hard work.


The Going-To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

This board-book depicts several awesome animals in their rush to prepare for bedtime. They’re going to bed, but first their teeth must be brushed, stretches must be performed, and goodnight kisses must be distributed.

And the awesome part? All of these animals are living on an Ark!

Packed to brimming, the silly critters have their specific routines to avoid running into one another. And at the end, when the stars are shining and all is quiet… “The moon is high. The sea is deep. They rock and rock and rock to sleep.”


Frozen Little Golden Book (Disney Frozen) by RH Disney

Ella and Anna are siblings with unique personalities and an unshakeable bond; however, as Ella gets older, she discovers a wintry super-power that seems to be beyond her control. Growing up, she secludes herself to keep her abilities hidden, until an accident occurs and everyone finds out. Dubbed the Snow Queen, Ella flees the affections and understanding of Anna, forcing the socialized sister to team up with new friends to reestablish the love between herself and her sibling.

This book is AMAZING. And if you haven’t seen Disney’s Frozen movie, do it now! Both storylines are exactly the same and perfect, only in different formats.


Additional resource - some very cool picks in books for 5 year old kids this year:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Best Classic Books EVER for 2014's 3-Year Olds

In my humble opinion, 2014’s top books for 3-year olds are timeless classics. These are stories that we’ve all grown up with, remembering fondly, and retelling over and over again to our own children and grandchildren. Out of those classics, I’ve picked 3 that I consider the very best of the best.

Each one speaks ageless morals and messages that revolve around enduring love, friendship, and family. Some can be told as bedtime stories with the result of sleeping kiddos at the end, and others are perfect for day-to-day reads anytime.

And my personal favorites among the most popular, or the best books for 3 year olds this year are:


The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

On a lovely Sunday, a newborn caterpillar came into the world… and he was ravenous! He was so hungry that he ate throughout the entire week, munching holes straight through every page until his tummy ached.

He started with apples and finished with pies, sausages, and all-things fattening and delicious, hoping to grow larger and larger. In the end, he finally cocoons, only to be reborn as a beautiful, bright-winged butterfly with the diminutive appetite to match.


Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss has a way with words, especially when those words are reminding readers of what it means to grow up. Thought-provoking and beautiful, this tale follows a boy leaving the nest and finding freedom in the wide world. He can go anywhere, do anything, and be everything – which is exactly the message that Dr. Seuss is trying to get across.

You can be ANYTHING if you work hard and push through adversities with undaunted determination. It’s an amazing book for adults and children alike; a real heart-warming tale that never gets old.


Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

This story is 50 years old and still going! My favorite from when I was a child, this book tells the tale of Max; a mischievous, rambunctious little boy in wolf pajamas. He’s been so bad that his mother has sent him to his room without supper, and Max is seething with anger.

Longing to run away and teach his mom a lesson, Max journeys to a fantastical world where the Wild Things live. They gnash their teeth, roar horribly, and welcome Max as King… for as long as he stays. But their attitudes change swiftly when Max misses home and decides to make the adventure back.


Fun stuff - for very little ones, here is a cute reading of the Very Hungry Caterpillar:

The Most Adorable Books for Babies in 2014

A strong love for books can be instilled early with easy-read sight-words, bold colors, and vibrant pictures – all the things that would instantly grab and hold the attention of tiny kiddos.

I am 100% an advocate for little readers, and I’ve picked a winning trio of adorable baby books in 2014. Each book provides the perfect starting point for miniature toddlers, and most of them are ideal bedtime stories. Some are provocative with deeper meanings that will tug at heart-strings, others are simple with little words for the grasp of young readers-to-be.

And those amazing 3 are:


Lamaze Cloth Book for Babies

There are 6 of these super-cool books! They crinkle softly with peek-a-boo flaps and unique storylines featuring awesome animals. There’s an owl that leads youngsters through a forest of wonders, a treasure-hunting octopus with tons of underwater friends, and noble horse that has a job with a valiant knight in Medieval times (to name a few).

The colors are bold and vivid with stimulating scenes on a plush cover, and a self-discovery mirror so kiddos can see themselves (surprise).


Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

A young rabbit is doing everything he can to stall bedtime! This concept is one that everyone can relate to, whether you’re a youngster avoiding snoozing, or a parent trying desperately to get your toddler to sleep. Beginning a strong, matter-of-fact tone, the storyline narration tapers down to a soft, gentle whisper – reminiscent of a lullaby.

By the time this bunny has said his goodnights to everything, including the moon, your little lady or lad will likely be slumbering sweetly. And if not, this story never gets old – so give it another go before switching on late-night cartoons for a kid that simply will not sleep.


Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

Out of all the years I’ve been writing about children and their interests, this book is the sweetest, most heart-warming story I’ve ever encountered.

A mother is rocking her baby, singing to him a song about how she will always love him, forever and ever. And as he gets older, she continues to rock, sing, and love him – going as far as to sneak into his bedroom as an adult to rock and sing while he sleeps. Then, she ages, and the tables are turned when the boy (now a man) begins rocking, singing, and taking care of his mother.


Here is a reading of my personal favorite as a mother of the books listed above - Goodnight Moon: