Books for Moms

Sometimes the best gift for a mom is an easy bedtime with a sentimental story or just actually having time to order a family portrait or jot down some notes about this stage of parenting before it changes again. Gifting one of these sweet books for mother's day, a baby shower, or her birthday could help create a meaningful memory.

If I Had a Little Dream by Nina Laden, Illustrated by Melissa Castrillon. This book is stunningly beautiful with intricate illustrations that resemble die-cut prints. The words are poetic and the story touches on the tiny treasures that make up our world, which children value and adults often overlook. Speaking of die-cuts, I must remember to ask for one of these amazing family portrait prints for mother's day next year! So cool, right?


Mom's One Line A Day: A Five-Year Memory Book by Chronicle Books. As someone who is still working on their oldest child's baby book (four years later), I find this memory book to be very refreshing. I don't keep up with it every single day, but it's easy enough to jot down thoughts each week and it warms my heart to look back and see some of the funny things my daughter was saying when she was only two years old. It's simple, very pretty and comes in either pink or blue. Perfect for moms who want to take the pressure off. 

Someday by Alison McGhee, Illustrated by Peter H. Reynold. Fair warning: read it beforehand or bring tissues to bedtime. This book is a tear-jerker. What I love most about this book is it brings everything full circle and helps us gain perspective when we can often get lost in the tiresome day-to-day. The author even shares the perspective of a parent thinking about his or her own childhood. McGhee writes, "Someday you will look at this house and wonder how something that feels so big can look so small."  


Love Is by Diane Adams, Illustrated by Claire Keane. We all thought we would be strolling through the park with an iced-coffee and a cute stroller, yet parenting looks a little messier now. While this book isn't about a traditional mother-child relationship, it touches on the realness of parenthood and reminds us to laugh through it. The little girl in the story takes care of her duck and realizes that "Love is tidying up, Love is messy baths." 


The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin. With modern illustrations of hip families who decorate with zebra wallpaper and dress their kids in cool vintage wear, this book is perfect for a new parent. It captures the thoughts of mothers who are truly in awe with their child's uniqueness. "When you were too small to tell me hello, I knew you were someone I wanted to know."


If I Could Keep You Little by Marianne Richmond. Of all the books I've come across about parenthood, this one speaks to my heart in a specific way. Letting your children go is difficult for every parent, and this book reminds us that we aren't alone in the feeling, yet it's just part of the job. Richmond writes, "If I could keep you little, I'd push your ducky float. But then I'd miss you feeling the wind behind a summer's boat." "If I could keep you little we'd nap in our fort midday. But then I'd miss you sharing adventures from camp away."

How to Raise a Mom and How to Babysit A Grandma by Jean Reagan, Illustrated by Lee Wildish. This book is very funny and will make any preschooler or grade-school child laugh out loud. It's written from the perspective of two siblings setting out to make sure their mother gets proper exercise, a well-balanced diet and some rest time in her day. And for the grandmothers in your life, check out How To Babysit a Grandma


How To Celebrate Everything by Jenny Rosenstrach. I added this to the list even though it isn't a picture book because it's simply heartwarming and can remind today's busy mom how to enjoy the little things of parenthood that make it all worth it. This book is highly sentimental and acts just as much as a parenting guide as it does cook-book. When I gift it to like-minded moms who read a little more than we cook, I always suggest reading the last page first. 




Interactive Books for Kids Who Like to Move


If you have a child who would rather be moving or talking than sitting and listening to an entire book, you aren't alone. Not all kids love sitting, but most kids love a good story. Below are a few interactive books with great story lines for those kids who might feel more engaged when participating.  

ABC3D by Marion Bataille. This book has been on my shelf for probably ten years and I use it every single year. I taught one particular student who struggled with reading, and getting through our sessions was tiring for him. Looking through this book always served as a fun reward. It's a design lover's dream, and can be given as a gift to either kids or adults. If your child loves this book, they might also enjoy Scanimation picture books, which includ actual moving illustrations. 


Herve Tullet books. The author, illustrator, and artist has a way of fully captivating kids with his fun books and use of bright primary colors. He's even come out with some board games to accompany the books, Press Here Game and ZaZaZoom! A Game of Imagination: Mix. Match. Connect. Play. 


Press Here by Herve Tullet. My kids can't get enough of this book at bedtime. It asks for the reader to interact with each page through a dialogue of fun activities that will have parents and kids laughing. 


Let's Play by Herve Tullet. A game of hide and seek within in a book. What a creative idea! This book does exactly that; it plays with the reader.


Mix It Up! by Herve Tullet This fun book teaches colors and perspectives on art while also engaging readers to participate in the process. 

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novack - "Everything the words say, the person reading the book has to say." Both kids and parents love this one and Novack has recently come out with a new one, The Alphabet Book With No Pictures.


Huff & Puff by Claudia Rueda. In this book, the author tells the classic story of the three little pigs with a twist. In this version the reader can huff and puff through a hole in the book, acting as the big bad wolf. The pages have short and sweet sentences which appeal to young readers and learners.  


Shhh! This Book is Sleeping by Cedric Ramadier, Illustrated by Vincent Bourgeau. A funny nighttime book, this creative story asks the reader to help put the book to bed. Make sure the book has finished all of the nighttime duties like brushing its teeth and going to the restroom.  


Please Open This Book by Adam Lehrhaupt. The monkeys in this story are trapped inside, What's happened while the book was shut? This very creative story line is a sequel to Warning, Do Not Open This Book.


Poke-A-Dot books by iKids. Just as fun as playing with bubble wrap, these books contain little raised buttons that kids can push. Designed for younger children, toddlers can explore colors, animals, and transportation all through fun interactive activities.

Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson. This book is charming and sentimental. Your child will touch a firefly and rub an owl's head as they say good night to the world and all its magical creatures. This is a super sweet one for nighttime and a personal favorite. Many are raving about the author's most recent book, Plant the Tiny Seed, which seems perfect for Spring. 


Now I'm Reading! Plays: by Nora Gaydos. These plays are the absolute best for brand new beginning readers and struggling readers. They are leveled and come with fun masks, though a little hard to track down. If you can find them they are worth the hunt. With classics, like Cinderella, The Three Little Pigs and Jack and the Beanstalk, children are typically familiar with the story line, which helps readers focus on the phonics and words rather than getting confused by the comprehension. 


Just remember, you aren't alone if your child doesn't want to sit down through an entire book, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will dislike books altogether. As always, feel free to email me if you have questions or need more specific suggestions.

Meaningful Bunny Books

While Peter Rabbit and Pat the Bunny will always be sweet classics, there are many new options today. If you are looking for ways to modernize your child's Easter basket and remind kids about the love of family and the importance of gratitude, check out these interesting and fun bunny books for the season. 

Dear Bunny by Bianca Gomez. A story about gratitude and friendship, this book is simple and very touching. A girl writes a letter to her bunny explaining what she loves most. This is a great book for parents who love design and illustrations, as Gomez's prints also make beautiful additions to a child's room. I'm thinking of ordering this one and this one to help my pre-schooler get excited about Kindergarten. 


Yoga Bunny by Brian Russo. Bunny enjoys yoga and its positive effects, though his friends are too busy and upset to participate. Bunny begins his yoga anyway and pretty soon all of his friends are participating and feeling happier. The book is a cute story that touches on self-care and mindset, while also teaching children actual yoga poses. 


Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman, Illustrated by Zachariah OHora. In this book, the Bunny family takes in a baby wolf, who is left on their doorstep. Dot, the baby Bunny, is less than pleased with the family's newest member. Another great one for design lovers, OHora's illustrations have appeared in the New York Times and The Atlantic.


Love by Emma Dodd. A baby bunny and her parent experience love all around throughout the day by simply playing and being with one another. A sweet story that will appeal to a wide range of ages with short sentences and beautiful photos. This book is part of a touching series named Love You books. Wish and Forever are two of my favorites from the series. 

Bunny Roo, I Love You by Melissa Marr, Illustrated by Teagan White. With an Anthropologie, vintage feel to its illustrations, this story is a beautiful addition to any nursery. The book shows children in the sweetest way that their caregivers will always comfort them when they need it.

Too Many Carrots by Katy Hudson. This story is a great lesson for parents and children. Rabbit loves his carrots so much and his greed starts to take a toll on him and his friendships. Through generosity, kindness, and gratitude, Rabbit starts to see the benefits of sharing and looking out for others. 

Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes. A very sweet story about the love of family. The story shows an adventurous bunny who imagines what it would be to be different. He wonders what it would feel like to be green, or tall or to fly like a butterfly and eventually sees that he has so much to enjoy just as himself.

I'll also be checking out Kevin Henkes's new book, Egg. With large sight words and lots of repetition, Egg is great for children to practice early and preliteracy skills. I hope you are able to find something here you enjoy sharing with your family. 

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10 First Chapter Book Read Alouds

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When your child reaches the age that they can sit and listen to a chapter book, it can be a bedtime game-changer. It's fun, magical and rewarding for you both. You will likely be looking forward to bedtime to see what happens with your favorite characters. Below are a few age-appropriate chapter books to get you started. You might remember some from your own childhood. These are appropriate for children ages 4 and up. Enjoy!

Amelia Bedelia by Herman Perish. With short and quick chapters, this series is a perfect fit for young children. Kids will laugh and it provides the opportunity for silly conversations about vocabulary words. A friend of mine recently made a lemon meringue pie with her kids just like Amelia Bedelia does in the first book after reading it. What a fun idea!


Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo, Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen. With short chapters, engaging illustrations and an adorable pig named Mercy, these books are guaranteed to be a favorite with your kids. They act as a nice bridge between picture books and longer chapter books. 


The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Clearly. The story of a curious and adventurous mouse, Ralph finds trouble and fun when he arises to the challenge of driving a toy motorcycle. 


Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne. You will feel sentimental while reading this innocent and classic book. The characters provide lots of opportunities for conversations about emotions and friendships. Plus, that Pooh bear is pretty wise and can teach a thing or two to adults.

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. Elmer Elevator runs away from his family to save a baby dragon. Kids love the boy's name, his goodhearted nature, and the adventurous storyline.


Stuart Little by E.B. White. We are currently in the middle of reading this book with my four-year-old. A mouse is born into a family of humans in New York City. The story is one of adventure and family bonding. Children will probably love Stuart's endearing character most of all. 


Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonaldMrs. Piggle-Wiggle has a way with children. She is able to help parents in the neighborhood when they don't know what to do with their child's behavior. Kids love the idea that a parent doesn't know what to do all of the time and you will both have a laugh at some typical preschool-aged problems like not wanting to go to bed or take a bath. Be aware that the book was written over fifty years ago and contains stark gender stereotypes. In order to get past the gender roles, I simply interchanged Mr. and Mrs. for the primary caretaker in every other chapter.


Toys Go Out: Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, a Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic by Emily Jenkins. With a Toy Story feel, this book explores the friendship between three toys belonging to a little girl and their adventures.  


The Adventures of Sophie Mouse by Poppy Green. With lots of illustrations and easy to read language, these books are fun and engaging.


A Mouse Called Wolf by Dick King-Smith. Named after Wolf Gang Amadeus, this little mouse loves music and learns that he has talent too! Through his talent and practice, he develops a skill but something even more important: a much-needed friendship. 


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10 Picture Books About Girls Who Changed the World


While March marks Women's History Month, I believe we all agree that there is much work to be done year-round on cultivating confidence in and opportunities for girls. Below are ten books about women who overcame obstacles at a young age and went on to make a big impact in the world.

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirt Makers' Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Clara Lemlich was a Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike for women’s labor rights. When no one in her union proposed dramatic action to gain attention, she started the movement herself. Markel writes, "The speakers, mostly men, want everyone to be careful. Two hours pass. No one recommends a general strike….So Clara does." 


Little Melba and her Big Trombone Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown, Illustrated by Frank Morrison. Melba Doretta Liston taught herself how to play the trombone at age seven. She went on to perform with many jazz legends like Duke Ellington and utilized her talents overcoming much misogyny, sexism and racism. 


Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx by Jonah Winter, Illustrated by Edel RodriguezThis book tells the story of Sonia Sotomayor's upbringing in the South Bronx. It shows that it doesn't matter where you start in life, and it emphasizes the importance of not only hard work, but encouragement from family and friends. Written in both English and Spanish, the book is inspiring and hopeful for children and adults. 


The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson, Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton. At the age of nine, Audrey became the youngest child to be arrested during a civil rights protest in 1963. She confidently and bravely stood up for civil rights. 


Malala: Activists for Girls' Education by Raphaele Frier, Illustrated by Audrelia Fronty. When she was only fifteen years old, the Taliban attempted to assassinate Malala for her activism. Yet, she was convicted to make change, acted courageously and continued fighting for the rights of young women. The book tells about Malala's life as a girl in Pakistan and how she first recognized her own inequalities. She continually refuses to accept norms and ultimately became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize at age seventeen.


She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton, Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger. Chelsea Clinton shows that what you do and what you say, even at a young age, truly matters. It takes one person to change the course of history, and that one person certainly doesn’t need to be a grown-up. Clinton highlights many activists in our country who have made a big impact, including Nellie Bly, Oprah Winfrey, and Sonia Sotomayor.


Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to Lead by Michelle Markel, Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. When Hillary was a young girl she traveled with her church youth group to see Martin Luther King Jr. speak. Listening to King’s speech, Clinton was moved in that moment to become an activist and to serve others. At only 21-years-old she gave a speech for her commencement at Wellesley College. She went off-script, speaking her mind, and Life Magazine featured her for the moving remarks. 

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles, Illustrated by George Ford. Ruby was only six-years-old when she was selected by a judge to integrate a white school during desegregation in New Orleans in 1960. In order to enter school each day, she walked passed angry mobs and attended an empty school classroom. The book shows her strength and also her forgiveness, as Ruby would pray each day for the protesters. 


I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, Illustrated by Elizabeth Braddeley. As a young girl, Ruth was encouraged to speak her mind. When Ruth met prejudices that stood in her way, she continued to reach for her goals. The book contains many rich vocabulary words, yet appeals to young readers through vivid illustrations.

Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull, Illustrated by David Diaz. Wilma was born a small baby and was not expected to live beyond her first birthday. When she was five-years-old she came down with polio, which led to her left leg being paralyzed. Wilma was told she would not walk again. Yet, she learned to run and became a three-time Olympic gold medal winner. Highly regarded, Wilma used her platform to propel civil rights agendas.

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