Some things about the book advent calendar, since I've gotten some questions. It's my fourth year doing it so I've got a lot of parts of it.
I absolutely do not buy 24 new books every year for the girls. Every summer I remove all the winter or holiday themed books from the girls’ bookcase. I do it that early so we can have a long break from them, but do what works for you. I usually buy a handful of new books as I slowly weed out the board books and add in more age appropriate ones. This year I added in one chapter book for Kaylee.
I bought two copies of coloring book from the dollar spot at target - one of those coloring books that has a story along the bottom, ya know? That one I have set on the night after Kaylee’s last day of school before break so they’ll have something fun the next day.
I bought a book of cookie baking with kids from the library sale that we are opening a different Friday night so the next day I’m home for baking time.
One old book is the Usborne book of Christmas Fun and I wrapped that one (like I did last year) with the supplies to do one of the crafts.
Usually we read The Lake Who Wouldn’t Stop Screaming on the first day of Hannukah but that was in November this year.
Basically if you want to do it, figure out how many books you have already, then every time you go to a library book sale, used book store, thrift store with a book section, etc., check it out.
This isn’t supposed to be expensive, it’s supposed to be fun! If you find it too overwhelming, do the 12 days of Christmas the first year or two!
Also, wrap the books early. Two years in a row I’ve gotten sick at the end of November and only wrapped half the books by December 1.
So what if a bad guy dressed up as a good guy and made a girl fall in love with him and just when she asked him to marry her he FROWED off his costume and said, “HA HA HA I’M NOT A GOOD GUY I’M A BAD GUY!!!!!” and then the girl RUNS AWAY and instead marries a princess who is going to die soon.
I hope Pippa never stops telling weird creepy stories.
So I put on one of these last night before bed and then took it off for awhile this morning and put it back on because it’s still hot. The box says not to wear it for more than 8 hours per 24 hour period but it doesn’t know me and it doesn’t know my life. But still hot! Almost 19 hours later!
(I gave myself costocondrisis coughing in college when I had pneumonia and I don’t know if I did that again or if I just pulled a muscle in my back but everything hurts. Breathing, coughing, crying, everything hurts.)
Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein is such the best book ever. Little Red Chicken is going to fix all the fairy tales and poor Chicken Dad is just trying to get through one bedtime story without the story being fixed!
Paint the Wind by Pam Munoz Ryan is about a girl coming to terms with her super restrictive upbringing when she moves away from her strict grandmother’s house to live with her mother’s family and falls in love with a horse.
Wild Girl by Patricia Reilly Giff is about a Brazillian girl who moves to New York (state not city) who falls in love with a horse (a common theme in horse books but it works!). Family drama, love, coming of age - this one has it all.
Shoe-la-la! by Karen Beaumont is about 4 girls who go shoe shopping and try on tons of completely inappropriate shoes only to go home, pull out their own shoes and decorate them themselves with ribons and bows and lace instead of buying the ridiculous stilettos. Rhyming text promotes phonological awareness which is always fun!
Super obvious but I really love Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor. Big vocabulary words, fun times, glitter, glitz, but also lessons about all sorts of things (being yourself, caring about others, etc.). Unlike some other girly-girl series (*cough* pinkalicious *cough*), Fancy Nancy is fun for parents to read too and I really just love her.
(Personal side note, yesterday after we turned on our Holiday lights, Pippa said, “I just love all the trimmings! Trimmings is a fancy word for decorations but it usually refers to Christmas trees!” I blame Fancy Nancy.)
Ladybug Girl by David Soman is wonderful and fun. Lulu loves wearing her ladybug costume and she has a great time even when her brother won’t let her play with the big kids (because she’s a little) being ladybug girl and doing wonderful things!
And a third really obvious one is Paperbag Princess by Munsch (and once again the indiebound website has gone down so I’m linking to Amazon. Sorry!)
Sorry if I missed this already recommendation, I have one nephew that is turning 10 and he doesn't like to read much. He's in to fencing and minecraft games but I want to get him books too! I also have another nephew who will be in 1st grade and not sure what to start him off on! Thank you in advance!
11 year old boy who doesn’t read much/minecraft/fencing
The obvious answer to a 10 year old boy reluctant reader is Big Nate by Lincoln Pierce but I worry that he’s already been exposed to that because it is what all the 10 year old boy reluctant readers are reading.
The Marvelous Effect by Troy CLE might also be just what he needs (side note: the audiobook is read my Malcolm Jamal Warner which made it better!) Aliens are taking over the town and 13 year old Louis Proof has to fix it.
Do you have any book recommendations for an 11 year old girl? She is very very smart (taught herself Calculus this summer just for fun) and loves to read. I got her the Wrinkle in Time series for her birthday in September. She really loves biographies. And she loves Dork Diaries and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I was hoping for something with strong female characters.
Does she already love Wendy Mass? Because the Willow Falls series 11 Birthdays is super fun. Amanda and Leo have spent every birthday together since they were born at the same hospital but after a falling out after their 10th birthday, they are having seperate 11th birthdays. Are they doomed to repeat this one birthday forever? And can they repair their friendship enough to figure out what is going on?
Diamond Willow by Helen Frost is one of my favorite books that not enough people read. Set in Alaska, Diamond Willow takes her dad’s sled dogs out in a storm without his permission and this, obviously, causes things go very very wrong. The story is told in verse, which I am a sucker for a well done novel in verse, and Diamond Willow is really just the best.
Have any recs for me? I finished the 2nd Finishing School book (and have read Parasol Protectorate). Wouldn't mind more books about ladies not quite following tradition/expectations getting into wild capers. IDK.
You do realize that “Princesses who Suck at being Princesses” is my favorite thing in the world, right?
Check out Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. Historical fiction about a convent full of nuns who are daughters of Mortain - the God of Death - and are therefore kick-ass assassins. There are 2 books so far in the series and it’s SO DARN GOOD! Lots of courtly manners, lots of courtly intreague, and lots of ladies killing people because they want to. The audiobook is really well done as well.
Chalice by Robin McKinley is so darn good. Mirasol has been chosen as the new “Chalice” which is one of the highest members of the Master’s Circle but she’s just a country beekeeper and the new Master is a Fire Priest and that’s really weird and oh goodness all is not well.
I can’t say enough good things about The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N K Jemisin. It’s an adult book, not YA, but don’t hold that against it. Yeine is the daughter of the King’s estranged daughter and when her mother dies she is summoned back to the capitol and named an Heir to the King. Problem is, the King is dying and he has 3 heirs and Yeine doesn’t understand all the weird court crap or the gods who wander around and yet she is the key in the power struggle raging around her. Such the best ever. Also an amazingly well done audiobook (even if the narrator can’t pronounce consortium).
Recs for a soon to be 7 year old girl that loves adventure and fantasy. Loves Harry Potter, Disney's Brave and The Hunger Games Movies she is pestering her mom for archery lessons princesses and dragons
Tony Abbott (not of Australia fame) writes a great first chapter book series called The Secrets of Droon starting with The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet that is tons of fun. (He also has a not quite old enough for Percy Jackson series called Underworlds that is also really well done.)
Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi write a wonderful series called The Spiderwick Cronicles beginning with The Field Guide that is wonderful!
Do you have any recs for newborns (well, almost-about to be-borns?). I would like to become this child's Reading Godparent of sorts, and would like to send a book or two next month for the baby shower.
Babies also need to explore their world and that mostly happens with their mouth so books they can chew on and not get told “no” about are great. (Books are a yes!) I’m having a crap time finding what I want in Indiebound so Amazon it is for the fabric books. Cloth Books and Lamaze make some great ones. Karen Katz has a fun one, and I love the ones with little manipulative pieces like Goodnight, Teddy!.
Tiny babies won’t react to great literature just to hearing people who love them saying words at them and seeing baby-appropriate patterns. I read the fifth Harry Potter book to tiny baby Kaylee when she was tiny because that’s what I was reading and hearing language is best.
Good luck and let me know if/when you need more ideas as the baby grows!
Ooo are you doing recs? Sorry if these are duplicates; I'm phone blogging which means less due diligence than normal! What should I get for a 3 year old boy and a 1 year old girl? And what are some great baby books you'd recommend as shower gifts? Thank you <3
No worries about duplicates! All kids are different.
Doctor Ted by Andrea Beaty (I couldn’t find Doctor Ted on indiebound so I linked to Artist Ted which is also wonderful) is fun and happy and wonderful about a teddy bear who pretends to be a doctor and it’s one of the funniest books I can think of.
How many times have I recommended various Jan Thomas books in the past 2 days? Well, The Doghouse is the perfect blend of slightly scary but not so much that a 3 year old will flip out wonderfulness that will make him laugh and laugh!
One year olds like manipulative books that they can touch and feel and taste. There is a whole “that’s not my” series that is wonderful for that age group. DK does this great series of lift the flap books that have super sturdy flaps that won’t get pulled off as babies love them, and Ladybug Girl (one of my favorite older picture books) has her own series of board books that have glitter and other fun stuff throughout that keeps kid’s interest.
as for the baby shower rec, I just got that exact same question in another one so hold on and I’ll answer you both at once!
Book recs! (4years and running, btw!) Jacob (~2)likes 5 books: trucks (pictures of trucks w/name), Go Dogs, Go!, Hello Bugs!, Katzs Where's Baby's Mommy, and That's not my puppy. Others he will listen for a few pages and go get one of the 5 for hours.He loves trucks, balls, and certain animals. He's difficult. (He has night night construction site) Anything great to hold his attention? Nephew #2 (same age): he loves books and has a lot. Any interactive? His attention span is amazingly good.
Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas is colorful and rhyming and super silly and I have yet to see a child who isn’t enthralled by it. Maybe Jacob will be the exception that proves the rule? But we can only hope not!
Recs please! A kindergarten girl who is strong willed and struggles a bit with school; loves owls and princess tiana. A 4yo boy, loves animals and construction equipment and is very bright. And a 2yo who is just really happy and mature for his age. They are siblings. Help?
So, super obvious but have you checked out Tiana’s Cookbook? The recipes are super child friendly and getting kids in the kitchen is wonderful for math/literacy/science/everything!
This sounds like the sort of girl who would love Kevin Henke’s Lilly books about a super strong willed little girl who gets into scrapes and is awesome.
Board books for little babies that are fun to read out loud but aren't the same 5 Sandra Boyntons they already have?
I’m a big fan of Alexander Girard Color by Alexander Girard and Gloria Fowler if you like some lovely 70s art with your storytelling. This book grows well with kids because the pictures are interesting enough to keep the focus of a small baby but there’s always new things to see and find in the pictures to keep older toddlers happy.
Baby Dance by Ann Taylor is so great but don’t read it if you want quiet snuggly reading time because it gives you actions to do with the baby while you read it! I love this one. Plus the rhyming text is great for phonological awareness!
Scholastic has a series calledRookieToddler that is perfect for the 2 - 4 set. Many of them are sung to familiar tunes and babies just love them.
Press Here isn’t exactly a board book but it has thicker pages so I’m counting it - again for the slightly older baby - 2 and up - because it invites the baby to interact with the book - push dots, shake it up, tilt it to the right, etc. This enthralling book makes everyone happy!
(This morning someone kissed Pippa and she glared at him and said, “you are SUPPOSED to ASK me before you give me kisses.” He kissed her again and she pushed him away. Then he said, “may I give you kisses?” and she said, “NO! None.” I have rarely been prouder in my life.)
I know you've given out Christmas book recommendations before and it's getting to be that time of year, so I'd like to know some good titles for little girls, ages 5-7. I'm not sure at what level they read, but they're all little smartypants. Something on the girl power feminism 101 track.
Any books at all for little girls? Oh my goodness, where to start! So I’m currently enamoured of The Gumazing Gum Girl! by Rhode Montiho about Gabby Gomez who gets superpowers from gum. Super great.
I reccomend Liberty Porter, First Daughter by Julia DeVillers all the time but it’s so great! Eight-year-old Liberty Porter’s father has just been elected President of the United States—and she’s the new First Daughter! How great does that sound?
As always, please let me know if you want more! Because I am very happy to do it!
Hi! I wanted to pick your librarian brain a bit. Need book ideas for a friend's 3.5 year old daughter who is enamoured with all things glittery, girly and princess. They've gone thru Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious. Any other series come to mind?
Ladybug Girl by David Soman is about a girl and her dog and the adventures they get into as LADYBUG GIRL! This one is a special favorite. In later books she gets a whole bug squad (Bumblebee Boy, Butterfly Girl, et al)
Lola’s Fandango by Anna Witte is just wonderful about a girl who learns a Fandango and surprises her mother with it!
Book suggestions please? My almost four year old has declared himself too old for his books, asking for "superheroes" "funny" and "awesome-r books". I want books that I'll enjoy reading aloud (so not those ones that are just re-tellings of a TV show). He's holding interest for longer books and fewer pictures, though mostly we have picture books. He's starting to show interest in text as I read to him. I'm trying to ask as nilmdae; can't tell which way I need to toggle to not ask anonymously.
OKAY! So there are a lot of picture books with lots of words! You don’t have to leave picture books behind, basically, ever. With that in mind, though, I’ll give you a blend of picture books and other stuff.
The Adventures of Sparrowboy by Brian Pinkney. Brian Pinkney perfection, always. While doing is paper route, Henry encounters a sparrow then imagines he is able to fly like his favorite comic book hero, Falconman. Super cute.
If you like the traditional superheros, Tiny Titans by Art Baltazar are awesome. Any volume. It’s the Teen Titans (plus extras) gone little hanging out in a clubhouse, playing with their pets, and in general being the best ever.
If you want ot go all the way up to chapterbooks then Captain Awesome by Stan Kirby or Melvin Beederman, Superhero by Greg Trine (and Indiebound just froze on me so no links here!) are both great books about kid superheros that are great aloud. I prefer Melvin Beederman but both get two thumbs up.
And one last picture book, The Superhero ABC by Bob McLeod is adorable and fun.
Let me know if these don’t work for you or if you just need more and I’ll send you more ideas!
Ok, y’all - I have had a bunch of people ask me for book recs recently and life has been beyond everything lately (I’ve kept most of it off tumblr but trust me - life = ZOMG) but I am getting to them right now! Because I only worked a half day today! But halfway through my first one the indiebound website stopped working so either they’ll be linkless or I’ll link elsewhere. Who knows. BUT! If you have asked me for book recs recently they’re coming!