Eight Picture Books Even Adults Will Love

With or without the kiddos, curl up and prepare for a pictorial excursion. Here are eight children’s picture books even adults will love.

Adulting is a mighty tough business. Add parenting to the mix and life gets hectic. Sometimes we need an escape. Surprisingly, children’s picture books can be a nice reprieve. Books written for kids often tell a simple story, but that’s what makes them extraordinarily relevant for grown-ups.

With few, if any, words, and pages filled with artistic illustrations, picture books allow our minds to wander and forget about the bills we need to pay or what time Tommy has to be at soccer practice in the morning. (Don’t forget to set the alarm!)

With or without the kiddos, curl up and prepare for a pictorial excursion. Here are eight children’s picture books even adults will love:

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Good People Everywhere

by Lynea Gillen

Winner of the Mom’s Choice Award, Teacher’s Choice, and Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, “Good People Everywhere” is a visual masterpiece for children and adults. The pages pop with vibrant illustrations containing heartwarming examples of generosity, compassion, and gratefulness. “Good People Everywhere” is a much-needed and uplifting reminder that there’s goodness within each of us and everywhere we look.

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Last Stop on Market Street

by Matt de la Peña

Winner of the 2016 Newbery Medal, a 2016 Caldecott Honor Book, and a 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book, among other awards, “Last Stop on Market Street” is a humble story about a boy and his wise nana as they ride the public bus and find beauty in all they see.

It has an important message and a hint of mystery as well. What is the last stop on Market Street? The book teaches children compassion and to look for good and beauty in people and their surroundings. Each page comes to life through Matt de la Pena’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.

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the farmer and the clown

The Farmer and the Clown

by Marla Frazee

“The Farmer and the Clown” is a moving, wordless picture book from two-time Caldecott Honor medalist Marla Frazee. When a baby clown is accidentally bounced off a circus train, he lands right in the middle of a lonely farmer’s pasture. From there, an unlikely friendship, and unbreakable bond, form. School Library Review says, “Frazee’s controlled palette of subdued golds, browns, and grays offers a fitting backdrop for the hard-working farmer foregrounded in this wordless tale.”

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the lion and the bird

The Lion and the Bird

by Marianne Dubuc

Internationally acclaimed illustrator, Marianne Dubuc brings to life an exquisite and enchanting tale about friendship. A lion discovers a wounded bird and nurses him back to health, knowing full well that one day, his dear new friend would take flight and leave him. Can he let him go? Note from the author: “The blank pages are not a defect but part of the storytelling. The snow increases until all the animals can see is white.”

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sidewalk flowers

Sidewalk Flowers” 

by JonArno Lawson

While on a walk with her dad in the city, a little girl, “described as a bright spot of red in a mostly black-and-white world,” collects wildflowers growing in the pavement cracks. Her dad is completely distracted and unaware until the little girl presents each as a gift. Their lives are forever changed in this wordless book about small things and big gestures.

“Sidewalk Flowers” has won many prestigious awards including the Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Illustrated Books and School Library Journal Best Picture Book of the Year.

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Return

by Aaron Becker

“Return” is “the much-anticipated finale of Caldecott Honoree Aaron Becker’s wordless trilogy—a spectacular, emotionally satisfying story that brings its adventurer home.” When a lonely girl cannot get the attention of her distracted father, she returns to an imaginary world for friendship and adventure.

Full of suspense and action, “Return” is a one-of-a-kind wordless fantasy picture book that you’ll be talking about long after the cover is closed. “A fantastic final leg to a reading journey that altered, expanded, and enriched the landscape of children’s literature—and surely many young people’s lives,” says Kirkus Reviews.

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Locomotive

by Brian Floca

Another Caldecott Medal Winner and a “New York Times” bestseller, “Locomotive,” is a breathtaking visual journey rich in color and history. Follow one family as they ride from Omaha to Sacramento on the new Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. Along the way, you’ll catch a glimpse of what they see out the window and learn all about the new train. History and art rolled into one fabulous book!

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Pool” by

by Jihyeon Lee

Kirkus Reviews says, “The message is wordless but clear: don’t stay safely on the surface but dive deep to find friendship and wonder… a delight.” “Pool” depicts what happens when two shy children meet at a crowded public pool. Friendship forms and imagination bounds when they dive in and discover a fanciful world of aquatic sea creatures and plants. See the make-believe come to life in gorgeous, rich illustrations.

10 Children's Books to Celebrate Black History Month

From courageous activists to extraordinary citizens, it’s a wonderful time to share these stories with your children.


February is a time of celebration, a time when we honor and remember the achievements, contributions, and accomplishments of black Americans in history and culture. Below are ten books to help you celebrate Black History Month. From courageous activists to extraordinary citizens, it’s a wonderful time to share these stories with your children.

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Martin’s Big Words

by Doreen Rappaport

An inspirational picture book for children and adults that brings the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to life in his own words. Author Doreen Rappaport has pulled together some of Dr. King’s most remarkable and influential quotes that take us on a vivid journey through history. Powerful watercolor illustrations detail how he used words, not weapons, to fight injustice and spearhead civil rights.

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amazing grace

Amazing Grace” by Mary Hoffman

by Mary Hoffman

Grace is a girl who loves stories, and her colorful imagination knows no boundaries. When her teacher announces that her class will be performing the play Peter Pan, Grace’s heart swells with excitement. All the kids want to play the lead role, including Grace. But when the other children tell her she can’t play Peter Pan because of the way she looks, she begins to question her identity and limits. Her grandmother reminds her that strength, courage, and hope can help anyone achieve their dreams.

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the story of ruby bridges

The Story of Ruby Bridges” by Robert Coles

by Robert Coles

Crowds of angry white parents lashing out. Children staring in indifference. Walking alone through unfamiliar halls. Ruby Bridges was the first African-American child to integrate into the public-school system back in 1960s New Orleans. Her struggle and bravery are chronicled in this powerful book narrated by Robert Coles.

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rosa

Rosa

by Nikki Giovanni

Long after her courageous refusal to give up a seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, Rosa Parks remains one of the most honored and central figures of the American civil rights movement. “Rosa,” a 2006 Caldecott Honor Book and the winner of the 2006 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, is the retelling of this historic event in a haunting narrative from award-winning writer Nikki Giovanni.

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voice of freedom

Voice of Freedom

by Carole Boston Weatherford

A 2016 Caldecott Honor Book, Robert F. Sibert Honor Book, and John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award Winner, “Voice of Freedom” retells the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a vocal champion of equal voting rights. Hamer, one of twenty children, had to drop out of school to work in the cotton fields. But that didn’t stop her from taking on this important mission.

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sweet clara

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

by Deborah Hopkinson

Born into slavery, Clara dreams about one day reuniting with her mother who lives on another plantation. There are days when she evens dreams about running away. When she learns about a passage north, via the Underground Railroad, her skills as a seamstress lead her down an important road. With cloth and a needle, she makes a patchwork map—a freedom quilt—to help guide escaping slaves. Based on a true story, “Publisher’s Weekly” says, “This first-rate book is a triumph of the heart.”

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harlems little blackbird

Harlem’s Little Blackbird

by Renee Watson

Set during the Harlem Renaissance, author Renee Watson details the life of Florence Mills, an African-American born with a bird-like voice. Her gift lands her on the 1920s Broadway stage, where she inspires fellow singers and playwrights, particularly fellow African Americans. “Featuring a moving text and colorful illustrations, “Harlem’s Little Blackbird” is a timeless story about justice, equality, and the importance of following one’s heart and dreams,” says Watson.

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henrys freedom box

Henry’s Freedom Box

by Ellen Levine

A Jane Addams Peace Award-winning author, Ellen Levine recounts the true story of Henry “Box” Brown, “a slave that mailed himself to freedom.” Brown endures the agony of having been torn from his mother as a child and then later taken away from his wife and children. Desperate and heartbroken, he conspires with abolitionists and travels to Philadelphia tucked away in a packing crate. Will he be able to keep his secret hidden? “…the evolution of a self-possessed child into a determined and fearless young man,” says Catherine Threadgill of the Charleston County Public Library.

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heart and soul

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

by Kadir Nelson

“Heart and Soul” perfectly describes this collection of stories about America and the African Americans who shaped history. The stories show the courage, determination, and unwavering commitment of the men, women, and children who suffered and fought to have a better, more equal tomorrow. Although there is still much work to be done, “Heart and Soul” shows how far one step can take us on a journey to freedom and equal rights.

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the other side

The Other Side

by Jacqueline Woodson

Clover, a young African-American girl, lives near a fence separating her segregated town. On the other side, lives Anna, a young white girl. One summer they form an endearing friendship, never breaking the sacred law of crossing the fence. Their days are spent sitting atop the wooden structure, as their bond becomes stronger and the fence becomes the only thing that seems out of place. “The Other Side” contains a powerful lesson blended with the artistic beauty of the masterful illustrations.

Do you have a favorite book to add to the list? Share in the comments!

9 Books to Help Ease Your Kid's Fear of Dogs

Since it’s pretty clear my kids are not quite ready for a walking, barking, real-life dog, we read these books to help ease their fears.

I grew up around labs, beagles, terriers, German shorthairs, miniature poodles, and I loved them all. So how did I end up with two daughters who are afraid of dogs?

We had a greyhound when my older daughter was born – a sweet and gentle giant who hardly even barked – but he died when she was about 18 months old. She doesn’t have many vivid memories of him, and we haven’t gotten another dog since.

My younger daughter is so afraid of dogs she panicked when we walked into Old Navy, where they have a dog mannequin front and center as soon as you walk in the door, along with the child and adult sized mannequins. The first thing she said to my husband when he came home from work was, “Dog!” and, “No barking, no walking.” The best kind of dog, according to her, but even so, kinda scary.

Since it’s pretty clear we’re not quite ready for a walking, barking, real-life dog at the Lerner house, I read my girls books about friendly dogs to teach them that dogs are safe. Here’s a list of nine of my favorites, three for each age group from young picture book readers up through young adult fiction readers.

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Flack, AngusLost

Angus Lost

by Marjorie Flack

The oldest book in the list, published originally in 1932, this book is a simple story about the adventure of a Scottie dog living back in the era when the milkman delivered milk to your door each morning. It’s one in a series of books about Angus, and I love the three-color, realistic illustrations and straightforward storylines.
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Boynton, Snuggle Puppy

Snuggle Puppy

by Sarah Boynton

This is another cartoon-style board book with a rhyming verse about loving a dog written in Sandra Boynton’s signature style. You can look up the song on YouTube, but it pretty much sings itself.
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Bridwell, Clifford

Clifford the Big Red Dog

by Norman Bridwell

With over 40 books about Clifford, you won’t run out of reading material any time soon if you like this oversize bloodhound. And what’s not to like…he goes from being the runt of the litter to arguably the most loved dog – and the biggest! – in children’s literature.
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Lithgow, I Got Two Dogs

I Got Two Dogs

by John Lithgow, illustrated by Robert Neubecker

You can find this song on YouTube as well, or buy the book and CD. So much fun to sing, it tells about the relationship between the owner and his two trouble-making dogs.
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Rylant, Henry and Mudge

Henry and Mudge

by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Suçie Stevenson

This beginning reader series features another big friendly dog and his boy companion. Check out “Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas,” the first book to win the Theodor Seuss Geisel award for the most distinguished American book for beginning readers.
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Meddaugh, Martha Speaks

Martha Speaks

by Susan Meddaugh

Martha is truly a fun dog, a dog kids would dream of having. She eats a bowl of alphabet soup and learns to talk. The silly things Martha says and the trouble she gets into are entertaining for child and adult alike, plus this is one book series turned into a television show that I can get behind. The show is just as adorable and witty as the books.
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Cameron, Ellie's Story

Ellie’s Story

by W. Bruce Cameron

This novel about a search-and-rescue dog is the perfect transition book for your older child. It’s based on a segment of Cameron’s popular adult fiction book “A Dog’s Purpose,” so for my older, voracious reader, it was the perfect segue into adult fiction.
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Quinn, Woof

Woof

by Spencer Quinn

This is also a good introduction to an adult fiction writer’s work for younger readers. Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie mysteries are the most fun dog books for grownups, and these Bowser and Birdie books capture the same free spirit and smart characters.
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Rawls, Where the Red Fern

Where the Red Fern Grows

by Wilson Rawls

There’s something about putting a dog in a book that brings out the starkest of emotions. This classic gets right to the heart of the matter while exposing young readers to the rich culture of the Ozarks.

5 Picture Books to Help Get Little Kids Interested in STEM

These five picture books instill children (and parents) with excitement while exploring science, technology, engineering, and math concepts.

STEM education has seen a major bump over the past decade. From astronomy to robotics, students are expected to examine what sort of things shape the world around them. Some children have immediate interest in these ideas while others are hesitant. All are well-served by great books on the topic.

Here are five picture books to instill children (and parents) with excitement while exploring science, technology, engineering, and math concepts:

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rosie revere engineer

Rosie Revere, Engineer

by Andrea Beaty
Illustrated by David Roberts

Though Rosie may seem quiet, her mind is brimming with ideas for new inventions. When her Great-Great Aunt Rose talks about her lifelong dream of flying, Rosie sets off tinkering. Although things don’t go according to plan, that might just be a good thing.

Andrea Beaty’s rhyming text looks at the importance of failure during the creation process. After all, great engineers rarely achieve perfection on their first attempt. Matched with David Roberts’ watercolor illustrations, where pages overflow with quirky debris and sketches by Rosie, this is the perfect work for inspiring inventors to try and try again.

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math curse

Math Curse

by Jon Scieszka
Illustrated by Lane Smith

After her teacher suggests anything can be viewed as a math problem, that’s exactly how one girl begins to see life. Her morning routine confronts her as a time calculation and pizza for lunch turns into fractions. Soon the questions become overwhelming with no logical solutions and she has to break the curse while considering what really makes a math problem.

Jon Scieszka is one of the leading voices in picture book humor, and it’s used wonderfully here to calm the common anxiety over math. Word problems, from the standard to the downright wacky, are dissected and shown in everyday circumstances.

Lane Smith’s collage illustrations are rich and manic as the curse spins out of control, but also incredibly warm as the narrator finally discovers that problems have solutions.

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bright sky starry city

Bright Sky, Starry City

by Uma Krishnaswami
Illustrated by Aimée Sicuro

Phoebe loves space. But as she and her father set up telescopes in front of his shop, she becomes worried. The bright lights from the city might block out any view of Saturn or Mars. Worse, rain and lightning move in. However, when the power goes out and the sky clears, the night sky reveals itself in stunning detail.

The text by Uma Krishnaswami is both lyrical and informative, and Phoebe’s affection for the stars and planets is tangible through the page. Informative facts flow from her and weave effortlessly into the narrative.

The mixed-media illustrations by Aimée Sicuro capture the frantic shuffle of city life before opening up to the beautiful, calm night imagery. Together, the text and illustrations leave readers ready to try their own stargazing.

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How the dinosaurs got into the museum

How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum

by Jessie Hartland

A boy in a museum examines the skeleton of a massive Diplodocus longus and ponders how it got there. Flashing back, he traces the skeleton’s journey, starting with its unearthing in Utah in 1923. From there, paleontologists remark on its authenticity, excavators carefully remove it from the earth, and a host of others work to reveal the dinosaur at its present location in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

This is a remarkable sketch of the archeological process, aided by Jessie Hartland’s deceptively simple illustrations that make the descriptive text more accessible. Through repetitive prose, she explains the multitude of skills necessary to undertake such a massive project, from paleontologists and welders, to cleaners and curators. The back of the book contains more information about the museum and pairs perfectly with a physical visit or virtual tour on its website.

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11 experiments that failed

11 Experiments That Failed

by Jenny Offill
Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Is a diet of only ketchup and snow sustainable? Does bologna have the same properties as a Frisbee? The narrator here understands that science can explain the important questions in her head. Sometimes the results can be downright disastrous, but that’s part of being a scientist.

Jenny Offill translates the questions of a fictional girl into hilariously testable hypotheses. Though these often end in imaginative failure, each spread shows the full process of carrying out an experiment.

Nancy Carpenter’s collages are accented by graph paper backgrounds, making the pages feel like they came out of the narrator’s actual notebook. This simplistic look at the scientific method will have children ready to craft and test their own hypotheses.

10 Books to Help Children Understand Mental Illness

While we want to shield our kids from concern, health professionals recommend educating kids and teens about mental illness. These books can help.

Each year, about 43.6 million American adults (or 18.1 percent of the total adult population in the United States) suffer from some type of mental illness, enduring conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Just over 20 percent (or 1 in 5) of children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder. 

As much as we want to shield our kids from confusion or concern, health professionals recommend educating children and teenagers about mental illness. When they receive the correct information, it helps dispel common misconceptions and stigma, and provides them with the knowledge and resources they need to understand a particular illness and why they – or someone they know – might struggle.

Curious how to tackle the topic with your own kids? Start with reading. Here are 10 books to help children understand mental illness:

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sad book Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen’s Sad Book

by Michael Rosen

Sadness is part of the human condition that should never be dismissed. The “Sad Book” is a wonderfully illustrated book that explains sadness and depression to children. It also touches upon grief and loss and ways to cope. For children going through a difficult time or watching someone who is, the “Sad Book” helps put feelings into thoughts and thoughts into words.

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up and down the worry

Up and Down the Worry Hill

by Aureen Pinto Wagner, Ph.D.

“Up and Down the Worry Hill” tackles the tough topics of childhood anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Written for a younger audience, the book is easy to read and comprehend. The author is a clinical child psychologist, an anxiety treatment expert, and an international speaker who is recognized for her unique Worry Hill® treatment approach. 

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helicopter man

Helicopter Man

by Elizabeth Fensham

Pete’s dad suffers from schizophrenia and paranoia, but that doesn’t stop Pete from having a loving and fulfilling relationship with him. The delusions become shared adventures until, one day, they spiral out of control. Pete’s dad goes into the hospital and Pete is sent to foster care. It’s a new beginning for Pete where normal seems strange at first, but eventually allows him to better understand his father’s mental illness. Using journal entries and short stories, “Helicopter Man” is one part novel, one part tremendous educational resource.

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the princess and the fog

The Princess and the Fog

by Lloyd Jones

A Bronze Medal Winner for Picture Books in the Early Reader category of the 2015 Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards, “The Princess and the Fog” tells the story of a little princess who had everything… until the fog came. Using telling illustrations and metaphors to create an engaging, relatable story, the book helps young children learn about depression and cope with their difficult feelings.

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why is dad so mad

Why is Dad So Mad?

by Seth Kastle

Although “Why is Dad So Mad?” is specifically meant for military families, with special emphasis on post-combat related post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the book can help all children and families better understand this debilitating illness. Written in a narrative style, “Why is Dad So Mad?” explains PTSD in easy-to-understand terms and how it effects the people we love.

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the bipolar bear

The Bipolar Bear Family

by Angela Holloway

“The Bipolar Bear Family” is a story about a young cub who struggles to understand his mother’s behavior and her subsequent diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The author is a licensed marriage and family therapist and an expert in the treatment of chronic mental illness in the family system.

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finding audrey

Finding Audrey

by Sophie Kinsella

Meant for middle school-aged children, “Finding Audrey” details the story of a 14-year-old bullying victim and the extreme anxiety disorder it triggers. Kirkus Reviews calls it: “An outstanding tragicomedy that gently explores mental illness, the lasting effects of bullying, and the power of friends and loving family to help in the healing.”

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every last word

Every Last Word

by Tamara Ireland Stone

Samantha McAllister has Pure Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off. Ideal for teens and young adults, “Every Last Word” is a tough-issue contemporary novel that explores the underlying symptoms of OCD and takes us on a fictional, yet all too familiar, journey of self-healing.

Readers join Samantha as she grows from being a girl who is terrified of others knowing about her condition, to a girl who learns to own it, surrounding herself with people who accept and support her.

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under rose tainted skies

Under Rose-Tainted Skies” 

by Louise Gornall

Norah has agoraphobia, OCD, and anxiety, and hasn’t left the structured environment of her home in over four years. Will her cute new neighbor help her fight a debilitating illness and explore the world beyond? “Through Norah’s poetic internal monologue, Gornall, whose own experience with mental illness helped inform Norah’s story, provides an intimate glimpse into the mind of a young woman battling some very real demons,” says Publishers Weekly. Another contemporary novel meant for teens and young adult readers.

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I would but my damn mind

I would, but my DAMN MIND won’t let me!

By Jacqui Letran

A new book that focuses on how the mind works and how teens can change their thoughts, “I would, but my DAMN MIND won’t let me!” presents simple steps to overcome obstacles and struggles. Teen confidence expert Jacqui Letran gives real-world advice that can be applied immediately to any situation. Ideal for teens struggling with body issues, self-doubt, and worry – challenges that can lead to anxiety and depression.

There are so many wonderful books that cover the topic of mental illness. Which one would you recommend? Share in the comments!

10 Most Beloved Little Golden Books (A 75th Anniversary Celebration)

Little Golden books have been lovable classics for generations. With beautiful illustrations and endearing characters it’s hard to pick a favorite.

Beautifully illustrated pages. Lovable characters. The perfect size for little hands. With their magical, shiny edges, Little Golden Books have been enjoyed by children for 75 years. When they were first published in 1942, children’s books were often bulky and expensive – costing $2 to $3 each.

Little Golden books were not only affordable, at just a quarter a book, they were also an instant success – opening a new world for early readers. Today, the books are collected by millions of people from all corners of the globe and reprinted for new generations of children to fall in love with time and time again.

Celebrating 75 years as a hallmark of childhood, here are 10 of the most beloved Little Golden Books:

The poky little puppy, golden books

The Poky Little Puppy

by Janette Sebring Lowrey

A poky little puppy gets into mischief when he digs holes under the fence and goes off to explore the world. What happens when Mama finds out? No dessert for the naughty little puppy. One of the original 12 published in 1942, “The Poky Little Puppy” is the single best-selling hardcover children’s book of all-time in the U.S., having sold more than 15 million copies.

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little golden book Scuffy

Scuffy the Tugboat

by Gertrude Crampton

First published in 1946, “Scuffy the Tugboat” tells the endearing tale of a toy tugboat who was “meant for bigger things.” After an afternoon of playing at the local pond, Scuffy soon finds himself carried off by a current. Lost and scared, he discovers that the bathtub just might be the best place of all. Can he find his way home?

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little golden book, the jolly barnyard

The Jolly Barnyard

by Annie North Bedford

Published in 1973, “The Jolly Barnyard” takes us on a fanciful tromp around Farmer Brown’s delightful farm. It’s his birthday, and the animals are deciding what they’ll do for him on his special day. Eggs? Wool? What will it be?

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little golden book, monster dog

Mister Dog

by Margaret Wise Brown

One of the newer Little Golden treasures, “Mister Dog” hit the bookshelves in 2003 and became an overnight success. It’s a story about a funny dog named Crispin’s Crispian who belongs to himself – until he meets a boy who also belongs to himself. And the rest, as they say, is breathtaking and beautiful children’s book history.

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little golden book, tawny scrawny lion

The Tawny Scrawny Lion

by Kathryn Jackson

A favorite children’s book of 1982 and one of the top selling Little Golden Books of all time, “The Tawny Scrawny Lion” is a lesson in etiquette and love. A hungry lion learns not to eat a family of rabbits and instead enjoy the carrot stew.

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little golden book, little red caboose

The Little Red Caboose

by Marian Potter

A Little Golden classic first published in 1953, this colorful picture book tells the story of a little red caboose who longs to be as popular and strong as the big steam engine leading the train. When he unexpectedly saves the day, he learns that being a caboose is important too.

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little golden book, monster at the end of this book

The Monster at the End of This Book

by Jon Stone

Sesame Street’s Grover begs little readers not to turn the page. Why? Because there’s a monster at the end of the book! Will they keep reading or hide under the covers? What – or who – is waiting on the last page? Written in 1971 by series writer and producer Jon Stone.

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little golden book, tootle

Tootle

by Gertrude Crampton

“You must not leave the rails no matter what,” is the most important rule. But Tootle, a free-spirited young locomotive, disobeys when he swerves from the rail lines to race the horses and play in the meadow. If he hopes to fulfill his dream of being a Flyer between New York and Chicago, he better get on track. And fast. Another classic published in 1945.

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little golden book, the saggy baggy elephant

The Saggy Baggy Elephant

by Kathryn Jackson

A timeless tale from Kathryn Jackson published in 1947, “The Saggy Baggy Elephant” follows Sooki – a lost elephant in search of what or who he is. After a parrot makes fun of his big ears, long nose, and wrinkled skin, the “saggy baggy” elephant feels bashful and ashamed. He then discovers his elephant family and realizes that he’s not so different after all.

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little golden book, little red hen

The Little Red Hen

by Diane Muldrow

Colorful farm animals jump right off the page in this old folk tale from 1942. Will they learn the value of team work and help the Little Red Hen plant her wheat? A valuable lessons for kids (and adults) of all ages.

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Which Little Golden Book is your favorite? Share in the comments!

Most Anticipated Teen/Young Adult Books of 2017 (Winter/Spring Edition)

From series sequels to favorite authors and stand-alone novels, 2017 is shaping up to be a reading odyssey for maturing minds.

There’s nothing quite like turning the page on a calendar and starting fresh with a whole bunch of new books to read. Amazing books are arriving this year for children of all ages, especially for the older teens in your life. From series sequels to favorite authors and stand-alone novels, it’s shaping up to be a reading odyssey for maturing minds.

Here are some of the most anticipated books of early 2017 that teens can’t wait to crack open:

“RoseBlood” by A. G. Howard

RoseBlood” by A. G. Howard

(January 10, 2017)

This young adult novel from New York Times bestselling author A. G. Howard, ushers in new era for “Splintered” series fans. After moving to a boarding school outside of Paris, Rune Germain discovers that phantoms really do exist in this opera-turned-music-conservatory.

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“Carve the Mark” by Veronica Roth

Carve the Mark” by Veronica Roth

(January 17, 2017)

Fans of “Star Wars” and “Divergent” will love internationally bestselling author Veronica Roth’s stunning new science-fiction fantasy series “Carve the Mark.” Set in a galaxy where everyone has a gift, friendship and love run strong.

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“The You I’ve Never Known” by Ellen Hopkins

The You I’ve Never Known” by Ellen Hopkins 

(January 24, 2017)

The lives of teens Ariel and Maya collide in an emotionally charged journey of loss and redemption. Booklist says, “With trademark compassion, multidimensional characters, realistic teen behavior, and a slew of issues sympathetically explored, Ellen Hopkins has another winner here.” 

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“Caraval” by Stephanie Garber

Caraval” by Stephanie Garber

(January 31, 2017)

The closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world… In “Caraval,” Stephanie Garber tells an enthralling story of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

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“The Edge of Everything” by Jeff Giles

The Edge of Everything” by Jeff Giles

(January 31. 2017)

James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of “The Maze Runner,” declares, “Every human alive should read this book.” What would broken-hearted, seventeen-year-old Zoe and bounty hunter X risk for love? Everything.

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“King's Cage (Red Queen, Book 3)” by Victoria Aveyard

King’s Cage (Red Queen, Book 3)” by Victoria Aveyard

(February 7, 2017)

The bestselling “Red Queen” series continues with “King’s Cage.” This third installment finds allegiances tested and the Lightning Girl’s spark all but gone. Will someone else light the way for the rebellion? Or will it all burn down?

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“The End of Oz (Dorothy Must Die, Book 4)” by Danielle Paige

The End of Oz (Dorothy Must Die, Book 4)” by Danielle Paige 

(March 14, 2017)

The fourth action-packed book in the “Dorothy Must Die” series, “The End of Oz” finds Amy Gumm traveling from Oz to the land of Ev in a quest to save Oz once and for all.

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“RoseBlood” by A. G. Howard

Blood Rose Rebellion” by Rosalyn Eves 

(March 28, 2017)

“Red Queen” fans will devour “Blood Rose Rebellion” the new trilogy from Rosalyn Eves. In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, sixteen-year-old Anna Arden can break the spell that holds the social order in place. Will she use that power or resist?

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“Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before)” by Jenny Han

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before)” by Jenny Han 

(April 4, 2017)

“Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before)” is the unexpected follow-up to the New York Times bestselling book “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.” Big changes are on the horizon for senior Lara Jean. Can she leave her boyfriend and family behind to start a new chapter at college? Or is staying close to home – and her heart – best for Lara Jean?

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“Blacklist (Beautiful Idols)” by Alyson Noel

Blacklist (Beautiful Idols)” by Alyson Noel 

(April 4, 2017)

Alyson Noel returns with “Blacklist,” the second book in her “Beautiful Idols” series, where celebrity worship becomes a dark and dangerous game. A media frenzy threatens to destroy Layla, Tommy, and Aster. Will their darkest secrets be revealed?

Most Anticipated Middle-Grade Books of 2017 (Winter/Spring Edition)

Sci-fi, mystery, humor, or stories based on real world experiences, these are some of the most anticipated books of early 2017 for middle-grade readers.

It’s January, and that means looking forward to all of the highly anticipated books that are being released in the coming months… including those for your middle-grade reader. This is an especially important time to get your child immersed in reading, since a lifelong passion for books often blossoms in the tween years. Whether your child’s tastes lean toward sci-fi, mystery, humor, the classics, or stories based on real world experiences, we promise your tween will find something to love on this list.

Here are some of the most anticipated books of early 2017 for middle-grade readers:

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The witches vacuum cleaner
The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner and Other Stories” by Terry Pratchett

(January 3, 2017)

A follow-up to the widely popular “Dragons at Crumbling Castle,” “The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner” is a hilarious collection of short stories perfect for the middle-grade reader. Magic, wizardry, outer space, and the wild west collide for a charming array of soon-to-be cherished tales.

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“Short” by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Short” by Holly Goldberg Sloan

(January 31, 2017)

Read along as the height-deprived Julia grows into herself while playing a Munchkin in a local production of “Wizard of Oz.” “Short” from Holly Goldberg Sloan tells the story of a girl who desperately tries to stay in the background, but soon relishes the spotlight as she learns to love herself and all her self-perceived “shortcomings.”

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“Sci-Fi Junior High” by John Martin and Scott Seegert

Sci-Fi Junior High” by John Martin and Scott Seegert 

(February 21, 2017)

James Patterson presents an out-of-this-world illustrated space adventure for middle school readers. Visit Sci-Fi Junior High, an intergalactic space station for alien students from all planets.

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“The Beast Is an Animal” by Peternelle van Arsdale

The Beast Is an Animal” by Peternelle van Arsdale

(February 28, 2017)

Alys must use her hidden talents to save her village from the soul eaters and the darkness that threatens to consume all that she knows. A dark, mysterious middle-grade book for older elementary readers who love paranormal and magic tales.

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“The Width of the World (Vega Jane, Book 3)” by David Baldacci

The Width of the World (Vega Jane, Book 3)” by David Baldacci

(February 28, 2017)

Beloved author David Baldacci delivers a shockwave of destruction and shattering revelations in “The Width of the World,” book three in his global bestselling Vega Jane series. A female protagonist you’ll never forget, Vega Jane will steal your heart.

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“The Width of the World (Vega Jane, Book 3)” by David Baldacci

Middle School: Escape to Australia” by James Patterson 

(March 6, 2017)

Head to the dangerous wilds down under in James Patterson’s newest middle-grade installment “Middle School: Escape to Australia.” Rafe continues the “otter” destruction after winning the school’s art competition and a trip to the outback.

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“Strange the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor

(March 28, 2017)

National Book Award finalist and “New York Times” bestselling author Laini Taylor brings a new epic fantasy novel to middle-grade readers. In “Strange the Dreamer,” the dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around… and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly.

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“Jack and the Geniuses: At the Bottom of the World” by Bill Nye and Gregory Mone

Jack and the Geniuses: At the Bottom of the World” by Bill Nye and Gregory Mone

(April 4, 2017)

Middle schoolers embark on a scientific adventure with bestselling authors Bill Nye and Gregory Mone in “Jack and the Geniuses: At the Bottom of the World.” In this series opener, meet Jack and his foster siblings… geniuses who travel to Antarctica for a science competition and an unexpected mystery that only they can solve.

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“Alex and Eliza: A Love Story” by Melissa de la Cruz

Alex and Eliza: A Love Story” by Melissa de la Cruz 

(April 11, 2017)

Albany, New York, 1777. A love story unfolds between young Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler. Set to the backdrop of the American Revolution, can Alex and Eliza’s love endure the atrocities of war and stand the test of time?

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Alex Jeter fair ball

Fair Ball” by Derek Jeter 

(April 18, 2017)

Inspired by Derek Jeter’s own life, “Fair Ball” is the fourth middle-grade novel in the “New York Times” bestselling Jeter Publishing Program and focuses on the theme “the world isn’t always fair.”

Most Anticipated Children’s Books of 2017 (Winter/Spring Edition)

Here are some of the most anticipated books of early 2017 that are perfect for your young reader.

As we say hello to a new year, it’s time to start looking forward to the array of new children’s books on the horizon. Beautifully illustrated picture books. Interactive story boards. Sweet tales of animated birds, pigs, and other delightful animals. Over the next twelve months, your little one will enjoy a literary adventure of the sweetest kind.

Here are some of the most anticipated books of early 2017 that are perfect for your young reader:

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Kid books 2017 egg

Egg” by Kevin Henke

(January 3, 2017)

Caldecott Medalist and New York Times bestselling author, Kevin Henkes, delivers his 50th book with beautiful illustrations. “Egg” is a graphic novel for preschoolers focused on quirky friendships, one unbelievable surprise, and the art of hatching eggs.

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“Dance” by Matthew Van Fleet

Dance” by Matthew Van Fleet

(February 14, 2017)

Get ready to shake, rattle, and roll with your young reader! “Dance” from New York Times bestselling author Matthew Van Fleet is a fun story about a little baby chick who learns how to dance from a friendly band of animals who know all the right moves. Includes pull tabs that allow children to make the animals bounce and dance.

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“Mighty, Mighty Construction Site” by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Mighty, Mighty Construction Site” by Sherri Duskey Rinker

(February 14, 2017)

The companion to the international bestseller “Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site,” is “Mighty, Mighty Construction Site” which continues the story of a small crew of construction vehicles tackling their biggest job ever. Kids learn about team-building, friendship, and how working together can make an enormous task seem very tiny.

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“Grandpa’s Great Escape” by David Walliams

Grandpa’s Great Escape” by David Walliams

(February 28, 2017)

A high-flying adventure about the wonderful relationship between a boy named Jack and his ever-forgetful grandfather. Travel along as they plot big escapes from long ago battlefields… and Grandpa’s new nursing home.

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“Nancy Clancy and the Late-Breaking News” by Jane O’Connor

Nancy Clancy and the Late-Breaking News” by Jane O’Connor

(February 28, 2017)

The eighth and final installment of the “Fancy Nancy” early chapter book series, “Nancy Clancy and the Late-Breaking News” winds down with Nancy Clancy working to be the star reporter of the “Third Grade Gazette.” Lessons are learned as Nancy overhears something she shouldn’t… and the news leaks!

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“We’re All Wonders” by R.J. Palacio

We’re All Wonders” by R.J. Palacio

(March 28, 2017)

“We’re All Wonders” is the unforgettable young reader follow-up to the international bestseller “Wonder” (soon to be a major motion picture) which inspired the nationwide movement Choose Kind. Kids learn to reflect on differences and choose kindness in a world that sorely needs more heart.

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“How to Raise a Mom” by Jean Reagan

How to Raise a Mom” by Jean Reagan

(March 28, 2017)

Filled with charming role-reversal humor, creative ideas, and lots of love, “How to Raise a Mom” is the instructional book for all kids on how to raise a happy, healthy, productive mother.

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“Little Ree” by Ree Drummond

Little Ree” by Ree Drummond

(March 28, 1017)

Possibly the most anticipated children’s book of 2017, “Little Ree,” from New York Times bestselling author, Food Network star, and The Pioneer Woman herself, Ree Drummond, chronicles country life through the eyes of country bumpkin Ree. An adventurous new picture book series inspired by Ree Drummond’s life on the ranch.

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“Olivia the Spy” by Ian Falconer

Olivia the Spy” by Ian Falconer 

(April 4, 2017)

Preschoolers will delight in this wonderful story about a precocious pig named Olivia who is about to have a birthday. Follow along as this feisty, imaginative girl eavesdrops and learns too much about her party plans. Will Mom cancel the festivities or will Olivia’s birthday be all that she’s hearing of?

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“The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors” by Drew Daywalt, illus. by Adam Rex

The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors” by Drew Daywalt, illus. by Adam Rex

(April 4, 2017)

Your child will love this epic, funny picture book about the classic game Rock, Paper, Scissors. Creative illustrations carry you alongside the original three warriors on the battlefield of hands.

“The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming”: A Jewish Christmas Story for Atheists

It has never bothered me to be an atheist at Christmas.

I love spending months picking out the perfect gifts for each family member. I love sending handmade holiday cards, even if my overly-ambitious projects means that I generally send them biannually. I love Starbucks red cups, regardless of the controversy de-jour. I love a beautifully lit tree, my family’s holiday cookie recipes, and above all, The Andy Williams Christmas Album.

But lately I’ve been a little bothered by Jesus.

It’s not the historical figure that bothers me, or the religious figure, or the impending celebration of his birth, or his place in a culture at large that is most certainly not engaged in a War on Christmas. It’s that, now that my child recognizes Santa and Rudolph, I know that Jesus is not far behind. And that means it’s time to start his religious education.

When pregnant with my son, I’d imagined how I would start this education. We would read pint-sized versions of religious texts about major world religions. We would explore how different faith traditions explain the world. We would study how religion helps form communities, and its potential to divide and cement differences.

It hadn’t dawned on me that waiting until he could read would be too late. He’s already had years to absorb the dominant religious culture of our family and community.

My son is years away from Harris or Dawkins or Hitchens (whom I so desperately wish was with us this particular holiday season), and even if their messages were simple enough for a nearly three-year-old to understand, I’m not ready to squash all of my son’s youthful optimism with that much snark.

I needed a children’s author who confronted controversial subjects, who spoke to children as though they could understand, but who also didn’t shy from the silliness necessary to engage and delight young readers.

I needed Lemony Snicket.

I searched, dimly hopeful that Snicket had written a holiday book, but sure that if he had, I would have seen it already. And lo, a winter solstice miracle! Snicket had done it 10 years ago with “The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story.” Published by McSweeney’s, home to excellent holiday writing, like everyone’s favorite NSFW piece about decorative gourds, this is the perfect book for parents who are just starting to discuss religion with their kids.

As with many Snicket stories, “The Latke” packs big themes into a tiny volume masquerading as a children’s story. Kids will love the silliness of screaming along with illustrator Lisa Brown’s half-singed version of The Gingerbread Man. Adults will appreciate the avenues this book opens for big conversations about religion.

The latke, already understandably angry about having been fried, is increasingly enraged by all of the Christmas characters he meets who try to erase differences between him and them (“I’m not hash browns! I’m something completely different!”). This latke teaches us about how dominant cultures tend to assimilate the rituals of minority cultures while abandoning their meaning, and why it’s important to not only acknowledge, but respect differences.

I’d say that I’m happily adding this book to my holiday collection, except that it is the founding member. I’d welcome your suggestions for expanding this collection in the comments below.

This post originally appeared on the author’s site, SnackDinner