9 Favorite Children’s Books

Whether you have a little one (or twelve) of your own and are wondering what books you haven’t discovered yet, are expecting your first child and wondering what on Earth you’ll do to entertain them, or have friends/family with little ones you might want to get a gift for at some point, this list is for YOU!

Andy has always loved “reading” (yes, we realize our #BabyGenius cannot actually read yet). The Hubs and I genuinely love reading to her. Children’s stories are so fun – I love the rhyming and excuse to get really animated while reading (#Nerd). We started reading to her in the beginning because, honestly, what else are you going to do with a newborn? Plus, we knew how beneficial talking to her is for her language development and it’s kind of hard to come up with your own stories when the listener can’t respond yet…so books are great! 😉

Before Andy was born, my sister (who is not only a Reading Coach, but also a true love of books!) stocked our nursery with more books than we ever thought we’d read (wrong…we’ve read almost all of them. Most of them over & over). If you don’t have a book-loving sister willing to dump stacks of baby reading material on you, check out your local Facebook sales groups (Moms love to hang out in these places & they sell some pretty amazing “used” things) or browse your local thrift stores (great place to find classics!).

The books below are in no particular order – we love them all equally!

 1. Cloudette

This book is about a cloud that’s smaller than all the others (as a short gal raising a fellow tiny gal, I truly appreciated this perspective!). While she acknowledges the advantages of being small, she struggles with the limitations. In the end, she shows that with hard work she was able to make the impact on the world she wanted to.

Perfect for: the vertically challenged tots on your list 😉

Buy Cloudette here.

2. Bear Says Thanks

Bear wants to throw a feast but his cupboards are empty. One-by-one his friends show up with something to contribute to the gathering. I like this book because it shows how special time together with loved ones can be (even if you have nothing to contribute but stories – like Bear).

The first time we read this book together, it was before we were heading to gather with family for a potluck lunch. It was very appropriate!

Perfect for: Because of the theme of gratefulness and the gathering of friends (with food!), it would be a great book to read at Thanksgiving. It could also be a good book to read when learning about manners (Bear thanks each of his friends as they bring food for the gathering).

Buy Bear Says Thanks here.

 3. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon

This is a great story about embracing what makes you unique. Molly Lou encounters a bully at her new school. Because of the confidence her grandmother has instilled in her, she knows how to handle the bully and ultimately (no surprise 🙂 ) they become friends.

Perfect for: This would be a great story for a child who is moving and/or starting a new school where they will be making new friends. Also a great story for children dealing with bullying.

Buy Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon here.

 4. Olivia and the Fairy Princesses

A few books from the Olivia series arrived on our doorstep unexpectedly one day. Andy’s Aunt Olivia had sent them to her!

While I try to be cautious about Princess-y books (and clothes and nicknames…), this story is a good one! Olivia is fed up with everyone wanting to be Princesses – honestly, I really like the way her fierce personality shines through as she rants about this.

#SpoilerAlert: I do wish that in the end she decided to be something other than a Queen (sorry for giving away the ending!). Nonetheless, this is still great inspiration for being unafraid of standing out.

Perfect for: Encouraging little ones to follow their heart – there are no wrong choices on the path to discovering who they are. While the title and cover (and most of the images) are very gendered, I think this is still a good story for both girls and boys. It’s also a great book for newborns because a lot of the interior images feature red, black and white – good contrast for little ones who can’t yet see all colors.

Buy Olivia and the Fairy Princesses here.

 5. Lily the Unicorn

The author of this story also illustrated the book which I found really impressive (having the imagination to create a meaningful story + the ability to illustrate such beautiful pictures is quite an impressive pair of skills!).

The story is [obviously] about Lily the Unicorn. She loves making new friends, but her newest friend doesn’t feel quite the same way. She works hard to find ways they can connect and shows him all the fun possibilities that await him.

Perfect for: While the cover print may make you think this is a “girly” book, I assure you: it’s one for all children! The high contrast of the drawn images inside (notice the thick black lines around the images and letters on the cover) are great for newborns. This is a great book for a wide range of ages – the pages contain short sentences/few words, but are scattered with accompanying images with smaller text…a great option to incorporate more discussion/lengthen reading time as the child gets older. The story is perfect for children who are entering a phase where they will be making news friends (i.e. starting daycare or school).

Buy Lily the Unicorn here.

6. LMNO Peas

This is the Hub’s favorite book! He reads it to Andy every morning and then sings the ABC’s to her (he is literally the best, right?!). I was hesitant to read it at first because some of the ABC books are quite boring, but this one is really creative! I love how the peas are all sorts of things (as the Hubs pointed out when he was trying to convince me to read it, there’s a quilter and a weaver!).

Perfect for: Not only learning the ABCs, but also learning about all of the cool occupations and hobbies that exist!

Buy LMNO Peas here.

7. She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World

No surprise that this book is an absolute favorite. It was one of the first books I read to Andy. The nonfiction stories within the book are truly inspiring.

There’s another version of the book, She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History – it’s on our wish list!

Perfect for: Any kid! But because of the strong message of female empowerment: especially girls.

Buy She Persisted here.

8. Lily Wool

I found this book when the Hubs and I took a day trip to Greenville a few weeks before Andy was born and stopped into M.Judson Booksellers.

I love the story of Lily Wool! She is an endlessly creative sheep who doesn’t fit in. She learns to use her creativity to contribute to her herd in a positive way and becomes a creative entrepreneur!

Perfect for: Inspiring young ones to follow their passions and find ways to use their creativity for good. Also a great book for those with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Buy Lily Wool here.

 9. Beautiful

This book is so cleverly illustrated! My sister got it for Andy. I love that the statements in the book are sayings that we hear about girls all the time, but the illustrations show a spin on the saying by flipping it to show basically the opposite of the stereotype. It’s really a neat book!

Perfect for: Any and every girl! The content paired with the illustrations is really powerful, but not in a hard-to-understand kind of way. It’d be a great gift to a girl in your life to show her that beauty is defined in so many ways.

Buy Beautiful here.

*Disclaimer: For convenience, I’ve included links to the books so you can buy them online, but I highly encourage you to try to find used copies OR (better yet!) visit your local library and rent them! #SaveThePlanetOneUsedBookAtATime. Also, I don’t understand affiliate links and I’m certainly not popular enough to be bribed into a good review so you can rest-assured the statements in this post are totally unbiased.

PS: I’ve posted about several of these books on Instagram. If I did, I’ve linked the picture to the original post so you can read more there and see what others shared in the comments. Just click on the pictures and they’ll take you there!

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Good Reads for Spring

I have been on a serious reading kick this past month. In fact, I’m pretty impressed with the number of books I’ve actually finished {I have a bad habit of starting a book and not finishing it…}

While visiting Marblehead during our road trip adventures during spring break, I stumbled upon the Spirit of ’76 Bookstore and Card Shop while wandering around town.

What a treat! This indie bookstore is what book nerds dream about. I wished so badly that my sister were there with me – she loves to read and no doubt would have spent hours with me browsing the selections.

My favorite part of the shop (there were many!) were the rows-and-rows of books with handwritten descriptions sticking out of the top at the front of the store.

bookstore 1

It was like listening to a friend describe a book she’d just read that she just knew you’d enjoy!

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I loved reading the staff’s response to the books.

In addition to the whimsical handwritten reviews from staff, the Spirit of ’76 Bookstore also had a “Blind Date with a Book” section which totally hooked me.

book blind date

Between the surprise of not knowing what may be wrapped inside to the fact that the payment for the book would be gifted to a charity to purchase new book had me so smitten!

book blind date 2

I browsed the table full of wrapped books trusting only the handwritten description and settled on two: a Southern American/Mystery/Romance fiction novel for my sister and this one for myself:

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I’ve been completely engrossed with the current political scene. I’m certainly more interested in the stories of the democratic candidates so I reasoned that I’d be happy with a biography of either of the two.

As soon as I got back to my sister-in-law’s apartment after leaving the bookstore, I unwrapped mine and was quite delighted. hillary

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do All the Good You Can by Cynthia Levinson

Inside the brown paper was a preview copy of Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do All the Good You Can.

I started reading the book while we were still in Marblehead and finished it as we drove home. In just 3 days I’d read it cover-to-cover.

Watching Hillary (we’re on a first-name-basis) run as the first likely female presidential nominee has been fascinating. As a woman in any field or on any platform there’s a tricky dance to balance power and being “like-able.” The struggle in politics really magnifies that pressure. It’s hard not to admire her.

If you like an inspiring story about an empowered female, this book’s for you.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

I’ve had my eye on Where’d You Go, Bernadette for a while. I love supporting locally owned shops so I jumped at the chance to treat myself to a copy after reading the staff’s review at the Spirit of ’76 Bookstore.

“To her Microsoft guru husband, Bernadette’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to her 15-year-old, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears.” – Review via Lauren of Spirit of ’76 Bookstore

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GUYS. This is the best book I’ve read in a while {and it had been a while…}.

For a week it completely consumed me. I carried it everywhere. When I got to the last few pages, I considered abandoning it because I just didn’t want it to end!

I found myself relating to both Bernadette (the Mom) and Bee (the daughter) in ways that surprised me. I felt like the wildly eccentric recluse Bernadette was my soul sister. She represents the extreme of what I could probably become if I 1) didn’t allow myself to create, 2) allowed my introvertedness to run wild, 3) hadn’t found a therapist I love.

Bernadette is so bazaar and yet I think we can all relate to her on some level.

If you’re looking for a story that will consume you, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a winner. You can purchase a copy of Where’d You Go, Bernadette here from the Spirit of ’76 Bookstore.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Visiting the Spirit of ’76 Bookstore reignited my love of reading and set me off on a whirlwind of reading adventures.

After returning from our road trip, I finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. My mother-in-law bought it for me for Christmas and I couldn’t wait to read it.

big magic

This is a must-read for creative people. I felt so reassured while reading Elizabeth’s stories about her creative struggles. In a world where it always feels like everyone else is succeeding in all of their creative adventures, it was comforting to hear that despite what I see on social media, we’re all struggling. Sometimes it’s hard to hear the creative spark and if you miss the opportunity to fan the flame, the fire may just die. And on that note, I’m trying really hard to recognize when Big Magic is coming my way, toss my ego to the side and PLAY with the magic.

Read this book with a highlighter in hand if you’re feeling creatively defeated – Elizabeth will have you feeling better about your pursuits in no time (use your highlighter for some of those one-liner gems she sprinkles throughout so you can quickly refer back as needed for inspiration 😉 )

Current Reading: Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel

My sister is an avid reader {she is, after all, a Reading Coach..}. Lucky for me, she keeps my bookshelves stocked with hand-me-downs. I was looking for another capturing story to get lost in when I pulled her copy of Sea Creatures from my stash. So far it’s really good!

sea creatures

What are you reading? I’d love to hear your recommendations for what I should read next!

Saucy Summer Reads

You may have seen my recommendation for The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell in my What I’m Lovin’ in August post, but I’ve got two saucier (and much lighter) recommendations to share with you below!

Earlier this summer I did what I’d been saying I was going to do for a while now: I went to my local library with the sole purpose of finding a book to rent and read! I wasn’t going to be intimidated by the 2 week window (I’m a slow reader) because there is a such thing as renewing online (yay for the internet!).

As it turns out, my library card was so old that I’d been erased from the system.

card

But isn’t my old card so cute?!

No worries, I had a new “Where the Wild Things Are” themed card in no time!

new card

Equally as cute new card.

You see, my local library has many branches which make it super convenient where ever you happen to find yourself around town. They even let you return your book to any branch – regardless of where you rented it. They’re thoughtful like that.

Well, I’m happy to report I’ve been putting some miles on my card and I have some great summer reading recommendations for you!

To start, I’m on a saucy-summer-stories kick. That being said, when I read the back of Stephanie Evanovich’s debut novel I knew it’d be enjoyable!

big girl

Big Girl Panties was a light love story with some juicy scenes for summer.

I hinted how lovely this book was in a previous post about pillows – which by the way, you should totally sew up a pillow to go with these great reading recommendations 😉

As soon as I finished it, I started scouting out her next book which just so happened to release the Tuesday after I finished Big Girl Panties. I ran to my local library that Thursday in search of the book so I’d have it in time for my trip to Baltimore (hello airport sitting…and plane sitting..).

Well dear Stephanie didn’t let me down!

sweet spot

The Sweet Spot was just as delightful!

Although The Sweet Spot is a prequel to Big Girl Panties, you could read these books in any order and still enjoy them. There are connections made between the two stories, but they’re independent so you can easily follow without obligation of reading the other (though I do recommend it!).

These stories were so good, I didn’t even have to renew online! I finished each within the allotted two weeks and happily returned them on time.

These are just two of the saucier books I read this summer. I’m happy to report, I’m still on my “reading kick” so I’ll be sharing more book recommendations soon.

{Read my tiny collection of Book Club recommendations here.}

What did you read this summer? I’m looking for recommendations to get me through the winter 🙂

Bossypants Book Review

One bossy chicks review of Tina Fey's Bossypants.

One bossy chicks review of Tina Fey’s Bossypants.

As a girl who’s been called bossy more times than I care to count, I knew just by the title that Bossypants was the book for me!

It’s very rare that I actually finish a book (anyone else have this issue? I think it’s related to my undiagnosed ADHD). I’m very proud to say that I read Bossypants cover-to-cover and couldn’t get enough!

As always, Tina Fey is hilarious and real. There are so many parts of the book where she just “lays it all out” in a way that makes her seem so…human.

The book is such an easy read. The paperback version is light and small enough to stash in your purse in case you get stuck in a waiting room and don’t want to touch those germ-infested magazines.

I do warn you though: be careful where you’re reading (especially if it’s in the bed while your husband is sleeping) because you WILL burst out in random fits of laughter.

See! Bossy isn't so bad! ;)

See! Bossy isn’t so bad! 😉

I’m also in the midst of reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and I really appreciated reading the two alongside (although I did get the two story lines twisted a few times and ultimately decided to finish Bossypants as it was the shorter/easier-to-carry-in-my-purse option).

Whether your office is on the set of a hit TV show, the corner office at Facebook’s headquarters, the cubicle down the hall or behind the counter of a coffee shop, being a woman in society is a tough gig. Tina Fey’s ability to turn the work/life balance into a comical journey is sure to help give any female a new perspective: no matter how tough carving your path may be, there’s always room for humor!

In the end, remember that it’s always worth taking the leap because the journey makes for a great story!

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So friends: pick up a copy of Bossypants and get your laugh on!

What’s on your reading list this summer?