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Love is Powerful

Love is Powerful

This book will lift you up in its arms and make you believe that “Love is Powerful”! It’s the right choice to help us under­stand what a group of peo­ple can accom­plish if they are unit­ed in their pur­pose and mov­ing toward treat­ing all peo­ple with love and kindness. Writ­ten by Heather Dean Brew­er from Michi­gan and illus­trat­ed by LeUyen Pham from Cal­i­for­nia, both of whom marched in the 2017 Women’s March­es, this book is inspired by Mari, a real lit­tle girl who trav­eled with her moth­er from Harlem to Mid­town New York to march with large crowds of peo­ple who were protest­ing inhu­mane actions and poli­cies of a pres­i­dent who reviled many people.
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Planetarium

Planetarium

My fas­ci­na­tion with out­er space is well-doc­u­ment­ed. I had star charts on my child­hood bed­room walls. But this book would have enthralled me … in fact, it still does. The illus­tra­tions by engraver and print­mak­er Chris Wormell are detailed in a way that aids under­stand­ing. Scale is a tough con­cept for our com­pre­hen­sion but this book tack­les that with info­graph­ics that give a sense of how enor­mous our uni­verse is.
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The Range Eternal

The Range Eternal

I am delight­ed by the re-issue of The Range Eter­nal, a pic­ture book that reach­es back into his­to­ry and con­nects with our sens­es, our fam­i­lies, our fears, and our reas­sur­ances. I have read all of Louise Erdrich’s books for adults and chil­dren. She nev­er fails to bring me new ways of look­ing at the world.
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You Are (Not) Small

You Should (Not) Read These Books

I remem­ber my neigh­bor­hood friends stand­ing on oppo­site sides of a dri­ve­way, angry, yelling loud­ly at each oth­er. I don’t recall why, but I can still feel those emo­tions. That’s how strong feel­ings are. Our chil­dren deal with a mul­ti­tude of emo­tions every day. You were prob­a­bly remem­ber­ing sim­i­lar instances from your child­hood. And what hap­pened after­ward?
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Wild Girl

Wild Girl

WOW!*!&! I want to car­ry a back­pack with me wher­ev­er I go, hand­ing out a copy of this book to every per­son I see. I loved every dare­dev­il, detailed, aston­ish­ing minute of read­ing this book. I believe you will, too. Mind, I grew up at a time where I heard two phras­es con­stant­ly: “Sit still” and “Ladies don’t rough­house.”… more
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The Book Rescuer

The Book Rescuer

I have had The Book Res­cuer on my desk for sev­er­al months. I imme­di­ate­ly knew I want­ed to write about it because I feel such a strong attrac­tion to this sto­ry (a true sto­ry) but I had a hard time putting into words how deeply I am moved by the actions of this book hero. The sto­ry begins this way: Kum aher.… more
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Yasmin the Zookeeper

Yasmin

Once I finished reading Yasmin the Zookeeper, I was charmed. I wanted to find out more about this young Pakistani American girl who is curious about everything.
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The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs

The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs

Our col­lec­tion of cook­books is vast. Some of them are in use more than oth­ers, and some of them are in rough shape from too much use. I’m always on the look­out for good cook­books that will encour­age young peo­ple to cook and to read about cook­ing, just as I did with the gift of my first, Bet­ty Crock­er’s Cook­book for Boys and Girls.… more
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The Next President

The Next President

Who the next U.S.A. pres­i­dent will be is pre-occu­py­ing many minds around the world right now. This book takes a stance by telling us about the dis­tinc­tive pres­i­dents of the past, a cou­ple of sen­tences about every one of them, #1 through #45, and asks us to real­ize that the next ten pres­i­dents are prob­a­bly alive right now.… more
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Girls Garage

Girls Garage

Don't miss adding Girls Garage by Emily Pilloton to your bookshelves. It's a terrific book specifically written to help young women gain the confidence they need to build anything they want to build. Highly recommended.
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Bedtime for Sweet Creatures

Bedtime for Sweet Creatures

Such a charm­ing book! From Nik­ki Grimes, we hear the sto­ry of a young boy stalling his bed­time, all the while col­lect­ing a menagerie of imag­i­nary crea­tures. This is a child who has well-prac­ticed ploys for avoid­ing bed­time. His par­ents respond with play­ful­ness and good humor. Mom and dad are patient but, final­ly, the child is too sleepy to stay awake.… more
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Equality's Call

Equality’s Call

Writ­ten by Deb­o­rah Diesen in read­able-out-loud verse with a refrain that reflects the cumu­la­tive action in the pre­ced­ing pages, this pic­ture book traces the dili­gent efforts of those who worked for decades to make Amer­i­ca’s vot­ing rights more inclu­sive. There is his­to­ry here for every­one to know. The illus­tra­tions add pas­sion and under­stand­ing to the text, help­ing us with more infor­ma­tion.… more
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Under Threat

Under Threat

This oversized book is unforgettable. Both the art and the text are strong testaments about animals that are "threatened with extinction: critically endangered (the most threatened), endangered, and vulnerable (the least threatened)."
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A to Zåäö

A to Zåäö is an alphabet book, a museum exhibit catalog, an introduction to the Swedish language, and a picture book illustrated  by a mother's watercolors and her son's pen-and-ink drawings.
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Humanimal

This book is a page-turner in all of the right ways. It's an immensely readable nonfiction book that delivers memorable information. Best of all, I believe it will change hearts and minds about our relationship to animals, a necessary step in our evolution if we're engaged in saving our planet.
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A Cat's Guide to the Night Sky

A Cat’s Guide to the Night Sky

A dear­ly drawn cat named Felic­i­ty — hon­or­ing Félicette, a stray cat in Paris who became the first cat in space on Octo­ber 18, 1963 — takes us on an explo­ration of stargaz­ing. As a book on obser­va­tion­al astron­o­my, it’s an  excit­ing book for kids and adults alike. Short para­graphs cov­er what to wear when stargaz­ing, where to go for max­i­mum view­ing, the clas­si­fi­ca­tion of stars, con­stel­la­tions, plan­ets, galax­ies, and short-short sto­ries behind the con­stel­la­tions of each sea­son.… more
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Riding a Donkey Backwards

Riding a Donkey Backwards

The wise fool or the foolish wise man? As the authors explain, "Nasruddin is the wisest man in the village and also the biggest fool. ... If he doesn't make you laugh, he will certainly make you think—and perhaps think sideways instead of straight ahead." Mulla Nasruddin is an ancient Persian folk character, discussed in Sufi studies, familiar throughout India, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and the Middle East.
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The Night the Forest Came to Town

The Night the Forest Came to Town

A city can be all hard surfaces, concrete, brick, pavement, and glass. Adults can be preoccupied with their devices. Billboards, street lights, every kind of distraction. There's a distinct separation from nature, a disconnect.
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My Grandma and Me

My Grandma and Me

My Grand­ma and Me
Mina Java­herbin
illus­trat­ed by Lind­sey Yankey
Can­dlewick Press, 2019
ISBN 978−1−4263−3304−0 If you were for­tu­nate to have one or two or three lov­ing grand­moth­ers, this book will touch your heart. Grand­mas can be the most lov­ing peo­ple in our long lives, teach­ing us about life, pass­ing along tra­di­tions, shar­ing sto­ries, help­ing us become whole­some adults.… more
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Trudi Trueit

Explorer Academy: The Falcon’s Feather

Explor­er Acad­e­my: The Fal­con’s Feather
Tru­di Trueit
illus­trat­ed by Scott Plumbe (with a blend of photos)
Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Part­ners, 2019
ISBN 978−1−4263−3304−0 I’ve writ­ten a pri­or Read­ing Ahead essay about my love for The Neb­u­la Secret, the first book in the Explor­er Acad­e­my series. Now book two, The Fal­con’s Feath­er, con­tin­ues the sto­ry and I think it’s even more excit­ing.… more
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Make This!

Make This!

Make This! Build­ing, Think­ing, and Tin­ker­ing Projects for the Amaz­ing Mak­er in You 
Ella Schwartz, pho­tographs by Matthew Rakola
Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Kids, 2019 When pre­sent­ed with this book, wheels start turn­ing, ideas begin pop­ping, and your tem­per­a­ture ris­es! This is going to be fun. And a care­ful­ly thought-through learn­ing expe­ri­ence … but who needs to know that? By the book’s def­i­n­i­tion, “A mak­er is some­one who tin­kers, fix­es, breaks, rebuilds, and con­structs projects for the world around them.”… more
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Books Books Books

Books Books Books

Books Books Books 
Mick Man­ning and Bri­ta Granström
Can­dlewick Press, 2017 Book lovers appre­ci­ate the beau­ty, rar­i­ty, inven­tive design, and con­tent of all types of books. Those in the vast col­lec­tion of the British Library (more than 150 mil­lion lit­er­ary arti­facts on 15 floors and 400 miles of shelv­ing) will help to make book lovers of the chil­dren in your life.… more
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Storm by Sam Usher

Storm

That irre­sistible urge to jump into a cush­ioned pile of waist-high leaves, sink­ing into the vivid col­ors, the smell of earth and sky, the sounds of nature embrac­ing you? Don’t miss Storm by Sam Ush­er (Tem­plar Books). The glow­ing reds and golds of fall jump off the cov­er, invit­ing you to open the book and set­tle in for an autumn sto­ry.… more
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History's Mysteries

History’s Mysteries

You pick up the bright­ly col­ored book lying on the table and open it near the mid­dle. What’s this book about? In 1848, the HMS Ere­bus and the HMS Ter­ror set out to find the link between the Pacif­ic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean by sail­ing into the Arc­tic waters. The ships and the crews dis­ap­peared in the Arc­tic.… more
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A World of Cities

A World of Cities

A World of Cities
text by Lily Murray
illus­trat­ed by James Brown
Can­dlewick Stu­dio, 2018
ISBN 978−0−7636−9879−9
Those kids in your life, your school­room, your library who are Fact Hunters? They col­lect facts to savor, share with oth­ers, and build their knowl­edge of the world around them. This is a book for them. Not every child can trav­el to the major cities of the world, but this book will leave an impres­sion, a yearn­ing for exploration.… more
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Explorer Academy

Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret

Explor­er Acad­e­my: The Neb­u­la Secret
Tru­di Truett
illus­trat­ed by Scott Plumbe (with a blend of photos)
Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Part­ners, 2018
ISBN 978−1−4263−3159−6 Done with the Har­ry Pot­ter series, maybe not quite ready for the Alex Rid­er series, what do you suggest? Explor­er Acad­e­my. Emphat­i­cal­ly.  The book opens in Hawaii, where Cruz Coro­n­a­do (not quite 13) is get­ting packed and say­ing good­bye before he heads to Wash­ing­ton, D.C.,… more
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imagine

There are times when I open a new book that my pulse quick­ens and times when I need to be con­vinced. Some­times I can sense myself slid­ing com­fort­ably into the sur­round­ings of a pic­ture book, feel­ing wel­comed, under­stand­ing every­thing about the book because it is so well craft­ed. That’s this book. First off, this is an auto­bi­og­ra­phy … so as a men­tor text it is ideal. … more
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Anna and Johanna

Anna and Johanna

Anna and Johan­na: a Chil­dren’s Book Inspired by Vermeer
Geral­dine Elschner
illus­trat­ed by Flo­rence Koenig
Pres­tel Pub­lish­ing, 2018
pub­lished in French in 2016
ISBN 978−3−7913−7345−4 Delft. Delft blue. The book begins
with blue and yel­low. 1666. Two friends born on the same day.
This day, their birthday.
They are each mak­ing gifts for the other.
Lace and chocolate.
One the daugh­ter of the house,
the oth­er the daugh­ter of the maid.… more
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Summer Reading

When I say “sum­mer read­ing,” you think about … a good nov­el, right? I have a cou­ple of suggestions. Every kid should have these two books tucked in their beach bags, ready for a car trip, or packed for sum­mer camp. Seriously. In between the read­ing out loud of those nov­els you’ve been sav­ing up all year, or the lis­ten­ing to an audio book on the car radio, or the flash­light read­ing in the pitched tent in your back­yard, I hope you will share these books.… more
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What’s So Special about Shakespeare?

We cel­e­brate William Shake­speare’s birth­day on April 23rd (or there­abouts). Con­sid­er read­ing excerpts of this book to your classes. In What’s So Spe­cial about Shake­speare?, the author, Michael Rosen, walks into a house with us, peek­ing into rooms where Shakespeare’s plays are being enact­ed. Such vari­ety! It’s an inspired way to place young read­ers among the peo­ple of Shakespeare’s time.… more
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The Enchanting Boggarts

When­ev­er any­one asks the title of my favorite book, it’s a toss-up between two: A Wrin­kle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle and The Dark is Ris­ing by Susan Coop­er. A Wrin­kle in Time because it opened the whole wide uni­verse to my young mind and The Dark is Ris­ing because I under­stood for the first time what a per­fect sto­ry could be.… more
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With My Hands

Some­times, a book comes across my desk that sparkles like a gem, attract­ing my atten­tion, insist­ing that I stop what I’m doing and read it. This hap­pened when With My Hands: Poems about Mak­ing Things arrived last week. I thought I’d take a peek. Next thing you know, I was clos­ing the last page of the book, sigh­ing with con­tent­ment.… more
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The Magic Misfits

The Magic Misfits

I’m one of those peo­ple that often reads a celebri­ty-writ­ten book because I’d like to find one that defies the odds. How about you? Did you get over the won­der­ing at a cer­tain point? Or do you still give a new star-pow­ered book a try? Sad­ly, I don’t often find a celebri­ty book I can rec­om­mend. This time, though, I’m prac­ti­cal­ly shout­ing: Read this book!… more
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The Secret Kingdom

The Secret Kingdom

This book is irre­sistible. For all kinds of reasons. Remem­ber when you were a kid, or maybe you do this now, how you’d take what­ev­er was at hand and cre­ate a house, a camp, an entire set­ting for you to play in? Where you could act out your sto­ries? Did you do this with found items from nature?… more
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Mighty Jack and the Goblin King

Mighty Jack

We are thrust into the midst of the action, which nev­er stops until the epi­logue. This is how Ben Hatke tells a story. We don’t know what’s going on. There’s no set­up. Instead, we quick­ly learn that Jack is climb­ing some veg­e­ta­tive mat­ter to find the ogre who kid­napped his sis­ter Mad­dy and take her home. His friend, Lil­ly, no side­kick, is climb­ing along­side him.… more
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Me, All Alone, at the End of the World

Me, All Alone, Reading This Book

Some­times, the illus­tra­tions are won­der­ful but the lan­guage is cap­ti­vat­ing. You know how you read a pic­ture book and you can’t decide which part to focus on? Should you look at the pic­ture first? Should you read the sto­ry because it’s the thread that’s pulling you through? Well, when you read “He was a long-leggedy man with a wide, wide hat and a beard in a cir­cle around his head.… more
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The Best Wish of All

Once in awhile I find a book on my read­ing pile that I’ve passed by a few times. It might be that the cov­er doesn’t make sense to me and I shuf­fle through to choose anoth­er title. Or the title might be sil­ly (in my mind) and I don’t open the book because some­thing else catch­es my inter­est.… more
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Kids' Book of Questions

Summer Travel

Here are three words that may be loom­ing large in your mind: Long. Car. Trip. You’re pack­ing games, snacks, an audio book or two, sev­er­al books to take turns read­ing out loud, and … The Kids’ Book of Ques­tions. I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid and we went on long car trips (near­ly every week­end), I read a lot (which must have been bor­ing for my mom), but the two of us also sang songs, talked over the week we had just explored, and, if we were head­ing to fam­i­ly, expec­ta­tions for behav­ior.… more
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Even Superheroes Have Bad Days

Superheroes and Bad Days

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been wish­ing for an hon­est-to-good­ness super­hero to save the day. If adults are feel­ing that way, kids, who pick up all of our emo­tions, are wish­ing for the same thing. Bat­man and Won­der Woman led the list of most pop­u­lar Hal­loween cos­tumes in 2016. The pro­lif­er­a­tion of super­hero movies is hard to ignore.… more
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Judge Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix

Chef Roy Choi’s Story

Every time I re-read this book, it makes me hap­pi­er. I’ve grown quite fond of the books being pub­lished by Read­ers to Eaters and I eager­ly antic­i­pate each new book. Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix is anoth­er food arti­san biog­ra­phy from Jacque­line Brig­gs Mar­tin, this time co-writ­ten with June Jo Lee. Jack­ie writes the fla­vor­ful essence of the artist in an irre­sistible recipe of words.… more
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If You Were the Moon

March Shorts

Oooo! Here in Min­neso­ta, shorts in March mean chills. These books will give you chills – in a good way! Cat Goes Fiddle-I-Fee
Adapt­ed and illus­trat­ed by Paul Galdone
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 1985 
(reis­sued in April 2017) I rec­og­nized the title imme­di­ate­ly as I song I know well, sung as “I Had a Roost­er” by Pete Seeger on Birds, Beasts, Bugs & Lit­tle Fish­es in 1968.… more
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I’ve Been Enchanted

This is a rare admis­sion from me because it’s about a book whose main char­ac­ters are ani­mals. I’ve stat­ed before in this col­umn that ani­mal books have nev­er been a favorite of mine, even as a child. Sure­ly there are oth­ers of you out there who are too shy to admit the same thing? In my deter­mi­na­tion to read old­er children’s books that I haven’t read before, I’ve just fin­ished a book that has shown me I can adore books about ani­mals: The Hotel Cat by Esther Aver­ill, a Jenny’s Cat Club book.… more
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When Jackie Saved Grand Central

Those Kennedys

Amer­i­ca has a fine tra­di­tion of elect­ed offi­cials who care deeply about the peo­ple, places, and poli­cies of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca. Two recent books high­light the good works of, and respect for, Jacque­line Bou­vi­er Kennedy Onas­sis and John Fitzger­ald Kennedy, the First Lady and Pres­i­dent from 1961 to 1963. Although Pres­i­dent Kennedy was assas­si­nat­ed just two short years into his term as Pres­i­dent, the First Lady con­tin­ued her work for the ben­e­fit of the peo­ple through­out her life.… more
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Fish Girl

Graphic Storytelling

  A good graph­ic nov­el should pose a mystery. As it opens (last pos­si­ble minute), the read­er often has no clue what’s going on. It’s often an unknown world, even if it looks like our world. This isn’t that dif­fer­ent than the open­ing of a con­ven­tion­al print book but, for some rea­son, peo­ple often react to graph­ic nov­els by telling me, “I can’t read them!… more
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Who Stole the Wizard of Oz?

The Delight of Reading Older Books

One of my favorite types of read­ing is to go back and read books I’ve missed from years ago. I once spent an entire sum­mer read­ing books that were pub­lished in the 1950s. I had such a strong feel­ing of the decade after read­ing those books that I felt more con­nect­ed to peo­ple who lived then.… more
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How Things Work

Irresistible Reading: How Things Work

Now, if that Sci­ence Ency­clo­pe­dia wasn’t cool enough, here’s anoth­er sure-fire hit for kids who love to read facts, true sto­ries, and know how things work. In fact, the book is called How Things Work and it’s anoth­er pow­er­house from Nation­al Geographic. As the book admon­ish­es, “PUT THIS BOOK DOWN NOW. It’s dan­ger­ous. It might make you think you can do impos­si­ble things.”… more
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Science Encyclopedia

Feeding the Naturally Curious Brain

You’ll dis­cov­er mouth­less worms and walk­ing ferns … ” (pg. 13) And with those words, I’m charged up for the hunt. Along the way, I can’t help being dis­tract­ed by a sat­is­fy­ing amount of irre­sistible infor­ma­tion in Nation­al Geo­graph­ic’s Sci­ence Ency­clo­pe­dia. If you learn best visu­al­ly, there is a sur­feit of images to stim­u­late a curi­ous mind.… more
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Before Morning

Essential Holiday Giving: Books

Hands down, there is no bet­ter gift for hol­i­days or birth­days than a book. You can find a book to suit every inter­est, every taste, and your bud­get. You can always feel good about giv­ing a book (unless you’re giv­ing a gift to some­one who lives in a Tiny House … ask first).  Here’s my list of sug­ges­tions for the hol­i­days.… more
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Planet Kindergarten: 100 Days in Orbit

Orbiting Kindergarten

That live­ly, quirky-think­ing duo from Plan­et Kinder­garten have teamed up once again for Plan­et Kinder­garten: 100 Days in Orbit. Many schools use the 100-day mark­er to reflect on how far they’ve come since the first day of kinder­garten. Social graces, eti­quette, mind­ful­ness, assign­ments, singing, pledges … they’re all includ­ed in this new book. But the extra-fun twist is that our hero recounts the entire sto­ry as a trip into space aboard a star­ship filled with aliens and a thought­ful commander. … more
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Sleep Tight Farm

Tucked In for the Winter

Every detail in this book is heart­warm­ing. You know that the author and the illus­tra­tor and the book’s pub­lish­ing team put a lot of love and respect into bring­ing this sto­ry to readers. From the moment you see the open­ing end papers, a for­est and pas­ture ablaze with fall col­or, until you dis­cov­er the clos­ing end papers, that same for­est with the snowy skele­tons of those trees, you sense the care within.… more
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