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Big Kids’ Table: A 2013 Overview

big kids

The LAST Big Kids’ Table of the year? What?! Unfortunately I did miss last month but I hope you’ll forgive me with today’s post. It’s been so much fun to stretch the possibilites of this feature throughou the year: getting other bloggers involved (Rachel, Hannah, Ginger, Asheley, Cassie, and Elena), completely hacked by Daphne at Gone Pecan, and probably one of my favorite posts of the year: some of my top YA authors recommending their own big kid picks!

I can’t thank everyone who was game to help me out enough… especially Cassie, Hannah, and Asheley for always being enthusiastic about this feature and always refreshing my own affection for it! Yay!

So today TODAY is the day I make the final push for some great big kid books I devoured this year!

most surprising.

Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield Thomson + The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard

Big Kids Table Most Surprising Reads 2013

These are two super different books (divorce/marriage and family/possible crime) but I became so unexpectedly obsessed with each that I read them both in close to a day. (Different days, of course.) Both are intense, heavier reads that are paced so cleverly and keep you interested until the very end.

a recommendation that was right on the money.

Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer

book cover of Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer

I’ve never given into Cassie‘s book pushing before like I did with this one. Well-developed characters, real feelings, and a ton of charm are all encompassed in this little book (that I think a lot of our moms and best friends who are not total YA people would enjoy too). Did I mention the southern setting, a sister named Merry, high school football, and the best sounding food ever? There’s just so much to enjoy here and I’m so glad I took the time to seek it out (it was sold out at my B&N) and read it ASAP.

holy moly five stars.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Big Kids Table Five Star Read 2013

I didn’t review this one; I’m not sure why. It’s a really long book, a total commitment but so worth it. I wanted to read it because I’m pretty obsessed with anything Kennedy but King made this book so much more. Time travel, the butterfly affect, falling in love, and how figuring out what is right takes a lot of tries. I was so emotionally moved by this book, completely re-energized about the history surrounding Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, and totally IN this world of time travel and its many many rules.

oh la la romance.

The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins + Three Little Words by Susan Mallery + I Only Have Eyes for You by Bella Andre

Big Kids Table Top Romance Reads 2013

After reading a tremendous amount of romance this year, it was not easy to narrow down this list. Just a quick FYI: the last two options are super sexy, super racy. And just SO fun. I really liked both the stories. (They both have heroines who have had crushes for a long, long time.) And The Perfect Match? Great combo of comedy and romance. I can’t say enough positive things about it. A lot of the times the characters in romance novels aren’t super memorable, but I felt differently about those in The Perfect Match.

feels like the first time.

Forever Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid + Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Big Kids Table Best Debuts 2013

Two debuts that made my TBR a very very happy place. Both main characters in each of these books are in their late 20s (strange coincidence) but one is dealing with the sudden death of her very new husband, and the other? Career aspirations, and wondering if she will ever make it in the big city. If anyone had either of these books under the Christmas tree, they would be very very lucky people. Beautiful writing, charming characters.

man and muppets

Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

Jim Henson The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

One of the absolute best non-fiction books I’ve ever read. I know, I know. I’m a huge Muppet fan but I truly believe people interested in the arts, pop culture, Disney fans would sincerely be touched and get a kick out of what a workaholic Henson was, how his creative mind NEVER stopped working, and the origins of so many characters we hold near and dear.

here’s to the future and you.

Big Kids Table What I Want to Read Next 2013

Claudia Silver to the Rescue by Kathy Ebel + The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum + Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Ah the hefty reading list. A burden a lot of us bring on ourselves. But that’s why we are here. A support system and the inevitable list of more books I want to make sure I get to next year. (Am I already jinxing myself?) I own the first two and I’ve heard such fantastic things about the third… must make these happen ASAP.

Thanks again for all of your support with this feature! I so appreciate it and
I’m looking forward to trying out some new things in 2014!

Now dish: what adult book fits in any of the above categories for YOU?

December 27, 2013 - 12:37 pm

Hannah @ So Obsessed With - Yayyyyy for one of my VERY FAVORITE book features! Seriously, I hope you always do Big Kids Table because it’s something I absolutely look forward to each month. Thanks so much for letting me participate this year, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for you + adult fiction! I somehow missed Forever, Interrupted when you reviewed it – definitely intrigued by that one!

December 20, 2013 - 7:54 pm

Alexa Y. - I swear, it’s like your goal in life to make sure my TBR is never-ending and always growing ;) But seriously, the Big Kids’ Table is one of my favorite features on RBR! You always feature titles that interest me and that have great-sounding stories, and a lot of them are definitely still on my TBR. Here’s to hoping I read more of these titles soon!

December 15, 2013 - 1:28 pm

Estelle - The hubs better get on the guest reviewing! I think it’s hilarious he hasn’t read the King book yet. I do think there is some kind of unwritten rule. Once it hits a year, you should be free to borrow before he reads it. ;)

December 14, 2013 - 11:06 pm

michelle - i have the perfect match on my kindle. now i really want to read it. kristan higgins is the best <3

December 14, 2013 - 2:28 pm

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - I, too, gave into Cassie’s book pushing and purchased a copy of Nowhere But Home (she must have lots of Canadian followers too, because I had to visit two Chapters stores before I found a copy!) I haven’t read it yet, but it’s definitely on my 2014 reading list. And I still want to read that King book, but I still feel guilty reading it before my husband does, since it was his Christmas gift last year. He’s just too freakin’ SLOW when it comes to reading sometimes! He started The Book Thief about two months ago (I think?) and is about halfway through it. He’s promised to do guest reviews for me for all of the books that he DOES finish, but at this rate it’ll be about two books per year =P

December 12, 2013 - 2:36 pm

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - I’ve been in such a romance novel mood the last few weeks. I have been focusing on historical romances, but now I’m kind of shifting to contemporaries. I’m in the process of reading my firest Bella Andre book – Kissing Under the Mistletoe, and I’m really liking it so far. I can’t wait to read something by Kristan Higgins.

Thanks for sharing Big Kid Books!

December 12, 2013 - 12:17 pm

Lucy - Perfect timing! I was just in the mood for some “big kids” books and also have gifts to buy. The only one on your list I’ve read so far is Tell the Wolves I’m Home so I have some catching up to do! I think that book is right up your alley.

The first two titles on your list sound fantastic. And I own a copy of Nowhere to Run and Someday, Someday Maybe and must fit them in soon!

I’ve heard good things about the Jim Henson audio so I may go that route.

Thanks for the recs!

December 12, 2013 - 9:26 am

Meg - Such fun to read! I adore Julie Buxbaum and really enjoyed The Opposite of Love, though it’s been many years since I read it. Lauren Graham’s debut was a highlight of the year for me, too, and I was also totally digging Nowhere But Home! It was just such a unique premise — cooking last meals — and the Texas setting and romance were awesome. Thanks for bringing me back to a happy reading place! :)

Not That Kind of Girl Themed Gift-Pack

Not That Kind of Girl is my third book to read of Siobhan Vivian’s. And guess what? I think it’s my favorite so far. It’s exactly what I was needing — something extremely well written with a storyline easy to get into, a main character who I could understand (even if she sometimes made me want to punch her for her opinionatedness), and a nice steamy romance. I loved what Siobhan did with the story and the subtle discussion she was having about feminism and how what you’re presenting to the world sends out a message about who you are.

I couldn’t not create a book-themed gift-pack for Not That Kind of Girl. I had a little fun with it, and hope you’ll enjoy my choices!

not that kind of girl by siobhan vivian

  1. Rule the School Ruler — For uptight, type-A, Student Council President Natalie Sterling, the name of this ruler couldn’t be more perfect. Natalie is a rule follower. A feminist who believes in empowering women and making smart choices (a little Pitch Perfect reference for those of you who have seen the movie a million and a half times like I have). I’m sure straight-edge Natalie would find the perfect location for displaying this ruler decoratively and placing it in the perfect spot so it’s functional, too.
  2. Plaid Throw Blanket — Things get a little bit (okay, more than a little) steamy between Natalie and a certain boy who shall remain nameless (until you read the book) in a shed. Yes, a shed. It sounds kinda creepy, but his parents own a Christmas tree farm and everything sounds so adorable I want to visit there for real. A particular scene involves our nameless boy and Natalie secretly meeting up in the shed. And that is all I will say.
  3. Free Verse Duvet — I know, I know. This is a little nerdy and over the top, but when you’re a nerd… you’re a nerd.;)And when am I ever going to get to choose this as an option again?
  4. Mason Jar Hanging Tea Light Holder — Refer to item number two. Spice things up a little bit more. And lower the temperature by several degrees. Our nameless boy makes an attempt to spruce up the shed a bit and brought a lantern so they could actually see. Maybe this isn’t the exact lantern he would have brought, but how adorable are they? I’ll take five.
  5. White Picture Frame — Natalie is super concerned with her photograph making the Student Council wall-of-fame. She’s only the ninth female to be President in her school’s history. It’s kind of a big deal. Surely she’d be framing a copy of the photograph to keep forever and ever, right?
  6. A Movie Bundle — Natalie and her BFF are dedicated to watching the best movies of all time together. They’re making their way through the top 100. Though this isn’t the exact list they were following, I chose four from the list. I’m not going to say whether or not I have watched all of these. I plead the 5th.
  7. Burt’s Bees — This chapstick is Natalie’s staple. It’s the only thing she wears, so when it comes time to take her Student Council photograph and she needs to cover something up, she has to enlist Freshman Spencer for a little help. She has no clue how to use other cosmetics and she definitely needs an intervention.

So whaddya think? If you’re like me and (a few years) late to the Not That Kind of Girl party,
why don’t you add it to your TBR or gift it to yourself this Christmas?

Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy from Barnes & Noble

December 14, 2013 - 11:09 pm

michelle - i love burt’s bees. it’s the only kind of chapstick i buy. not that kind of girl is in my kindle. i’ve had it for a while. maybe i’ll read it this winter break :)

December 11, 2013 - 9:51 pm

Wendy @ Book Scents - Such a great gift pack! I haven’t read this book but now I really want to! Those movies are also amazing – except I haven’t seen the godfather. (i knoww, i know)

December 11, 2013 - 3:52 pm

Alexa Y. - I am a nerd, and I love EVERYTHING in this post! I really like all the things that you included in this post, because they are things that I would like to own myself. I LOVE IT. (I also feel like I should read this book now.)

December 11, 2013 - 3:20 pm

Lucy - Based on this gift guide I think I would like this book very much! The only book I’ve read by Vivian is the co-written Burn for Burn, so I have some catching up to do. I sure love that free verse duvet, ruler and mason jar tea light holder.

Tree Thoughts, Bear Hugs, Kid President

Hiya!

I was planning on writing something totally different today but I thought I would take a cue from Melissa at Writer Grrl Reads and write about right now. I’m writing this on Monday night, a half hour after we just got back from picking up a Christmas tree down the street from our apartment. This year we have people hanging out from Canada selling Canadian trees, and the girl who chatted us up during the process had the most porcelain looking skin and thick brown dreads. Her accent was super cute, too. After looking at two trees, we settled on the second and lugged it home.

2013 Estelle and James Christmas Tree Selfie

Picking out the Christmas tree has always been a big deal for me. When I was young, my dad and I would go to the school near my church and pick out a tree just a few days before Christmas Eve. When I moved in with my husband (then fiance), we bought our tree earlier than that and always tried to keep it alive and kicking until one of our birthdays (end of January or beginning of February). One tradition we did adopt was naming the tree: Nat (after Nat King Cole), Perry (after Perry Como), and Fozziwig (after Fozzie’s role in The Muppet Christmas Carol).

And then moving from a house to an apartment, a lot of people were shocked (I have no idea why) that we would still get a real tree. Um, hello! Have you met me? I feel personally offended when people tell me they use a fake tree (it’s true) but not have one at all? It’s like Christmas never existed. Last year, we brought home our first mini tree (for almost double the price of the ones in the suburbs… sigh) and somehow managed to get all our ornaments on the tiny thing.

(We named that one Kevin after Kevin McAllister in Home Alone.)

Then a new tradition started: drinking Dr. Peppermints — a mix of peppermint schnapps and Dr. Pepper (I don’t measure and made them super strong last year) while we wait for the branches to loosen up and that true pine scent to fill our little space. So far this year our cat doesn’t seem too impressed with the tree. I was a little concerned about her reaction but she’s napping on the back of our couch right now… not even looking at it.

It’s better than attacking the branches, I suppose. Oh, who am I kidding? It definitely is.

2013 Estelle Christmas Tree

When you read this Christmas is only going to be 15 days away. FIFTEEN DAYS. I can’t believe how it crept up on us. I can’t believe how much there is to do still, and I’m also preparing myself for how fast all of it will pass by. (Isn’t that the worst? I have to get better at enjoying the moment.) So maybe this a just a little reminder to reflect and just enjoy? I don’t know if you are a fan of Kid President (you so should be) but last week he said life is what happens when you put down your phone DO SOMETHING AWESOME and ya know, for the rest of the year and the fresh one to come… that’s some advice I need to follow through on.

By the way, we named the new tree Linus.

December 17, 2013 - 2:55 pm

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - We always name our tree too! Although… I forgot what we named our tree last year because let’s face it… I still miss Short Round (aptly named for his shape). Both of our parents have fake trees now when we used to go cut down real ones (then just buy real ones, then transition to fake). I can’t wait to get a bigger tree next year (when maybe we have a bigger car because squeezing Rudolph into my Elantra was TOUGH) and keep the tradition going!

December 13, 2013 - 6:03 pm

Molly @ wrapped up in books - I love the “stop and write about the moment” idea! Your story of Christmas trees and how you name this was absolutely adorable.

My mom got a kitten this year who literally ATTACKED the tree, so she had to take it down, and my little brother is freaking out about how “non” Christmas it will feel.

Happy holidays!

December 11, 2013 - 4:49 pm

Alexa Y. - This post makes me feel so Christmas-y while I read it! I hate to admit that we’re using a fake tree this year (since we still wanted a tree, but we won’t actually be in the apartment for most of the holidays). We do have a pine-scented candle around though, and we’re having an (unofficial) decorating party tomorrow!

December 10, 2013 - 6:01 pm

alisa selene - That is so fun that you name your Christmas tree..I like the idea of real trees but because of allergies not an option!

December 10, 2013 - 4:46 pm

Bailie @ The Hemborg Wife - I so wish we could get a tree so close! Ever since we have lived in Sweden we have been tree free which is a bummer!

December 10, 2013 - 4:46 pm

Bailie @ The Hemborg Wife - I so wish we could get a tree so close! Ever since we have lived in Sweden we have been tree free which is a bummer!

December 10, 2013 - 3:26 pm

Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life - Aww, this was such an adorable and fun post to read, Estelle! <3 I think it's adorable that you always get a Christmas tree, and even name it. I think Linus is the perfect name!! And yay for the fact that you're cat isn't attacking it (yet). ;)

I think Kid President's advice is great. We're watching a video in school (er, at least, we were, until all these snow days!) about how connected people are to their phones, and how it's really preventing us from living. It's really true, unfortunately. It takes a lot of effort to put the phone down or close that tab, but it can be really worth it in the end. =)

Lovely post, Estelle! I may not celebrate Christmas, but I loved this post. <3

December 10, 2013 - 2:36 pm

Meg - Love that y’all name your trees, too — what a cute tradition! I would love to have a real tree but am way too lazy, being on the second floor of an apartment complex in the ‘burbs. :) When we get a house, I would love to start that tradition! We had artificial trees some years growing up, and live ones others… I love ‘em either way!

December 10, 2013 - 12:54 pm

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - I love the Canadians selling Christmas trees! It’s so silly but they’re one of the few things that I really miss about NYC. I’ll have to try a Dr. Peppermint. I love Dr. Pepper and even though I have some bad memories of peppermint schnapps (an old roommate and her friends used to do shots of them at parties and I joined them for way too many) it still sounds good.

December 10, 2013 - 12:09 pm

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - I love this. So, so, so much! And I love that you have a Canadian Christmas tree too :). And you’re adorable :)

December 10, 2013 - 11:56 am

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - Aww, I love your tree. And that you name them. I always prefer a live tree, too. I don’t usually get a tree for my house, but I always help my parents get a tree and decorate.

Enjoy the holiday season!

December 10, 2013 - 9:42 am

Ginger @ GReads! - How cute! I love that you name your tree. Growing up we had a mix of fake and real trees. Just depended on what my mother felt like “putting up” with that year lol. I can still remember one Christmas (well, a few weeks before) my dad was out of town on business, so my mom, sisters and I decided to surprise him and bring home a tree. My sister picked out this giant size tree that my mother was hesitant on buying at first. But we someone convinced her. The thing was so huge, we had to put it in the middle of our living room because it had vaulted ceilings lol. In the middle of the night, one night, we heard this loud crash! Everyone came downstairs and the poor tree had tumbled over. Talk about a mess!! After that we didn’t see another live tree in our home again, ha!

Life in Outer Space (Character Gift Exchange)

There’s nothing better than being completely charmed and surprised by a book.

When I first opened Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil (a book I’ve had sitting on my shelf since May — I’m terrible), I had no idea I would fall for it so hard. It’s set in Australia (yay Aussie writers!) and tells the story of Sam and his friends. Sam is a total film enthusiast (kind of a Dawson but not as melodramatic) but sort of flies under the radar at his school. When the worldly and super gorgeous Camilla moves to town and becomes a part of their friendship group, Sam’s boring life transforms into quite the opposite. The friendships, the romance, and Sam’s thoughts (he’s hilarious) made this book so hard to put down. I loved all of it so much.

Since Camilla and Sam are such vibrant characters, I kept asking myself: what would they get each other for the holidays? So this is what you are going to be seeing today. I hope it gives you more insight into these awesome (genuine) characters and inspires you to pick up Keil’s book. (I’m pretty much want to gift this to everyone I know.)

Life in Outer Space Gift Exchange Sam to Camilla

Fujifilm Instax Camera | Bon Voyage Journal | Difference Between White & Saffron Dress

With Camilla moving around so much, she really wants some stability. Early in the book, the author talks about pictures she has up in her room and she’s hoping this is a way to show her dad that she really wants to say in town this time. I kept thinking how much these Instax pictures would look on her wall, especially with the new connections she is making with Sam and his friends.

The journal serves two purposes: Camilla travels a lot to see her mother but she also writes her own songs. I feel like she would be old school about it and write it in a book, instead of on a phone.

And the dress? Sam is too cute and seems to always notice what Camilla is wearing and how her hair looks. (She wears Princess Leia buns at one point, and he basically goes nuts inside.) There’s a yellow sundress that is mentioned a few times in the book, and who ever has enough yellow dresses? (I like the belt!)

Life in Outer Space Gift Exchange Camilla to Sam

Movie Monsters Guitar Strap | Give Empires a Chance T-Shirt | Star Wars Mad Libs |Film ListographySlasher Movie Book

I feel like Sam would be so fun to shop for if he was my guy (or even just my friend). He wears vintage t-shirts, he loves movies, and during the book, he gets into music. Boys can be so hard to shop for but because his hobbies equate to an endless collection of things. I’m sad though because I saw a shirt called “future screenwriter” in a museum last weekend and I can’t find it online. Boo!

Honestly, I think Camilla is probably one of the most thoughtful and adventurous gift givers and I can only imagine what she would really do for Sam for the holidays.

Hope you enjoyed this little feature today! If you are looking for a solid YA with a male POV that covers divorce, changing friendships, high school antics, popularity, and being scared shitless of falling in love? Life in Outer Space is where it is at! Be sure to check it out. Promise?

Life in Outer Space on Goodreads | Amazon

January 6, 2014 - 9:01 am

Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil (YA Review) - […] Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy at B&N | Character Gift Exchange: Sam & Camilla […]

December 11, 2013 - 6:21 pm

Alexa Y. - This post alone makes me want to read Life in Outer Space! I love all the presents you picked out for these two characters. I think I’ll like Camilla quite a lot because those gifts would be perfect for me ;)

December 11, 2013 - 3:24 pm

Lucy - I’m reading this book now and it’s so much fun! How cute is that camera. OMG! And the gifts from Camilla to Sam are spot on.

December 10, 2013 - 11:36 am

alice-jane - It’s really neat how you came up with presents for fictional characters. While I haven’t read LIfe in Outer Space, I definitely felt like I knew the characters a little better after this. The Polaroid camera is super cute! Apparently Hot Topic makes Doctor Who, Star Wars skirts and maybe they’d be a nice for Camilla if she ever gets into the movies with Sam?

December 9, 2013 - 10:16 pm

elena - I WANT EVERYTHING SAM IS GIVING TO CAMILLA! i’ve always wanted a fuji instax camera and yellow!!!!!!

December 9, 2013 - 7:52 pm

MK - The idea of coming up with gifts for fictional characters to give each other is just the kind of nerdy activity I LOVE. Also, I enjoy your use of the term “a Dawson.”

December 9, 2013 - 5:53 pm

alisa selene - Love the idea of coming up with gifts for fictional characters! This sounds like fun!

December 9, 2013 - 4:04 pm

VeganYANerds - It makes me so happy to know that you too loved Life in Outer Space. I did not want to leave Sam, Camilla, and the rest of the gang when I finished the book. I love the gifts you chose for them both!

December 9, 2013 - 3:59 pm

Theta Sigma @ The Wandering Bookworm - Fantastic post.

This has been one of my fave books for this year, partly due to the YA element and partly down to the fact that I’m a geek.

Hope there’s a sequel. :)

Your Holiday Guide to Gifting Children’s Books

Let’s jump back in time and discuss children’s books. This isn’t something we typically discuss here at Rather Be Reading, but I’m sure there are several of you who will be buying gifts for the children in your lives this holiday season, whether that be nieces and nephews, siblings, or your own babies. We read aloud to our foster daughter all. the. time. It’s one of her favorite things to do. She singsongs “a book, a book, a book” and snuggles up in our laps when she wants to sit down and read. Some days it seems like I’ll lose my voice long before she’s ready to stop reading.

One thing I’ve learned, though, is that not all children’s books are created equal. Some of them just seem so… silly. Or there really doesn’t seem to be a message or anything to learn from it. And I’m sure there is a reason for those types of books but as you’ll see below, I really like things that have some substance or purpose and keep me intrigued, too.

So… without further ado, here’s our first Holiday Guide to Gifting Children’s Books.

books to buy children for the holidays

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss (Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble)

This book is excellent for making silly sounds and fun rhymes. It goes through a lot of simple sounds like “moo” and “knock knock” that are fun for kids to try to repeat and imitate.

Ten in the Bed by Penny Dale (Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble)

Ten in the Bed is silly and sure to make any kid laugh. I sent Estelle a video of me reading this to our foster daughter the other night and she just giggled away. It’s repetitive because it works through numbers 1-10, but it’s really sweet and makes for a great bed-time book!

Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman (Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble)

Let’s just talk about a tear-jerker of a book. This book makes me tear up every single time I read it, but it’s so beautiful and wonderfully written. It just sends the most beautiful message and is full of so much love.

touch and feel books, rhyming books, naptime books for children

The Napping House by Audrey Wood (Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble)

I absolutely love this book. A friend lent it to us when we first were got the placement call for our foster daughter. It quickly became our nap time book because it was very soothing and relaxing to read to her, but still entertaining and well-written. I love the illustrations, too!

Baby Einstein Touch and Feel Baby Animals by Julie Aigner-Clark (Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble)

Not all children’s books have in depth story lines. The touch and feel books are great for getting children to associate feels with specific things, this one being animals. It has really helped our foster daughter to identify animals as well, and it’s incredible to see things click for her.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin (Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble)

I’m pretty sure there’s not a book that made ME giggle more when I first began reading this one. It’s clever and adults will appreciate the humor, too. There are a few books by the same author/illustrator, but this is the original and still my favorite. It’s a definite win!

madeline, room on the broom, and fox in socks

Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss (Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble)

We bought this book for our niece and nephew last year and oooooh does it make them laugh. That may be because this is a tongue twister book so it’s really difficult for the reader to not stumble over their words, especially if you get into the rhythm of things and a little too confident. Our nephew is now 4 years old and I think it’s a great option for a wide age-range.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble)

Sweet Hannah at So Obsessed With recently gifted us with this book, and it’s quickly become a favorite. The illustrations are so timeless and I love the writing because, again, it’s intellectual and so sweet.

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson (Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble)

This book was advertised a lot at B&N for Halloween so of course I bought it. Of course. And I love it. My husband is actually the person to recommend I include it on this list because we both love reading it so much. It’s a fun story and it’s not Halloween centered, per se, so it wouldn’t seem odd to gift it at this time of year.

What children’s books do you recommend?
I’m always on the hunt for more, especially when B&N sends out their coupons…

December 31, 2013 - 12:02 am

Rather Be Reading: Magan's Farewell to 2013 - […] is silly, but I really loved recommending children’s books in this holiday shopping guide. I know we’re not a children’s book blog, but the books are still super cute and of […]

December 8, 2013 - 8:29 pm

Lisa Schensted - Love this post! Also, Madeline is currently sitting under the tree for Lucy! Wee!

December 7, 2013 - 2:56 pm

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - I love children’s books! I’m a children’s librarian, so I’ve read hundreds of them. You’re right, some are amazing, and some are not so amazing. I don’t mind if there isn’t a message, though. I mean, I read lots of books where there is no message, and I love those books.

But it’s great when there is more meat to a story too. I love all these books. Doreen Cronin is so much fun. I really love her Diary of a … books too. You should look into them.

Also, I don’t know if you’ve read any Mo Willems, but you should. Your foster daughter will love them (trust me, I haven’t met a child yet who didn’t love the Pigeon books or the Elephant and Piggie series).

Oh, and I love The Napping House. Audrey and Don Wood are great. Have you tried King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub?

December 6, 2013 - 3:27 pm

Alexa Y. - I love that you did a gift guide for children’s books! There are some great titles on here, indeed. Personally, I love gifting Dr. Seuss books and The Berenstein Bears books because that’s what I grew up with! And two other titles I can think of, off the top of my head, are Good Night Moon and I Love You Forever :)

December 6, 2013 - 2:54 pm

ashley - Children’s books really are the best. For multiple reasons. My friend recently requested books for Teens and Tweens and I sent her more picture books than I did books for tweens and teens because there is something SO perfect about them.