Little Kids: Vacation and Travel Galore!

Maybe because it’s been lovely here in Texas for the last few weeks. Maybe because I’m going to Hawaii in less than a week (!!!). Maybe because our neighborhood pool opened last weekend…or maybe for all of those reasons vacation, summertime and sunscreen, beach bags, and road trips are on my mind. What better way to prepare than to think of some books to discuss vacation and mishaps and silly stories with your children? I had a TON of fun picking out these books this month.

For May’s Little Kids, lets learn what happens to our houses when we go on vacation, what silly car games we might play, or what it might be like when the relatives stay with us during the summer!

• • •

The House Takes a VacationTHE HOUSE TAKES A VACATION  || Synopsis from Barnes & Noble: After the Petersons leave for vacation, their house decides it wants to take a holiday, too! But the different parts of the house can’t agree on where to go. Finally, the sunporch suggests the house go to the beach. The basement refuses “to rise to the occasion,” but the rest of the house follows the front door as it leads the way—and the house has a vacation that it will never forget!




On the Road Again

ON THE ROAD AGAIN || Synopsis from B&N: Charlie and his family are on the road again — this time to spend a year in the South of France. Unhappy at first, not wanting to leave his friends, his school and big-city life, Charlie soon finds himself caught up in the new adventures in their little village of Celeriac. He runs through the streets chased by bulls, survives an autumn flood and a winter blizzard, and discovers the pleasures of French cuisine, including snails, donkey sausage and runny cheese that smells like the boys’ locker room.

Most of all, Charlie and his little brother, Max, grow fond of their neighbors — the man who steals ducks from the local river, the neighbor’s dog who sleeps right in the middle of the street, and their new friends Rachid and Ahmed, who teach them how to play soccer in the village, where the goal is the open door of the church.
As a bonus, there’s a hilarious driving trip through Spain in their sardine-can car.
In the end, Charlie discovers the bittersweet joys of living in a new place. “Part of me wanted to stay,” he says. “Part of me wanted to go. I guess that’s the way it is with traveling . . .”


The BabySitters ClubTHE BABY-SITTERS CLUB: EUROPEAN VACATION || Synopsis from B&N: The BSC is going global! Kristy, Stacey, Abby, Jessi, and Mallory have signed up for the best school trip yet: a week in London and Paris! Stacey can’t wait to go shopping and to museums. Jessi’s excited about a special dance performance. Abby’s dying to visit the BSC’s little princess, Victoria Kent. Mal’s looking forward to meeting her distant cousins. And Kristy finds love . . . when she least expects it. This time the Baby-sitters are going to have plenty to write home about! The best friends you’ll ever have–with classic BSC covers!

(Disclaimer: I know this is too mature for my 15 month old right now, but one day, this will be in her summer arsenal!)



Junie B Jones Aloha-ha-haJUNIE B. JONES ALOHA-HA-HA! || Synopsis from B&N: Junie B. and her family are going on a vacation to Hawaii! And ha! Mr. Scary is giving Junie a real, actual camera to keep a photo journal of her trip! But taking good vacation pictures is not always easy. ’Cause what if there is an unfortunate inner tube incident at the swimming pool? (And, oh my! Let’s not evenmention what happens if a tropical bird gets tangled in your hair!) Will Junie B.’s vacation end up picture perfect? Or will her trip to Hawaii be aloha-horrible?




Too Much VacationTHE BERENSTAIN BEARS AND TOO MUCH VACATION || Synopsis from B&N: The family getaway is a disaster: the cabin’s roof leaks, the lake is muddy, and the mosquitoes are ravenous. But when the bears return home and develop their snapshots, they laugh and laugh, fully enjoying the worst vacation they’ve ever had!  The Bear family experiences one mishap after another when they vacation in the Great Grizzly Mountains.



The Relatives CameTHE RELATIVES CAME || Synopsis from Goodreads: In a rainbow-colored station wagon that smelled like a real car, the relatives came. When they arrived, they hugged and hugged from the kitchen to the front room. All summer they tended the garden and ate up all the strawberries and melons. They plucked banjos and strummed guitars. When they finally had to leave, they were sad, but not for long. They all knew they would be together next summer.



Travels with my FamilyTRAVELS WITH MY FAMILY || Synopsis from B&N: Instead of dream vacations to Disney World and motels with swimming pools and water slides, the parents in Travels with My Family insist on obscure destinations — even if it means driving for hours to get to the middle of nowhere, countless back-seat games of Twenty Questions that end badly, and reading aloud the “How to Change a Tire” chapter from the Owner’s Manual. To say nothing of what happens when they arrive: eating grasshoppers in Mexico, forgetting the tide schedule while collecting sand dollars off the coast of Georgia, and mistaking alligators for logs in the middle of Okefenokee Swamp.





A photo posted by Magan (@magan) on


My little beach bum last year at ~ 6 months old.

• • •

(In researching this, I realized this subject needs more titles.)

Little Kids: Bedtime Stories

One of my favorite times of day to read with my daughter, Everett, is before bedtime. It’s the only time during the day that her Daddy and I are both there to snuggle and read with her. One of us snuggles, the other reads, and we alternate every evening. We don’t always choose bedtime stories to read during that time, but I do really like how they reinforce that everyone has to go to sleep, get some rest, and be refreshed for the new day.

Below I’m sharing a few of our favorites, one that’s on my wish list, and I’m hoping you’ll chime in with a few of your favorite recommendations, too. I didn’t realize until I began this post how narrow this subject seems to be, and I really wanted to branch out from classics like Goodnight Moon.

I hope you enjoy this month’s Little Kids picks! Don’t forget to share your favorite bedtime stories!


Daddy's Zigzagging Bedtime Story

DADDY’S ZIGZAGGING BEDTIME STORY: This is one of our favorite evening stories. I gifted this to Dustyn for his first Father’s Day with Everett last year and it’s silly, goofy, and fun to read. I like that she’ll continue to understand it more as she learns the subjects in the book, and that it’s one that stands out from the rest of the bedtime stories because it’s not quiet and somber. (Goodreads • Amazon)

Disney Bedtime Favorites

DISNEY BEDTIME FAVORITES: We were gifted this book for Everett and I’m so glad because I’m positive if we weren’t instilling some Disney foundations into her, Estelle might un-friend me. (I kid, I kid.) These are a bit on the longer side. This book is thicker and will take us a while to read, but I really enjoy getting to share some of my favorite characters with her. (Goodreads • Amazon)

Little Owl's Night

LITTLE OWL’S NIGHT: This is such a sweet tale about a little owl exploring the night and seeing the world “wake up” in the morning. I love the cleverness and creativity of this story! (Goodreads • Amazon)

Llama Llama Red Pajama

LLAMA LLAMA RED PAJAMA: Who doesn’t love Llama Llama? This book (and all of the others in the series) is so great. I love the rhyming and the truthfulness of a little Llama getting all freaked out because his momma hasn’t tucked him in bed yet. (Goodreads • Amazon)

The Going to Bed BookTHE GOING TO BED BOOK: This is a great book about routine and the things you need to do before bedtime: brush your teeth, take a bath, get dressed, and rock to sleep. It’s a little bit silly, and great with some word repetition. (Goodreads • Amazon)



The Goodnight TrainTHE GOODNIGHT TRAIN: I love the illustrations and the little bit of reverse psychology, “Don’t close your eyes!” as you sheep, clouds, and mermaids! (Goodreads • Amazon)


What are your favorite bedtime stories for your littles?
What book do you hope to pick up from the list above?

Little Kids: Let’s Talk About Feelings

Hi, again! I’ve got a stack of new children’s books that will be coming out in the next few months sitting next to me. I sat down and picked a few of my favorites I wanted to highlight that I strongly feel should be on your radar over the coming months when they’re released. I noticed there was a trend though: they all deal with feelings in some capacity. Not all in the same way, but I liked that this tied them all together. I’ll explain more below…


Butterfly graphic from DoKity

My Pop is a Pirate (3/1/15)
This sweet book is a dedication to grandfathers and touches on how special they are to grandchildren because they seem invincible. (Hint: this one might be a good one for Father’s Day this year!)

The Fun Book of Scary Stuff (8/11/15)
It’s about the things that frighten little kids and how to become brave — with super cute illustrations and a dog who helps the little boy tackle his fears.

What James Said (6/9/15)
Misunderstandings, at all ages, are no fun. Especially when they deal with rumors and friendship. This is my personal favorite from this month’s selections because people of all ages can benefit from the message!

Wild Feelings (8/4/15)
Children have quite a plethora of emotions and sometimes they don’t understand why they feel the way they do. This is a lighthearted book that provides a little bit of insight for them.

Crybaby (8/18/15)
Never discount the dog; maybe when everyone’s fumbling around trying to calm the screaming baby, we should take note of the dog who has the answers.

Luna & Me (8/2015)
This is a sweet story about a little girl who doesn’t want one of the oldest trees to be cut down so she climbs up high and lives in it. Gorgeous drawings + an extremely loving tale.


Here are two sample pages from My Pop is a Pirate, thanks to the publisher!



Thanks for stopping by for Little Kids to talk feelings!
What are you favorite children’s books that have a great feelings message?

Little Kids: A Valentine’s Love-Fest


Graphic found via Pinterest via this source.

As many of you know, a really sweet day is approaching: Valentine’s Day! And my daughter, Everett, just turned one a week and a half ago. I intended to do a big OMG HOW HAS THIS YEAR FLOWN BY POST, but I kind of got wrapped up in the moment and didn’t share that little tribute like I wanted. I decided I’d sort of combine everything into this great big Little Kids post because I want to focus on books that show our love to the kiddos in our lives.

I’ve listed a few new-to-us titles and a few absolute favorites that are often on repeat over here. One thing they all have in common is they let the reader proclaim, share, or discuss love. I hold and tell Everett that I love her no less than a million times a day. I want it to be engrained in the center of her little core that I love her to the ends of the world. But guess what, sometimes she doesn’t want me squeezing her and hugging her. Sometimes she just wants to sit and read a book, but I can still sneak in the same message.

Here are my recommendations to you for our Valentine’s love-fest / (a belated) celebration of my little girl:

  1. Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You: Oh, be prepared to sob while you read this one. I think about Everett growing up and becoming her own person. I used to read it to our foster daughter and wanted to send along the message that she would always have our love. This book has been a treasured one that’s been soaked with lots of tears and read with much emotion.
  2. I Love You Through and Through: My favorite aspect of this book is that I can point out different body parts, i.e.: “I love your hair and eyes,” but I also really appreciate that it talks about how our littles will have good days and bad days, happy days and sad days, but no matter what, we’re still going to love them just the same. That’s a HUGE lesson for a child to learn.
  3. If I Could Keep You Little: This is another extremely sentimental book because it hits home for us parents that we REALLY want to press the pause button and freeze time because RIGHT NOW IS SO AWESOME … but there are going to be other equally awesome, amazing moments that lie ahead.
  4. The Biggest Kiss: This is a new-to-us book we just picked up from a Barnes & Noble visit a week ago. It’s fun to read aloud and has great illustrations, silly rhymes, and focuses on kisses!
  5. I Love You Night and Day: Another new-to-us book, but with the recurring message of unconditional love with cute graphics, and sweet, sweet words.

Bonus recommendations:

  • On the Night You Were Born: Okay, obviously it’s impossible for me to read this one without sobbing.
  • God Found Us You: This was a staple read when we had our foster daughter; it’s a lovely book about how much the child is wanted and was yearned for. This post should really be titled “Books That Turn Magan Into a Blubbering Mess.”
  • God Gave Us You: This is a companion book to God Found Us You for biological children. Also really sweet and special because it talks about patience and waiting for that special little bundle.


Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your littles!
Do you have a book you’d recommend we check out to complete our love-fest?


Oh, and who am I kidding? Here’s are two shameless photos of my sweet girl. Happy birthday, Everett!


Photographs courtesy of Lindsey from The Life You Love Photography

little kids book recommendations for winter

Little Kids: Winter Favorites

Welcome to our first edition of LITTLE KIDS! Estelle’s been hanging out in the adult aisles for quite a while now and I’ve been squatting on much-too-small stools reading books to Everett and H. Over the last two years, I’ve developed some strong attachments to kids books that I really want to share with you guys. Whether or not you’re looking for yourself, a friend, or if you’re a librarian/mom/kids book lover and have something amazing to share, I really hope you’ll join in on the conversation.

This month we’re starting with winter favorites. It doesn’t really snow much in Texas, but that doesn’t mean we’re not mesmerized by it. I love a good wintery, cold day, snuggling up under blankets, drinking hot chocolate, and reading. I hope that Everett will learn to love it too. I also want to teach her about new things, even if it’s not something she’ll get to experience right now.

little kids book recommendations for winter

Snowflake graphic created by The Graphics Fairy.

The Big Snow • The Snowy Day • Owl Moon • White Snow Bright Snow
Snow • Over and Under • When Winter Comes • Recommend a Book to Us…

A few of these titles (actually, the whole top row, and the bottom-left book) we personally own and have read this year. Owl Moon is probably my favorite of these because it’s about a father and son’s journey into a snowy night in search of spotting an owl. One thing to note is that several of these are award winners. I was very curious about them and why they might have won awards. Snow, in particular, is written a little differently. Here’s a little excerpt:

“It’s snowing,” said boy with dog.
“It’s only a snowflake,” said grandfather with beard.

Over and Under and When Winter Comes, are ones that have caught my eye and I’d like to add to our collection, but haven’t read quite yet. Maybe Everett and I will be adventuring to our local library to check them out soon! My hope is to build our little home library so that as the seasons change, we can cycle through books and what we’re “teaching” Everett.

• • •

Do you have any favorite childhood books? I would love recommendations!