Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Start your day off with Yoga Animals

Yoga Animals: A Wild Introduction to Kid-Friendly Poses, by Paige Towler, (Apr. 2020, National Geographic Kids), $16.99, ISBN: 9781426337529

Ages 4-8

What better way to start the day off – or bring it to a gentle close – than with yoga? Nat Geo teamed up with poet Paige Towler to give readers Yoga Animals: A Wild Introduction to Kid-Friendly Poses. Rhyming verses lead readers through a series of animal poses that stretch, balance, and slide them into a zen state of mind. Verses are accompanied by color photos of the animals inspiring the poses, and callouts, artfully placed inside colorful mandalas, walk readers through the pose with a photo and explanatory text. An Animal Yoga Guide at the end provides the Sanskrit names for each pose, photos of a child completing the pose, and a brief, descriptive paragraph about the animal inspiring the pose.

I love doing yoga with kids. I did it when my own were little, and I had a yoga storytime for years at my libraries, where one of my most popular readalouds was You Are a Lion! by Taeeun Yoo; it’s another book that uses animal poses to introduce yoga to kids and will make a nice companion to Yoga Animals. The photos and pose explanations are helpful to illustrate how to achieve the pose, and having photos of animals on the spreads makes a nice correlation between the animal pose and the animal. Let the kids channel their lion or their cat and achieve a nice stretch! There are some very good yoga and meditation books available for younger kids, and yoga may be a nice way to ease some stress and anxiety these days.

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-fiction, picture books, Preschool Reads, Teen, Tween Reads

The holidays are coming… What do I do with these kids?

Welcome to this year’s edition of “What the heck do I do with a house full of kids?” Thanksgiving is THIS WEEK, which means Hanukkah and Christmas are right around the corner. We’re going to have homes full of kids while you’re getting the house clean, cooking meals, wrapping gifts, decorating your home. Sure, you could turn on Klaus on Netflix, but why not have some fun things ready to keep the kids entertained while you and the grownups get some face time in? Here are a few fun books chock full of ideas.

Playing with Collage, by Jeannie Baker, (Oct. 2019, Candlewick Studio), $16, ISBN: 9781536205398

Ages 8-12

Who doesn’t love making collages? It’s one of our favorite things to do at the library. Jeannie Baker is a picture book author-illustrator who created this master class on working with collage for kids and adults alike. She provides a look at the tools and textures she uses to create wonderful collage artwork, with plenty of examples. How do you prep leaves for pressing? Did I even know you prep leaves for pressing, rather than just gluing them to a page and calling it a day? How do you use corrugated cardboard and torn tissue paper to create a visually stunning scene that you can feel by just looking at it? Jeannie Baker is here for you with easy-to-read explanations and techniques. She’s got a whole section dedicated to kitchen materials, so keep things aside as you prep for holiday cooking – your kids will find ways to work with them. She even includes a fun guessing game at the end of the book, challenging readers to identify the materials in her final collage. Provide the materials, set aside a creative space (I usually designate my dining room table), and let them go to work with this book as a fun reference guide. There are suggestions for more advanced crafters in here – make sure any kinds of superglue or cutting materials are used with an adult’s guidance.



Yikes! Santa Claus is in His Underpants!, by Mister Ed,
(Oct. 2019, Schiffer Kids), $6.99, ISBN: 9780764358296
Ages 3-8

How much fun is this? You get to dress up Santa! The inner flap of this softcover paper doll book is Santa, in all his underwear-rocking glory. The rest of the book includes pages of accessories and outfits to dress him in. All of his gear are removable stickers, so you can dress him up, mix and match, and do it all again. Dress him up in bunny pajamas, biker gear, a superhero set of tights, a sheriff, get him ready for his post-Christmas nap with a pair of fuzzy pajamas and reindeer slippers. Get creative, and have fun! At $6.99, you can definitely swing buying a couple of these for stocking stuffers or to let groups of kids have their own Dress Santa contests.


Make Your Own Beauty Masks: 38 Simple, All-Natural Recipes for Healthy Skin, Illustrated by Emma Trithart,
(Nov. 2019, Odd Dot), $19.99, ISBN: 9781250208125
Ages 10+

Come ON. This is just too much fun, especially if you have tween and teen girls in the home. Get in some pampering for the holidays with this adorable book from Odd Dot. Everything is natural; straight from your fridge or the produce section to your face. I bet you can find nearly everything in your home right now. The masks have the cutest names, and the book is beautifully illustrated. The contents tell you exactly what you need, and the step-by-step directions help you prep your face and your ingredients for absolute pampering and relaxation while you watch March of the Wooden Soldiers and wait for your turkey to cook. The book comes with ten sheet masks to get you started. Keep an eye out for any prep that requires cutting or blending; you may want to prep the ingredients with your spa participants the night before.

Don’t forget tabletop games – we’re still loving Monsters in the Elevator and Nightmarium, and are looking forward to introducing Throw Throw Burrito, which is, essentially, a combination of tabletop card game and dodgeball, with soft, adorable burritos. Dueling burritos, sneak attack burritos, team-up burrito warfare: it’s all here, and we have laughed ourselves into stomachaches playing it, so what better way to end a day of Thanksgiving eating? 

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate!

Posted in Non-Fiction, Teen

The Ultimate Survival Guide to Being a Girl – it ain’t easy out there

The Ultimate Survival Guide to Being a Girl, by Christina De Witte, with Chrostin, (Aug. 2018, Running Press), $14.99, ISBN: 978-0-7624-9043-1

Ages 13+

Being a teen is tough these days! Social media, body image, school, work… teens are under pressure. Webcomic author and illustrator, Christina De Witte, whose comic Chrostin follows the amusing day-to-day adventures of a young milennial, is here to help with advice on tattoos, sex and relationships, periods, mental and physical health, and more. Black and white illustrations starring Chrostin flow throughout the book.

The book may first present as a guide to puberty for tweens, but this is all for teen girls. Read Chrostin and you’ll quickly see that this is a comic for millennials, not up-and-coming kids. The author is only 20, putting her at a good age to offer advice; the book’s conversational tone and laid back language make this an easy read that readers can pick up at any point. The book is divided into 10 chapters, on issues including Internet safety, diversity, society, love, food, and fashion. She emphasizes healthy eating and endorses a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, including some quick and tasty recipes that come together cheaply and quickly; she also shares beauty and fashion hacks for a student’s salary.

The Ultimate Survival Guide to Being a Girl is a good reference to have on your shelves for teens. Want to learn a little more about Chrostin? BuzzFeed has a fun Chrostin article from 2016, and you can follow her on Instagram.


Posted in Intermediate, Middle Grade, Middle School, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Non-Fiction, Tween Reads

Inside Your Insides puts you under a microscope

inside your insidesInside Your Insides: A Guide to the Microbes That Call You Home, by Claire Eamer/Illustrated by Marie-Eve Tremblay, (Sept. 2016, Kids Can Press), $17.95, ISBN: 9781771383325

Recommended for ages 8-12

This interesting nonfiction book takes a look at the microbes that live on our bodies: in our hair, on our skin, and the ones we pick up everywhere we go. We’re microbiomes: a walking, talking collection of microbes, and Inside Your Insides introduces us to some of the most common microbes we share our surroundings with. We learn about bacteria, archaea, viruses, fingu, protists and mites; their preferred environments; and all the places they live on and around us. Complete with brightly colored, cartoony illustrations, makes this a good introduction or companion for middle grade science students.

There are some good callout facts and groan-worthy jokes scattered throughout the book, and a glossary and index round everything out. Kids will learn that not all bacteria are bad for you: you don’t need everything antibacterial, and it may be doing more harm than good, anyway! A section dedicated to saving our microbes goes into detail on how to take care of ourselves to attract the “good” microbes: play outside, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and explore your world. The combination of clear, instructional writing with a humorous bent, and the eye-catching illustrations, kids will get a kick out of this intro to microbiology. It’s a good additional purchase for collections where science books circulate.

You can also direct kids to the Genetic Science Learning Center’s Human Microbiome site. There are teacher resources, interactive simulators, informative videos, and information that’s written in a clear, interesting way to get kids excited about learning more.