Books About Divorce For Kids

books about divorce for kidsNo one plans on getting a divorce but for many families it’s a reality. Whenever children must face complex transitions or emotional events like divorce books are a great tool for coping, learning, and breaking the ice. There are a lot of books about divorce for kids and I may have missed one that you have found helpful for your family. Please share the title in comments because this list is one I would love to grow as much as possible.

You may not be going through a divorce  yourself but your child may  still have questions about what divorce is because someone they know is going through it. How do you talk to your child about divorce without making them worry that your family is on the verge of a break up? Zina at Let’s Lasso The Moon tackles that questions in her post about 5 Tips For Talking To Your Kids About Divorce. What’s your advice? Share it in comments.

All book lists contain affiliate links.

On the Day His Daddy Left by Eric J. Adams made me gasp for air I was crying so hard. It was a great book for my son who is just starting to notice differences in his friends families, although the book is really geared towards children 5 years and older. It’s about a little boy who knows his parents are divorcing and his dad is moving out after school that day. Early in the book he writes a secret question on a piece of paper and throughout the day shows it to select people. When the question is revealed as ” Is it my fault?” I dare any parent not to choke up. My son was saying ” Mama, mama read it to me.” and I couldn’t I had to have a cry first. I think the authors did a wonderful job addressing both this little boy’s anxiety, guilt and the reactions of very loving and concerned parents.

dinodivorce

Dinosaurs Divorce (A Guide for Changing Families) by Laurene Krasny Brown will appeal to your kids. The book is in comic book style and manages to be funny more than once while tackling all the negatives about divorce. It also talks about the positives about having happier parents and less fighting. This book aims to address all the mights and possibilities and while I think it succeeds, it also might talk about things that won’t be relevant to you. Things like a parent drinking more, being spoiled with things, and mom and dad dating might not be relevant now or ever for your family but talking about those things and how they do or don’t apply to your family can be helpful too.

how do I feel about

How Do I Feel About My Parents’ Divorce by Julia Cole did something that no other book I reviewed did which was to address “splitting up” not just legal divorce. This book includes families that aren’t married but who are breaking up none the less. I think this is so important and was actually shocked this was the only book to address it. The book had different children talking about their experiences and I think it’s a great format even if your child’s experience doesn’t fit exactly knowing that no situation is exactly like another is helpful when it’s coupled with knowing that lots of people go through divorce in general. While this book doesn’t hold back on the negatives it does include a lot of reassurance that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I think this book would be great for kids 4-8.

weekends with dad

Weekends with Dad: What to Expect When Your Parents Divorce (Life’s Challenges)by Melissa Higgins is a good choice for preschoolers facing a divorce. This book isn’t all about the harsh realities but rather the real feelings, real reassurance needed to cope with so much change. The family in the book is divorcing but it’s very much a amicable divorce and the book focuses on how much parents love their kids and how it will all be OK. This is my pick for preschoolers.

when my parent s

When My Parents Forgot How to Be Friends (Let’s Talk About It!) by Jennifer Moore Mallinos focuses very much on how a child grieves when their parents divorce. The book focuses on how hard it is when parents fight but that it will be better and parents won’t always be fighting. I think this could be a really great book for many kids but I also think that the part when they have a family night just like old times could be potentially confusing to kids who hope for a reconciliation. Although I suspect the author didn’t mean for it to show anything other than parents being able to get along after a divorce in the mid of a hopeful child it could easily be taken another way.

two homes

Two Homes by Claire Masurel is a simple book that doesn’t really get into what divorce is but does aim to reassure children who are facing life in two homes. It’s no big deal even if a child may miss the parent they are away from. That’s OK too because like the book says no matter where a child is they are loved no matter where their parents are. Such a positive book !

I don't want to talk about it

I Don’t Want to Talk About It by Jeanie Franz Ransom is a book about a little girl who is being told her parents are getting a divorce and all the complex emotions she faces during that one very difficult discussion. As she experiences the different feelings she is represented by different animals. I wasn’t sure of this at first but a few pages in and I saw the brilliance. Kids don’t always want to open up about how they are feeling and using animal behaviors to express them is a great alternative.

standing-on-my-own-two-feet

Standing on My Own Two Feet: A Child’s Affirmation of Love in the Midst of Divorce by Tamara Schmitz is a great book for preschoolers. Very young kids don’t understand what marriage and divorce means but they do understand that they are now living in two houses with separate parents. This book reassures kids that it’s not their fault that their parents aren’t together anymore and that no matter where they are they are loved. The text is short and the illustrations are fun. I highly recommend this one for families with very young kids.

room for rabbit

Room for Rabbit by Roni Schooter is a really beautiful book about divorce a little while after the initial break up. In it Kara’s dad has remarried and now new anxieties and feelings of not having a place in this new marriage have cropped up. This book is a lovely and in depth look at feelings that accompany what happens when one parent remarries after a divorce. The target is preschool but the text is pretty lengthy for kids under 5. I would be tempted to read and edit for length if need be. The illustrations by Cyd Moore and story are great even if the text is a little long for the intended audience.

My-Family-s-Changing

My Family’s Changing (A First Look At Series) by Pat Thomas This book is a good choice for families who want to explain all the parts of divorce while reassuring their children that it’s not their fault and that it won’t change how much they love them. This book discusses the negatives but is very general about them. The book was clearly written as a tool for conversation and should be used as such. It’s not as entertaining as it is useful but overall I would highly recommend it for kids 4 and older.

lets talk about

Let’s Talk about Your Parents’ Divorce (Let’s Talk Library) by Elizabeth Weitzman is a very blunt book. This can be great for some families but I would not read this book to very sensitive children without being prepared to soften it . I would not read this one to children who aren’t facing a contentious divorce themselves. There is a lot of reassuring about both parents loving the kids but it was also very heavy on the negatives like parents saying bad things about each other to the kids, legal battles over custody ,and one parent moving away and not calling often. Yes this is the reality for some children and I am glad this book exists but I would give it a thorough read through to see if it fits your specific family situation first. I don’t want to make it sound like this isn’t a good book, it is, but it is not a fluffy happy ” Don’t worry everyone still loves you.” one either.

 

Books About Music For Kids

books about music for kidsMusic is so much more than entertainment. The connection between music lessons and better performance on IQ tests has been accepted for a long time in the education world. My focus is not on boosting my kids IQ by 7 points so much as offering them rich and diverse experiences with hopes that something will strike their fancy and turn into a passion or pastime. Learning to play an instrument takes dedication and for me that alone is a wonderful take away. Books are a great place to start exploring different instruments with very young kids from the comfort of your own home. If you live in an area with a symphony check to see when they might have child friendly performances and workshops to see the instruments in action.

Here are 15 books about music for kids to check out at your house. The book title will take you to Amazon.com via an affiliate link.

Tuba Lessons by T.C. Bartlett is a book about a little boy walking to his tuba lesson and all the things he encounters along the way. The book has very limited text but tells a sweet story perfectly  without it. Younger children will need a parent to help spark the story with questions about what’s happening but even my 2 year old clued into the music notes getting bigger when there was a louder sound and smaller when it was quiet. Grab it and see what I am talking about.

This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt is my new favorite book. The book updates the classic children’s song “This Old Man” and inserts all different men in a jazz band, however at the end of the book it explains that each jazz man is actually a real person including Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and more! I love the bios at the end of the book because I want to learn more about jazz too. OK back to the book, the book itself is a counting book,and my son eats it up, he loves calling out the number and instrument as I read the rhyme. He has had me read it countless times today and I haven’t minded one bit,the pictures by R.G. Roth are adorable, and all in all I just love this book!

I Know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello by Barbara S. Garriel was an instant favorite with my son. The text is a reworked version of “An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly” but this guy has a hankering for musical instruments. My son giggled through the book, and was very adamant that no one could swallow a harp but this fellow did ! I liked this book because it’s a fun and absurd, as well as educational. If your wee one is as into instruments as mine, you have to read this book.

 

Meet the Orchestra by Ann Hayes is a good resource for teaching about musical instruments. The book goes through many instruments found in an orchestra with a sizable description for each. Animals are used for the musicians and my son thought that was funny and actually learned a bit about them as well. It was really too long for us to sit and read cover to cover but it’s easy to break up and read one or two instruments at a time if it’s too much for your child in one sitting. Also there is some figurative language that young kids will not get at all. Helpful for teaching but I don’t expect it to become a favorite to snuggle up with.

Edited: This has been the bedtime book of choice for over two weeks now, I take back my comment about it not being one to snuggle up with!

Ben’s Trumpet by Rachel Isadora is a simple but profound book about one little boy’s dreams. Ben loves jazz, his favorite is the trumpet and he spends much time alone playing his imaginary trumpet and listening at the door of a local jazz club. When other kids make fun of his imaginary trumpet he stops playing, that is until the trumpeter himself steps in. I like this book and as a mom of a little boy who plays an imaginary trumpet often I love that it gave him something to relate to and confirm that dreaming and imagining is good for the soul.

Music over Manhattan by Mark Karlins was longer than I expected but when I read it to my very overtired , no nap today 2 year old he happily listened and pointed out the instruments, and sky scrappers. The story is about a little boy who is overshadowed by his high achieving and nauseating cousin. A musician uncle plants the love of music in him and he strives to become as good as his uncle who floats in the air when he plays. Something I loved about this book was that the little boy works very hard, he practices all the time ,and slowly gets better. He had talent to start with but still had to work hard to achieve his goal. A great lesson for all children.

punk farm

Punk Farm by Jarrett J. Krosoczka . I wanted to love this book but it was just meh. I like the idea for it very much and some of the details were hilarious like horse acting as a bouncer for the punk show but the meat of the book just didn’t do it for me. Most of the book is a variation of Old MacDonald with different instrument sounds and by the second animal I was so over singing this song, maybe I just don’t like that song… I have been teased with it most of my life.  My kids liked the book and we all loved the illustrations.

m is for music

by Kathleen Krull is a wonderful book, however it’s style and illustrations by Stacy Innerst while funky aren’t as literal as I had hoped. This isn’t an issue for older children at all, and I really enjoyed the book but the nuanced illustrations were just too hard for a toddler to make the connections . My son still liked many of the pages especially the G is for guitar one. I would use this book for teaching about music more so than as an alphabet book teaching letters.

Mole Music

Mole Music by David McPhail is a beautiful book about the power of music, trying hard ,and not giving up on your dreams.  The story is about a mole who sees a violin on TV one day and decides to get his own and play. He is terrible at first but sticks with it. His music becomes beautiful, and over the years he thinks only he can hear and enjoy it. In reality his music is nourishing a grand tree above the ground that serves roles in great things including as a mediator in a battle where both sides end up coming to a peaceful agreement instead of warfare. Now yes I think that one little mole’s music ending a war is a rather large statement but if you break it down, music and the arts are vital and do transform people’s lives the way they transformed Mole’s.  My favorite part is in one illustration Mole is playing and in another tunnel you can see his old TV discarded and tipped over, I like that message.

Sunny

Sunny by Robin Mitchell and Judith Steedman  is a great book about finding sounds all around and making music with anything and everything you find. Sunny hears music from the animals around town, the vehicles and of course his friends playing at the playground.  My son loved when they had a “Hootenanny” and everyone makes music in their own way. This book reminded me of the Broadway show “Stomp” from the 90s, and is a great lesson for kids about how accessible making music really is.

zin zin zin a violin

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss is a big hit at our house and if you have a child into music or musical instruments this is a great book. You count the instruments as they come on stage for a performance and not only is this a great counting book, but it introduces musical instruments with it’s rhyming text and super fun pictures. I am biased though my little man is really really into instruments and loves this book. The day we bought it I had to sit in the backseat with him on the way home from the bookstore because he couldn’t wait to read it .

max-found-two-sticks

Max Found Two Sticks by Brian Pinkney is a great book for any kid that likes to drums or stick, or drum sticks. So that pretty much means all kids. Max isn’t a talker but he can express all sorts of things by thumping and banging the sticks he finds on different things. I like how he imitates the changing sounds in his environment and my son loved the marching band . Great tool for teaching about sounds, music ,and self expression.

moose music

Moose Music by Sue Porter is a goofy book about how what might sound like a racket to you, may indeed be music to other ears. Moose finds a violin in the mid and picks it up, and plays it. The sound is not music to the animals and people in the forest. They get angry, they threaten to chase him, and he doesn’t stick around. He doesn’t stop playing though he plays with all his heart and finally someone appreciates it. My son thought this book was hilarious . It’s a cute lesson about following your heart even in the face of adversity.

Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane by Carol Boston Weatherford is a fascinating book for my son who discovered “Johnny Coltrane” on YouTube while asking me about saxophones a year ago. What I like about this book is that it allows young children to relate to someone so inaccessible, and untouchable like John Coltrane. My son immediately grabbed onto the idea that is explained in the book that all the sounds and music Coltrane heard as a child turned into music he played later on. Later that day we got into a deep and very long winded “Is that music Mama?” conversation and I wasn’t always sure what to say. I wasn’t expecting to get stumped by his questions so soon. Either way when a book sparks questions like that it’s a keeper!

jazz baby

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler had my son clapping and be bopping in his jammies before bed. This book is so fun to read, the musical words are impossible not to dance to. My son loves jazz, and his only disappointment was that there were no trumpets in the book. He didn’t understand that the family in the book , which included grandparents, aunts , uncles and cousins were listening to a record. I tried to tell him it was like a cd but the illustration was clearly a record player and he wasn’t buying it. Still we loved this book , the family was loving and I loved that the older brother was holding the baby, not common in kids books to see a boy holding a baby. Great book even without a trumpet.

13 Banned and Challenged Books For Kids

banned picture booksIt’s Banned Books Week and today I want to share with you some banned books we have reviewed and enjoyed. When I wrote an article over at Scholastic Parents this week about banned books and how I use them to teach my children lessons the response was overwhelmingly positive but what struck me was how shocked so many people were that books still get banned. The first step to banning is challenging a book and the most common people making challenges are parents. I get that parents want to protect their kids and discuss issues with them when they decide to but I simply can’t see banning a book from other people’s children as the answer.

This summer I published a list of picture books that include families with gay and lesbian parents and I lost a few dozen Facebook followers , a number of email subscribers and fielded some pretty brutal comments about me and my children. I expected it. I know that the world has many viewpoints and not everyone shares mine. So after you browse the books below tell me how would you want these books handled? Are you in favor of free access like I am? Restricting access? All out banning?

All book lists include affiliate links.

animalia by Greame Base

Animalia by Graeme Base is iconic in teaching circles, you can lose yourself for hours in the detailed illustrations. The book is an alphabet book on steroids! Each page had a wonderful paragraph in each letter such as for the letter L ” Lazy Lions lounging in the local library.” The pages are filled to the gills with pictures of things that start with that letter as well. Parents and kids a like will fall in love!

Why was it banned or challenged? It was challenged at a school library in Texas for violence and horror. This surprised me because I have a seriously low threshold for horror and I have never been bothered at all, neither have the approximately 150 kids I have read it to over the years.

draw me a star

Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle is often not read in classrooms simply because of a depiction of a naked man and woman. It’s not what most parents expect to find in an Eric Carle book but it is very fitting in this beautiful and really touching book. The story although very similar to a biblical creation story isn’t necessarily reflective only of a christian view point , rather as I read it is was the author’s own creation. It begins and ends with a star , and hits all the right points in between.

Why was it banned or challenged? Banned because of nude depiction of a man.
king and king

 

King and King by Linda de Haan is a fairytale and a funny one at that. The queen is old and cranky and wants her son to take over the kingdom but he must be married to do so. He tells her he’s not really into princesses but Mama doesn’t take the hint. After finding fault with every princess presented to him he falls in love at first sight with a prince and they live happily ever after. I like the whimsical illustrations and my kids thought the prince was funny. My son thought the book had a twist at the end with the princes falling in love, but just like the queen in the story there was no debate over why.  I like that this book uses the familiar fairytale structure to make an important statement about the existence of same sex marriage and can be a great ice breaker to talk about it with your kids.

Why was it banned of challenged? Banned and often restricted to adults because of the depiction of gay marriage.

The_Sissy_Duckling

The Sissy Ducklingby Harvey Fierstein is a lovely book. As a mom to a son I worry about him getting teased when he is older if he isn’t into sports, or likes to bake cookies more than play video games. This book address that, in a cute but frank way. I especially love how the dad isn’t super happy that his son is into more traditionally girly things. I think that even though we hope that all parents would be immediately supportive the reality is, that parents are human too and acceptance can take time even when there is lots of love. ETA: Now that my son is almost 6 and very into sports and very into pretty much everything that is stereotypically “boy” I use this book to teach him the other side. To see that all people are unique and to respect everyone for that uniqueness not for their ability to fit some societal mold.

So why was it banned? The reasons given were gay positive themes.  As you will see that is unfortunately a recurrent theme on this short list.

walter the farting dog

Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray is a story about a dog with really bad gas but a really loving family. The book does talk a lot about farting but it’s really about unconditional love. Kids love it, will giggle through it and it has a way with kids that don’t call themselves readers. I talk more about the power of potty humor in this article for Scholastic Parents.

Why was it challenged? Challenged but retained for the use of the words fart and farting repeatedly throughout the text.

Heather Has Two Mommies

Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman was widely banned when it was first released. It is probably the best known picture book about a family with same sex parents . When you read it the first thing you will probably think is that it doesn’t live up to the banning. I always imagine banned books to be truly out there and this book is about a family with a doctor , a carpenter and their daughter. Heather is starting a new school and she is nervous and exploring all the possibilities of what a family looks like just as her classmates are. She recognizes that her family is different but not less than.  The illustrations are black and white and a little dated but the story is on the right track.

Why was it banned or challenged? Banned because of it’s acceptance of lesbian mothers raising a child.

The Family Book

The Family Book by Todd Parr is a book that doesn’t give readers a narrow definition of family , it doesn’t say that your family has to look a certain way, or be the same as your neighbors. As a teacher I really appreciated the matter of fact way it embraced diversity. Kids see that families are not all like theirs and it’s important to validate the truth while recognizing that while they may not all look alike, all families are made with love.  Great book , cute illustrations and children love it.

Why was this book banned or challenged? This book wasn’t banned 10 years ago it was just recently banned from use for an elementary school curriculum about diversity, tolerance and bullying. It was banned from a curriculum about tolerance. Am I the only one who sees the irony? The issue was with it’s pages that state that some families have two moms and some have two dads. It makes me sad that some children who do have two moms or two dads won’t get a chance to see their family reflected in this bright, fun and diverse book.

 tango

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson is a much debated book. It’s the true story of two male penguins in Central Park Zoo who didn’t have any interest in the girl penguins but definitely liked each other. When the zoo keepers noticed that they were in every way a matched pair they also noticed that they prepared for a baby just like the other penguins. Time after time they were sad until they were given an egg to care for. Just like all families love and care is what matters when creating a family and baby Tango and his two daddies have thrived . My son loved this book and asked me to please go see the penguins when I was in New York City. I didn’t have time to but I wish I had. Their story simplifies a very debated topic and I think it’s a great book not only to explain how all families are different but also how love and care are really what makes a family even for penguins.

Why was this book banned or challenged? This picture book was the most frequently challenged and banned book of 2010, 2008, 2007 and 2006. A true story about a family of penguins. Wow.

chamber of secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling . My husband has just started reading book 2 in this series to my son at bedtime and they are hooked!  They finished the first book a few months ago and we took a break before book 2.  I love the whole Harry Potter series and it hasn’t been without much discussion between my husband and I on how we are going to space out the books. If you have read them you know that the subjects age and mature as the characters do by a school year with each book. I encourage parents to read any book that they are going to share with their young kids first to make sure it won’t scare or upset your child as well as to make sure it fits with your family. What I love so much about these books is that JK Rowling has created such a thick and detailed world and it grips even kids that don’t normally get into books as much as it does little bookworms!

Why was it challenged and banned? People get really upset about witch craft and if you google ” Harry Potter Banned” you will get recent articles and blog posts promoting it’s banning. Really.

banned books 5

In the Night Kitchen (Caldecott Collection) by Maurice Sendak is one of the many books I remember exactly where I was when I first read it ; Coquitlam Public Library sitting in the shag carpeted row boat amazed that the main character Mickey had no clothes . Which is exactly why it got banned. First let me tell you about the story if you have never read it. Mickey falls out of bed and into the night kitchen where the bakers try to bake him and ultimately he saves the day and falls back into bed and back to sleep. For me this story is about power and freedom and how kids don’t get to feel that day to day but free from reality at night in their sleep they can. Even as a little girl giggling at the pictures in the book I read the words and felt the freedom from being little that Mikey felt. When I read it to my son he giggled and giggled at Mickey’s body. I was sorta hoping he’d be more mature than I was at 5, we always expect the best from our kids right? Like me he still got the heart of the story and even expressed that Mickey was naked because he was dreaming and got to do whatever he wanted.

So why was is banned? That whole lack of clothing issue really upset a lot of people. So much so that it’s been in the top 25 banned books for decades.

Where_The_Wild_Things_Are

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak probably doesn’t need an introduction especially with the current film adaptation. We read this book often and my son randomly quotes the book throughout the day. Telling me to “Be still” just like Max tells the Wild Things. If by chance you are not familiar with this book, it’s a story of a little boy Max who is sent to his room for being wild and his imagination turns it into another world, filled with Wild Things and freedom from rules for behavior. Ultimately though Max’s heart pulls him back home where he is loved most of all, even when he’s wild.

So why was it banned or challenged? It was challenged widely because of it’s inclusion of “witchcraft and supernatural elements.” Guess those are my things because I adore this book and the whole Harry Potter series that has also been banned and challenged for these reasons.

sylvester and the magic pebble

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig is a book many of you may recognize from your own childhood . I remember the sweet story from my own. Sylvester is a little donkey who finds a magic pebble and after discovering that it grants wishes he makes a terrible mistakes and turns himself into a rock. As a rock he is unable to wish himself back into a donkey and is left to sit silently while his parents are frantic, search and finally grieve. Sylvester almost gives up himself until by chance his parents come across his rock and the magic pebble and he is turned back into his “true self”.  My son loved the story and I loved how when we talked about it he expressed so much empathy for Sylvester and his parents. The obvious message that you have to be careful what you wish for is a powerful one for kids learning about consequences. The other messages which for us were the more important ones were that  family bonds can break through anything and that no matter what even if he is a rock I would never give up on him.

Now it sounds like a great book right? It is. So why was it banned? When Sylvester goes missing his parents go to the police who are portrayed as pigs. All the characters are animals and my son didn’t make the connection because he’s never in his life heard anyone refer to police officers as pigs. I thought it was tongue in cheek but in 1977 it was enough to get banned.

Daddy’s_Roommate_cover

Daddy’s Roommate by Micheal Willhoite is a little different from the other books in this list in that the child in the book has a mommy, a daddy ,and daddy also has a roommate. The book was written in 1990 and even though we don’t often hear “roommate” as a euphemism for partner or boyfriend anymore but in 1990 is was probably more common. That aside the book does a good job of explaining what this little boys life is like. Bug catching, reading, scary dreams… it’s pretty average stuff but he has three adults to care for him. I also like that the boy’s parents are divorced which will be something many readers will connect with. The books explanation of what gay means is really simple and perfect for the books audience. I do think that the pictures are dated but I don’t think kids will pick up on that as much as adults will.

Why was it banned or challenged? It is one of the most banned books because of it’s gay subject matter.

 

So what would you do with these books? How would you talk about them or restrict them from your child?

 

Fall Board Books

fall books for kids The leaves are already changing on our trees outside so I thought it was time for a good fall book round up. These aren’t just any old books there are great fall books for babies and toddlers because they are all board books. Yes they are bulky but they are also chunky enough for not so nimble hands to hold and strong enough to stand up to your toddler who like to chew things like books. Here are some of our favorite fall board books.

This list contains affiliate links.

Big Fat Hen

Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker is a cute little counting book that has a few layers of reading and learning in it’s pages. The text is the familiar 1, 2, buckle my shoe rhyme but it’s the illustrations that will blow you away. They are so autumnal and they also correspond to each number in the rhyme. My 3 year old and I had a great time trying to find the items then count each one. While the text doesn’t speak of fall specifically the colors and illustrations will make you feel like you are visiting a farm in autumn.

halloween books

Maisy’s Halloween by Lucy Cousins is a cute board book for toddlers that follows Maisy’s search for the right Halloween costume. There is something about this little mouse that children just love. My daughter will reach for a Maisy book over just about any other if given a choice. The story is also a cute introduction about the fun we have dressing up for Halloween.

InMyTree

In My Tree by Sara Gillingham is such a sweet book I wish my daughter would let me read it to her . The book is all about a little owl and what that owl does in it’s tree. The novelty is that the pages have cut outs in them and the owl is a finger puppet that is in the middle of the cut outs . My daughter who at the moment is 6 months old, only wants to grab and try to bite the owl. Do not let this turn you off, it’s such a pretty little book and my 4 year old loved it. Perhaps when my daughter is done teething I will read it to her again! UPDATE Now that my daughter is 3 she thinks this is a great book and no longer tries to chomp down on the owl.

where_is_babys_pumpkin-300x300

Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin?by Karen Katz. Is a Halloween favorite at our house and has been for years. I don’t think the book has ever been really put away since buying it when my son was a toddler. Karen Katz’s lift the flap books are more than just cute , the flaps and different textures keep little hands busy and little bodies calm enough to sit for the whole book.

it's pumpkin day mouse

It’s Pumpkin Day, Mouse! (If You Give…) by Laura Numeroff is a Halloween themed book about emotions. Mouse is busy painting his pumpkins and paints different faces representing different emotions on each. This is a great little book that gives parents a wonderful opener to talk about different emotions when things are calm. There is one scary pumpkin but I doubt it will frighten any readers.

my little pumpkin pie

You Are My Little Pumpkin Pie by Amy E. Sklansky is a cozy book that will have you craving a pumpkin spice latte for sure. It’s simple rhyming text is a good length for toddlers but older preschoolers will enjoy it as well. The books shows babies and their parent(s) in all different fall settings from the pumpkin patch to snuggling by the fire and of course eating pumpkin pie. The illustrations by Talitha Shipman are perfect and showcase a diverse set of families. Lovely book but don’t think I was joking you will be aching for a fall treat after reading it.

fall leaves

Fall Leaves by Liesbet Slegers is a little book that covers all different parts of fall from the perspective of a child. Boots, raincoats, nuts, squirrels and of course falling leaves are all covered. The book itself is not a story but rather a collection of pages devoted to these different parts of the fall season kids can expect to encounter. It was cute and and my daughter liked it well enough but I wouldn’t rush out to buy this.

Leaves

Leaves by David Ezra Stein is such a sweet book about a young bear who doesn’t understand what is happening when he sees leaves falling from the trees. He even tries to put them back on but it doesn’t work.  Eventually he lays down for a nap and hibernates until Spring when he happily notices that there are new tiny leaves budding on the trees. Both my kids loved this book. I got it out of the library for my toddler who loved it and while reading it to her I had to start over so her almost 6 year old brother could listen from the start. We each took our own things from it, my daughter has been noticing the changes of Fall for the first time just like the bear in the story. My son took the chance to tell me all about hibernation and everything he knows about it . I thought it was bittersweet, and related to how quickly the years seem to pass and how quickly my little bears are changing too. A really lovely book!

The Busy Little Squirrel

 The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri is a great book for babies and toddlers. The readers follow along with a squirrel as she gathers nuts , seeds and berries for the winter. As she hunts for her treasure she encounters many animals who all make their respective sounds and ask her to play, of course she is too busy and continues on.  Even though the idea is not groundbreaking  I like that this book can be used to introduce animal sounds without simply sitting down with let’s say flash cards and teaching them to your toddler. Even if you have no real animals near by books like this one are a great way to authentically teach very young kids.

Owl Babies

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell was an instant hit with my son. I knew it would be, much like little Bill the smallest of the three baby owls my son is fond of saying “I want my mommy”. The three birds are distraught when they discover mama owl is not there. I love how they huddle together, and worry a lot before mama Owl returns nonchalant about the fact that she’s back. The illustrations of the owls are so expressive , which with very few facial features is impressive. Patrick Benson did a wonderful job bringing all three owl’s personalities out visually as well as making the setting ominous without being frightening to young readers. Great book!

apple farmer annie board book

Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington is a simpler version of the full size Apple Farmer Annie. The board book follows Annie who is an apple farmer and what she does with the apples she grows. Baking, cooking but most of all selling the apples at the farmer’s market. I have always loved this book because when you ask a child who a farmer is I bet you they will say it’s a man who lives on a farm. There are no mentions of men, husbands, or fathers it’s just Annie the apple farmer. I LOVE it.

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Books About Ballet

picture books about ballet for kidsMy 3 year old has discovered ballet and just like I was at her age she is in love. I took ballet for close to a decade and like many women who went through it have very mixed feelings about introducing it to my own daughter. What I am not apprehensive about is reading books about ballet with her. These books let her explore ballet before ever stepping foot into a studio. Do you have a child who loves ballet? Do they have a favorite picture book that I didn’t include? Share the title in comments and we can keep this list growing.

 ballet books for kids dancing in the wings

Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen is about more than ballet, it’s about overcoming being different, accepting your body and even standing up for yourself. Sassy is tall, too tall to partner with any of the boys in her ballet studio and sticks out like a sore thumb. When a chance to audition for a summer ballet program in Washington D.C. arises other dancers in her studio make her doubt her talent. So often adults are able to see how awkward and different children are really striking and unique but getting the child to see that can be impossible. This book is all about a child discovering that different isn’t bad and that those differences are all she needs to stand out in a great way.  It was a little long for my daughter who is 3 but she sat the whole time enjoying it all the same.ballet books for kids degas and the little dancer

Degas and the Little Dancer by Laurence Anholt is the story behind Edgar Degas’s Little Dancer sculpture.  This book resonated with me because I already know and love the sculpture. While living in St.Louis I would often walk to the art museum and visit her. The book would be perfect to pair with a lesson about the art work, after a visit to see it ( there are many bronze copies of the original wax sculpture around the globe) or for other children who can make the connection but my kids were not nearly as engaged with the book as they could have been with more personal history. I loved it though.Nate the Ballerino

Ballerino Nate by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley  is on my must buy list. I don’t say that often, especially with such a great public library, but this book is wonderful. Nate is a little boy who after seeing a ballet school production with his class at school, decides he too wants to take ballet. Of course his older brother has something to say, and say and say but Nate is pretty confident with the help of his parents , that boys can take ballet.  I love that Nate wants to dance but he hates the idea that he might have to wear pink, clearly pink is not a good thing to him, he just wants to dance.  What I love about this book as a woman who spent more than her fair share of time in ballet , is that it depicts boy dancers well. The stereotype of a “sissy” doesn’t often fit and I knew many boys that danced that were masculine and graceful. I encourage parents of boys and girls to read this, to open our kids horizons to being interested in whatever their heart desires, not to what older brothers, neighbors or anyone else tells them to be.

Katy Duck is a caterpillar

Katy Duck Is a Caterpillar by Alyssa Satin Capucilli is a story about things not working out the way you expect , but finding out they are even better! Katy Duck loves to dance, and she loves the spring! When her dance school puts together a spring recital she is disappointed as each part she imagined she’d have is given to another student. Katy is given the part of the Caterpillar. She is horrified, caterpillars squirm , they don’t dance.  Of course caterpillars turn into butterflies and this one is no exception, Katy shines even if she has to crawl first.

ballet books for kids ballet kitty ballet class

Ballet Kitty: Ballet Class by Bernadette Ford is one book in a series of cute ballet books for young children. My daughter loves this book and I do too. The story is about three kittens that are off to ballet class and Ginger Tom the only boy is not excited about the class. The two girl kittens tease him a little for being in his sneakers instead of the ballet slippers he is refusing to wear but in the end everyone has fun at ballet and are excited about going back together next week. I like it because it addresses the fact that most young kids see ballet as an activity for girls but simply says it’s for boys too.

indescribably arabella

Indescribably Arabella by Jane Gilbert is an interesting story about embracing our talents, and being who we are not some cookie cutter idea of perfection. Arabella wants to be famous but she gets turned down and discouraged by her art teacher, her acting coach and her ballet teacher all because she is a little different. Her heart is there, her passion for the arts is there but she just won’t make a famous artist, actress or ballerina. After a pep talk with an older couple she sees that she has something better than perfection, she is unique.

ballet books for kids brontorina

Brontorina by James Howe is possibly one of my new favorite books on the planet. It’s not a new book but I have never read it before. My daughter loved it and while the lesson about creating inclusive environments went over her head the lesson about being true to yourself and doing something that has never been done before didn’t. The story is about a dinosaur who wants to be a ballerina and while a studio initially allows her to dance it’s clear that she is just too big. The story doesn’t end there and with some help from friends who support her dream they find a way to include everyone.ballet books for kids bea at ballet

Bea at Ballet by Rachel Isadora is another gem. This book explains what happens at a ballet class for the very littlest dancers. I love the variety of little dancers in this book, their little toddler bellies and all the little details. My daughter so badly wants to take ballet and this book was great to help answer her questions about what happens in a ballet class for someone her age. A great book for 2-4 year olds.ballet books for kids lili on stage

Lili on Stage by Rachel Isadora. This book would be the perfect gift for a child going to see the Nutcracker at Christmas. This book takes readers through what being in a professional production of The Nutcracker is like for a young child and it’s spot on. My sister was in a professional production of The Nutcracker two years in a row and even though it was over 25 years ago this book jogged so many memories of what she did before during and after the production. This book was way over my daughter’s head but children 4 and older who are into ballet would absolutely love it.

ballet books for kids not just tutus

Not Just Tutus by Rachel Isadora was disappointing. This book has a long rhyming text that put me kinda on edge. I think the author was trying to give a realistic view of ballet but talking about the bunions, the blisters ,and describing a dancer who is thin, tall and pretty as having it all stopped me from sharing it with my daughter. I am very cautious about what I say and do with my daughter as far as body image goes and very much on the fence about introducing ballet to her because of body image issues I have as a result of my ballet experience. So all that baggage coupled with the text came together to leave a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe without that baggage you wouldn’t even see the text as negatively as I did but I can’t say I like a book I didn’t.

Ella Bella Ballerina and Cinderella

Ella Bella Ballerina and Cinderella by James Mayhew . In this version of Cinderella a little ballerina named Ella magically goes from ballet class into the fairytale. She meets the fairy godmother, Cinderella and even tags along to the ball. She plays an important role when she takes Prince Charming to Cinderella after they become separated at midnight.  I like this book because it celebrates ballet, and fairy tales but also somehow keeps it from preaching to little girls about becoming the princess.  The illustrations are beautiful and they make me want to sit on the red chairs of a theater as the house lights dim , and orchestra begins…

ballet books for kids tallulah's tutu

Tallulah’s Tutu by Marilyn Singer is one of many Tallulah ballet books.  I love these books and my daughter will grab them and sit through about 3/4 , they are just too long for her right now.  This is the first  book in this series and I can recommend every one. The story is about Tallulah who is eager to be a ballerina, mostly because she really wants to wear a tutu. Who can blame her?  Tutus are rad. She heads off to ballet class and is sure that the tutu is on it’s way. For whatever reason she thinks that a tutu is given to dancers for a great performance in class like a medal. She tries so hard but when the tutu never arrives she decides that ballet isn’t worth her time. I love this book because of all the things ballet gave me as a child it’s lasting gift has been discipline. In a round about way Tallulah learns that ballet isn’t about the sparkles and tulle and instead is about effort and achievement. Great lesson for us all.

ballet books for kids ballerina!

Ballerina! by Peter Sis is a simple and wonderful book about a little dancer’s fanciful visions of herself as a wonderful ballerina in various costumes. The costumes all come from famous ballets but young readers will just see a dancer playing dress up. My daughter loved the book and it’s simple illustrations.

Hilda Must Be Dancing

Hilda Must Be Dancing by Karma Wilson is a lovely story about a big hippo that loves to dance, although her neighbors aren’t as keen. See Hilda is bog and when she dances she shakes and rattles everything, it’s noisy and disruptive and is making her friends very angry. They suggest that she try new hobbies, but knitting and singing won’t do it’s simply not in her heart, Hilda needs to move and groove!  I loves that a solution is found that makes everyone happy, that Hilda doesn’t have to give up her passion, but that she isn’t so selfish as to simply say ” too bad” to her friends either.

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