Colorama: From Fuchsia to Midnight Blue

Friday, June 22, 2018

"There are no two people who see or de-scribe a shade in the same way." Thus begins the hypnotic freefall into a palette of 133 distinct hues, all accompanied with a concise etymological description. With categories that include birds, fabric, precious stones, mammals, modes of transportation, and (my personal favorites) popular expressions and sweet delicacies, this dazzling collection is the finest rainbow reference guide you'll ever encounter.

A note from the author: "Whilst investigating the world of colors, shades and tones, you may find that you lose your way. Throughout my work on this book, my main objective was to gather as much knowledge as I could. Key to this was learning about the array of contrasts between the colors. I was equally guided by my childhood memories and by my experience in practice and from the art academy. Naturally, I was also influenced by my own personal fascination for colors and their subtle shades."

Colorama: From Fuchsia to Midnight Blue by @crushiform and published by Prestel Junior.

A Unique Baby Shower Gift

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Paper engineering has never looked so whimsical in this 3D rendition of a vintage carousel. I especially love the Roger Duvoisin feel of this one and think it would make the sweetest nursery mobile.

The Carousel of Animals: A pop-up book by Gerard Lo Monaco.

House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Did you know Anne of Green Gables was published 110 years ago this month? Only ten short years ago I fulfilled a life dream and spent one glorious summer holiday on Prince Edward Island, and identified strongly with the belief L.M. Montgomery once wrote “Do not image that places don’t love us back.”

From the first pages of this thoroughly constructed biography we see the beginning of Maud’s creative life come to light. Stories surround her from her earliest days, which may have fostered Maud’s early writing talent. Not only was she a prolific writer throughout her life, she married, became a mother at 37, dealt with mental illnesses for decades, loved fiercely, and created one of the most memorable characters of all time. A poignant portrayal of a beloved author told with irresistible charm.

House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery by Liz Rosenberg, illustrated by @juliemorstad. Thank you to Candlewick Press for this review copy.

9 Exceptional Seek-and-Find Books

Monday, June 4, 2018

Remember those old I Spy books from the early 90s — intricate pictures jam-packed with baubles and what-nots, a visual treasure hunt inviting you to find various items? I loved those books as a kid. Now that I’m a parent I especially appreciate looking at these type of books with my daughter. With summer on the horizon and endless hours of unstructured time ahead, it’s helpful to have a handful of interactive books to keep kids’ minds sharp. Seek-and-find books are perfect for that. Not to mention they work well for road trips, long flights, or just a quiet evening at home. In addition, seek-and-find books are a really wonderful way to unplug for a while and connect with your kids, no matter their age. Plus, nothing beats boosting kids’ confidence through conquering a slightly tricky task. Take a peek at these nine engaging books and discover what fun it is to uncover a needle in a haystack.

Undercover: One of These Things Is Almost Like The Others
by Bastien Contraire
Look closely at everyday items (leaves, automobiles, hats, vegetables, clothes, birds, and ice cream cones to name a few) and spot the odd-one-out in this duotone delight. Especially useful for young readers just learning first concepts.
(Ages 2-3)

Where's The Elephant?
by Barroux
Parrot, Elephant, and Snake have escaped their urban surroundings and are on the hunt for a more natural environment. Uncover the camouflaged trio as their hiding spots dwindle due to encroaching development. A thoughtful way to discuss conservation and urban sprawl with children.
(Ages 2-4)

Now I Know My Avocados
by Stephanie Wykoff
This desert inspired palette is perfect for children just learning the alphabet, although older readers can similarly test their knowledge too. Each page features objects that start with the associated letter of the alphabet (e.g., duck, dolphin, donut, deer, drums). A key at the back of the book will illuminate the more than 150+ items found throughout.
(Ages 3-6)
Find Me: A Hide-and-Seek Book
by Anders Arhoj
Two animal-like friends cavort through various locales, each trying to find the other. The catch? Each character changes colors along the way. Young kids will especially appreciate the wide-eyed whimsical world and the appealing cut-out holes on the front and back cover.
(Ages 3-6)

The Lost House
by B.B.Cronin
Grandad has promised to take his grandchildren to the park, but he needs some help locating a few lost things first. Follow the perplexed trio through the house, where each room is devoted to a single color. This rainbow wonder is a bit tricky, but made slightly easier by noticing the items needed on the opening page. Once you’ve mastered this one, The Lost Picnic is a vibrant, slightly less arduous, follow-up.
(Ages 4-7)

Disappearing Acts: A Search-and-Find Book of Endangered Animals
by Isabella Bunnell
While we wholeheartedly endorse all the books on this list, this might be our very favorite. One look at the cover and you’ll notice how masterfully illustrated each habitat is. Bold colors and intricate patterns permeate this book, while sweeping spreads convey a lifelike movement to each landscape. In addition to identifying 5-6 animals in each locale, readers will find the nonfiction facts at the back of the book an insightful way to learn more about endangered species.
(Ages 4-7)

Walkabout Orchestra: Postcards from around the world
by Chloé Perarnau
Maestro is ready for the performance but first he must locate the members of his orchestra by trapesing the globe to uncover their whereabouts. An excellent primer for introducing children to both geography and Music 101. As a bonus, a little yellow bird (found on each spread) is looking for something entirely different from the missing musicians.
(Ages 4-7)

Look for Ladybug in Plant City
by Katherina Manolessou
This is the latest addition to our home library and what a treat. Help Daisy and Basil search for Ladybug throughout Plant City and while you’re on the lookout, be sure to spot the mice, bees, and other hidden characters found in each scene. A fantastic book for the entire family!
(Ages 4-7)

Pierre the Maze Detective: The Mystery of the Empire Maze Tower
By Chihiro Maruyama and illustrated by Hiro Kamigaki and IC4DESIGN
An edifice unlike any other, Empire Maze Tower is a mass of challenges and hidden objects. With designated starting places and end goals noted on each page, plus an assortment of hidden items and a cast of neutral and nefarious characters, this complex seek-and-find will keep curious readers engaged for hours.
(Ages 7-10)

Top image by Scarlett Crews Photography

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A Trio of Boat Themed Board Books

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Have you ever been to a themed baby shower? I love any party that has a good theme! A friend of mine recently asked for some nautical themed baby book suggestions, which was sort of funny timing because it seems like this spring everyone has decided to publish baby friendly boat books. Little Boat (out this August) is especially suited for the 0-1 crowd and we can't help love anything Taro Gomi writes. Boats Are Busy is a visual delight while also being highly informative and Whose Boat? is part of a series that curious kids are naturally drawn to, making both books a handy reference until a child is well past baby years.

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. We only endorse products or services that we use and believe will add value to the lives of our readers. Thank you for your continued support!

A Board Book for Little Feminists

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The rise of children's literature dedicated to celebrating girls and women in the past five years is truly astounding. Raising little feminists (girls or boys) right now is more than a cultural phenomenon or hipster craze, I think it's a shift. A global shift in the right direction. Enter Feminist Baby Finds Her VoiceAn energetic, rhyming sequel to the wildly popular Feminist Baby board book that came out last year. With easy to manipulate pages, don't be surprised to find that your two or three-year-old has memorized this one after just a couple reads. Plus it's a great way to talk about equality and justice on an age-appropriate level.

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. We only endorse products or services that we use and believe will add value to the lives of our readers. Thank you for your continued support!

Play This Book

When it comes to interactive books I'm really polarized about which ones I love and the ones that sort of drive me nuts. Seek-and-find books? Absolutely! Books that ask you to tap, tilt, turn, twist, and some other action? It really depends. However, my three-year-old is pretty obsessed with Play This Book by Jessica Young & Daniel Wiseman and it's sort of fun to watch her make the instruments accompanying sounds. Bonus points if you have actual drum sticks to use. What about you, do you have a proclivity towards interactive picture books and if yes which ones are your favorite?

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. We only endorse products or services that we use and believe will add value to the lives of our readers. Thank you for your continued support!

A Beautiful New Mother's Day Book

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

"Does my sister know me already?" I ask. "Just your voice," says Mama, "but soon she will know the rest of you as well."

Of all the books I was most anticipating this spring, I can honestly say Mama's Belly exceeded my expectations. Told with such accuracy to beautifully reflect the excitement and trepidation that accompanies the impending arrival of a new sibling. Of course this felt especially poignant since we just experienced this as a family, however this book would make a lovely gift for any home expecting another child. My favorite part was that the book ended not with the arrival of a new sister, but of the family of three savoring the close of a day together.

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. We only endorse products or services that we use and believe will add value to the lives of our readers. Thank you for your continued support!

Reading Nonfiction with Children

Friday, May 4, 2018

For some, nonfiction can seem intimidating. Understandably you might feel like story time is a chance to read with your child solely for pleasure and while fiction may seem best suited to this task, early exposure to fact-centric books can expand a child's understanding of both their world and the people in it. Jim Trelease of The Read Aloud Handbook fame states: "As you read to a child, you’re pouring into the child’s ears (and brain) all the sounds, syllables, endings, and blendings that will make up the words she will someday be asked to read and understand. And through stories you are filling in the background knowledge necessary to understand things that aren’t in her neighborhood — like war or whales or locomotives.”

Indeed, it's never too early to introduce children to the wonderful world of nonfiction. By focusing your search on reading material from these five categories you can feel confident selecting great nonfiction titles and encourage your kids to more fully read (and enjoy!) nonfiction.
1. Animals — This might be the easiest category to start with since children—even before their first birthday—are naturally drawn to animals. You may own pets or make regular outings to the zoo which reinforce the connection between species. Some libraries and pet adoption centers even have story time with cats and dogs. And of course there are always a host of creatures to be seen on neighborhood walks. We've had success with the Disgusting Creatures series and anything to do with sea faring animals. If you're looking for an all purpose book about animals, Book of Bones: 10 Recording-Breaking Animals is remarkable and can easily be used for children from ages 3-8. Let your child be the guide though. If they are fascinated with elephants try this book. Likewise if they can't get enough bugs, The Big Book of Bugs (or anything by Yuval Zommer) would be perfect.
2. Events I find that this is often the "hard topics" category and may best be suited for older children. Nonfiction is a great way to discuss injustice and tragedies with kids; however, it's also a chance to showcase movements to spread peace and justice that have shaped our world. One book that's especially useful for showcasing children's involvement in activism is Let The Children March.

3. People Here is a chance to get creative and find famous or well-known individuals with the same name as your child. We did this for our daughter starting with the Little People, Big Dreams series. Black History Month (February) and Women's History Month (March) are great times to guide reading towards more nonfiction titles even before kids start formal education. Lastly, looking inside the human body is a fascinating way to pique curiosity. We like Professor Astro Cat's Human Body Odyssey (shown below) and My Body: Explained and Illustrated
4. Places As summer rolls around, road trips and other vacations are likely on the horizon. This is an excellent opportunity to grab a maps book and talk about where you'll be traveling to as a family. We like The 50 States book and can't wait for the forthcoming National Parks of the USA. Similarly there are A LOT of wonderful children's books geared towards specific cities and countries around the world, it you are planning to travel abroad City Atlas is an especially handy resource.

5. Things Here is where you (parent or educator) can easily showcase some of your interests to children. Likewise you can encourage them to delve into learning more about something they like. For example, we have an abundance of plant books in our home because I have an affection for all things green and Botanicum is an especially handsome book. Similarly, Under Water, Under Earth is a fantastic resource to explore various layers of the natural world. Lastly, if you know anyone under the age of five I'm fairly certain their innate obsession with band aids would make reading The Boo-Boos That Changed the World a great way to discuss ordinary people as creatives and inventors.

Clearly this is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully these five categories can guide you in thinking about ways to engage children more fully in the world around them. For more nonfiction titles you can search #bookbloomnonfiction on Instagram where we are always adding terrific titles for children of all ages. If you have a nonfiction book you love let us know in the comments.

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. We only endorse products or services that we use and believe will add value to the lives of our readers. Thank you for your continued support!

Paris State of Mind

Friday, April 20, 2018

We flew in and out of Paris a few years ago and I stayed just long enough to enjoy one of the most satisfying meals of my life on the outskirts of town. With luck I will someday return to the City of Lights for a proper holiday. Meanwhile I think this selection of children's books is a fine start for any budding francophile.

8 More Easter Picture Books

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Honestly I'm not sure how it is already Easter tomorrow. We had an impromptu egg hunt in our backyard yesterday and plan on dying eggs this afternoon. My littlest won't get a basket this year, but our preschooler is excited about finding one on Easter morning. We've started a new tradition this year with the Easter Story Egg and it's been a short (less than 5 minutes) meaningful way to celebrate Holy Week. If you're looking for some really last minute books these are some that we've enjoyed over the last couple of weeks, including both secular and religious.
Finding a picture book that conveys the Christian message of Easter is a little tough and while neither of these books (The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross and God Gave Us Easter) are perfect, they are a good starting place if you want to add the religious element of Easter into your seasonal celebration. We've supplemented with our own doctrinal and theological beliefs and I've changed some of the words when I read them aloud—a tactic I know has a limited shelf-life.
Easter Croc: Full of pop-up surprises! is a cute one for preschoolers. Croc is pretty grumpy from the get-go, so it's an easy way to talk to little ones about feelings and asking politely for what they want.
As mentioned before, the Easter Story Egg is a book that can be read all at once or each day from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Beautifully crafted nesting eggs pop apart to reveal matching art that corresponds with a daily rhyme and scripture.

Note: Books pictured in the top basked include: Happy Easter, Mouse!, 5 Little Bunnies, Plant the Tiny Seed, and The Runaway Bunny; all generously provided by the Harper Collins Children's Team

Find a dozen more Easter picture book recommendations here

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. We only endorse products or services that we use and believe will add value to the lives of our readers. Thank you for your continued support!

St. Patrick's Day Picture Books

Sunday, March 11, 2018

When it comes to St. Patrick's Day we love celebrating with a gathering of friends for a traditional meal that includes corned beef, soda bread, and an assortment of other sides. Wearing green is a given and I might dye the milk if I remember to. But that's about the extent of our celebrations.

After years of searching I have really only discovered a couple worthwhile St. Patrick's Day picture books. It's not that I have anything against leprechauns, it's just that a lot of those books feel gimmicky and poorly written. And while Green by Laura Vacarro Seeger isn't technically about the holiday it is an award winner that features various shades of green across the spectrum. Meanwhile, St. Patrick's Day in the Morning is definitely one to read on or before March 17th and some day we'll finally add This Is Ireland to our home library.

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. We only endorse products or services that we use and believe will add value to the lives of our readers. Thank you for your continued support!

Two New Valentines Picture Books

Thursday, January 25, 2018

A look at love and not love and all the subtle, or rather very deliberate, omissions we take when making a move. Especially when it involves young love. My favorite spread involves a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Guaranteed you’re sure to find both the images and text a heartwarming combination. This Is Not a Valentine by Carter Higgins and illustrated by Lucy Ruth. Published by Chronicle Books.
"It was a cold, dark night, perfect for scaring, but Fran had something else on his mind." Armed with pink paper, scissors, and glue Fran worked on an unusual looking shape. While his friends tried to guess what it was, Bunny informed everyone he was making a heart and that Valentine's Day was right around the corner. But that meant, GULP, that Fran must be in love. Gross! As his friends talked about how mushy and yucky love was, Fran felt flustered, so he escaped to the roof where he could think. Spotting his beloved a distance off, Fran realized that love is more than a paper heart, it’s a feeling it your real heart, even if it sometimes feels a little funny. A welcome new picture book perfect for Valentine's Day. Valensteins by Ethan Long. Published by Bloomsbury Publishing.

See nine other Valentines books here

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. We only endorse products or services that we use and believe will add value to the lives of our readers. Thank you for your continued support!

LOVE: a picture book

Friday, January 19, 2018

We see glimpses of love from the moment we are born and it weaves throughout our entire life. Punctuating seemingly mundane moments and magnifying the momentous ones. Love can captivate our senses and color our relationships. With luminous illustrations and thoughtful text, LOVE is more than a celebration of its namesake, it is a rich narrative carrying us through beautiful phases of what it means to be alive. Recommended for ages 4+.

For a simple love related craft simply punch out various shades of paper hearts and sew them together on your sewing machine. Be sure to swap out the needle for a new one once your heart bunting is complete.

To win a copy of this book, simply 1. Follow @bookbloom on Instagram and 2. Leave a comment completing the sentence Love Is.... Giveaway ends Friday, January 19 at 6:00pm CST. Open internationally.

LOVE by Matt de la Pena (@mattdelapena) and illustrated by Loren Long. Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (@penguinkids).

Two Daughters

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Nearly six weeks ago we welcomed our second daughter into the world. For years I said I never wanted to have a December or January baby. Which is exactly why I had a December baby. In truth, it made the holiday season more memorable and sweeter than I could have imagined. We were lucky to have five weeks together as a family with my husband on paternity leave and cold weather keeping us indoors. My birth experience and recovery were much easier the second time around. And nursing has been a thousand times better than last time. Life changes with a newborn and overall I feel so incredibly fortunate to be able to do it all over again.

Photo by Amy Rau.

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