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With a toddler on the loose, Heather is reading a few more picture books and science-based parenting books and few less dark fiction novels, but she's always up for a good story and atmosphere is key. Cat Valente and Neil Gaiman will always float to the top of her to-read list. She is more likely to be caught in the middle-grade books than YA and will forever be an advocate of genre fiction and comic books. She'd read those stuffy literary classics, too, if there weren't such a huge catalog of important sci-fi classics to go through instead.
Until just a few weeks before the publication of The Lady from the Black Lagoon I had never heard the name Milicent Patrick. Unless you are an obsessive fan of classic horror films and animation, it is likely that you also have never heard the name Milicent Patrick - and what a shame that is. Here is the biography of an all but forgotten pioneer of women in animation and creature design told by an author who has spent her life inspired by the subject at hand. Mallory O'Meara has done exhaustive research to bring back into the spotlight, not just Milicent Patrick, but all of the powerful, smart, creative, influential women she encountered on her way. Telling women's stories is a powerful way to combat the misogyny of the past and future. In this respect, Mallory O'Meara is a warrior.
Penelope Rex is starting school and more than anything she wants to make friends, but she's having some trouble. The problem is that Penelope's classmates are so tasty and she keeps eating them. (Don't worry, she spits them out.) Now no one wants to be her friend because they don't want to be eaten. Will Penelope learn why she shouldn't eat her classmates? Read this book to find out!
Darth Vader is not afraid of anything... well maybe one thing.
This book is perfect. It won't need my help to sell, but I still want to make sure every single Star Wars fan knows about this book because Adam Rex has written the best Star Wars book ever written. It's for kid and adult fans alike. Buy a copy for you, for your dad, for your kid's Star Wars obsessed Grandma, probably also one for your kid. Enjoy.
I'll be honest, I bought this book out of desperation and I didn't really expect much because I'd tried so many things already that just hadn't clicked with my 3 year old. I am so glad I picked this up because it was apparently exactly what we needed. Bedtime has been immeasurably easier since the first night we read this together. The kiddo has spent time since our first reading teaching other people how to "listen" and meditate. It's requested at all times of day. For an active, rambunctious kiddo, this book seemed to be just the thing to help calm the body and process the day.
Abner & Ian are sideways and they can't start the story like that. Abner thinks he knows how to fix it, but it's pretty crazy and they need *your* help.
This hilarious take on books like Press Here had my four year-old rolling around in laughter and his dad cracking up in the background the first time we read it together. Abner & Ian Get Right-Side Up is both clever and fun, with likable characters and plenty of interactive moments making it great for story time, anytime. Take this book home, you won't regret it.
It took me some time percolating on this book to decide whether I wanted to write a recommendation. My hesitation didn't come from a lack of quality in the writing; in fact, the writing is pitch perfect. I only hesitated because it is a strange little book, with a premise that feels both unique and familiar - a little bit like Westworld meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but with a wholly unique voice. MEM presents some pretty big ideas about what it means to be human and autonomous, and it really serves as more question than answer. I definitely left it feeling like I wanted more, but it was like wanting more dessert. You're not really hungry anymore, you just really like the taste. I do, in fact, highly recommend.
Time for Bed Miyuki is a sweet, gentle bedtime story about a young girl leading her grandfather on an adventure through the garden before bed. Its beautiful illustrations are paired perfectly with a lyrical story to lead little ones gently into sleep as they follow Miyuki making her preparations for the Dragonfly Queen's arrival, gathering together the snail family, covering up the cat for a warm sleep, and finally to bed.
An unfortunate reality for children's books that tackle difficult social issues is that the kids who really need them are less likely to actually see them. Books like Not My Idea should be in classrooms and homes across the country. White parents and teachers should be having conversations with their children about whiteness, the disproportionate advantage that whiteness gives them, and how to use those advantages to dismantle systems of injustice. Children are savvy and they pick up these conversations whether we're willing to have them or not. Not My Idea is a great resource for kids and a great resource for parents who want to have the conversation but don't know where to start.
My son knows what girls can do. We have the Rebel Girls books, Women in Science, Rad Girls Can - some of his favorite books star young girls kicking butt and changing the world. Unfortunately, it's much harder for us to find stories of boys who are sensitive and don't choose to fight or bully their way out of trouble. For a sensitive kid with big feelings, it can be hard to figure out how to navigate the world, especially when most of the media they interact with replaces feelings with fighting. Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different gives boys real role models and helps teach even little kids that kindness, generosity, empathy, and thoughtfulness can change the world. I am so glad this book exists and I hope we see more like it.
There There is the kind of book that grabs you from the start and doesn't let go, even after you've long since turned the last page. It is a work of fiction and every word of it is true. Tommy Orange writes with a palpable anger and pain, telling the history of a cultural trauma handed down through generations in the blood and bones and stories of individual lives. He also writes with incredible heart and humor, infusing his characters with a tangible humanity and moments of joy even as they are headed toward tragedy. There There has claimed a permanent spot in my heart despite having broken it or maybe even because it did. I think this may be the best book I've ever read.
If I didn't already adore Saladin Ahmed, this comic would have been reason enough to start. Reviving the king of the Inhumans, Ahmed does what all great comic writers aspire to do: tells a thrilling story that is as funny as it is heart wrenching, delivering a timely message about humanity through characters that are anything but human. Paired excellently with Christian Ward's art, Black Bolt is also just good fun to read and beautiful to look at. There are so many panels in these first six issues that I'd frame in a heartbeat. Pick it up, you won't regret it.
When They Call You a Terrorist is not so much a memoir of being in the movement or even really about creating the movement, but about the systems of oppression and white supremacy experienced at an intimate and personal level which made creating the Black Lives Matter Movement urgent and necessary. It is a reminder that, while intentionally decentralized, #BLM is Queer, Trans, and Woman led. It is a call out to all of the organizers who came before and after, that helped to create and sustain a space to say Black Lives Matter. This book is painful to read, but also beautifully written and full of determination and promise. When They Call You a Terrorist should be mandatory reading.
Badass ladies slaying demons, defying conventions, saving the world on their own terms? Count me in. The Tiger's Daughter is something truly special, it is an honest-to-goodness sweeping epic fantasy unlike any I have read. I don't remember ever being so excited for a new series. The characters in this book are so fully realized, the landscapes so vivid, I didn't even realize I'd been so swept away until I turned the last page and mourned it's passing. I endured with O Shizuka, princess, the divine made flesh, and finest blade in all Hokkaro; I raged with Barsalai Shefali Alsharyaa, demon slayer, horse whisperer, and infamous Qorin warrior. I didn't want to leave them and I can't wait for the next installment.
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Sometimes people fall into the gritty, grimy cracks and crevasses of the world and some people go looking for them. They revel in it, they wallow in it, believe it's all they deserve, or they believe that's all the world truly is. Otessa Mosfegh opens up those cracks and crevasses and lets us peer inside. I've never read longing and denial so clearly and devastatingly written. These stories are populated by characters on the fringe, some because they went looking and some because it's all they've ever known, but all of them with an overwhelming sense of displacement, captured in a moment teetering on the edge of tragedy. Homesick for Another World hits all the right notes. It may be the best book this year.
My 2 year old has this book memorized. He reads it aloud with me every night. It is his very favorite book. And why not? With a beautiful color palette and clever rhymes Bitty Bot is so much fun to read. It's the first book in our nightly rotation and sometimes also the last because we both want to read it just one more time. It is also, coincidentally, how I convince him to "activate (his) bot pajamas" when it's time to get ready for bed.
"Leo was a gentle knight / in thought and word and deed. / While other knights liked fighting, / Leo liked to sit and read." From the husband and wife team who created The Snatchabook comes another gentle tale of bookish adventure. Leo is a small knight who'd rather be left in peace to read than to go and tame dragons, but at his parents insistence he leaves home, with a brand new sword and shield, to do just that. Along the way he meets many foes and "defeats" them all by reading them a story in which they are the star. He then returns home a hero with a promise from his parents that he need't fight anymore and they'll let him read in peace. This is such a lovely story for instilling a love of books.
This brilliant little picture book made my entire day when I first read it and I can't stop talking about it. It tells the story of a shy little boy who wears costumes to feel brave but can't quite find the right costume. Along comes Camille on the day he's been chased by a dog while wearing a cat costume and helps him find the perfect costume: a frog. Camille is a little different too, she loves math so much that sometimes she only speaks in numbers; 23 is yes, 17 is no, and he knows it's time for lunch when she starts singing her 6 times tables. This book is perfect for any kid who feels a little different or shy and especially great for kids who may be on the Autism spectrum.
This is the book you're looking for. Shrill is an absolutely essential read. The way Lindy West writes about feminism, and grief, and love, and comedy, and family is so human and so relatable it feels like one of those 2am existentialist conversations that leaves you exhausted and energized, melancholy but hopeful all at once. I am insisting that everyone I know read this book.
I LOVE THIS BOOK! OMG UNICORNS! READ IT! I swear I have put this book in the faces of all of my coworkers. I may not have read every picture book in the universe, but I say this with certainty: This is, hands down, the cutest picture book in the universe. Not only is it a faithful and adorable riff on the beloved classic, there is a handy Unicornology Guide for the Unicorn enthusiasts in your life. (Also, you'll notice, the kid in this book about Unicorns is a boy. Take that gender stereotypes.)
I'll admit that I cry a lot more now as parent than I ever have, but it doesn't lessen the sentiment when I say that Tell Me a Tattoo Story made me tear up as I was reading it. Being a tattooed parent, heck, being a tattooed person, I know that people see me in a different way when my skin is exposed, but this little book makes tattoos special as a dad tells his little boy the story behind all of his art, leaving the very best for last. I am so excited to take this book home to my son who is still small enough that he points to my skin and says "Tattoo? Tattoo." and wants me to tell him all about it.
Jess Moulson has just been convicted of a murder she may or may not have committed. One thing is certain: a young boy is dead and Jess was so high the night he died, she's not convinced of her own innocence. Fellside is a ghost story on the surface, but beneath that is a story of loyalty, guilt, and forgiveness with a bit of an unexpected love story on the side. Reading this book often left me tense with fear and at the same time breathless with wonder at some of the most beautiful bits of prose I've encountered in literature, let alone in any ghost story. M.R. Carey is a master storyteller and if you enjoyed his first, The Girl With All the Gifts, you'll love Fellside.
Pick up this book and turn to page 58. There, if that doesn't sell this book, well, maybe we just don't run in the same geek circles but you should definitely still buy this book. You can flip to any page and find your favorite pop culture reference and learn a little something about what it has to say on the subject of family and growing up. From the Power Puff Girls to The Walking Dead, from E.T. to Fringe our geeky heroes (and sometimes villains) have a lot to teach us. Isn't that why we love them? I was already preparing to share my love of All Things Geek(tm) with my kiddo and now I'll be even better prepared to use Geek as a learning tool. Even if you don't have and/or don't want kids Geek Parenting is a hell of a fun read just because. Who doesn't want more excuses to talk about Buffy and the Scoobies?
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As a lover and advocate of comic books and visual literacy, I had a huge nerd out when I found these books. How amazing that someone else thinks comic books are so important that they're writing them for the littlest readers! I'm so excited to get to share my love of comic books with the next generation. As it says on the back of the book, learning to read pictures is the first step to learning to read words. And what a great message both of these books have! I'm Grumpy and I'm Sunny! are all about how being nice to others makes us feel better about ourselves. Gosh, I just can't say enough good stuff about these wonderful little books!
"Horn went Beep!/Engine purred/Friendliest sounds/you ever heard" and with that starts the greatest book ever written (if you ask my toddler). Little Blue Truck and it's companion Little Blue Truck Leads the Way get multiple nightly readings in our house and they are such amazing books neither Dad nor I mind. The art is gorgeous, the rhymes impeccable, and the morals so appreciated that it is one of the rare picture books you won't tire of reading over and over and over again. In Little Blue Truck we learn the importance of being nice to people just because while also getting make super fun animal sounds. In Little Blue Truck Leads the Way we learn the importance of waiting our turn and being patient while making super fun vehicle sounds.
WOW! There is so much to see in this gorgeous little book. My toddler and I can spend half an hour pointing things out, making animal noises, learning new words to go with the pictures, and giggling all the while. We can read the text or make up our own fun stories for each letter. You'll definitely want to share this smart little book with every small child you know. It makes a great gift for a baby shower or first birthday too!
There's definitely not enough self-doubt and worry when it comes to being a new parent and Sara Given is here to assure us that Parenting is Easy (You're Probably Just Doing Wrong). Here she'll teach us that white couches make the best feeding surface for your infant and young toddler, teenagers are always respectful and never difficult, and your toddler will love brushing her teeth and playing quietly while you take an important phone call. Filled with real stock photos and inspired by her wildly popular blog "It's Like They Know Us", Sara Given has brought us a hilarious and utopic vision of parenting.
This year Alice turns 150 years old and to celebrate there have been numerous collector's and special editions published. This is the one you *need* to own. Just pick it up, feel the weight of it, the texture, go ahead, smell it. This book screams COLLECTOR. The text is the same story you've always known and loved, but this is Alice as you've never seen her before. Illustrated by the beloved surrealist Salvador Dali, this book is sure to delight the artist, the bibliophile, and somewhat surprisingly, the mathematician on your list.
Speaking with empathy to the fear and mistrust felt by the anti-vaccination crowd, Eula Biss gives us an impassioned defense of science and medicine. On the surface this is a call to vaccinate, but it is also a reflection on race and class and sex and how we came to fear what should protect us. Without invalidating those fears, Biss makes clear that our health as a body of people depends on the protection of our bodies as individuals. On Immunity gives us much needed context in one of the most important conversations of our time. Written in beautiful prose, this book is a joy and a comfort to read.
Read this book. I mean it. I don't do zombies, they're just not my thing. I think they are an over-played, cheap, marketing gimmick. At least I thought that before I read The Girl With All the Gifts. If this is the new wave of zombies, count me in. It's smart, it's scientific, and it's both sad and ultimately hopeful. M R Carey has written a horror book for those of us who believe that 'genre fiction' can be more than just pulp. But if you're in to that sort of thing, there plenty of gross out moments too.
"It isn't about denying that children are girls or boys. It's about children not being defined by gender." This summation comes in the penultimate paragraph and it's the reason I read this book. I'm not what anyone would consider militant, but gender stereotypes are definitely something I'd like to minimize and that's not easy. Try finding 'gender neutral' newborn clothing--you have about 15 options, all of which are green and yellow. Go to any toy store and just try to avoid the Pink Aisle. Beyond that, even when they don't mean to, people treat little girls and little boys differently, which leads to the old Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus mentality. Brown has written a handy guide for checking those impulses and an informative, scientific, argument against raising your kids in a pink and blue world. I would also recommend this book for anyone who works with kids, teachers, caregivers, pediatricians, anyone at all who regularly influences children