Tag Archives: children's books

Episode 37: Holiday Gift Guide for Ages 0-9

Need gift suggestions for your kiddos this holiday? The Mamas have your back with board book, picture book, and chapter book recommendations. And, if book recommendations from Two Mamas isn’t enough for you, we’ve invited a Third Mama, author Rebecca Mullin, to help us get this holiday party started. 

Board Book Recommendations (ages 0-3):

The Lovely Haze of Baby Days by Lindsay Kellar-Madsen

The Night is Deep and Wide by Gillian Sze, illustrated by Sue Todd  

One Tomato by Rebecca Mullin, illustrated by Anna Mullin 

Picture Book Recommendations (ages 3-7):

Inside Cat by Brendan Wenzel

Phoebe Dupree is Coming to Tea! by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Alea Marley

A Vote for Susanna, the First Woman Mayor by Karen M. Greenwald, illustrated by Sian James

How to Change the World in 12 Easy Steps by Peggy Porter Tierney, illustrated by Marie Letourneau. 

Chapter Books (ages 6-9): 

The Secret Explorers series by SJ King 

The Ninja Kid series by Anh Do

JD the Kid Barber Series by J Dillon

The Pug Who Wanted to Be…..  by Bella Swift

Definitely Dominguita series by Terry Catasus Jennings

Show Links:

Bookshop.org

Twolitmamas.com

The first two people to leave a comment on this blog post will receive a free copy of One Tomato by Rebecca Mullin, illustrated by Anna Mullin!!

Episode 22: Happy Earth Day!

The mamas have so much to share for Earth month, from middle grade environmental nonfiction and eco-fiction novels, to nature picture books, articles, contests, book festivals, PBS specials, and more. Whew! Now, put on your green jeans and let’s get started!

Book Discussion:

How to Change Everything by Naomi Klein and Rebecca Stepoff

Girl Warriors, How 25 Young Activists Are Saving the Earth by Rachel Sarah

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

The Last Wild by Piers Torday

Pick Six: Nature Picture Books

  1. A Leaf Can Be… by Laurie Purdie Salas and Violeta Dabija
  2. Water Can Be… by Laurie Purdie Salas and Violeta Dabija
  3. In a Garden by Tim McCanna and Aimee Sicuro
  4. One Tomato by Rebecca Mullin and Anna Mullin
  5. Outside In by Deborah Underwood and Cindy Derby
  6. Tiny, Perfect Things by M.H. Clark and Madeline Kloepper

Show Links:

Color-Cut-Create contest for kids

Ohioana Book Festival

Teen Vogue article by Isabella Fallahi

New Yorker article about Mom’s Battling Climate Change

Greta Thunburg PBS Special

Episode 8: Back to School Creativity

Whether your family is doing e-learning, homeschooling, unschooling, striking, or hiding out in a bunker to avoid the latest natural disaster, you need The Creativity Project book to fill your time and sparkle your creativity. If you’re not sure if this book is for you, listen as the mamas give the hard sell (no, there’s no money in it for them although they’ll take your money if you’re offering) for literary advocate Colby Sharp and his unique prompt-response anthology along with tips to keep your kids learning, growing and creating. 

The Creativity Project, edited by Colby Sharp

This collection of prompts and responses from dozens of well-known children’s authors is the brainchild of teacher and literary advocate Colby Sharp (5 Questions with Mr. Sharp), who invited some of the best storytellers in Kidlit to share a prompt. Then the artists swapped prompts and let their imaginations run wild. The results appear in The Creativity Project book in the form of stories, drawings, poems, and comics. A section titled Prompts for You, is a call to action at the end that encourages readers to create their own awesome works of art. 

The Mamas couldn’t call out every contributor in the book, but they did discuss the works of these authors and illustrators: Sherman Alexi, Kate Messner, R.J. Palacio, Dav Pilkey, Minh Le, Victoria Jamieson, Lemony Snicket, Jennifer L. Holm, Chris Grabenstein, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Adam Gidwitz, Sophie Blackall, Kate DiCamillo, and Kat Yeh.

Pick 6: The mamas’ tips for sparking creativity at home or school

  1. Poetry Friday Anthology
  2. Scholastic Story Starter Scrambler
  3. Story Prompts from Think Written and Squibler
  4. Painting with ice
  5. Ice Play
  6. Airport Stories

Episode Reference Links:

Tomie’s Little Book of Poems by Tomie dePaola

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Hank Zipzer by Henry Winkler

Pandemic Book Shopping… Another New Normal

For bookworms like myself and my young’uns, bookstores are a sacred place offering an experience that cures whatever ails you. With each of our many moves I have managed to find a perfect bookstore to offer solace for my transient soul. After moving to Turkey, I found a two-story wonder with a decent selection of English titles and a phenomenal section of Turkish authors translated into English. I would disappear inside that shop for hours and imagine myself back in a world where the task of daily communication wasn’t exhausting. It was heaven.

Even Greg masked up at the bookstore.

When I returned to the US, I had a toddler in tow, so I had to start frequenting children’s bookstores. Bookstores soon did for my kids what they have always done for me, open a universe of possibilities. Trips to the bookstore have always been experiential, transformative and frequent. After moving to Massachusetts, it only took about three months before we found our spot – An Unlikely Story Bookstore in Plainville. This amazing independent gem also happens to be the brainchild of Diary of a Wimpy Kid genius, Jeff Kinney.

It was waiting for us just like we left it.

The boys and I have made regular pilgrimages to An Unlikely Story throughout our time here. If there was an early dismissal or day off, we’d make the 35-minute drive to hide out in the stacks and find new and exciting titles for our own bookshelves. But when COVID-19 hit, the entire state locked down, including our magical escape. We’ve waited six long months but when An Unlikely Story finally opened for ‘appointment only’ shopping, it was game on!

We counted the days until our bookstore fieldtrip, deciding to go in with no titles or styles in mind, rather hoping to be inspired by something peering out from the shelves. When we pulled into the empty parking lot my heart was a twitter. I’ve hated crowds even before the pandemic and this store was always packed. Seeing only two other cars meant there were only two other groups. Ahhhhh. Heaven.

At our allotted time a bookseller joined us in our socially distanced line in the parking lot, giving us a warmer welcome than I’ve received at family functions. “If you need suggestions or have questions, just ask. Our booksellers are as happy to see you as you are to see them. We are so glad you’re here.” 

It was like they were waiting for us!

Even my sarcastic 12-year-old was moved. “Mom, this is really cool. I feel important.”

After giving us the now requisite instructions about one-way aisles and hand sanitizing stations, we were unleashed into the store. Ahhhhh. Heaven.

We had 45 minutes to hang out with only 10 other people and we made the most of it. We settled in with some Star Wars STEAM books (I share our faves in Episode 5 of TwoLitMamas podcast) before scouring the chapter books. We moved through all of the mythology and science sections and did a serious dive into sci-fi and general middle grade fiction before exhausting our budget. We saved our last 10 minutes for their brilliant gift section because doesn’t everyone need Elizabeth Warren socks and Ruth Bader Ginsberg action figures? I know I do.

As we wrapped up our adventure and ordered me a coffee and the boys some brownies, the only black cloud of the day appeared. My 7-year-old burst into tears.

“Honey, what’s wrong? Wasn’t it good?”

“I don’t know, Mom. It was good but it wasn’t the same.”

And he’s right. While I absolutely adored my private shopping spree, it wasn’t the same. A bookstore isn’t just a retail space. It’s warmth. It’s safety. It’s shelf after shelf of possibilities and while all of those things were still there, it wasn’t the same. Unfortunately, it was a great reminder that while we’re slowly accepting our new normal, our kids might need a little more time. But in that time, we can devour a few books and hide away in some amazing tales.

Our epic bag of goodies!