(Partnered books are starred below! Thank you to Blue Slip Media and Kid Lit Exchange!)
Well, I finally had to upgrade our Christmas book basket! I loved the little red one (You can see it HERE!), but it just wasn’t able to hold them all. And I’ve added quite a few new ones this year!
We still love all of our old books, but I don’t think I’m wrong in saying there’s something fun and special about receiving new holiday books every year. These are a few of our new-to-us favorites this year!
*Mrs. Claus Takes the Reins
This book is SO CUTE! Santa wakes up with a cold (a man cold, if you will) on Christmas Eve and declares that Christmas must be cancelled. Mrs. Claus comes to rescue and says she will take Santa’s place, and of course comes up with a fantastic plan to deliver all the gifts. She has to overcome a few problems, but she does just as good (Dare I say better??) a job as Santa. The illustrations are so much fun, and the story is really cute. And who doesn’t like a good story where the woman saves the day AND gets credit for it??
How to Catch an Elf
Our elf on the shelf brought this book this year, and my kids love it! It’s about an elf who is trying to escape capture, since everyone tries to catch him instead of Santa! It’s told in verse, and a really fun book to read, especially if your kids love their elf.
The Christmas Giant
This is still my 9-year-old’s favorite book, and I love it too. It’s about a giant named Humphrey and an elf named Leetree who live in Christmastown. They are tasked with growing that year’s Christmas tree, but must come up with a creative solution when their perfect tree disappears. It is BEAUTIFULLY illustrated, and it’s a sweet Christmas story. I highly recommend this one if you don’t have it already.
*Tough Cookie: A Christmas Story
If your kids like funny books, this is THE Christmas book for them! It’s a take on the Gingerbread Man story, except this cookie is so tough that the fox has no interest in eating it! They spend the book trying to figure out why Cookie is so tough and unsweet. There are recipes for sugar cookies and dough-ornaments at the end too!
If You Ever Want to Bring a Pirate to Meet Santa, Don’t!
Another book in the Magnolia Says DON’T! series! We all love these books, and this is the newest one, perfect for a Christmas gift. In this one, Magnolia takes a gold-toothed pirate to meet Santa, and all kinds of mayhem ensues. It’s very funny and cute, and the illustrations, as usual, are wonderful! I pre-ordered this one, and I’m so glad we added it to our collection!
Y’all. This book is SO beautiful. I would buy it for all young ages, but I think it works especially well for the 5 and under crowd. Fewer words and more illustrations about the first snow of the season leaves lots of room for little imaginations to make up their own stories about snow and the kids in this book. The drawings are absolutely gorgeous. I know a couple of people who I’m buying copies for for Christmas!
*The Queen and the First Christmas Tree: Queen Charlotte’s Gift to England
I won’t lie. This is a children’s book, but as a royals fan, I love this book for myself! However, if you want to stick to gifting it to someone more age appropriate, I would say it’s perfect for kids who love to read the American Girl series. It’s about Princess Charlotte, who became queen when she married King George III of England, brought over her tradition from Germany of decorating a tree branch for Christmas. Over time, that turned into decorating an entire tree for the holidays, something England had never seen before. If you know a child (or an adult . . .) who loves historical fiction, the royals, or learning about women in history, make sure you get this book! It’s so good!
Construction Site on Christmas Night
My kids might be a little too old for this one, except I don’t think anyone is ever too old for wonderful picture books! We love Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site so much that I had to get this Christmas sequel. The trucks are all getting ready for Christmas, and there’s a special gift for each one. If your kids love the first book, you just have to get this one too! What a wonderful little series!
It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted about what my kids are reading, and that’s mainly because they’ve been reading longer chapter books. I don’t want to post the same books week after week! But they’ve now made it through enough that I can start recommending books that they’ve loved again! Instead of separating this post by age, I’m just going to get right into the books!
My 9-year-old read this one and loved it so much that he re-read it again and again and asked if I could buy him ALL of Raina Telgemeier’s books! Ghosts is a graphic novel about a girl named Catrina, who has just moved to Northern California, and her younger sister, Maya. Catrina isn’t thrilled about being in a new town, but the weather is supposed to be better for her sister’s health: Maya has cystic fibrosis. When a neighbor reveals that their town is haunted by ghosts, Maya wants to meet one, and Cat has to decide what she will put first: her sister or her fear of ghosts. This is a wonderful story, and I am so happy that a character with CF features prominently! CF is an often misunderstood disorder, and I love that this book has made it accessible for kids. I highly recommend this for strong elementary readers or middle schoolers.
We read this book together after Sarah from Read Aloud Revival recommended it on her podcast. What a creative, fun book! Henry Penwhistle draws pictures all the time, including on his bedroom door, which is a giant chalkboard. One day those chalk drawings all come to life and follow him to school, wreaking lots of havoc along the way. I love that this book is so imaginative and encourages kids to create all kinds of art, not just coloring inside the lines. It also gently addresses important issues around friendships, adults who won’t listen, and how to be yourself when people don’t always understand why. Plus, Henry’s town is named Squashbuckle. Please read it, if only for that!
An alien robot boy crashes to Earth and befriends two earthlings. That’s probably all you need to know that this series is a HUGE hit with kids, especially my boys. They both (7 and 9) love this graphic novel series about Hilo (the alien robot) and his friends, DJ and Gina. In between Hilo learning how things work on Earth, they battle monsters, aliens, and the occasional monster alien robot combo. This is a fantastic, funny series that I think would work well for a lot of ages, as well as for reluctant readers![Top]
The school year (in Texas) is finally over and we are more than ready for summer! Well, maybe not the heat, but we’re ready for fun, summer sports, and, of course, reading for fun every day. Every year I like to give my kids a few fun outdoor toys to celebrate the last day of school and I always include a couple of books as well. (And as you can see, I also stock up on sunscreen-that’s about 10% of our current supply . . .) It’s a little harder to buy books for my kids now, because they really like to choose their own, but I think I picked some that fit their reading personalities, and they were excited to get started on these!
I picked this series out for my 7-year-old. He loves being read to, but when he reads to himself he always goes for funny books. Captain Underpants, The 13-Story Treehouse, Galactic Hot Dogs . . . you get the idea. This series is written by Megan McDonald, the author of the Judy Moody series, and it’s about Judy’s younger brother, Stink. They’re beginner chapter books, and Stink kind of reminds me of my 7-year-old: a good kid who somehow gets into trouble, has a bossy older sibling, and loves being silly and funny. There’s a also a comic strip written by Stink within the books, which is a great addition if you have a kid who loves graphic novels. My 7-year-old has already finished the first book and is ready to read the second and he loved it!! As in, he chose to sit and read this book over playing with race cars at his big brother’s basketball practice. I’ll be buying the rest of the series as soon as he finishes this set!
Endling 1: The Last
I had no idea that Katherine Applegate had a new book out, so I grabbed this up the second I saw it. When I saw that it’s the first in a new series, I got even more excited-my 9-year-old and I love series, and this one sounds perfect for him. My 9-year-old really likes reading books with a lot of adventure, peril (of the kid-friendly variety, like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson), and relatable characters. This series sounds exactly right for an adventure-loving reader. The series is about a group of fantastical animals who behave like humans. One in particular, Byx, believes she is the last of her kind and sets out on a journey to find a new, safe home, and to see if she can find any more of her species. Along the way she gets into trouble, but also finds allies and uncovers some secrets she wasn’t planning to find. It honestly sounds amazing, and I might read this one to my 9-year-old . . . because I want to find out what happens to! It feels a little bit like Narnia and The Golden Compass series too, so I would suggest this for fantasy lovers as well.
I received a free copy of The Boo-Boos That Changed the World from Blue Slip Media and a free copy of My Rotten Stepbrother Ruined Cinderella from the author. All opinions are my own! (And I bought additional copies of both books with my own cash money!)
Well, it’s that time of year! Teacher Appreciation, end of year teacher gifts, and feeling extra grateful for how much our teachers have done throughout the year. One of our teacher appreciation gifts was to add to each teacher’s classroom library. Can you guess how excited I was about this??? I think this is a wonderful idea, and if you’re like me and try to give more practical gifts to teachers throughout the year, books are great. These are the books I gifted to my boys’ teachers, and I truly think they’re all great books.
For Our First-Grade Teacher
I love non-fiction books for kids that are actually interesting and fun, and this one is fantastic. Who knew the history of Band-Aids could be so interesting? Earle Dickson worked for Johnson & Johnson in the 1920s. His wife was extraordinarily clumsy, and he needed to come up with an easy way for his wife to cover her wounds while he was at work. Using supplies from his job, he created a rudimentary version of what we now know as Band-Aids. His boss thought it was a great idea, and dedicated Johnson & Johnson technology to improving it. This is a perfect book for elementary aged kids, and a great read-aloud for teachers!
For Our Third-Grade Teacher
My 9-year-old picked this book out at Murder By the Book in Houston, and it is SUCH a great series!! Each book takes place in a different country, and the beginning of the book reads like a secret agent file about the case and includes history and interesting facts about the country. This is the third book in the series and takes place in London. Jack has to figure out who has stolen the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London, and even gets to meet the Queen. This is an easy chapter book, and while my 9-year-old reads these pretty quickly, he still loves them because they’re fun and adventurous. If you know your child’s teacher has a thing for the royals (Don’t we all??), this would be a great addition to his or her classroom library.
This book might be my favorite of the bunch, and as soon as I finished reading it I ordered it for my son’s teacher. Seriously. (And I’ll be buying it and others in the series for other kids.) The Rotten Stepbrother series takes fairy tales and turns them on their heads, and I love it. In this one, Maddie’s stepbrother Holden ruins her report on her favorite fairy tale, Cinderella, and embarrasses her in class. That night, they are magically transported inside the fairy tale, where everything has gone wrong. The prince thinks he loves the evil stepsister, Cinderella is stuck cleaning her stepmother’s house (and gets thrown into the dungeons), and Maddie and Holden both become characters in the story. They have to fix everything so that Cinderella gets her happy ending, or the fairy tale might stay cracked forever. This book is funny, witty, and really well-written. There’s something for everyone, and I think girls AND boys would enjoy this one.[Top]
When I visited New Orleans last month, I knew I couldn’t leave without bringing home at least one book for my kids. So of course I ended up bringing back 4! While I did visit the wonderful Faulkner House Books, I actually found these at a toy store in the French Quarter! The Little Toy Shop (This is not sponsored in any way, I just want to let you know where I found them!) had a surprising amount of children’s books, from beautiful editions of fairy tales to, of course, a good selection of New Orleans and Louisiana-based stories. It was hard to choose just these four, but I think the variety is pretty good, and the books seem perfect for a variety of ages.
Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes
I picked up this book for the cover alone, but the story sounds amazing. Rhodes wrote the acclaimed Towers Falling and Ninth Ward, and I’m really excited to read this with my 9-year-old. Bayou Magic is the third in a trilogy of books about 3 separate girls visiting Louisiana during different times of crises. In in this one, Maddy goes to spend the summer with her grandmother in the bayou, and immediately loves the feeling she gets there. In between hearing her grandmother’s fairy tales, a possible sighting of a mermaid, and Maddy’s realization that she might have REAL magic, a tragic oil spill occurs. Maddy may be the only who can help. This sounds like an amazing book set in the South, and I have a feeling I’ll be picking up the first two in the series as well.
This one was a no brainer! My kids love the Who Was series, and I had to get this edition about Louis Armstrong. This book details Armstrong’s childhood in one of the roughest neighborhoods in New Orleans through his adulthood and famously successful career. I love learning about important people in history just as much as my kids, and he’s definitely an important person to learn about. He didn’t let adversity and severe racism stop him, and that’s a message that we can all learn from.
This is a really cute picture book about a little boy tromping through the swamp at bedtime. The little boy keeps hearing funny noises and isn’t quite sure what any of them are. It’s told in rhyme, and is perfect for kids of any age who like funny books with wonderful illustrations.
A pirate? Swashbuckling through New Orleans? There was no chance I wasn’t bringing this one home for my 9-year-old. This is a real chapter book great for more advanced young readers or older readers, or to read with your child. It’s all about the pirate Jean Lafitte, his background, and what brought him to New Orleans in the 1800s. Some people loved him, some people hated him, and this looks like a really interesting book for any kid who loves pirates and their history![Top]