Favorite Kids’ Books of 2014

Favorite Kids' Books of 2014

Picture Books

AlmostAlmostAlmost by Richard Torrey by Richard Torrey

Probably my daughter’s favorite picture book for the year – I think she related to the younger sibling aspect, even though the main character is closer in age to my son instead of her. She liked to “read” it to me, by reciting the text since she knew it all by memory.

Randy Riley's Really Big HitRandy Riley’s Really Big HitRandy Riley's Really Big Hit by Chris Van Dusen by Chris Van Dusen

Perhaps my son’s favorite picture book of the year. The illustrations, the topic, and the inclusion of a telescope and giant robot all combined to be a BIG HIT. Pun very much intended.

The Great DivideThe Great Divide: A Mathematical MarathonThe Great Divide: A Mathematical Marathon by Dayle Ann Dodds, illustrated by Tracy Mitchell by Dayle Ann Dodds, illustrated by Tracy Mitchell

Who knew division could be so entertaining? Not that the kids realize what’s going on in the book; they just think it’s fun.

Full HouseFull House: An Invitation to FractionsFull House: An Invitation to Fractions by Dayle Ann Dodds, illustrated by Abby Carter by Dayle Ann Dodds, illustrated by Abby Carter

Another math picture book, another one beloved by my daughter. Both kids really enjoy Dodds work – no idea if it’s making any impact on them from a mathematical standpoint, but the books are fun regardless.

JourneyJourneyJourney by Aaron Becker by Aaron Becker

A wonderful wordless picture book, with a storyline that reminded me just a bit of Harold and the Purple CrayonHarold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, although the illustration style is completely different.

Tweak TweakTweak TweakTweak Tweak by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier

My daughter adored this one, and asked for it again and again and again. She also tried to reenact it, which was awfully cute.

Have You Seen My New Blue SocksHave You Seen My New Blue Socks?Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
My daughter especially enjoyed this one. It’s a very quick, very cute read, with lots of simple rhymes that encouraged my kids to guess the sentence ending. It was an ideal library book – we read it endlessly for about 6 weeks, and then happily sent it back for fresh material.

Musk Ox CountsMusk Ox CountsMusk Ox Counts by Erin Cabatingan, illustrated by Matthew Myers by Erin Cabatingan, illustrated by Matthew Myers

Funny story line, cute illustrations – my kids think it’s hilarious, even though they’re too young to get all the jokes. Maybe they just like the illustrations that much? I don’t like it as much as A Is for Musk OxA Is for Musk Ox by Erin Cabatingan, illustrated by Matthew Myers, but it’s still a cute counting book.

Nonfiction Picture Books

I Can Name 50 Trees TodayI Can Name 50 Trees Today!I Can Name 50 Trees Today!: All About Trees (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) by Bonnie Worth, illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu by Bonnie Worth, illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu

The Cat in the Hat nonfiction titles were new to us this year, and we read several of them. This was the most popular, but they also really liked the Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?: All About Deserts (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) one.

Berenstain Bear's Big Book of Science and NatureThe Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and NatureThe Berenstain Bears' Big Book of Science and Nature by Stan & Jan Berenstain by Stan & Jan Berenstain

I’ve lost track of how many times we read this one, but it might have been the most frequently read title of the year.

Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is?Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? (Wells of Knowledge Science) by Robert E. Wells by Robert E. Wells

My son adores the Wells science series, and this is probably his favorite. Blue whales and outer space and so much fun!

What's Under the SeaWhat’s Under the SeaWhat's Under the Sea (Starting Point Science)

My son seems to love all the Usborne books we ever read, and this was no exception. We read it quickly, and then reread it and reread it.

Things People DoThings People DoThings People Do by Anne Civardi, illustrated by Stephen Cartwright by Anne Civardi, illustrated by Stephen Cartwright

This was initially a good-but-not-great book for my son, and then he hit the halfway point of it and became obsessed with it, looking at it by himself whenever he could.

Chapter Books

The Boxcar ChildrenThe Boxcar ChildrenThe Boxcar Children (The Boxcar Children, No. 1) (Boxcar Children Mysteries) by Gertrude Chandler Warner by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The book that turned my son into a chapter book reader – this is the first book we (successfully) read that wasn’t illustrated on every page, with a plot that continued on through successive chapters. We read it multiple times as well, with both kids asking repeatedly for the story about the “four hungry kids.”

Bink & GollieBink and GollieBink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile

An excellent bridge from picture books to chapter books – each chapter stands alone, it’s got illustrations on every page, and the plot is easy to follow.

Mercy Watson to the RescueMercy Watson to the RescueMercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

Another excellent bridge from picture to chapter books. My 3 1/2 year old daughter especially loved this one – she found the story line to be really funny.

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Favorite Books from the First Half of 2014 – Twitterature-Style

The year is more than half over, so it’s a perfect time to look back at the best books of 2014. Links go to my reviews if I’ve published one, or to Amazon if I haven’t.

Nonfiction

Women Heroes of World War IIWomen Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue by Kathryn J. Atwood

Fascinating look at women who worked to defeat the Nazis in various ways. I’m about to start her similar book focusing on World War IWomen Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics (Women of Action) by Kathryn Atwood, and I’ve got high hopes for it.

Buried in the SkyBuried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2’s Deadliest Day by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan

Gripping account, and I loved the emphasis this account gives to the Sherpa climbers.

Frozen in TimeFrozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff

Compelling look at both the historical events, and the modern search. If you don’t already know the outcome, try not to spoil yourself by searching online for details.

Mastering the Art of French EatingMastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris by Ann Mah

If you love food memoirs, this is a phenomenal one. And if you think you don’t like food memoirs, this one might change your mind.

The Professor and the MadmanThe Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English DictionaryThe Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester by Simon Winchester

Yes, it’s an account about the writing of the dictionary, but don’t let that stop you from trying this fascinating tale. A great book club pick too!

And a Runner-Up:
Courage Has No ColorCourage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America’s First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone

Written for kids, this is still worth reading by adults, and missed being one of my absolute favorites only because the lack of depth kept me wanting a bit more.

Fiction

Velma Still Cooks in LeewayVelma Still Cooks in Leeway by Vinita Hampton Wright

Loved the story-telling, loved Velma, loved it all, even though it made me cry.

The Secret KeeperThe Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Follows Morton’s typical pattern for her novels – alternating story lines between historic and contemporary events; a mystery; strong, well-developed female characters. Just because it’s her sort of book doesn’t mean it’s not worth reading – it was terrific.

Crossing to SafetyCrossing to SafetyCrossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner by Wallace Stegner

Another great book club pick, with my full review publishing tomorrow (it’s now published!). Slow start but oh so worth reading.

The Paradox Series by Rachel Bach – œFortune's Pawn (Paradox Book 1) by Rachel BachFortune’s Pawn, Honor’s Knight, and Heaven’s QueenHeaven's Queen (Paradox Book 3) by Rachel Bach

The series that convinced me I might like science fiction.

And a Runner-Up:
The Divorce PapersThe Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

Not at all what I was expecting, but oddly fascinating. I read it in one night, staying up way past bedtime because I couldn’t put it down.

Young Adult/Juvenile Titles

CressCressCress (Lunar Chronicles book 3) by Marissa Meyer reviewed by @SheilaRCraig by Marissa Meyer

Love this fantasy series so much – the fairy-tale retellings are well done, and she’s got me so hooked on the story I can hardly wait for the final book to come out next year.

Princess AcademyPrincess AcademyPrincess Academy by Shannon Hale by Shannon Hale

Fun fantasy story, and one of these days I will finish the sequel.

The Queen of AttoliaQueen of AttoliaThe Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, Book 2) by Megan Whalen Turner and The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Books 2 and 3 in a series, and it has been so enjoyable. I’m intentionally waiting to read book 4, because I want to savor the anticipation a little bit longer. Another one for fantasy fans.

The Impossible Knife of MemoryThe Impossible Knife of MemoryThe Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson by Laurie Halse Anderson

Hard to read because of the subject matter, but she is such a wonderful writer.

And a Runner-Up:
Jenny of the TetonsJenny of the TetonsJenny of the Tetons (Great Episodes) by Kristiana Gregory by Kristiana Gregory

Based on a true story, I wanted more from this account, but what is there is compelling historical fiction.

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

recent cookbook reads, twitterature-style

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Best Books of 2013

Today I’m sharing the books I thought were the best-of-the-best for the entire year. I read 232 books for the year, so there were a lot of choices, but I’ve managed to cull it down to six per category. It kind of pains me the great books that just missed out being included!

Best Nonfiction:

Best Books of 2013 Nonfiction

Best Fiction

Best Books of 2013 Fiction

Best Picture Books

Best Books of 2013 Picture Books

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

What the Kids are Reading vol. 5

For whatever reason even though I’ve had fresh material from the library, the kids are wanting to reread our own books, and many of them I’ve already written about in earlier posts. So instead, my thoughts on a few of those big compilation books that include numerous stories all in one volume. One I love, one I’m not crazy about, and one other? Completely “meh.”

HarperCollins Treasury of Picture Book ClassicsWhat book do I love? HarperCollins Treasury of Picture Book Classics: A Child’s First CollectionHarperCollins Treasury of Picture Book Classics: A Child's First Collection
I know, you and your kids will probably not love all of them. But there are so many great books in here, I’d be shocked if you ended up not thinking it was worthwhile. The illustrations are still large and easy to see, and my daughter loves it so much she pulls it out all the time, struggling to bring it over to me – “ooo, it’s heavy!” Yes it is sweetie. Please don’t drop it on your foot – that could do some damage.

The kids absolute favorite story in it is From Head to ToeFrom Head to Toe. They copy all the movements, and it is hilarious watching them. Next is probably Harold and the Purple CrayonHarold and the Purple Crayon, but Pete’s a PizzaPete's a Pizza is a real contender for second place. They love CrictorCrictor and If You Give a Mouse a CookieIf You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Goodnight MoonGoodnight Moon is only ignored because we already have it in two board book copies already (which is fortunate, because my daughter adores it, and insists on keeping one copy in her crib with her when she goes to bed.) Neither of them seem to like William’s DollWilliam's Doll or Baby SaysBaby Says. Too slow-paced perhaps? No matter. This book is fabulous. (And I think it’d make a great baby gift. I’m a bit biased towards bookish gifts though.) 🙂

20th Century Children's Book TreasuryIt makes the contrast with the The 20th-Century Children’s Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read AloudThe 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud all the more striking. This book wins on sheer number of stories included (44 instead of 12), but they get to that count by abridging the stories and illustrations. Some of the stories lose quite a bit of their magic because of the excised material, and I’d much rather them include fewer stories in their complete form. My children don’t really like this one either, and I’ve stopped reading from it, instead using it as a guide to titles to get from the library in their original format.

Eloise Wilkin StoriesWhich one leave us all yawning? Eloise Wilkin StoriesEloise Wilkin Stories. Maybe it’s just that I didn’t grow up with these stories so I feel no connection with them and struggle to read them with any enthusiasm. My kids pick up on my disinterest and have never asked for any of them to be repeated.

Any great children’s book compilations that I’m missing? Preferably ones that include all of the text and illustrations of the original?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Best Books {from the First Half} of 2013

The first half of 2013 is over, which is a great time to look back at what have been the top books I’ve read so far this year. Through June, I’d read 126 books, so limiting this was a tough call! I’ve picked five each of my favorite nonfiction and fiction reads, although I do cheat a bit with the last fiction pick. 🙂

Best Nonfiction:

Best books from the first half of 2013 - Nonfiction 2013_1 Best books first half 2013 [Read more…]

Favorite Books of 2012

My top 12 books of 2012 (in no particular order). Links go to a longer review if I published one, or directly to Amazon if I didn’t. Favorite Books of 2012 - Quiet

The Book I Most Wanted to Make Everyone Read

Quiet by Susan Cain
LOVED IT. Kept reading excerpts of it to my husband, and he was really enjoying it. It’s all I can do not to push it on anyone and everyone I know.

The Books That Indicate I May Have a New Author Crush

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Planning for 2013: Starting a Blog? (or Trying to Improve a Blog?)

If you’re not a blogger or planning on becoming one, today’s post won’t be all that relevant. How about a great biography instead? Or just come back Dec 31 for non-blogger-specific content.

Now, if you are a blogger or wanting to start a blog in the new year, there are some terrific ebooks out there to help.

Planning for 2013: Starting/Improving a Blog: 31 Days to Build a Better BlogIf you’re brand new to the blogging world, ProBlogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging is excellent. While I don’t think I’d truly try and start a brand-new blog and immediately begin blogging through the book, this is a great resource for walking you through some of the steps you’ll take as you begin publishing and promoting your blog.

Once you’ve passed the initial stage, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is another ProBlogger resource that is very helpful. The tasks are all simple enough that they’re doable in one day, and they all are worthwhile tasks too – it doesn’t feel like they’ve tried to pad the book to reach 31 by including meaningless ideas.



Planning for 2013: Starting/Improving a Blog: No Brainer BlogIf you need help with the bigger-picture aspects of blogging, Hayley Morgan (The Tiny Twig) has a new ebook out that may be just what you’re looking for. The No Brainer Blog is designed to help you cast your vision, define your voice, and refine your (virtual) space.

What does that mean exactly? It means figuring out why you’re blogging – what’s your purpose and motivation for spending your time blogging instead of all the other things you could be doing instead. Figuring out your writing style – are you serious or silly? Do you write rants or thoughtful insights? Your style needs to match your content, but most importantly it needs to be you. It also means figuring out your (virtual) space. Design matters, and the look of your blog needs to fit your content and style. Yeah, I’m still working on that last one.



Planning for 2013: Starting/Improving a Blog: Simple BloggingIf you read Rachel Meeks’ blog Small Notebook you’ll have a good idea if you like her style. I do, so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed her ebook Simple Blogging so much.

My biggest issue with the ProBloggers books is that they can sometimes feel like they don’t get the whole blogging-during-spare-moments thing. Meeks gets it – her book’s emphasis is yes, on helping you grow your blog, but recognizing that you may be blogging in your spare time and that’s not going to change. A focus on making the most of the blogging time you have, and recognizing what your core message is? Perfect.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Planning for 2013: Meal-Time Help

If you’re wanting to make some gradual improvement to your diet or kitchen routines in 2013, there are several ebooks that can help.

Planning for 2013: Meal-Time Help: Easy HomemadeWanting to stop relying on premade mixes or other processed food? Easy Homemade by Mandy Ehrman is a super-useful compilation of homemade recipes for lots of kitchen basics – drinks such as lemonade and smoothies, seasoning mixes like taco or chili seasoning or Italian dressing, condiments including ketchup or barbeque sauce, and lots more.

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Planning for 2013: Getting Organized

I always love the fresh start that the new year provides, and this is the season when I’ve already begun to look ahead and make plans for what I want to accomplish in the upcoming year. If you’re like me and enjoy tackling improvement projects of all sorts, I’ve got three suggestions for e-books that may help:

Favorite Books for Getting Organized: One Bite at a TimeIt’s not a new ebook, but if you’re at all interested in tackling various home and personal projects in 2013, I highly recommend Tsh Oxenrider’s One Bite at a Time.

Last year I worked my way through the ebook, one project at a time. Some were really successful.

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Favorite Ebooks

Need a last-minute gift for a book lover? While most books are available in a digital format, there are some books that are only available in an electronic version. They might not provide anything to wrap, but a printout of the book’s cover could slip into a card or stocking. Surely I can’t be the only one who would be delighted to find a book in my stocking?

Later this week I’ll post about some of my favorite ebooks related to goals you may have for the new year. Today it’s all about the ebooks that I would have been the most excited to have gifted to me.

Favorite eBooks - That Works for MeThat Works for Me by Kristen Welch and Jennifer De Groot

I love tips and tricks and genius ideas that make me smack my forehead in a “why didn’t I think of that!” moment.

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