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Based on reviews, recommendations and a few personal favorites, this comprehensive holiday gift guide should cover everyone on your list!Chief criteria for adult gifts was either practicality -- something super useful -- or comfort, for the person who has everything but could use a little R&R. Youth gifts were selected for their fun and educational qualities. Each item has been reviewed by hand.    FOR THE KIDSGive the gift of music this Christmas! The Populele ($149), dubbed... more
Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story. So says the famed teen expert/author/speaker Josh Shipp, aka The Teen Whisperer and the author of The Teen’s Guide to World Domination. And now it’s your turn, parents, thanks to Shipp’s renowned new book, full of practical advice: The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans: How to Decode... more
How do you teach a child to be compassionate in a world of walls, bullying and blame? You live as an example, surround yourself with kind people and talk to your kid about feelings. Another way to weave kindness into everyday life is with books — fun stories with interesting characters, cute animals and relatable kids facing common struggles.... more
The first deep conversation I had with Maria took place in the backseat of our gray Honda Accord northbound on Highway 63 on a Sunday night in November during our ride home from Iowa.She was a year and a half old. It was dark – we were nearing the winter solstice and the days were short – and I was sitting in the back next to her, a first-... more
There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. In fact, there’s a certain power in it, according to Susan Cain, the best-selling author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and the founder of Quiet Revolution, a company focused on the success of introverts in the workplace. But what if you’re a kid? Cain’s got you... more
Dads are often overlooked in children’s story books. So this month, we’re focusing on dads — their loving nature, how they can make it all better and how they share their wisdom in their own special ways.  Daddy Honk Honk!A fox finds an abandoned goose egg in a field … and the egg soon turns into a baby! The baby calls him Daddy right... more
Have you read Room on the Broom by the British playwright Julia Donaldson? This rollicking, rhyming read -- first published in 2001 -- has become my absolute favorite Halloween children's book. The girls love it as much as I do. I think it inspired their choice of costume for tonight. We'll have a 4-year-old nice witch and a 2-year-... more
Maria ran into our room breathlessly this morning."It's snowing!" she reported, her face aglow. I hadn't retrieved their snow pants or snow boots yet -- despite the forecast -- so we opted for rain boots and pajama pants for the girls' first giddy dash through falling flakes.They were euphoric. Maria paused a moment, confusion clouding... more
I love pumpkins! And I love seeing pumpkins amongst my three little pumpkins. Each autumn I delight in these bright gourds just as much as I obsess over peonies every spring. NPR says pumpkins have a nostalgic draw, representing "an idyllic farm life, and the best sort of moral virtue," which sounds about right. So I couldn't resist... more
When it comes to academics, parents today face a ton of pressure! Even before our children are born, we’re encouraged to read to them and expose them to music in utero.Then there are the educational toys required to foster early math, reasoning and motor skills. And the music and movement classes. We must make our kids smart to give them... more
It is with heartfelt thanks that I would like to express my gratitude to J.K. Rowling for writing the Harry Potter series of books. With her writing, she’s given me a wonderful excuse to spend hours snuggled up next to my children, reading and connecting with them in an almost magical way.When the Harry Potter book series first came out, I... more
Not all families look the same. And yet, in children’s literature families are illustrated relatively rarely with diversity in mind. Mothers, fathers, grandparents and children tend to be uniformly white or portrayed as animals. When looking through the inventory at a bookstore, Minnesota native Norah Barrett Cooper and her husband... more
When it comes to education in the U.S., teachers lead the way in molding young minds.But it’s a huge job. One might argue it’s actually too much for teachers to do alone. After all, learning doesn’t stop when the school bell rings. And support at home can make a big difference in a child’s educational experience. How exactly can parents... more
People who follow Minnesota writer Bao Phi on Facebook know that his feed is like a live memoir. His anecdotes about parenting, and his musings on writing, life and the world can be a joy to follow. In fact, one of his Facebook posts — a poignant story about going shopping with his 8-year-old daughter, Sông, and losing her in the store —... more
Bestselling author and New York Times journalist Frank Bruni argues that too many young people believe their futures will be determined by where they’re accepted into college.But it’s simply not true, according to the real stories found in Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. $14.99 • amazon.com more
Ahhhh! Today is officially the first day of fall. This is me embracing autumn: Give me all the pumpkins, sweaters, hayrides and leaves. And throw in a fox or two for good measure. (If you can knit them into a fair-isle sweater, so much the better.) This season gives me all the feels, and it makes me want to squeeze out every... more
Once You Know This — the debut novel from Emily Blejwas, a Minnesota native and mother of four — tells the hopeful story of an 11-year-old girl who struggles to make her future bright, amid the makeshift family that emerges around her.Bonus: Blejwas will read from her book on Sept. 28 at Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis.$16.99 more
Quick, punchy, easy-to-jump-into chapters — penned by Erin Leyba, a family counselor, parenting blogger and mother of three — are the draw for Joy Fixes for Weary Parent: 101 Quick, Research-Based Ideas for Overcoming Stress and Building a Life You Love.“Joy fixes are not about chasing happiness — a temporary pleasure,” Leyba writes. “Rather... more
Eric and Kristin Moan know a thing or two about premature babies and life in the NICU. Their twin daughters were born at 24 weeks, weighing 1 pound, 3 ounces and 1 pound, 7 ounces.Though their girls are now 4 years old and thriving, the Moans, who live north of the Twin Cities, remember struggling to navigate the NICU while also trying to... more
Variety is the spice of life, and these books celebrate that fact.Being different is hard, especially for children who are trying to fit in or just beginning to understand societal norms.These books all feature lessons about how it’s important to be true to yourself and celebrate the diversity in life.I’m a Girl!A little mouse who loves to be fast... more
We took the kids to Schulze Lake in Eagan, stood at the water’s edge and experienced a magical summer evening opening up before us.  It was one of those nights when you notice the cast of the light and the warmth of the breeze, when you sink your toes into the sand and time slows, when the kids can just be kids…and so can the adults.It felt... more
Is there anything better than a fluffy friend? Pets can teach valuable lessons to kids, like the importance of kindness, sharing, responsibilities and even loss. They’re also darn cute. Crack these books open to explore not just the wacky adventures of adorable creatures, but also how kids should act around animals.The Best Days Are Dog DaysA day... more
“Practical solutions grounded in neuroscience” are at the heart of this revered book by Colleen O’Grady, a licensed marriage and family therapist with more than 25 years’ experience and a mother to a once-teenage daughter of her own.Dial Down the Drama: Reducing Conflict and Reconnecting with Your Teenage Daughter explores the teen brain, the... more
Wondering which backpack to get for your kid’s preschool or kindergarten debut? We recommend you skip the Minions and Princess Poppy rucksacks — and opt for one of these awesome options, chosen for their long-term durability, comfort/ergonomics and enduring designs (guaranteed to outlast your child’s latest cartoon-character obsession). ... more
In preparation for writing this month’s column, I spent considerable time skimming articles online about the benefits of preschool.  And the prevailing wisdom seems to be that preschool probably has the biggest positive impact on kids who don’t have the advantage of super-engaged parents. Preschool for those kids is crucial.But for kids with... more
I was folding sleepers for Archie when I did a double take. Those elephants and giraffes, in their light blues and navys, were familiar. Then I pulled up the picture: the first time Maria read to Jane, nearly a month old, the little Eskimo baby with the wild head of hair and sunburn.Sure enough, it was the same sleeper.I headed to Jane's... more
Getting kids to play outside should be easy. But sometimes — in this age of nature-deficit disorder/screen-time and a strictly enforced culture of helicopter parenting — it seems like it’s never been more difficult.However, I’m here to tell you: Our kids really, really want it — water, dirt, air and mud, lots of mud — yes, even the... more
Summer is here! And that means (we hope) you’ll have a little extra time for reading with the kids — at home, at the cabin or in the car.Get started with three, new super-engaging books for babies and toddlers, plus six highly visual books to keep school-aged kids busy with critical-thinking challenges and creative play! Out of the BoxPuppet... more
Invented by a Nashville schoolteacher to help parents and kids connect more (ideally 30 minutes a day), this Gnome on the Roam set includes a storybook, a journal, a magical-looking stick pen, a miniature suitcase and a 6-inch-tall, ready-to-decorate PVC gnome.A companion app is designed to inspire exploration — and photo taking — for a modern... more
From the author of Yes, Your Teen is Crazy! Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind, comes a new book to help parents and kids thrive during the teens years: Crazy Stressed: Saving Today’s Overwhelmed Teens with Love, Laughter and the Science of Resilience.Drawing on neuroscience, psychology and “real-life stories from the teen battle trenches,”... more
Life as a mom of four kids is always busy.  But now that my children have all passed through the infant and toddler years — and are all school age — I seem to have a little more room in my mama brain for things that require more mental capacity. I feel as a mother of kids age 5, 7, 10 and 12, I’ve regained the privilege of reading for... more
I'm such a sucker for peonies. And for flower crowns.The combination is irresistable. So this morning I crafted a peony crown and took advantage of the June morning light to snap a few pictures. Last year I shared my 3-step tutorial to making super-easy flower crowns, and Moms, now is the season to try your hand at it! Today I... more
In Raising an Entrepreneur: 10 Rules for Nurturing Risk Takers, Problem Solvers and Change Makers, a mother of two thriving entrepreneurs shares stories from moms of more than 50 of today’s most successful innovators and — based on her findings — provides rules for raising confident, fearless, self-made men and women.$18.95 • newharbinger.com more
This New York Times bestseller — and a Top 10 Book of the Year, according to Time — attempts to bridge the generation gap between today’s parents and their girls, drawing on in-depth interviews with more than 70 young women, plus input from a wide range of psychologists, academics and experts to reveal “hidden truths, hard lessons and important... more
It’s almost farmers market season.And this insanely colorful, interactive book — from the author of the wonderful Cooking Class for kids — is the perfect companion for little ones, including 100 stickers, 50-plus punch-out paper fruits, veggies and flowers and activities such as mazes, matching games and adorable craft projects.There’s even an eat... more
Learning how to be a good friend isn’t easy. Sharing and saying sorry sincerely (when you’ve made a mistake) are required skills. And — as these new stories show — children must also learn empathy, patience, loyalty, inclusiveness and even the ability to look past prejudice and the intimidation of bullies.My Friend MaggieThis tale of friendship... more
More than 40 percent of mothers choose to stay at home for a significant amount of time after having children.Reentering the workforce, however, can be a bear.In Moms For Hire: 8 Steps to Kickstart Your Next Career, L.A. film and television producer (and single mother of four) Deborah Jelin Newmyer offers encouragement and solid advice as well as... more
Minneapolis author Eric Dregni remembers being sent to camp at age 6, kicking and screaming.Now a father of three, a college professor and the dean of the Italian Concordia Language Village, Lago del Bosco, in Hackensack, Dregni has published a humorous memoir about the challenges and rewards of overnight camp. You’re Sending Me Where? Dispatches... more
Not all reading time must be filled with traditional, narrative stories.Each of these books tells its own kind of tale, ideal for parents and kids who like a challenge and time spent poring over beautiful printed pages. The Lost HouseThis is one of the hardest search-and-find books we’ve ever seen!Even after you’ve found everything hidden in... more
On a recent Minneapolis Mamas Facebook thread, a mother lamented her 4-year-old’s terrible behavior.A clear chorus came back from mothers in praise of one particularly successful tactic — cutting back on screen time.Need a guide? Check out the much-praised Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades and Boost Social... more
Whenever I learn that one of my friends is going to have a baby, I promptly begin to panic on her behalf. “Congratulations!” I yelp, hoping my frozen smile will mask my palpable anxiety. I realize how crappy this is. For one thing, I’m taking someone else’s big life event and making it all about me. Furthermore, can’t I just stop... more
I am still pregnant. This past week has felt like an eternity.When I typed today's date at the top of this article, I wrote Feb. 27, 2018. That's how it feels. I've been nesting up a storm. Cleaned the refrigerator. Trimmed the girls' finger and toe nails. Had my eyebrows waxed. Purged the kitchen counters. I am... more
One More Tickle!This new Guess How Much I Love You puppet board book stole our hearts! Its built-into-the-book Nutbrown Hare is super-soft and features floppy ears and little pockets that allow parents to move his head and paws around in realistic, animated ways. “Are you ticklish?” asks Big Nutbrown Hare. “Can I tickle your ears and see?”$17.99... more
Take a trip back in time to your childhood and think about how you loved to spend your days.Many of us can remember joyful, uninterrupted hours of play — whether it was spent building LEGO creations, constructing a fort in the woods or dreaming up imaginary worlds for our dolls. Flash forward to today’s jam-packed schedules, increased... more
Winter is a great time of year to get kids hooked on reading at home. When we’re stuck indoors on cold Minnesota days, get cozy and read!But, when your child is not excited about reading, fostering these habits can be a struggle. Consider these simple strategies to get your child on track:Visit your local library frequently. We try to visit our... more
Little kids don’t need anything fancy to get interested in reading. They require only a willing parent and a book or two.But sometimes literary bells and whistles — such as those included with the books here — can be just the thing to encourage kids to use their imaginations, engage in creative play and maybe even go the heck to sleep!  Train... more
Every month Minnesota Parent receives self-help parenting books filled with stories about how hard to is to parent (and why), but they’re woefully short on solutions. They’re 98 percent backstory. This book — How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk (part of a longtime bestselling series) — actually offers how-to... more
From the beginning of my parenting journey, I’ve looked at the faces of my children with a bit of wonder and awe. I behold them as gifts bestowed upon me. I’ve studied their expressions, their reactions and their moods from the time they were just babes in my arms. I consider it my job to lovingly guide them to pursue who they’re... more
When our two sons, who are now 15 and 13, were getting old enough to start thinking seriously about money (a few years ago), they asked some really interesting questions.They ran the gamut from careers (could they get rich as writers?), advertising (young kids have a hard time telling the difference between ads and entertainment), product... more
There's something about Christmas that invites nostalgia -- tales of years past, faded photographs and images that remain timeless. The idea of an old-school Christmas feels refreshing as we become increasingly high-tech. If you're looking to visually counter our screen-addiction this holiday season, opt for the vintage -- and let your... more
Billed as a Teen Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior and Not Grossing People Out, Alex J. Packer’s book, updated in 2014, is billed as a “wacky, comprehensive, and insightful etiquette book that shows teens how to use good manners to build fulfilling relationships, get what they want out of life, feel good about themselves and save society... more
Babies love tags! What’s up with that?Satisfy your infant’s fixation with a city-themed soft block from Rose & Rex, which includes four tag-like tabs with holes just right for babies’ fingers (plus an actual tag).Locales so far include London, New York, Brooklyn, Paris, Tokyo, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Sydney.All the blocks —... more
You’ve heard of The Elf on the Shelf. The 2004 children’s book and doll set has become a beloved, playful tradition among many families. It’s also caused backlash from parents who dislike the concept of a nanny-state elf who spies on kids and evaluates their behavior for gift worthiness.Well, what if you could have the playfulness of an annual... more
We survived!In fact, the big day went as well as I possibly could've hoped.All year, Nov. 26 loomed large on our calendar. It would be the biggest day of our year, the wedding of my husband's younger brother. Much as I looked forward to this occasion, I also took a deep inhale: We're talking an out-of-state wedding where my husband would be... more
It’s almost winter and the holidays are near: What better time could there be to snuggle up and read?Check out the following titles, all new this year, that help celebrate the season.Maple & Willow’s Christmas Tree These two adorable, sometimes snarky sisters — captured, as usual, in gorgeous drawings by author-illustrator Lori Nichols —... more
If your child is struggling with overeating, it can be incredibly hard to discuss the issue.Aimed at helping parents of ages 10 to 18, Free Your Child from Overeating — written by therapist and mother four Michelle Maidenberg — helps families address the causes of overeating and offers more than 50 mind-body strategies rooted in cognitive... more
Grab your aspiring astronomer and head outside: There's a supermoon! Because the moon's orbit has an elliptical shape, sometimes it is closer to Earth than other times. Astronomers call the closest-to-Earth moment the perigee. And what makes Nov. 14 special is that the moon "becomes full within about two hours of perigee -- arguably making it... more
I’m so excited about all the awesome toys — and toy-related ideas — we’re spotlighting this month in our annual Toy Issue!Wait. What?You don’t want more toys? You don’t like how your carpet/coffee table/entire existence has disappeared under a thick layer of giant playgyms/mats/bouncers/vibrating chairs, noisemakers and Megabloks? Or maybe it’s... more
Ages 0–3Picture BooksGiraffes Can’t Danceby Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-ReesMeet Gerald, a giraffe who desperately wants to dance, but can’t quite get his long, wobbly legs to cooperate. With perseverance and a little encouragement from a new friend, Gerald succeeds. Gerald’s story will inspire your kids to try, try again, and make their dreams... more
Summer may be considered prime picnic season, but Minnesotans know that autumn offers the most glorious opportunity to eat al fresco. If you're looking to make a meaningful memory as a family (and snag a gorgeous photo) without much fuss, now is the time to grab a blanket, fill a basket and search for a bright maple. They're at their peak... more
Here we are, already in the thick of the school year.And that means watching your kid face the challenges of academics, friendships and even the pressures of Picture Day!It’s not easy.Check out how the characters (both human and animal) in these books find interesting ways to conquer their fears and emerge triumphantly. Coasting CaseyThis... more
Yep, it’s fall, the perfect time to break out the slow cooker for easy school-night eats.This recipe, despite requiring only about 20 minutes of prep time and just five key ingredients, delivers a surprising amount of flavor.Serve the chicken over cauliflower “rice” and sauteed zucchini or a simple salad. Slow-cooker chicken... more
Want to give your kids a jump start on their financial future?Check out Blue Chip Kids: What Every Child (and Parent) Should Know About Money, Investing and the Stock Market.This lively and engaging book — filled with 165 cartoon illustrations — tackles many facets of personal and corporate finance that schools simply aren’t covering.David Bianchi... more
“Lila is already reading!”“Jayden started reading when he was 3 years old.”“Jesse has been reading chapter books since kindergarten.”As a licensed reading specialist and the parent of a kindergartner, I can’t help but notice the push for children to start reading before kindergarten.What once was rare — and only for children who were... more
Groves AcademyThis private St. Louis Park school, founded in 1972, offers specialized services for students in grades 1-12 diagnosed with learning disabilities and/or attention disorders.Tuition for the 2016-2017 school year ranges from $27,120 to $28,160. The Learning Center at Groves is open to the public and offers fee-based tutoring,... more
I've been on pumpkin look-out for several weeks now, and we happened to be at our local Cub the day the pumpkins arrived out front. I couldn't resist. I don't know why pumpkins make me so happy, but they do. I let Maria make a selection. She quickly zeroed in on a big pumpkin covered in warts. The only one with warts.In a sea of... more
Today brings exciting news for Beatrix Potter fans: Penguin Random House has released a never-before-published book discovered a century after it was written. Brought to life with illustrations by Quentin Blake, famous for his drawings in the Roald Dahl books, "The Tale of Kitty-In-Boots" is an instant bestseller sure to delight longtime fans... more
Few phrases excite me more than "city-wide garage sale."And tomorrow is the opening day of Inver Grove Heights' three-day city-wide sales, which run from Thursday, Aug. 25 to Saturday, Aug. 27.Neon signs are starting to crop up at intersections, and my heart is aflutter. I picked up the $1 directory outlining the 47 participating sales -- a... more
It’s never too early to read with your baby!In fact, early childhood development experts recommend reading to children from birth — at least 20 minutes a day, three days a week (read20.org).Here are some of our favorite books for babies. Find reading lists for all age groups (including age 0 to 12 months) at readingfoundation.org.Vegetables and... more
Chelsea Clinton, with her book, It’s Your World, challenged tweens in 2015 to “get informed, get inspired and get going” to make positive changes in the world.Now, given the history her mother made recently — becoming the first female nominee for President of the United States — this book ($18.99), which explores the challenges of poverty,... more
Drawing inspiration from martial arts, ballet, gymnastics, other sports and even animal behaviors, the authors of this 2011 book ($14.95) — gastroenterologist Anthony DeBenedet (a father of three girls) and Lawrence Cohen, a psychologist and family therapist — present dozens of illustrated rough-and-tumble activities for children and... more
Some days you have to stop and let the kids play in the rain. For us, this morning was one of those days. Maria showed Jane the ropes. She studied Big Sister's technique. Reached for Big Sister's hand. And soon was off to the races! Then we met up with Cousin and Grandma for more rainy fun. (Grandma never let a little rain... more
 The Lockdown Drill School children today don’t just take part in fire drills.Because of numerous attacks on schools in recent years, kids as young as preschool-age are required to participate in lockdown drills that involve preparing for intruders, typically by hiding.And that can be scary.That’s why Tennessee native Becky ... more
When I talked to Maria about her third-birthday party, a theme immediately emerged: She wanted a mermaid party. For an almost-3-year-old, the concept feels as obvious as it is simply put, “a mermaid party.” No explanation needed.Mermaids have captured Maria’s imagination. We’re not just talking “Little Mermaid.” We read a variety of mermaid books... more
I’ve become that mom who cannot stop talking about her kids. It’s gotten so obnoxious I’ve even begun meetings and presentations by whipping out photos. They’re just so important to me, so central to who I am. If you don’t know about them, you don’t really know me.I am passionate about my career as a writer. But becoming a mom has fulfilled... more
Mother of two Asha Dornfest started her ParentHacks.com blog in 2005.Her recent book of the same name features 134 whimsically illustrated ingenious ideas for simplifying life with kids, such as:Strap your baby into a forward-facing carrier when you trim his or her fingernails.Put the ketchup under the hotdog to minimize mess.At the beach? Stash... more
Parenting teenagers can be intense.Adolescents’ huge ups and down can drive you and the rest of the family crazy!Eline Snel — author of Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents) and founder of the Academy for Mindful Teaching in Leusden, Netherlands — offers tips for... more
Summer on the North Coast brings with it that mixed blessing of longer days for parents: Yes, it means more daylight for outdoor fun, but it also means putting the kids to bed well before the sun goes down. Perhaps you can lull your little one to sleep — or at least while away the hours — with one of these new-in-2016 sleep-adventure stories.They’... more
Kids need nature play and outdoor activities. But when there are 1,000 free cool games on the iPad, you’re facing an uphill battle, even in summer — unless you get creative and get excited to try new things.Here are just a few of the latest outdoors books perfectly tailored to families in need of inspiration and motivation:M Is for... more
The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous and Smart About Money isn’t just rich with useful tips for teaching kids about finances — including parent best practices for the tooth fairy, birthdays, chores, mobile phones and beyond — it’s also relatable guide to combating materialism with gratitude and charity and many other... more
Caring for others is an essential skill that can give today’s young people a leg up in all aspects of their lives. So says author Michele Borba, an internationally recognized parenting expert.Her new book — UNSELFIE: Why Empathic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World, coming out this month — gives parents “science-backed” tools for teaching... more
In anticipation of the summer travel season, we’re taking a look at five backseat books to keep the kids from whining the whole trip to Grand View Lodge, Grand Marais, Chicago, Milwaukee, Mount Rushmore, Wisconsin Dells, the cabin or wherever it is you’re going this year. Each of them is entertaining — and educational — in its own way.Get Ready... more
Our family vacation was off to a pretty good start. We were chanting:Seuss is on the loose! Seuss is on the loose! Seuss is on the loose! All before we received our requisite tropical sunburns, island braids and Ron Jon T-shirts, we joined in this mantra with an enthusiastic group of fellow Carnival Cruise passengers, marching not... more
Whether you’re a new-mom-to-be on a quest for fresh knowledge, a friend looking for a fun baby-shower book or a grandparent in search of a perfect Mother’s Day gift for your daughter, we hope you’ll find something in this mix to pique your interest. Ma Doula: A Story Tour of BirthYou’ll hear a lot of birth stories during your pregnancy — be... more
New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Larry Gonick continues his popular series of math, history and science books with The Cartoon Guide to Algebra ($18.99) — 222 playful pages tackling essentials such as variables, quadratic equations, rates, proportion and more. Paperback, e-book, Kindle and iPad versions are all available now.... more
Minnetonka author and mother of four Julie Burton is coming out with an encouraging book for moms this May.The Self-Care Solution: A Modern Mother's Must-Have Guide to Health And Well-Being ($16.95) includes Burton’s own highly personal postcards from the edge of parenting (and the consequences of self-neglect) as well as insights from... more
Sundogs A to ZKay Elliott of Richfield came out with her first children’s book, Sundogs: Journey to the Great Windmill, in 2012, appealing to young readers with dogs of many vibrant colors (dedicated to all the canines she’s called her own). When Elliott learned she would become a grandmother for the first time, she decided to write a board book... more
Early spring is ACT season in Minnesota. Elizabeth Smart — president and founder of a boutique online tutoring company that prepares students for the SAT, ACT, AP and SAT exams — has crafted a concise ACT-prep pocket guide: Acing the ACT: An Elite Tutor's Guide to Tricky Questions and Secret Strategies that Make a Big Different ($12.99) is... more
Said the gal who writes a parenting column: “What you REALLY need to know about parenting cannot be found in a book, blog or magazine.” If you follow me here at Toddler Time, you know I encourage readers to parent individualistically. We all have different levels of patience, different ideas about how long to breastfeed, different backgrounds... more
Which would you rather have your kids learn — where food comes from (and how to cook and eat it) or the habits of dinosaurs?This pointed question comes from Jill Colella, the St. Paul founder of not one but two gorgeous bimonthly magazines for kids that encourage food savvy as well as early reading: Ingredient is for ages 6–12 and, new in 2015,... more
You are enough. And Jacquelyn B. Fletcher’s hand-stamped words — in Dear You: Messages For Moms, released in February ($16.95) — will give you permission to connect fearlessly with that truth. Billed as a manifesto for mothers, Fletcher’s latest book (a sweet Mother’s Day gift) features the imagined voice of Your Heart, which gives moms... more
“There is a predictable pattern to teenage development, a blueprint for how girls grow. When you understand what makes your daughter tick, she suddenly makes a lot more sense.” So says author and psychologist Lisa Damour in her new book, Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood. Billed as some of the... more
Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. In fact, publishers are catering to adults like never before with a bevy of adult coloring books released in the past year. The Doctor Who Coloring Book? Yep, that’s a thing. There’s also an Indie Rock Coloring Book (featuring pages dedicated to bands like Bon Iver and Iron & Wine) and The Tattoo Coloring... more
Listening Library and Penguin Young Readers have just launched a new resource for LGBTQ teens, parents, teachers and librarians: Read Proud Listen Proud. Readers can find suggested books and audiobooks highlighting LGBTQ issues and characters, along with author interviews and discussion guides at readproudlistenproud.com. The site was inspired... more
Fourteen-year-old Maria Keller of Plymouth has been named a 2015 honoree by the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes for her non-profit organization, Read Indeed.Each year, the Barron Prize celebrates 25 inspiring, public-spirited young people who have made a significant positive difference in the world. Maria was honored for her work in... more
Minnesota winters can be harsh, sure. But brrrrrr is our thing: We can take pride in our resilience and the fact that we have real seasons here. Honestly, who wants to live in California where it’s 70 degrees every day? (Wait, don’t answer that.) OK, so how can we teach our kids to enjoy and embrace the crisp, clean air of winter? Check out these... more
St. Paul author Geoffrey Saign has hit the jackpot with his 2014 book, WhipEye.Not only are teachers, kids and Amazon reviewers raving about his middle-grade urban fantasy thriller (the first in a series), it’s also received two pretty big literary honors this year — first place in children’s fiction from the 2015 International Book Awards and a... more
Christmas can truly be a magical time for our kids. As parents, we get to relive the wonder of it all, while also imparting — and often inventing — family traditions. One of the rituals in my family is reading holiday books together. I don’t keep holiday books in rotation during the rest of the year, however. They get put away with the tree and... more
Not every kid excels in high school. If you have a teen whose grades need improvement, don’t lose hope. According to author Barbara Dianis, an education specialist, ADD/ADHD academic coach, there are proven strategies and techniques students can utilize to transform their grades and raise their class rank. In her 150-page paperback, Grade... more
Books make awesome holiday presents, don’t you think? These new gems are ideal for families looking for something fresh, entirely unexpected and, we think, delightful (any time of year). Enjoy! LEGO Awesome IdeasLooking to get your kids to actually reuse their LEGOs for creative free building — rather than just buying new sets?... more
When that first baby tooth starts to wiggle, you know your child is about to hit a major milestone or, rather, a series of milestones: From the age of about 5 to 12, the average child loses 20 baby teeth. That’s a lot of visits from the tooth fairy! These fun books and keepsakes will help you revel in the excitement, stimulate your child... more
Are you looking for new and interesting kids’ books for your family (or perhaps for some early holiday gifts)? Either way, put these three great finds on your list.So much greatness is going on in the world of children’s books — including folk art, comics and more — we parents have no excuse to not read to — or with — our kids! The... more
Reading to our children is fun — and can bring us hours of enjoyment and quality time together (especially if bedtime goes well)! But what happens when it’s time to get the kids to read to themselves?Fortunately, there are oodles of resources out there to foster a lifelong love of reading.  The newly published list — 50 Best Books for 5... more
The Saint Paul Public Library is the first library in the state to offer a new — free — children’s book-recommendation service called Beanstack for ages infant to 12. Families anywhere can sign up for book-recommendation emails based on their children’s reading skills, age and interests such as “Ninjas, Pirates and Warriors,” “Diverse Main... more
Tom Weber, a host for Minneapolis Public Radio, is out with a new book encouraging local exploration — 100 Things to Do in the Twin Cities Before You Die.“A lot of times people hear about cool things and make that mental note, ‘I should do that some day,’” he said. “When it comes time to think of things to do, they forget. I hope this is a way to... more
 Babies love to read books! Here are some of our top picks, all new to bookstores in the past year, including engaging animals, photos of a real infant in action and a Minnesota twist on a timeless classic. Goodnight LoonYou’ll find the same charming rhythm and rhyming of the Margaret Wise Brown original in this delightfully localized... more
Aija Mayrock was bullied throughout middle school and high school. Through it all, however, she learned a lot — and, at the age of 16, she wrote a lively, fun book to help kids age 10 and older not just survive, but thrive in the face of bullying. The Survival Guide to Bullying ($9.99) features tips, personal stories and quick quizzes... more
“Oh great," you’re probably thinking. “Homework.” This is often how I feel when someone insists I read such-and-such parenting book. “When exactly am I supposed to read that?” I want to ask. I have two little kids; I work; I haven’t even started Breaking Bad. However, if you’re a reader like me, there will probably come a time when... more
Is your kid getting ready to go back to school (or maybe to school for the first time)? Ease into it either way with these delightful books that inspire confidence, imagination and, best of all, kindness to others.Ally-saurus & the First Day of SchoolWhen Ally roars off to her first day of classes, she hopes to meet lots of other... more
Minnesota has so many amazing attractions for families, it’s hard to know where to start. Fortunately, Christie Gove-Berg, a Minnesota native, Forest Lake resident and mother of three, has created a handy glossy paperback guidebook: Minnesota Must-See for Families: An A-to-Z List ($12.95), including tourist attractions both natural and urban... more
These books are thoughtful, helpful and delightful most of the time, but sisters can be tricky, too, especially if you’re trying to welcome a baby sister home (and become a Big Brother) or if you’re trying to become a Big Sister (to your new baby brother).  Even not having a sister can be hard, especially when you have triplet brothers! ... more
It’s bedtime plus 30 minutes, and the Essence of Sweetness, the Center of the Known Universe — for now, let’s call her Natalie — is drawing a line in the proverbial sand:“I’m not tired. It isn’t even dark. I can hear kids playing outside. No fair!”“Natalie, you should have been in bed a half hour ago.”“I’m not going to bed.” She faces... more
Little Owl’s DayIn this sequel to Little Owl’s Night, our wide-eyed little friend wakes up in broad daylight and discovers a forest he’s never seen, full of sunlight and daytime activities. He sees backward-flying dragonflies, wolf pups and his first rainbow. Then it’s his turn to show off. He keeps Bear up late, just long enough to see a full... more
 Little Owl’s DayIn this sequel to Little Owl’s Night, our wide-eyed little friend wakes up in broad daylight and discovers a forest he’s never seen, full of sunlight and daytime activities. He sees backward-flying dragonflies, wolf pups and his first rainbow. Then it’s his turn to show off. He keeps Bear up late, just long enough to see a... more
David McCullough’s book urges kids to stop trying to be perfect. Born from a commencement speech by the author (a high school English teacher and a father of four), the book aims to “liberate kids from the me-centered attitudes encouraged by our culture.” They aren’t special. “Let them be, rather, part of something bigger than themselves.”$16.99... more
Donnie Lemke, a children’s book editor who lives in St. Paul, and Bob Lentz, an art director in Bloomington, have joined forces — as Lemke & Lentz — to create a cool collection of interactive, die-cut books.Donnie Lemke with his daughter, CleoBob Lentz with his son, LincolnTheir super-sturdy Book-O-Beards, Book-O-Hats, Book-O-Teeth and Book-O-... more
Beverly Gillen, a Minnetonka mother of two grown daughters and a parenting educator, has published the ultimate get-going-early guide for kids and parents who have their sights set on college.Get Connected for College: The Savvy Student’s Guide to College Prep ($19.95) covers the top 100 college ... more
Reading to your child, listening to your child read or simply reading alongside your child are simple ways we, as parents, can support literacy development and healthy reading habits at home — and build a foundation for lifelong academic success. Our biggest challenge in making reading at home a routine of family life, is simply devoting time... more
Are you sick of bedtime battles and — when you do finally get your kid in bed — the same old picture books?Well, maybe we parents ought to change things up a bit.John Olive, a Minneapolis father, author and playwright, has a suggestion: Put the books aside once in a while. Instead, dim the lights, lie down and make up your own stories. How? ... more
Yes, winter’s cold, windy and, in Minnesota, oh-so long. But it’s also a season like no other. There’s no better time for baking, hot cocoa, skating, skiing and sledding! Embrace these last weeks — months? — of winter with some of our favorite seasonal books, plus a couple from our readers, too! You Can Do It, SamCold and snowy but warm... more
Are you looking for cool new books to give as holiday gifts?Check out these gems!  Margaret Wise Brown trioBrown, the prolific writer best known for Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, is the author behind three new children’s books. Forty years after her untimely death in 1952 at age 42, dozens of Brown’s unpublished writings were... more
OK, Minnesota parents, it’s your turn! Yep, this month you’re taking over our Bookshelf department, sharing your favorite books. Don’t see your top picks here? Tell us: What’s your favorite children’s book of all time (or this week)? Send the title, your first and last name and your city of residence to editor@mnparent.com and you’ll be... more
Imagine finding out you have breast cancer at age 39. Then picture trying to tell your sons, age 3 and 6.That’s what Katy Tessman Stanoch of Minnetonka had to do, along with explaining her surgery (a double mastectomy) and chemo treatments. Immediately, she and her husband tried to find a book they could read to their boys to help them... more
I See Me! My Farm Friends from I See Me! — a cool Plymouth-based publishing company — is all about introducing adorable farm animals to kids. This hardcover book comes customized with your child’s name and photo on nearly every page. Its interior pages are glossy and sturdy, not quite board-book quality, but tough and super cute.Recommended... more
To a new parent, nothing sounds better than a little extra sleep! But how can you get it? The Amma Parenting Center Book of Sleep ($12.95) by the Edina-based parenting center’s founder, registered nurse and midwife Sara Pearce, offers advice. New this year, the book offers an alternative to a cry-it-out sleep training. Amma’s trademarked Sleep... more
During the toddler years, you move from baby to big kid, from baby-wearing to holding hands, from “Ah goo” to “No!” complete with foot stomping. This new independence is breathtaking, in every sense of the word. You clap, hoot and holler as your child jumps into the pool — your loving arms outstretched and waiting, heart beating fast. You... more
April is Financial Literacy Month, but as parents, we know teaching money matters is a year-round affair. Each trip to the store. When a child asks us about how much the house is worth. After handing over allowance. There are plenty of opportunities to talk about money. The problem is, money conversations can be uncomfortable and overwhelming... more
Babies. What an excellent excuse to make googly eyes, goofy sounds, and to splurge on adorable newborn outfits. Is your favorite person about to give birth? Chuck the outfits, the booties, and the bottles. What every new parent does need is more time and more money. Both are in short supply.Unfortunately, you can’t add hours to the clock or... more