Book Reviews: #cleverkidsread 1/27

Friday book reviews are back because my book list has gotten longer and longer and it’s time to start trimming it down! I was very happy with a couple of these this week, especially the ones I read with the kids. Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I get Amazon credit to buy more books if you click through.


Box – Min Flyte (Published Aug 23 2016)

Such a cute book! It’s a lift-the-flap book but that doesn’t even explain how creative and crazy the flaps get as these kids explore all of the possibilities a cardboard box holds. Both kids loved it and immediately went off to round up all of the empty boxes in the house so they could get started on ships, trains, and rockets.


Lila and the Crow – Gabrielle Grimard (Published 11 Oct 2016)

This is the story of Lila, the new girl at school who has dark skin and hair. I knew the book was about bullying, but I was surprised at how sad this book is. It has lovely illustrations but the basic idea is that the children at Lila’s school are cruel to her because of the way she looks until she wins them over at the end by showing how beautiful she is. I think it’s an important story but my kids wanted to know what happened next, what Lila said to the kids who were once mean to her, and why nobody stepped up to be nice to her in the first place. It gave us a lot to talk about and we did enjoy the pictures, but this isn’t one that’s destined to be a favorite in our home.


You Are Three – Sara O’Leary (Coming 15 Mar 2017)

We all loved these illustrations! The pictures are what makes this one worth a read since they’re familiar subjects (a child running through sprinklers) but so well done they’re like something you’d see in a museum. The text is nice but I think parents will the words more than the kids will because it’s mostly sentimentality about this part of childhood. That being said, get it for the eye candy.


Up! – Susan Hughes (Coming 15 Apr 2017)

We loved this book! Illustrated with sweet papercut images of babies and their families, the book talks about the different ways people carry babies. The text is simple but the illustrations are just wonderful and so inclusive with people in different situations all over the world. My older kids immediately wanted to pack their two month old brother up and start carrying him around in a basket on a pole so we had a nice talk about how not all of those methods work for every family (or every anxious mom!).


Meatless? – Sarah Elton (Coming 15 May 2017)

I was hoping this would be something like Forks Over Knives for middle readers but I actually found this book to be too one sided. Although a lot of good arguments for vegetarianism were made, I don’t think there was enough discussion about why people do choose to eat meat. It was also more graphic than I thought it was going to be, which I suppose would be an effective way to covert young people away from eating meat but probably won’t sit well with parents of less mature readers. Overall, I was disappointed that the positive messages of this book were drowned out.


Come Be Wild With Me – Kristen Maxwell (Coming 1 Apr 2017)

This is a picture book about leaving modern life behind and returning to nature to “be wild” but I would consider it more of a picture book for adults than for children. My kids only sort of caught on to what the book was saying and got a little bored toward the end because the illustrations, while beautiful and different, are a little repetitive. There’s also a lot in the text that was just about the heads of my 3 and 5 year olds so I’d call this one a near miss for our family.


Mindfulness for Parents – Amber Hatch (Coming 14 Feb 2017)

Best parenting book I’ve read in the last few months! I am a huge fan of the practice of mindfulness (being “in” the present moment) but I’m also someone who struggles to incorporate that practice into everyday life. There were definitely elements of this book that are probably unrealistic in my chaotic three kids life but the majority of her ideas and tips are solid and I was able to put some into practice right away. The chapter on Mindful Speaking and Listening was especially helpful and I’ve noticed little changes in how I interact with the kids and with my husband just because I’m paying more attention.

Sidenote – it’s a very forgiving book if you feel like your journey to mindfulness is a little rocky. Sometimes these types of books are so preachy about their inner peace I just want to throw them in the nearest serenity pool but this one wasn’t annoying like that at all. It’s out on Valentines Day but you can pre-order it!

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