Category Archives: Reading

Why play is important for babies and toddlers

     [click here to find toddler games]

Play might not be the first thing on your list when you’re busy changing dirty diapers and getting up for 4 AM feedings. However, even the smallest forms of play early on are important for your baby’s development.

Simple forms of play are ideal for babies and toddlers. It gives them a developmental boost that helps them the rest of their lives. Plus, what’s more fun than making babies laugh?

Play Starts At The Beginning

Play begins from day one. While your newborn can’t play with toys and run around like a toddler would, they still benefit from being talked to and shown new things. To them, this is play because it’s helping them to discover the world around them. This early form of play helps form a foundation for them to continue learning and socializing.

Play Affects Social, Emotional And Mental Development

  • Splashing in water while taking a bath helps develop basic motor skills
  • Reading to your child helps develop their language skills, even before they can speak
  • Playing with crayons helps toddlers start learning how to write and comprehend
  • Puppet shows start teaching important social skills

While these might seem minuscule, they’re major milestones for babies and toddlers as they learn to thrive in the world around them. Play isn’t just something kids do for fun, especially at this young of an age. Play is a type of exploration that helps them develop emotionally, socially and mentally.

Play Boosts Brain Development

A shocking 75% of brain development happens after birth. This is why play for babies and toddlers matters. The earlier you start, the better it is for their development. Babies are eager to learn any and everything. After all, they start as a blank slate and it’s up to you to help them develop through playful interactions.

Play Is How Kids Grow

Think of early play like school. Each grade builds upon what a child learned in the previous grade. The same goes with play. The types of games change over time, but that’s just because they’re building on the skills they have already developed from earlier forms of play.

Remember, it’s never too early for children to start playing. Whether it’s playing with you or themselves, play is a vital developmental tool.

SimplyFun blog

[link to this article]

New books for the fall

Just a few of Usborne’s newest books

To see all the new books, click here.  Some are so new that they’ve not arrived from the printers to the warehouse, so we cannot order them yet! 

Over 100 new books to look through: board books, activity books, chapter books, information books, story books, pop-up books, soft baby books…Have fun!! 

Shipping note: 5 to 10 days to ship + ups time.  Number of orders will increase as we get closer to Christmas, so I recommend ordering immediately and hiding the books in a closet.  Better to hide them for a month than to not have them arrive in time. 



When your kids are learning, they need reference books.  Depending upon google to find answers is a bad idea because google finds everything the internet has to offer instead of just the sites that have accurate information!  Don’t let the internet fill your child’s memory with nonsense; give them the facts.

homework helpers UPDATED

Very active kids learn better when they are moving while they learn.  Usborne has that covered, too, with their Look Inside and See Inside series.  Peek Inside is for the youngest ages, Look Inside and Lift-the-Flap are aimed at elementary-school aged, and See Inside is written for the oldest kids.  [Don't let these guidelines stop you from getting an older book for the younger ones, though.  And don't forget a pure-fun book such as Write and Draw your own Comics.]

09 25 comic bk

Reviews from the website:

ART TREASURY:  “I could not be more happy with this book! It is like an art history class and an art production class in one. I plan to use it as an art curriculum for our home school year. There are 22 works of art featured from all different genres. For each piece, you read information about the individual piece and the artist. Then you turn the page, and there is a project to do inspired by that piece. I have never seen another book quite like this! As an art history nerd with no artistic talent, I am thrilled to be able to expose my daughter to art history and have a guide to encouraging her to create art herself. This may be my favorite kids book of all time!”

CHILDREN’S ENCYCLOPEDIA:  ”My kids cannot get enough of the Children’s Encyclopedia.  My oldest two (ages 6 & 8) have read it together, cover-to-cover, many times, and will spend hours scanning the QR codes to find more information about the topics they’re currently interested in. This is a must-have for any home library!!  We also really love the flexi-binding.  It has held up well to the constant tough-love it receives in a house full of boys!”

COMICS:  “This is the best book for traveling, and the concept was brilliant! Great for anyone who is into graphic novels or comics, and best of all, totally professional. Must-buy product!!!”

  • “My son LOVES this book! He has come up with so many ideas since I gave this to him. It includes great writing prompts, drawing instructions and theme ideas as well as lots of spaces for writing your own comics. I plan on saving this for him so that as he gets older, he can look back on some of his ideas.”


Saving Johnny’s reading level this summer

children who read BOOKS  BOOKS beat summer slide

Summer isn’t over yet, so get those kids another book!  The library is full of great books, and your kids will love them, but if you want books to keep forever, click here.

examples of BOOKS that help kids avoid summer slide

[Shipping times are still 3-4 weeks unless your order has only new books, so if you order from the website and want the books quickly, be sure to buy books from the New Titles pages (books only, not the Cordelia doll).]

A new series for girls who like mermaids or friendship

Far out in the ocean live the Shell-Keeper mermaids. While the rest of the world sleeps, one little girl joins them for some magical mermaid adventures.

Molly is like any other little girl when her family move to Horseshoe Bay. So when her gran gives her a pretty shell necklace, Molly never dreams it could be enchanted …or that she could become a secret mermaid

A review from the website:
This is a wonderful series for early readers, there are some pictures to entice them and  fun adventures of a young girl.  This does say it is book 1 but I read the books out of order and they still made sense and were a fun read. Molly is sure to have young girls wanting to read about her exciting dream adventures and maybe dream their own dreams!!
Date: 2/8/2016 8:38 PM
Age 7+
Size 5 1/8 x 7 3/4
Pages 82
Series Secret Mermaid
Author Sue Mongredien

Reading to children

 Sharing books with children has many wonderful benefits and it will give you the opportunity to cuddle up, relax and share a special moment with your child. And remember, it’s never too early or late to start!

Reading with your child can:

  • Develop his language skills
  • Help you bond with him
  • Help him feel more relaxed
  • Boost his confidence
  • Encourage him to draw and write
  • Give him a head start in life

Scottish Book Trust

lots of new books!!

Lots of new books to choose from!!

Picture books for teens and adults

Picture books are not just for kids under 10.

“They are excellent spring-boards for creative writing in middle school and high school and should be read by teens who will love their beautiful illustrations and lyrical language.  Anthony Brown, children’s laureate in the United Kingdom thinks the cry for graphic novels is the result of people being dragged away from picture books too early.”

If you as an adult can enjoy a good picture book when you read it to your child, why wouldn’t a 16-year-old also enjoy it?  The key is finding beautiful picture books that tell fascinating stories.  Fox is an absolutely fantastic short story about love and friendship, regret and redemption…and definitely not for little kids.  Another short love story written in picture book form for teens/adults is Norma and Brenda.

Click here to see all picture books

Why you should read to your baby

from the NYC office of early childhood education:

Focus on Literacy – A love of reading begins long before your child starts preschool.

Every time you hold your child and read aloud, he experiences the joys of reading and connects to the reading experience. This will help your child develop literacy and reading skills, which will help him become a successful independent reader in the future.

Don’t wait till the child is old enough to understand the story in a picture book; that’s too late.  Begin reading to him as soon as he’s born and you can hold him & a book at the same time.  We have books written especially for the way infants see, hear, and understand.  As the baby gets bigger, he can see more and understand more, and we have books for that, too. 


To find books for infants on the Babies & Toddlers search page, look for books with the polka-dot borders or Playbook somewhere in the title.  When he’s about 9 months old, he’ll be ready for the That’s Not My… series, the Usborne Very First Words series, and the My First Word Book series.  The cool thing about Usborne books is that you don’t have to wonder what to say on each page; just read whatever is written.  You don’t have to point out every item on each page of the That Not My… book; just read the words.  As you read the book to your baby each day (and feel the textures), on his own he will notice there are other things besides a Pony, Cow, or Dragon on the page.  As his understanding grows, the book stays new because he starts noticing more and more!

12th-graders who cannot read

Since 1983, more than 1 MILLION Americans reached the 12th grade without having learned to read at a basic level.

Don’t wait till your child is in 12th grade and cannot read; do something today to help him…no matter his age.  If he’s just starting to read, get him the My First Reading Library set, a fun collection of 50 books that begins with the easiest books (a normal page of text for mom to read followed by a few phonics words for the child to read, keeping the story moving along while enjoying snuggle time with mom.), then escalate to phonics and a couple sight words, getting more and more complicated till he’s finished all the books and is now on track to read any book that stirs his imagination!

If he’s older, his problem isn’t that he doesn’t know what sounds the letters make; it’s more that he doesn’t enjoy reading books anymore.  Reading stopped being snuggle time and became school time, so he stopped caring enough to practice.

Also, the books became boring.  Most of the functionally illiterate 12th-graders are boys because we expect boys to read the same type of books that girls (like Mom) enjoy reading, but boys may not want those kind of books.  If Mom likes novels full of character development and relationships, she may have been unconsciously choosing that type of book when choosing something for her son, whether he wanted them or not.  Most women don’t care for stressful blood & guts books, whereas boys do.  That’s not good or bad; it’s just a fact.  If your boy enjoys hero comic books, violent video games, and scary movies, he isn’t going to enjoy Twilight.  Give him books full of action & adventure or danger.  He won’t faint at the descriptions of blood and guts.  

You’ll have to read them to him at first if his reading level is very low, but when you read a chapter each night to him, he’ll begin to enjoy the story and books again.  Sticker books can also help lure him back to reading, but he may be too old for stickers if he’s in high school.