Fall Storytime Favorite: Toto’s Apple

We do a lot of reading in our house, which means I’m always on the hunt for our new favorite book. I recently discovered Toto’s Apple by Mathieu Lavoie at our local Half Price Books and instantly fell in love with Toto, a delightful little worm who devises a series of inventive problem solving measures to reach an apple high in a tree. Every time we read it I admire his tenaciousness, especially because he uses arts and crafts to overcome each of his obstacles — you’re a worm after our own hearts, Toto.

Every now and then we do a special storytime party, and I knew Toto would be the perfect book to kick off the first day of fall. It has it all – apples, trees, leaves, squirrels, birds – it’s basically fall bingo in picture book form. So I invited my daughters Jane (four) and Rose (two) to help me bake mini apple pies (with leaf crusts, their favorite part) which we devoured while we read the book, and afterward we made simple popsicle butterflies, just like Toto makes for himself in the book. It was fun and simple and made storytime just a little more magical. 

What’s your family’s favorite storytime book? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by Kristen Dickson from @tojaneandrose, a girl mom in Texas looking for that everyday magic.

Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program Check-In

fyb-thumbnailWe’re about halfway through our summer reading program, Feed Your Brain®! Summer is an important time for your little ones to keep reading and improving their language skills. Children who don’t read regularly during the summer may be in danger of the “summer slide,” a decline in their reading ability. This decline can have major repercussions as students get older and advance through the school system. But don’t fret! Avoiding the “summer slide” is easy. Just Feed Your Brain all summer long with fun and interesting books from Half Price Books!

Kids 14 & Under
Kids 14 and under can participate in the Feed Your Brain® program by picking up a reading log at your local Half Price Books or downloading a copy online. Children are encouraged to read at least 15 minutes each day. A parent reading to young children does count as part of reading at least 15 minutes each day. Once your child has read 300 minutes, stop by your local Half Price Books to turn in your completed log and earn $5 Bookworm Bucks in both June and July. You can then use these Bookworm Bucks to purchase even more books! We love seeing children reading and hope that this incentive program not only encourages them to read in the summer but also helps you create your own little library full of purchases from your local Half Price Books.

Teens
In recent years, we have expanded the Feed Your Brain® program to include teens (after all, why should kids have all the fun?)! For this portion of the program, we challenge teens to write and submit a review online about one of the books they read this summer. We’ll then email you a barcode to show at your local Half Price Books, which will earn you $5 Bookworm Bucks!

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Money, Money, Money: 10 Books That Help Kids Learn Early

During tax season, we often find ourselves crunching numbers and thinking about our savings. If you’re a parent or grandparent, or even a spectacular aunt or uncle, seize this moment to talk to the littles in your life about money.

Preschool is the time to introduce the basic concepts of earning, spending, budgeting and saving. Ages 3-6 is not too early to lay a foundation of frugal thinking before your kid’s elementary school teacher beats you to it. Most states teach some lessons on personal finance in the classroom during K-12, but you can get a jumpstart on these valuable lessons by incorporating these whimsical children’s books into storytime at home.

161103_GAL_Books_BunnyMoneyBunny Money by Rosemary Wells – This picture book for 3 to 6-year-olds, part of the bestselling Max and Ruby series, teaches a lesson in budgeting. These two bunnies have saved up money for Grandma’s birthday gift, but they stumble along the way when they get thirsty and hungry and their savings are spent.

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Herstory: 50 Inspiring Kids’ Books for Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month is not only a time to reflect on the past – the accomplishments of the brilliant women who have come before us to forge new paths – but also a time to assess where we are today and inspire future generations to dream big and dare even bigger.

I want to empower my daughter using stories of fierce and persistent ladies. I’ve been on the prowl for books that provide positive role models for my daughter – books that tell the less-often told stories about women in history who have made a difference. In recent years, publishers have been filling bookshelves with some remarkable stories in children’s picture books for young readers and young adult nonfiction for tweens and teens. These women are brave pioneers. They launched rockets, flew planes, programmed computers, broke world records, stood up for injustice, played sports, solved crimes and invented gadgets.

Reap the reward of my hours of hunting with this mega list of book recommendations. Here’s my round-up of 50 books about girls and women who excel in science, math, design, athletics and business many other fields. These are ideal picks for teachers looking to build a library with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) educational topics. And parents: You’re sure to find something on this list to add to your child’s library to celebrate women’s history not just in March, but all year-round.

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I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley – This is the first picture book about the life of Justice Ginsburg. It’s elegantly simple prose, and tells the tales of her dissents from childhood to the Supreme Court. Recommended for ages 4-8.

She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton, Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger – This lovely piece of children’s literature, recommended for ages 4-8, covers a diverse group of women who were fearless and bold.

Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World by Susan Hood, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall, Emily Winfield Martin and more – This inspirational picture book for kids ages 4-8 is filled with 14 profiles of amazing young women, each with their own poem and illustration. Continue reading

Give the Gift of Reading this Booksgiving Day!

Booksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, as it involves many of my favorite hobbies – spending time with family, watching football and wearing stretchy pants while eating lots of delicious food. ☺️

But reading is another way I love to spend time and Half Price Books has its own special holiday to celebrate reading on Saturday, Nov. 18 – Booksgiving Day!

2017 is the fifth year we’ve celebrated Booksgiving Day at Half Price Books with a special storytime at 2 p.m. local time. Every child who attends will receive a FREE children’s book to take home with them, while supplies last.

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Booksgiving Day: Independence, MO

In addition to the books we give away in store, we’ll also donate a book for every book sold on HPB.com on November 18  to rebuild libraries in schools and non-profit organizations in Hurricane Harvey-affected areas of Texas. All books given away are part of our Million Book Donation Project.

So whether it’s in store or online, we hope you’ll celebrate Booksgiving Day with us on Saturday, Nov. 18!

The Big List of Storytime Books

We read a lot of storytime books around here – before naptime, before bedtime, before breakfast, after breakfast, for breakfast – you get the idea. My daughters are three and almost two, which means that our library is well-loved (aka the covers now dangle from most of the books → aka time for some new books → aka cue all the jazz hands emojis because there’s nothing better than shopping for new books, right?).  I polled a bunch of my mom friends for their kids’ best storytime books, and here’s what we came up with – tried and true classics mixed in with some contemporary gems.

So! If you like Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, you might like these other books about going to bed:
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The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
Good Night, Good Night Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
Goodnight Already by Jory John and Benji Davies
Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue and Pamela Zagarenski
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
Goodnight Train by June Sobel and Laura Huliska-Beith
Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan
The House In the Night by Susan Marie Swanson and Beth Krommes
It’s Time to Sleep, My Love by Nancy Tillman and Eric Metaxas
Dream Animals by Emily Winfield Martin

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75 Years of Little Golden Books to Treasure: The Poky Little Puppy & Friends

Before the introduction of Little Golden Books in 1942, children’s books normally sold for $2 to $3 each. Given average rates of U.S. inflation, that’s about $28 to $42 in today’s dollars. Purchasing children’s books was a luxury for most families until George Duplaix came on the scene. As president of the Artists and Writers Guild, Duplaix approached Simon & Schuster Publishing and Western Printing to develop colorful children’s books that would be durable and affordable for most American families.

Among the first Little Golden Books released on October 1, 1942 was The Poky Little Puppy, sold for just a quarter. This – among other early titles in the Little Golden Books series like The Little Red Hen, Mother Goose, and more – has become an iconic representation of both Little Golden Books and children’s literature spanning across generations.

After only five months on the market, 1.5 million copies were sold. The Poky Little Puppy is among the best-selling books of all time with nearly 15 million copies sold. The delightful illustrations have reappeared on reprinted editions, home goods, toys and clothing items throughout the decades since.

The Poky Little Puppy  Ownership of Little Golden Books has changed several times over the years. It’s now published by Penguin Random House with new titles and licensed content from Disney, Sesame Street, Nickelodeon and more. Through it all, the books remain emblematic with a shiny golden spine and illustrated flyleaf pages where the owner can write his or her name inside.

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Share your Little Golden Book favorites and memories with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Tag @halfpricebooks and #Golden75.


Meredith is Creative Director at Half Price Books Corporate. You can follow her on Twitter at @msquare21.

Feed Your Brain Mid-Summer Check-Up

It’s time for a mid-summer Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program check-up, kids! What have you been doing all summer? Because our Half Price Books kids and teens have been reading.

How much, you ask?

As of last the end of June, we’ve had 4,596 Feed Your Brain Summer Reading logs turned in across our stores. Now, the way we figure it, if each kid reads a minimum of 15 minutes per day, that’s  1,378,800 minutes of reading.

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So kids, how does it feel to have read 22,980 hours with other Bookworms so far this summer? Continue reading

Before They Can Read: 12 Enchanting Picture Books for Children’s Authors & Illustrators Week

If you’re asking yourself, “When should I start reading to my baby?” the answer is today. It’s never too soon. Reading to your infant contributes to early development as they observe your mannerisms, listen to your speech, build motor skills and soak in all the colors and shapes. Trust me – you’ll blink, and your infant will soon be a toddler who can hardly sit still. But if you’ve started the routine of sitting down together to read, you’ll be able to carry this over into the preschool years and get a nice cuddle while you read new books together each day.

For little ones who can’t yet read on their own, illustrations in books are the heart of engaging imagination and captivating attention. Children’s literature is rich with beautiful art that can help a child develop a love of books (just as soon as they pass the stage in infancy where nibbling on the book is the primary intrigue).

As adults who are reading aloud to your kids, I believe it’s important that you enjoy the book, too, if for no other reason than it means you’re more likely to read it over and over again, making story time a cherished ritual with your kiddos. While there are some amazing classic children’s books which classic children’s books which every child should read, here are some children’s picture books you may not have heard of before that will inspire and get you (and your babes and tots) hooked on reading more books. What a perfect way to celebrate Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week. I’ve opened up 12 of my daughter’s recent favorites so you can see a peek at the delicious illustrations inside.

Bunny Roo, I Love You, written by Melissa Marr (@melissa_marr) and illustrated by Teagan White (@teaganwhite), is a playful and sweet book about how parents keep their little ones feeling safe and secure. The enchanting illustrations add to the warmth of the story, perfectly placed with the hand lettered words on each page. I also appreciate the whimsy of the pattern on the flyleaf. And should you ever lose the book jacket, have no fear, because the darling illustrations appear on the hardbound cover, too.

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