5 Books About Inspiring Older Siblings

As the oldest child in my family, I am pretty biased in my believe that eldest siblings rule. We came first, we work hard, and we look great doing it! Some of the most famous people in the world have been oldest siblings, and many of our favorite fictional characters also showed up first. Beyond Bill Weasley, Winston Churchill, and every actor who has ever played James Bond, check out these other utterly fantastic big brothers and sisters.

Smile and Sisters: The Box Set, by Raina Telgemeier
Fall in love with Raina, who handily tackles the many challenges life throws her way. In Smile, she suffers an injury to her mouth that forces her to wear braces and headgear and basically everything else in the orthodontic world. After overcoming that major life event, Sisters find her trying to embrace her new role as a big sister. In these funny and engaging graphic novels, Telgemeier recounts her feelings on becoming on older sister, and navigating the teenage years with style and aplomb. (Ages 8–12)

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, by Barack Obama and Loren Long
Malia and Sasha Obama are of course the nation’s current First Daughters, but they are also beautifully illustrated young ladies in this sweet book by President Obama. Malia and Sasha, like Jenna and Barbara, and Chelsea before them, have spent their formative years in a unique house that is unlike any other. Oldest sibling Malia has some pretty historic role models to help her set a good example for her younger sibling. (Ages 6–8)

I am George Washington (B&N Exclusive Edition), by Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulos
If you want to talk about awesome oldest kids, look no father than George Washington. You know, the General of the Union Army and, uh, the first President of the United States. He was the oldest of nine kids, including both full siblings and half siblings. Is it possible that leading this herd of kids around Ferry Farm in Stafford County near Fredericksburg, and later the famous Mount Vernon, helped shape him into the world-changing leader that we all know and love? I’m going to say yes. (Ages 5–8)

The Tale of Peter Rabbit: A Story Board Book, by Beatrix Potter
Peter Rabbit is the leader of this gang of mischievous bunny rabbits as they snatch vegetables from Mr. McGregor’s garden. He might not set the best example, seeing as he steals food and and loses his jacket. But, he is brave! Peter also learns his lesson, and he takes his lumps with a strong upper lip and a sense of pride. Like all good older kids, Peter helps to take care of his mom, is proud of their house and garden, and turns into a loving uncle to his nieces and nephews. (Ages 2–5)

Frozen Little Golden Book (Disney Frozen), by RH Disney
Queen Elsa. Queen. Yup, this oldest sister is queen of an entire kingdom — no mere princess here! She has an unbelievable magical power, and is able to inspire her younger sister’s great bravery and unfailing love. In true oldest sibling form, Elsa doesn’t let either guilt or being ostracized because she is different stop her from going after her dreams. With her inner strength and dignity, not to mention a fabulous dress and killer vocals, Elsa is an older sister like no other. (Ages 2–5)

Finding Dory Little Golden Book (Disney/Pixar Finding Dory), by RH Disney
This may be one of the biggest literary mysteries of our day: Is Dory the oldest, the middle, or the youngest in what is probably a very large family? Dory is brave, take charge, and caring, so maybe she is indeed the oldest sibling. She will also gladly follow Marlin into any adventure, so she could also be the middle child. Then again, she does love a good caring shoulder, some help from her friends, and has a thirst to prove herself — youngest sibling anyone? No matter where she lies in the family, we love Dory (but my vote is for oldest!). (Ages 2–5)

Who are your favorite oldest sibling characters?

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6 Awesome Middle Grade Dads

In honor of Father’s Day, lets celebrate our favorite middle grade dads, whether they be biological, adoptive, or living only in our memories. Many of us have a special bond with or memory of our dads, which has forever shaped us. My own Dad takes a lot of pride in doing things himself, and as I’ve grown older I find myself appreciating those same traits. He is also really great at backing a motorhome into any size campsite. These middle grade novels all feature special relationships with fathers, be they god, mortal or somewhere in between. No matter who they are, or what they do, let’s just all agree that we’re pretty lucky to have these guys in our lives.

The Hidden Oracle (B&N Exclusive Edition) (The Trials of Apollo Series #1), by Rick Riordan
Zeus is the father of Apollo, who just happens to now be trapped in the body of a regular New York City kid. That, on its own, is amazing and inspiring and everything that a dad/son story should be. Parents aren’t always easy people to get along with, I admit it, but when your dad happens to be the head honcho of all Greek gods, the stakes are that much higher. In another wonderful series from Rick Riordan (you’ve heard of Percy Jackson, perhaps? Magnus Chase, maybe?) kids pull out all the stops to save the world, prove their worth, and earns some serious brownie points for their otherworldly parents. Zeus is no one to mess with, and he knows it! Plus, he gives Dad Bods a good name.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts I & II, by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany
This whole series is jam packed with awesome dads, and The Cursed Child is set to be another great addition. Fans get reintroduced to Harry and Ron, this time as fathers to young Albus and Rose, who are embarking on their first year at Hogwarts. With their own awesome examples of fatherhood (Arthur Weasley and James Potter), as well the slightly reckless influences of Sirius Black and Remus Lupin over their childhoods, it will be fun for fans to see what kind of fathers these two have become. The even more pressing question may be: what kind of father is Draco, and does Scorpius follow in the Malfoy family footsteps.

Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi
In this classic story, Pinocchio lets his mischievous ways lead him astray from his loving adopted father, Geppetto (with more rule breaking and adventures than the movie, and also more heart and more love between Pinocchio and Geppetto). Readers also get a chance to think on what makes a family: is it birth, or is it unreserved love, or some combination? Pinocchio eventually learns to behave, attains some much needed-bravery, and finds that the one person who has always been true to him is his very own father.

The Little House series (9-Book Boxed Set), by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Garth Williams
Pa, father to Laura Ingalls, is the perfect example of a pioneer days dad. He works his tail off all day in the the fields, or goes hunting, or sugaring, but he still has the time to teach his kids the life skills they need to survive on the frontier. Laura lovingly remembers all the nights he played the fiddle, the careful way he did his farm work, and the bravery he showed even when things got tough. Whether they are out riding horses, taking their first train ride, or raising the walls of a new home, Pa is absolutely a guy who should be celebrated on Father’s Day—but he definitely doesn’t need a tie, or a mug with golf jokes on it.

Song of the Deep, by Brian Hastings
In this soon to be released book (and video game!) twelve-year-old Merryn lives with her father, who is a deep sea fisherman. After a terrible storm, Merryn worries that he is lost at sea. Thanks to the courage and imagination that her father fostered in her, she builds her own submarine to find him. While traveling the ocean, she learns that her father’s many deep-sea legends just might be true, and also that she is stronger, braver, and smarter than she ever believed. Sometimes a father’s love, support, and encouragement can send us out on the most amazing journeys.

Captain of the Ship (American Girl Beforever Series: Caroline #1), by Kathleen Ernst, Juliana Kolesova, and Michael Dworkin
The American Girl books always have great, multidimensional relationships between their parents and their kids. Whether it is Molly’s dad being deployed during the war, Kit’s dad trying to work through the Depression, or Addy worrying about her dad as he escapes slavery, there is no shortage of important fathers. One of the most standout dads has to be Caroline’s father, the proud ship builder who is taken hostage in 1812. Caroline is so inspired by her father’s love of sailing and his ship building business that she can’t help by stray back to Lake Ontario at every opportunity. She braves the lake, and the British, in an attempt to rescue him, all because of their strong, reciprocal love.

What stories do you love to share with your dads?

Originally Published with Barnes and Noble

7 Awesome Audiobooks that Make for Awkward Road Trip Listening

Audiobooks are a great way to pass the time on a long drive or to make your commute a little more entertaining, but not every book is the best choice for every road trip. Whether you are out exploring with family, friends, or a caravan of adventure-seeking souls, carefully consider which books to load on your listening device. For example, each of the books below are fun and thought provoking stories worthy of the time spent reading them, but they might not make a great road trip audio fodder. Instead of listening to these with your kids, or sensitive friends and family, plug in your headphones and enjoy the thrill of hearing a good book alone. Maybe grab some jazzy soundtracks to sing along with on your trip with Grandma; that’s usually a safe bet.

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades Trilogy #1), by E L James
While this is probably an obvious no-go for a trip with kids, also consider the adults in the car too. True story, my husband and I tried to listen to this while driving across the country…and we just couldn’t. We felt at turns silly, awkward, and extremely interested in the world outside the car. The book is a fun read, and the audio is super entertaining for a solo listener, but it might not be the group share you thought it was.

 

Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer, Ilyana Kadushin, and Matt Walters
While the Twilight series is a fun supernatural YA read, it gets darker as it goes along, and fourth (and final) installment Breaking Dawn might be a little blush-worthy with the kids in the backseat. So, although we totally understand your desire to the the “cool” parent who is into all the books that the kids are reading these days, spare your tweens the urgent need to avoid eye contact with you for the next few hours and instead let them enjoy this book with their headphones on. Then you can listen to new Justin Timberlake single by yourself without their judging. Win-win!

 

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1), by George R. R. Martin and Roy Dotrice
The TV adaptation is of course insanely popular, so it makes sense that fans of the show might be interested in discovering the books it is based on during a long road trip. And if all of your passengers are already familiar with the sex, violence, and dragons involved, then go for it! But if not, maybe spare that one rider who isn’t into all things Stark from a group listening session. Alternatively, send your outlier friend the books beforehand so they can prepare, or listen to the soundtrack on the road to make the ride seem more epic (and then binge watch every episode on the hotel’s free HBO channel).

 

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman and George Guidall
At turns thought-provoking, funny, dark, and unexpected, this unique book is a great reflection of American culture. But (or because of this), there are also some rather graphic sex scenes and a fair amount of profanity. A group of tight-knit, like-minded buddies will probably enjoy listening to this on a funky, soul searching kind of road trip, but American Gods probably isn’t your best bet for a family jaunt to see the grandparents. For younger kids, and some impressionable teens, not all of the characters are great role models, and a lot of the philosophy may be little overwhelming.

 

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed
You might think that a book about soul-searching travel would be an amazing audiobook for a road trip. Well, if you’re on a solo excursion, definitely listen to this book; twice if you have the time. But since it depicts a struggle with depression and addiction, the passing of a beloved figure, and a bit of sex, this memoir might make an uncomfortable companion for a family trip. For a more all-ages appropriate chronicle of a long, life-changing walk, check out The Lord of the Rings (or A Walk in the Woods)and maybe save Wild for one of your own personal journeys.

 

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume and Laura Hamilton
This a YA masterpiece, but it is one of those important, find-it-yourself kinds of YA; not one that you listen to with your parents. Judy Blume is the queen of books that every teenager should read (and that maybe parents of teenagers should reread along the way, too). The main character’s self exploration, the talk of bras and puberty, the general teenage-ness of it, just oozes awkward family listening. Instead of spending quality time trying not to look at each other in the car while listening, leave the book (or a download of the audio) for your budding teenager as a summer gift. Later in life your kids will thank you for sharing, and for not listening to it in the car with you this summer.

 

The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike Series #1), by Robert Galbraith, J. K. Rowling, and Robert Glenister
Yes, this is the other fantastic J.K. Rowling series — but just because your family loved listening to the entire Harry Potter canon during your last road trip, does not mean that you should pick up the Cormoran Strike series next. Written as a classic crime thriller full of well-drawn characters and Britishisms, it involves is a fair amount of violence, profanity, sex, and discussions about all of the above. Like most of the other books mentioned here, a group of adult friends would probably enjoy trying to solve the murder of Lula Landry, but leave this one on the shelf when you head to Disneyland with the kids in the car.

Does your family have any favorite audiobooks for road trips?

6 Things You Should Never Say to a Harry Potter Fan

Harry Potter fans take their love of all things wizarding pretty seriously, so when a Muggle questions their devotion, don’t be surprised if they get a tad prickly. Whether you are a member of the fandom or not, the staying power—and magic—of Harry Potter cannot be denied. And with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child debuting in London this July, the first film in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trilogy hitting theaters this fall, and the opening of the Hollywood Wizarding World of Harry Potter in April, there are now so many more opportunities to fall in love with the Boy Who Lived. For Muggles unsure of how to talk to a Potter fan during the upcoming excitement, we’ve collected are a few phrases that you probably shouldn’t open with.

Aren’t those books for kids?”

Is the suggested age range the Harry Potter series 9-12? Well, sure. But in 2016, many adults proudly read children’s and teen fiction—because it’s great. Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildLady MidnightGlass Sword, and Pax are all current bestsellers that were written for middle schoolers through teens, but are loved by both kids and adults. And it’s not just 2016 titles that have broad appeal; The Hobbit was originally considered children’s literature. Julius Caesar, one of Shakespeare’s classics, is listed as being for readers ages 12-17. What it all boils down to is that age ranges are subjective, even arbitrary: read what you want, and love what you love.

“I thought the Twilight books were better.”

Popular culture will always spawn these sorts of unnecessary rivalries: You can be a Trekkie or a Jedi. You can love Bond or prefer Bourne. Team Twilight; Team Potter. Of course, a little friendly competition never hurt anyone, especially when it gets people passionately discussing books. Having said that, the seven books in the Harry Potter series inspired a love of reading in fans of all ages, the movies became international sensations (and arguably began the trend of turning popular childrens’ series into blockbusters), and the first official Harry Potter story to be produced on stage, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, promises to be a West End phenomenon. Also, Robert Pattinson was in the Harry Potter movies first. You can love Twilight—we do—but you must respect the power of the Potter.

Magic isn’t real.”

Naysayers who have no love for a good fantasy are the first to jump on the No-Maj bandwagon. This debate really depends on how you define magic, though. Think it’s impossible to disappear for hours? Visit other planets without leaving your house? Travel through time? If you’re a reader, chances are you’ve pulled off all three feats in the last week alone. And consider the last time you sat down with a good book before bed and the suddenly realized it was after midnight. If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.

“There is no such thing as Hogwarts.”

Aside from the fact that there are now two brick and mortar Hogwarts Schools in the country (anyone else have their tickets to California booked?), Hogwarts is just as real as magic is. In the same way Narnia, The Shire, and Shakespeare’s love-torn Verona exist, so too does Hogwarts. To anyone who has ever needed an escape or an adventure, the wonderful worlds we visit in books are always there. “Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it,” and those who believe in Hogwarts know where they can turn. If you can get lost in the feeling of a song, or the universe created by a movie, you can go to Hogwarts just as easily, all without the mess of owl droppings on your doorstep.

I would never want to be a Hufflepuff. Aren’t they supposed to be the lamest?”

Of the four houses at Hogwarts, three have wonderfully distinctive characteristics…and then there is Hufflepuff. Gryffindors are brave, Ravenclaws smart, and Slytherins cunning. Hufflepuffs are the nice ones who happen to live near the kitchens. Given their status as the welcoming house, they tend to be sadly overlooked and get no love in either the books or the movies. For a long time even a casual fan of the series could joke that they wouldn’t want to be in Hufflepuff. But J.K. Rowling has worked to correct this oversight, claiming that 2016 is the year of the Hufflepuffs, what with the rise of Newt Scamander and the film adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Real Hufflepuffs also know that Cedric Diggory and Nymphadora Tonks were Hufflepuffs too, and there are few characters in the series that are as awesome as Tonks. So before you casually indulge in Hufflepuff hate, check yourself.

“The movies were better.”

This is the hardest point to debate in the Potter universe. The eight movies are must-watch material for all fans, and the pending three for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them look terrific. The seven books, and Harry’s textbooks, are of course amazing. And don’t forget the incredible, and undersung, audiobooks. Jim Dale is a read-aloud wizard and everyone should fall under his spell. His performance of Goblet of Fire won a Grammy in 2o01, and he won again in 2008 for Deathly Hallows. No matter which medium you prefer, the bottom line is that there is no BAD Harry Potter.

What else should you never say to a Harry Potter fan?

7 Perfect and Unforgettable Quotes From Children’s Books

Children’s books often stay with us long after we have read them. There is always a quote that rattles around in our brains for years afterwards, or a moment that we just can’t wait to read aloud to our kids. Sometimes it is the quiet turn of phrase, other times it is the call to action, or even just the stick-in-your-brain rhymes, but kids’ books have staying power. Here are a few quotes that have a life far beyond their pages, ones that will stick with us for years.

“Always.” (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling)

 If you haven’t read the books, or seen the movies, then I don’t want to spoil this too much, since it is pretty much amazing. Let’s just say it is one of the most unexpected, powerful, jaw-dropping declarations of love in the entire series. Just when you think you understand it all, you are swept away in memory, regret, and love. This simple sentence — it is a single word, really — has so much power to many Potter fans that it has become a popular tattoo, and was a rally cry after Alan Rickman, the fan favorite who portrayed Snape in the movies, passed away. (Ages 9–12)

“You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” (Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll)

 Like J.K. Rowling does with Dumbledore, we find this line from Lewis Carroll calling for readers to be themselves, no matter how crazy, weird, or wonderful. These differences make us unique, make us who we are, and we should embrace that. One of the beautiful things about children’s literature is that authors seem to say the most challenging things in the most simple way. Embrace your madness. (Ages 8–12)

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” (The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss)

 On Earth Day every year I read The Lorax with my daughter. She doesn’t get the message yet, but she thinks it is hilarious to say “brown barbaloots in their barbaloot suits,” and of course the art is lovely. The message, though, is one we see repeated over and over again, in Facebook posts, social media gifs, and plastered all over Pinterest: do your part to protect the planet. Dr. Seuss can turn silly into poignant like no one else, and this quote is just one of his many moments of magic. (Ages 6–9)

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling)

 It feels like a cheat, including two Harry Potter quotes, but of seven books how could anyone love just one line? In a line that is tantamount to Rowling’s love letter to reading, I think it should remind everyone to appreciate their imaginations. Reading, pretending, loving, so many of these things originate and live in our brains, but they can still grip our hearts and direct our actions. Dumbledore’s last lesson to us, as it was to Harry, is to value what we imagine and we believe. That is a pretty strong statement for a series of books meant for children. (Ages 9–12)

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real.” (The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams)

 The Velveteen Rabbit always hits me right in the feels, without question. When you are struggling with life’s challenges, questioning what you are doing, or trying to explain to kids how important family and love is, just grab Willaims’ classic. Nothing says more about the importance of investing your time, and finding who you are, with those that love you. Go hug someone you love, right now, and just see how real and wonderful that makes you feel. I’ll wait. (Ages 3–7)

”Goodnight stars. Goodnight air. Goodnight noises everywhere.” (Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd)

 This line, when whispered at bedtime, is magic. For such a small, simple, picture book, it has an amazing power. We have all had this book read to us, and we have all read it to our children, and that in and of itself is astounding. But when you look at the meaning of that quote, the enormity of what it is saying, especially when you are reading it to someone every small…wow. The world is huge, the universe is so much more than us, but for right now everyone is going to bed, and it is ok. (Ages 0–2)

“I guess it simply goes to show that stuff will come and stuff will go. But do we cry? Goodness, NO! We keep on singing.” (Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, by James Dean)
This musical series is full of great lines, all of them positive and innocent, but there is just something special about Pete and his buttons. It is so easy to get caught up in our belongings, be it a phone or a special stuffed animal, but Pete is right, as always. Let’s not get hung up on our possessions and instead enjoy life, enjoy our surroundings, or, like Pete, enjoy some sun and surf! (Ages 4–7)

What are your favorite quotes to live by from children’s books?

Originally published at www.barnesandnoble.com on March 7, 2016.

Quiz: Who is Your Ultimate Fictional Valentine?

Real Valentine’s Day dates are often disappointing, which is why when the going gets tough, the tough turn to fiction for a truly satisfying, lasting relationship with someone who will never arrive 30 minutes late to a dinner reservation you made two months in advance, ahem. In any case, our quiz below will help you sort out which fictional paramour you should pick up this February 14.

1. What is your ideal Valentine’s Day date?

 a) A proper meal with serious, earnest conversation.

 b) Whatever you can grab at the local cantina.

 c) You’re not much of a cook, it wasn’t something they taught in school. A nice restaurant with some dancing wouldn’t be too bad.

 d) A big party, with drinks and appetizers passed around on trays.

 e) A night on the couch, with some belly rubs.

2. How do you prefer to spend your free time?

 a) Caring for your family members, or looking out for your dearest friends.

 b) Usually you end up in some far flung corner of your city or town, helping a friend.

 c) In the library.

 d) Watching polo matches, or spending evenings with the best of society.

 e) Out on a walk. With you.

3. Favorite Valentine’s Day candy?

 a) You’ve haven’t much use for such trifles.

 b) Nothing special, sweetheart, but you will take a drink.

 c) A chocolate frog, and then you can share the card with your date.

 d) A box of Conversation Hearts; they are just such a laugh at parties.

 e) Anything in white chocolate, your diet can’t handle the richer stuff.

4. If offered an all expense paid vacation, where would you go?

 a) A long weekend at your estate, to be near only your closest family and friends.

 b) Not the desert. Or anywhere cold. Maybe not the jungle either. Somewhere out on your own seems best.

 c) You would love to use the time to help others, or reading some fantastic new book.

 d) Let’s go everywhere, as long as we can drive, and celebrate, and be happy.

 e) The beach. No, the woods. No, a long car ride. How about the park…

5. What song best describes you?

 a) “Lush Life” by Joey Alexander

 b) ”Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson

 c) “Oxford Comma” by Vampire Weekend

 d) “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey

 e) “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley

6. Which reality show would your binge watch?

 a) Again, this type of frivolousness doesn’t have a place in your life.

 b) Deadliest Catch

 c) You’d prefer a book, actually. Maybe some nonfiction.

 d) Real Housewives

 e) Dog Whisperer

7. Perfect Romantic Movie?

 a) Pride and Prejudice. Now there’s a couple that gets it right.

 b) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Come for the danger, stay for the romance (and the danger).

 c) Shakespeare in Love. When it comes to romance, you can’t top The Bard.

 d) Titanic. It isn’t romantic if it ends happily.

 e) Marley & Me. The perfect movie to cuddle up to.

Are you in love yet? Add up those answers, put on something fancy, and head out with your perfect match.

Mostly A’s: Mr. Darcy; Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

 You admire those who lead a proper life, with a hint of sass of thrown in for fun. Your friends and family come first, and you hope to find the same in your true love.

Mostly B’s: Han Solo; Star Wars the Force Awakens, by Alan Dean Foster

 A scruffy rogue who will constantly keep you surprised might just be your soul mate. Travel the world — or worlds — together, either running for your lives, or saving someone else’s.

Mostly C’s: Hermonie Granger; Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling

 You spend afternoons in the library, and evenings helping out those less fortunate. Your match always has the best intentions at heart, along with a bit of a rebellious streak.

Mostly D’s: Daisy Buchanan; The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 Beautiful, frivolous, and out for a good time, Daisy Buchanan will help you see the best in life. There may be some ups and downs, but she is your shining green beacon (with a side of tragedy).

Mostly E’s: Your Dog; Dog Songs: Poems, by Mary Oliver

 What else to you really need besides unconditional love, a few face licks, and a good long walk? A dog is just about the ideal companion, 365 days year.

Originally published at www.barnesandnoble.com on February 10, 2016.

6 Books for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Lover In Your House

Everyone rejoiced when the 10th Diary of a Wimpy Kid novel, Old School, hit shelves last fall. But after speedily devouring that series’ newest title, Wimpy Kid fans were left wanting more — that is, more scathing observations, more loopy humor, and more family hijinks. To tide them over until author Jeff Kinney gives us book 11 (we’re ready any time now!), here are some readalike crowd-pleasers, and a couple of brand new novels with real crossover appeal.

Roller Girl, by Victoria Jamieson
Like the Wimpy Kid books, this coming of age junior high tale (and 2016 Newbery Honor book!) helps middle grade readers embrace, and find the awesome, in the crazy whirlwind their lives have become. The heroine, Astrid, realizes that her passions aren’t the same as that of her elementary school friend anymore, and as she comes to love roller derby she learns who she is, and just how strong she can be. This fantastic new girl power read will help anyone see that being themselves is the best.

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
A giant imaginary cat named Crenshaw helps a boy named Jackson find the courage to overcome challenging times as homelessness looms in his family’s future. As he helps him find beauty and love in the little things, Crenshaw brings Jackson hope, and may just save him and his loved ones. A truly heartwarming story that helps remind us that love and hope are everywhere, and that everyone has value.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander and J. K. Rowling
Written as if this were one of Harry and Ron’s textbooks from Hogwarts, Fantastic Beasts is filled with clever “handwritten” notes from characters, fabulous descriptions of magical creatures, and wonderful illustrations. As an added bonus, there is a new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Themmovie coming to theaters next fall. Potter fans will love the references, Wimpy Kid fans will dig the illustrations and the funny marginalia, and everyone will be excited when the movie comes out. Get out in front of the excitement early — you won’t be sorry!

Tales from a Not-So-Perfect Pet Sitter (Dork Diaries Series #10) by Rachel Renée Russell
Written in a similar style to the Wimpy Kid series, the diary of self-proclaimed dorky girl Nikki Maxwell will thrill readers as she takes on seven adorable puppies in this newest adventure. With her friends at her side, and her arch-nemesis at her back, Nikki has to keep these puppies out of everyone’s — and she means everyone’s — way. If your reader isn’t up to speed with the series, they can kick things off with a box set of the first three, and then they can dorkify their own diaries! Fans of the series will also be excited to pre-order a copy of the first book in a brand new diary-style series by the same author, The Misadventures of Max Crumbly.

Wonder, by R. J. Palacio
Looking for another story of acceptance and perseverance? Middle grade readers have been flocking to the tale of August Pullman since it was first published in 2012. Auggie is a middle schooler who suffers from a rare craniofacial deformity, but he manages to attend school for the first time thanks to a push from some fantastic adults, and a few new friends who believe in him. Author R.J. Palacio even includes a few Wimpy Kid references in the book — just another reason that fans of one will joyfully fall in love with the other. If your young reader already loves Auggie, pick up Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories, a collection of stories centered around the characters from the iconic novel.

The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier and Doug Holgate
Jeff Kinney, the author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, has called The Last Kids on Earth “Terrifyingly fun” — and what bigger seal of approval can a book get for Wimpy Kid fans? It’s perfect for kids who want a humorous introduction to zombies that is more about laughs that thrills. There is also the promise of more books to come, so hang onto your braaains.

What books are on the list for your Wimpy Kid fan?


Originally published at www.barnesandnoble.com on January 29, 2016.

9 Children’s Book Characters Who Really Love to Om Nom Nom

Sometimes you just want to snack; other times you’d like to sit down for a nice dinner. But for these 9 characters, the right time to eat is all the time. They can’t really be blamed for their love of noms though; when presented with a plate of warm cookies, a never-ending pasta pot, or a most glorious hot dog, you just need to go for it. In the immortal words of Albus Dumbledore, “There is a time for speech-making, but this is not it. Tuck in!”

9 Children’s Book Characters Who Really Love to Om Nom Nom.

via 9 Children’s Book Characters Who Really Love to Om Nom Nom.