If you feel like your child has been spending too much time with their eyes on a screen lately, you aren’t alone. One way to combat excess screen time is to provide children with ample alternatives, including engaging and interactive printed books. Consider heading to a local library or placing an order with an independent bookstore online and adding some new stories to your child’s collection. To help get you started, the team here at British American Household Staffing has put together a list of recommendations for children’s books beyond the classics.
Most of the titles below are readily available on Amazon but like many, we are aiming to support independent and small businesses during this difficult time so we have included links to local bookstores across the country for online purchase options whenever possible.
For Children Facing Stress
Helping children develop useful coping skills is essential, especially during this time of uncertainty when kids may be seeing friends and family less, facing cancelled plans and managing disruptions to normal routines. We recommend What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety, an interactive self-help book for children ages 6-12 and a Gold NAPPA (National Parenting Publications Awards) winner. For little ones, we love Ruby Finds a Worry, a sensitive picture book for ages 3-6. The book is part of the Big Bright Feelings series by Tom Percival, which aim to “provide kid-friendly entry points into emotional intelligence topics.” Another great choice for children 4-8 is Mélanie Watt’s Scaredy Squirrel; the story follows a young squirrel who confronts his fear of leaving his home. Supplement these stories with the Coping Skills for Kids Workbook, an interactive book that teaches over 75 coping skills for children to try plus over 20 worksheets. Younger children (recommended for those as young as 5 years) can work through the book with a caregiver while older children can use it on their own.
For the Outdoor Explorer
Children spending time outdoors this summer may benefit from some of our favorite books on environmentally friendly practices and how we can all help preserve the earth. One of our favorites is Little Turtle and the Changing Sea, a beautiful picture book (ages 3-7) that explains ocean pollution through the eyes of sea creatures and helps children understand what they can do to help. Another gem is A Wild Child’s Guide to Endangered Animals; the book tells the stories of 43 endangered animals from around the world with suggestions on how we can all help save them from extinction. It’s full of facts young children and adults will find fascinating, as well as gorgeous illustrations. We also love Jeanette Winter’s The Watcher (ages 4-8), an illustrated story following Jane Goodall’s life from childhood to her time in the forests of Tanzania to her current quest to protect chimpanzees and other primates.
For Future Leaders
For ambitious young women of all ages (recommended for 3+), we adore the I Look Up To… Series highlighting leaders such as Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Serena Williams. For children 8 and up, we love the New York Times bestseller Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, which features 100 bedtime stories about the lives of extraordinary women from the past and the present and illustrations by 60 female artists from around the world. Another New York Times bestseller we love is Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison, a book for children 8+ celebrating the achievements of 36 diverse women; for younger children, the author published Think Big, Little One, a board book covering the same topic.
For Young Artists
Creative children will love Green and Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (ages 2-6); the books are thoughtful explorations of all the things color can be. In the review, the New York Times stated “…the reader who settles down and slowly pages through its gorgeous acrylic paintings or, better yet, reads it aloud to a young child, will find rich rewards.” We couldn’t agree more!
Joanne Liu’s wonderful, whimsical and colorful book My Museum (ages 4-8) follows a young boy on his journey through a museum, where he interacts with works by masters such as Henri Matisse, Alexander Calder, Johannes Vermeer and Piet Mondrian, and, at the same time, realizes there is beauty all around us, from the patterns of light on the floor to fellow museum goers’ clothing.
For Curious Minds
For budding inventors, we suggest Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines (ages 3-8); the story promotes creativity, resilience and passion as the real-life protagonist follows his dream of becoming an inventor and cartoonist. Similarly, we love The Most Magnificent Thing (ages 3-7), a story following a young girl with a brilliant idea; it addresses her setbacks and frustrations, joys and successes as she sees her idea through, highlighting the concept that the path to success is not always a straight line – mistakes are a natural part of the process.
For children interested in how the world works, we recommend Ask A Scientist: Professor Robert Winston Answers 100 Big Questions from Kids Around the World! (ages 6-9). Robert Winston is Professor of Science and Society and Emeritus Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College London; in this kid-friendly book, he answers questions ranging from Why do stars twinkle? to How do our bodies heal? and covers topics related to chemistry, the human body, earth and space.
Educator and psychologist Dr. JoAnn Deak’s book Fantastic, Elastic Brain teaches ways that the brain can develop and grow with use and exercise, just like other parts of the body. The book has become known as one of the best growth mindset books for kids.
To find many of the independent booksellers we linked to in this newsletter, we used this helpful list compiled by Book Riot of independent bookstores across the country that are currently offering online ordering and shipping.
Another great option to get books in your children’s hands and in the hands of children in need is the Equal Opportunity Book Box; the subscription service send three new picture books (ages 2-6) and an educational coloring activity to your home each month; for every book the company sends you, they donate one to Bernie’s Book Bank, the leading provider of quality books to under-served children in Chicago.
As always, we’re here to assist with all your household staffing needs during this challenging time. Both childcare and cleaning professionals are considered essential workers and we have implemented strict protocols to make sure your family is as safe as possible. Contact us today to learn more.