Books for Children

Children's books, libraries, book stores, readings, and related events.

2016 Best Books for Kids from the American Library Association

January 12, 2016

Last Stop on Market StreetIt's awards season, with the Golden Globes taking place last Sunday and the Oscars coming up next month. But did you know it was awards season for kids' books, too? This week the American Library Association (ALA) announced the winners of its annual youth media awards for 2016, including the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott medals for children's books.

Since 1922, the John Newbery Medal has been awarded to the author of the most distinguished American children's book by the Association for Library Service for Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA. This year, the medal goes to Last Stop on Market Street, written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2015). In this book, a young boy name CJ rides the bus with his Nana, where he discovers music, nature, and the people around him. Find it at a local Marin library here.

The 2016 runner-up Newbery Honor Books include The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (one of our recent favorites!), and Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan.

Just in Time for the Holidays: Best Kids' Books 2015 from Diesel

December 6, 2015

Diva and FleaThe holidays are here, and great books always make fantastic gifts for kids! Clare Doornbos, the children's book expert at Diesel bookstore in Larkspur, saves us all a lot of time and stress by highlighting her picks for best kids' books in 2015.

You can join Clare for storytime at the bookstore every Thursday morning at 10:30 am, where she reads classics, new kids' books, and hidden treasures. It's perfect for families with children 5 and under. Diesel is located in Marin Country Mart at 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle in Larkspur. For more information about Diesel and a complete schedule of events, visit or call the store at (415) 785-8177.

Board Books

Through the Town by Craig Shuttlewood
A sweet rhyming journey through a jolly cartoon town. There's an indented line which runs through the board book which you can trace with your finger. So, you and your little one get a really interactive experience.

Great Fall Reads for Kids from Diesel Bookstore in Larkspur

October 25, 2015

McToad Mows Tiny IslandMarin Mommies presents a guest article from Clare Doornbos, the children's book expert at DIESEL bookstore in Larkspur, who highlights some fantastic new books for fall.

Fall is here, school has been back in for a while, and choosing some great kids' books to read is a must! There are so many great books to choose from for toddlers to independent readers. You already know many of the classics, so Clare from Diesel bookstore in Larkspur has picked out some great new books that will keep your kids reading this fall and winter.

Picture Books for ages 2–4

McToad Mows Tiny Island by Tom Angleberger
McToad loves Thursdays, because that's the day he gets to take his ride-on lawn mower to Tiny Island. On the way to Tiny Island he takes many different forms of transportation. This is a rare thing, a truck book with some great visual jokes for parents too.

It's Tough to Lose Your Balloon by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
A picture book about looking on the bright side of all the small misfortunes that can befall the under-fours. I particularly like the idea that when your ice cream starts to melt, it can go into a bowl and wear the cone as a hat.

Thanksgiving Books for Kids of All Ages

November 10, 2014

thanksgiving books for kidsThere are ton of terrific books out there dealing with all aspects of the Thanksgiving holiday. Whether it's about being thankful, turkeys, Pilgrims, Native Americans, or just gathering as a family, there's a book out there to help you and your children celebrate and learn more about this uniquely American holiday.

Here are some of our picks for great kids' books about Thanksgiving. The book links below take you to the online children's catalog of the Marin County Free Library.

Paws to Read this Summer at the Marin County Free Library!

May 26, 2014

Paws to Read Summer Reading Program Marin County Free Library 2014It's hard to believe that it's almost the end of the school year. You can keep the learning—and fun—alive this summer by participating in the Marin County Free Library's 2014 summer reading program, Paws to Read. Paws to Read is packed with exciting free activities designed to inspire creativity, learning, and exploring. And it's not just for kids—the whole family can participate!

This year's program is built around Reader BINGO, with different cards available for children, teens (entering grades 6–12), and adults. Complete squares or rows on your bingo card and win prizes and get entered in raffle drawings. Kids can earn prizes like a Paws to Read T-shirt; teens can enter drawings for prizes like Giants tickets, gift cards, and even an iPad Mini; and adults can enter drawings for food and beverage gift cards from local businesses. Teens and adults can also choose a free gently used book when enrolling in Paws to Read, courtesy of the Book Place, the Library's used bookstore located in downtown Novato. Download your bingo cards and get started.

St. Patrick's Day Book for Kids: One Potato, Two Potato

March 11, 2014

One Potato, Two Potato One Potato, Two Potato by Cynthia DeFelice, illustrated by Andrea U'Ren (32 pages; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2006) isn't strictly a book about St. Patrick's Day, but it has enough Irish charm, humor, and magic to make it a fitting choice to read on and around the holiday.

This retelling of the old "magic pot" story centers on Mr. and Mrs. O'Grady, an unbelievably scrawny (they're so skinny they can sit side-by-side in their one chair) old Irish farm couple who are dirt poor but very happy with the little they have. When Mr. O'Grady digs up a large old pot in his potato field and drops their last potato in it, he finds that the pot doubles whatever is placed into it.

The O'Gradys exploit this magical discovery, but what do they do when Mrs. O'Grady falls in and two Mrs. O'Gradys come out?

One Potato, Two Potato is a delight, from its simple funny text that begs to be read aloud to U'Ren's evocative and humorous illustrations. It's a tale with themes of magic, generosity, contentment, and above all, love. My kids just love this book—I can't even begin to think how many times they've brought this home from the library.

Enrich Your Imagination at "Why Is Mud?"

March 9, 2014

Why is Mud?Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Marin writer Elise Holland and her interactive storytelling website Why Is Mud?

Calling all young readers! Enrich your imagination, have fun, and win prizes at Why Is Mud?, the interactive storytelling website from Marin writer Elise Holland. Read online and follow the adventures of Meylyne as she journeys through the enchanted land of Glendoch where she and her friends unravel the mystery of the Thorn Queen. Why Is Mud? is perfect for young readers ages 7 to 12.

Readers will get a new chapter of The Thorn Queen each week, and can then submit answers to questions about what they read. Those who answer correctly will win prizes, and can even have their answers written into the extra chapters for the book!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

March 1, 2014

Ted Geisel, AKA Dr. SeussTomorrow, March 2, 2014, is the 110th birthday of celebrated children's author Theodore Geisel, better known to everyone as Dr. Seuss. The good doctor is no longer with us, of course (he passed away in 1991), but he's left us with a nearly unprecedented body of work that includes some of the most playful and imaginative books for children ever written.

As a parent, I suppose the most obvious difference between Dr. Seuss books and a lot of other children's books—especially books for early readers and small children—is that the Seuss books are usually as fun for adults to read as they are for kids to listen to. There are some books on the kids' bookshelf that we simply dread to read (I'm not going to name names, but Dora the Explorer figures highly in a few), but the Dr. Seuss books are not among them. Furthermore, Dr. Seuss' "Beginner Books " are some of the first books for beginning readers that are really fun and exciting to read, teaching important concepts and skills while entertaining and delighting. Fun with Dick and Jane? Bah! Bring on The Cat in the Hat!

A Book for Chinese New Year: The Year of the Horse

January 16, 2014

The Year of the HorseChinese New Year takes place this year on January 31, and one way you can get ready for the Year of the Horse is by reading Oliver Chin's Tales from the Chinese Zodiac series, The Year of the Horse (Immedium, 2014). This is the ninth book in this series by Chin, a local San Francisco writer and dad, and tells the story of the young horse Hannah, a boy named Tom, and a brave journey they undertake.

Look for cameo appearances by other animals from the Chinese Zodiac along the way!

The Year of the Horse tells a charming story and introduces kids to Chinese culture and art. It also offers message about friendship, bravery, and accomplishment. The illustrations, again by illustrator and cartoon character designer Jennifer Wood (who's done work for Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network), are delightful and infuse The Year of the Horse with a lot of appeal and charm. Both my children love the book and keep reading it over and over again.

The Year of the Horse is a great storytime choice for Chinese New Year, or any time at all, for that matter, and it's sure to become one of your favorite Chinese New Year books. Other books in Chin's Chinese zodiac series include The Year of the Snake (2013), The Year of the Dragon (2012), The Year of the Rabbit (2011), The Year of the Tiger (2010), The Year of the Ox (2009), The Year of the Rat  (2008), The Year of the Pig  (2007), and The Year of the Dog (2006).

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