12 Modern Children's Books

12 Modern Children's Books

If you're tired of The Very, Hungry Caterpillar, look no further!
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When I was a brand-new mom (though I'm still pretty new since my daughter's only one), I surfed the internet for recommendations on "the best" books to read to her. What turned up was a lot of old standards like Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Which are great, but I have McBratney's bunny book and my daughter does not yet have the patience to let me read it to her. So I've decided to make a list of my personal picks for more modern children's books that I love to read to my daughter.

1. Puff the Magic Dragon (Lyrics by Peter Yarrow & Lenny Lipton; Paintings by Eric Puybaret)

This little gem is great because A) it strikes a childhood memory with most parents--I listened to this tune with my own grandmother, B) you sing it instead of reading it, and C) the pictures are gorgeous. I don't know about you, but when I buy a book that I am most likely going to end up reading a million times, I want to enjoy it too.

Available as a board book for $5.57 on Amazon.

2. What A Wonderful World (Lyrics by Bob Thiele & George David Weiss; Illustrations by Tim Hopgood)

This is another singing book. I love to sing to my daughter and I can always hear Louis Armstrong in my head as I do. And even if you can't sing, your children appreciate it. Trust me, my mom can't hold a tune in a bucket and I loved her for singing to me. My daughter really likes the illustrations in this one too, by the way. Towards the end there's a spread with a bright orange background with horses calloping across and she never lets me turn the page until she's stared at for a couple of minutes.

Available as a board book for $5.54 on Amazon.

3. Dream Animals by Emily Winfield Martin

This book is gorgeous. Martin's illustrations are sweeping, whimsical, and fun! The children all wear hipster-esque clothing, they ride unorthodox animals to the lands of their dreams, and they go on miraculous and unexpected adventures. The spreads have scenes that you can pick apart with older children, pointing out each little detail. And the beauty of having a book written and illustrated by the same person is how cohesive it is. Martin's storytelling is lyrical and rhythmical to help lull your child to sleep.

Available as a board book for $4.60 on Amazon.


4. Day Dreamers by Emily Winfield Martin

As much as I loved Dream Animals, I felt compelled to get another of Martin's books. This one happens during the day, but the children--still poshly and quirkily dressed--go on many adventures, all painted in Martin's soft, light, lovely style.

Available as a board book for $7.17 on Amazon.


5. The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin

Clearly, I have a weakness for Martin. This one is not a board book, so be careful because it is worth preserving. This one's narrator comes from the perspective of a parent and tells baby how much hope we have for their future. Again, chalk full of frame-worthy illustrations and lyrical storytelling, it's worth the price. Also, feel free to check out Martin's website and shop!

Available as a hardcover for $11.72 on Amazon.

6. The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name by David Cadji-Newby and Pedro Serapicos

This is a personalized book where your child (boy or girl versions) goes on an adventure to find their name. My daughter's name has eight letters, so I got a bargain and it's a wonderful, personalized keepsake.

Available on their website for $29.99.


7. Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

If you want a break from all of the sickly-sweet stories out there, this book is for you. Even if it goes over your child's head, there is some pretty funny stuff in here for the parents! But most likely, your child will enjoy how grumpy Bruce is and how absurd it is that he goes 'shopping' through the forest with a grocery cart.

Available as a hardcover for $12.39 on Amazon.

8. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Now I would technically label this a classic. It's been around for years and it's absolutely wonderful--as are his other books, but they're a bit thicker so I didn't include them here. There's a bittersweet moral in this story, but it's short and sweet enough to be readable to the younger ages as well. Not to mention, it's one of my favorites to read as an adult.

Available as a hardcover for $10.39 on Amazon.


9. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt with Illustrations by Oliver Jeffreys

This book is super inventive and funny and the absolute best way to teach your kid about colors, but also super entertaining for the adult reader too! Each crayon has a complaint for the narrator--from Red who feels overworked on Santas and fire engines to Pink who feels rejected because "only girls use pink."

Available as a board book for $4.55 on Amazon.


10. Adventures with Barefoot Critters by Teagan White

With a charmingly vintage look and adorable anthropomorphic cast (Zootopia fans, anyone?), this book is a treasure. It goes through the different months, teaching the reader about what each season means for them. This along with the visually stimulating and, again, frame-worthy artwork makes it a must.

Available as a hardcover for $13.75 on Amazon.

11. Counting with barefoot Critters by Teagan White

White makes the list again because it's all just so dang adorable and this one covers numbers which are very important (booooooo math). Feel free to check out White's website and shop!


Available as a hardcover for $13.67 on Amazon.

12. There's a Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins

If you like Dr. Seuss (which I certainly do, but this list is for the under appreciated), than you're sure to like this book! It has the same rhyme and snarkiness and general ridiculousness! And who doesn't enjoy an oblivious polar bear and a grumpy mouse at odds?

Available as a hardcover for $11.38 on Amazon.

Feel free to tell us what your favorite children's books are in the comments!

Cover Image Credit: Katelyn Rochford-Price

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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My Life Has Not Been The Same Since I Met My Father

He showed me angels, and told me I could put my weapons down because I've got protectors.

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I rang in 2019 with sexual sin and instead of being convicted, I felt condemnation (see previous blog post). This, coupled with isolation and watching my fellow seniors have future plans while I didn't have any for post-undergrad, caused me to be in a dark place from January to the first week of April. I honestly didn't want to live anymore, convinced there was no point to my life. Three months, 1 week, and 3 days later, I went on my first A Life Retreat from April 11th to the 14th.

We arrived at the retreat site on the 11th at night so I was just expectant for the next day, but I was trying not to be excited because I didn't want to be brokenhearted if Jesus passed me by. On the 12th, during the last session for the day, many of my peers were getting delivered. I was praying for their deliverance while hoping for my encounter with Christ. However, something shifted in me and I became jealous. I remember thinking I wish I had some demons in me so that God will finally pay me some attention (we could unpack another day so this post isn't 5 pages long). I began to doubt God, I stopped praying and was looking around with a cynical smile on my face.

After the leadership team dismissed us, I went to sit down, angry and dejected. Someone asked me if I was okay. I lied, answering yes. Another person asked me; I lied again. A third person asked, and I finally told the truth saying, "no, but it's whatever". She asked if she could pray for me and I said, "you can do what you want but it's not going to change anything". I reasoned, if God won't show up for me when I prayed for myself, why would He show up when someone else does. With persistence, she began to pray for me, but I wasn't paying attention. I was just thinking she will be done soon and go her way.

She didn't end quickly so I began hearing the words of her prayer. She was saying, "God loves you." I was chuckling, thinking yeah, right. As she continued to pray those sweet words over me, telling me what God was saying and thinking about me, I began to speak out loud what was in mind, telling her that she was lying. After some back and forth, some A Life leaders came over and began to pray for me and after a good fight, deliverance took place. I became free from the stronghold of the spirit of doubt.

The next day, I was hypersensitive to the voice of God. At the beginning of the first session, I heard Him tell me to put my shield down and what I saw behind it was incredible. I had detached a part of myself that was much younger than the current me and I would transfer all the blame of my past onto her. Everything I hated about myself I put on her (this younger version of me). God told me I was supposed to unite with her, but I didn't want to. I told myself I was shielding her to protect her, but actually, I was trying to hide her in order to hate myself less or to avoid judgment. I couldn't move forward until we became one. After another deliverance session in which I was able to forgive myself and reconcile all parts of me, I felt empty, but in a good way. While on break for the day, I remember thanking God for freeing me and asking Him to fill me back up.

Throughout the last session on the 13th, He showed up and showed out for His little girl. I saw multiple visions of how much God loves me. I don't really have an intimate relationship with my natural father so what happened that night was pivotal in my life.

In my first vision, while I was praising and worshipping Him, God told me to rest my head on His shoulder while He told me how much He loves me.

Then He told me to lay my head on his lap and at this point, I'm crying because He's also telling me how He feels about me and how beautiful I am.

He showed me angels, multitudes, and told me I could put my weapons away because I've got protectors and defenders.

He told me that they had always been there even when I could not see them and He did all this while hugging me.

There was so much more that God told me and showed me, but I'm focusing on these few because it tackled the daddy issues and brother issues I had.

My life has literally not been the same ever since April 13th, 2019. I don't even know how to put into words how my life has been, how I have felt, how much love I have in my life. I just want everyone else in the world to feel what I feel, to know what I know, to encounter WHO I encountered. I also want to thank the A Life leadership team. Just in case any of you are reading this, "thank you. I can only imagine the amount of time you had to spend in your secret place with The Most High so that you were able to war for me, and the other A Lifers with Him in the open. May our Father replenish and reward you for being dedicated to people to see them saved and FREE. I love you all."

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