September Book Recommendations

This month as we celebrate “firsts” with our first-time parents and grandparents we are also celebrating a milestone of our own with the launch of our recommended parenting books. Scroll down to see the full recommendation list. 

Recommendations for Children

Peek-a-Boo Forest

By Lamaze

This is the perfect first book for baby! Soft pages and flaps help fine motor development, while the playful rhyming text promotes language development. Your baby will love turning the pages, pulling on the flaps to reveal different animals, and feeling all the different textures inside this interactive baby book.

First 100 Words

By Roger Priddy

Help your child learn some essential first words with this simple picture book. “First 100 Words” takes a look at the different people and objects that feature in baby’s daily life, like family, clothes, food and first concepts. This book is a great language development tool for both babies and toddlers. Younger babies can observe the pictures as you read to them. See if toddler can name some of the objects or people they see in the pictures.


By Eric Carle

“Opposites” is the perfect book for toddlers who are developing their speech and beginning to understand contrasting ideas. Help your little one discover the differences between day and night, up and down, young and old and more! Each page features the brightly-colored collage-style illustrations by Eric Carle that toddlers love!

Lola Gets a Cat

By Anna McQuinn and Rosalind Beardshaw

Has your older toddler or preschooler been asking for a pet? “Lola Gets a Cat” is the perfect book to help teach your little one how to prepare for a new furry friend, and understand the hard work that goes into caring for a pet. Lola does her research to learn all she can about caring for her new cat, and even practices with her toy kitten. She finally gets to bring home her very first pet, and after a couple days of patience and caring, the new kitten settles right in.

The Kissing Hand

By Audrey Penn, Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak

 It’s the first day of school in the forest, but Chester does not want to go. To help Chester calm his nerves, his mother shares with him the family secret of “the kissing hand,” which helps him feel connected to his family while he is away at school. As we know, starting school is a big step, and many new preschoolers struggle with separation. Use this book as a tool to help your new preschooler overcome their fears. 

Recommendations for Parents

The Whole-Brain Child

by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson

In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson offer a revolutionary approach to child rearing with twelve key strategies that foster healthy brain development, leading to calmer, happier children. The authors explain—and make accessible—the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures.

The First Forty Days

by Heng Ou

The first 40 days after the birth of a child offer an essential and fleeting period of rest and recovery for the new mother. Based on author Heng Ou’s own postpartum experience with zuo yuezi, a set period of “confinement,” in which a woman remains at home focusing on healing and bonding with her baby, The First Forty Days revives the lost art of caring for the mother after birth.

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

by Philippa Perry

Every parent wants their child to be happy and every parent wants to avoid screwing them up (the way their parents did!). But how do you do that?

In this absorbing, clever, and warm book, renowned psychotherapist Philippa Perry tells us what really matters and what behavior it is important to avoid–the vital dos and don’ts of parenting.


by Emily Oster

Armed with data, Oster finds that the conventional wisdom doesn’t always hold up. She debunks myths around breastfeeding (not a panacea), sleep training (not so bad!), potty training (wait until they’re ready or possibly bribe with M&Ms), language acquisition (early talkers aren’t necessarily geniuses), and many other topics. She also shows parents how to think through freighted questions like if and how to go back to work, how to think about toddler discipline, and how to have a relationship and parent at the same time. 

The Baby Owner’s Manual

by Dr. Louis Borgenicht and Joe Borgenicht

Through step-by-step instructions and helpful schematic diagrams, The Baby Owner’s Manual explores hundreds of frequently asked questions: What’s the best way to swaddle a baby? How can I make my newborn sleep through the night? When should I bring the baby to a doctor for servicing? Whatever your concerns, you’ll find the answers here—courtesy of celebrated pediatrician Dr. Louis Borgenicht and his son, Joe Borgenicht. Together, they provide plenty of useful advice for anyone who wants to learn the basics of childcare.

Transformations: August Book Recommendations!

August Book Graphic

This month’s book recommendation’s focus is on Transformations!

At Gymboree Play & Music, we actively foster and encourage positive attitudes towards embracing change. Transitions can be hard for your little ones, as they crave the predictability of routines.

Our August Book Recommendations focus on transformations, whether it is a new addition to the family, moving to a new home, or just simply reaching those developmental milestones.

I am Big Bro

I am a Big Brother/Sister
By Caroline Jayne Church
With the arrival of a new baby comes many transitions. Sometimes new Big Brothers and Big Sisters need a little help adjusting to a new family situation. This sweet story will help prepare little ones for the arrival of a new sibling.

A busy year

A Busy Year
By Leo Lionni
Written by four-time Caldecott Honor author-artist Leo Lionni, this story celebrates the ever-changing rhythms of nature. Two little field mice meet a tree named Woody who lives nearby, and the three quickly become friends. Month by month, throughout the whole year, the field mice visit their tree friend and discover the how nature transitions with each season.

Once I was a Pollywog

Once I Was a Pollywog
By Douglas Florian and Barbara Bakos
Once I was a pollywog, now I am a frog. Once I was a piglet, but now I am a hog. Growing up is all about transformation. Discover what each of these baby animals will become when they grow up!

Bunny Bungalow

Bunny Bungalow
By Cynthia Rylant and Nancy Hayashi
Moving to a new place can be a big transition, but there’s always a way to make your house feel like home. Follow a family of bunnies as they decorate their new bungalow, transforming it into a home that is all their own.

Pete the Cat

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
By Eric Litwin and James Dean
Pete the Cat is enjoying the day, taking a walk and wearing his brand-new white shoes. As he walks down the street, his shoes change from white to blue to brown to WET after stepping in piles of strawberries, blueberries, and other messes. But does Pete cry? Goodness no! Pete teaches us that no matter what transitions life throws at us, we can keep our cool and go with the flow.

For more story time fun, visit our Gymboree Play & Music YouTube channel where our teachers will take you on different adventures such as:
Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music Activities!
Through these videos your little one will be engaged in play, building crucial skills to support a lifetime of learning! 

Get your daily dose of fun!

Making Connections: July Book Recommendations

Our July Book Recommendations are all about making connections.

The power of community can have a positive impact that supports social and cognitive advancement.

Through relationships, children discover the world around them. Building and strengthening personal connections provides an opportunity for your child to develop social skills, and communicate confidently.  Nurturing relationships with a variety of people helps your child develop a “sense of self”, while celebrating the differences of others.

Our expert programming team have hand-picked these July reads that introduces empathy, portrayings the value of community and the importance of spending time together.

Saturday, By Oge Mora
Saturdays are special, because Saturday is the only day Ava’s mother doesn’t have to go to work. Every Saturday, Ava and her mother get to go on an adventure through the city, but this Saturday is a little different. Ava realizes that Saturdays are special not because of where they go or what they do, but because they get to spend time together.

Green Green: A Community Garden Story,
By Baldev Lamba, Marie Lamba & Sonia Sánchez
“Green, green, fresh and clean. Brown, brown, dig the ground.” As the city grows and grows, there is less and less green space left. The neighborhood children inspire the community to join in and build a garden in the middle of the city for everyone to share.

Swimmy, By Leo Lionni
Swimmy is a little fish who loves adventure and wants to explore the sea. When he meets a school of small red fish, he invites them to swim and play, but the little fish are frightened of the big fish that lurk nearby. Swimmy comes up with a plan so he and the other fish can all safely explore the ocean together.

Counting on Community, By Innosanto Nagara
We’re counting up from one stuffed pinata up to ten hefty hens and counting on each other. Children learn the value of community, the joys of engaging in eco-friendly activities, and the agency they possess to make a change.

Bear Came Along, By Richard T. Morris & LeUyen Pham
This action-packed adventure is all about the importance of friendship and community. The story starts with a river. The river never knew it was capable of adventure… until Bear came along. Bear is soon joined by Froggy, Turtles, Beaver, Raccoons and Duck. These very different animals travel together downstream, but never knew they’d need each other… until the river came along.

For more story time fun, visit our Gymboree Play & Music YouTube channel where our teachers will take you on different adventures such as:
Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music Activities!
Through these videos your little one will be engaged in play, building crucial skills to support a lifetime of learning! 

Get your daily dose of fun!

Sensory Play: June Book Recommendations!

June book graphic

This month’s book recommendation’s focus is on sensory play!

From birth to childhood, your little one uses their senses (touch, sight, smell, taste, hearing, and vestibular proprioception) to explore the world around them. Sensory play is crucial to brain development as it helps your child build an understanding of objects, spaces, and people. Engaging in sensory play aides our little ones in building emotional awareness and expression.

Our expert programming team has hand-picked these June reads that assist in developing language skills, encourage exploration, and increase creativity. There is also a bonus book recommendation for the grownups out there who want to try out some “messy play” recipes.

The very busy spider

The Very Busy Spider, by Eric Carle
One morning a little spider starts spinning a web on a fencepost. One by one, the animals on the farm try to distract her, but she keeps working until her web is finished. This book allows children to feel the pictures as well as see them, as they trace along the spider’s web.

Fuzzy Fuzzy

Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy!
(A Touch, Skritch & Tickle Book), by Sandra Boynton
This touch and feel book by the popular author Sandra Boynton features five animals that little ones can touch, feel and tickle. This book is the perfect choice for baby’s first touch and feel book!

Follow Me

Follow Me (Finger Mazes), by Roger Priddy
Help Fox and his animal friends find their way along the trails in this finger maze book! The grooved outlines allow children to follow along with their finger, from the forest to the farm and even the ocean.

Noisy Airplane

The Noisy Airplane Ride, by Mike Downs and David Gordon
Rhyming verses take little ones on a tour of different sounds they might hear before, during, and after an airplane ride. The rhythmic, onomatopoeic text makes for a great read-aloud that will have children copying the different sounds. As a bonus, this book is a great tool for comforting first-time flyers!

Night sounds

Night Sounds, by Sam Taplin
Discover the magic of the night with this press-the-button sound book. Children will hear hooting owl, squeaking bats, and a purring cat as they follow along with the story. Peep-holes and finger trails make this book a well-rounded sensory experience!

Bonus book recommendation for the grownups:

Bonus Messy Play

Recipes for Messy Play, by Cathy Sheppard
Messy play is not only tons of fun, it helps children learn about their senses, practice literacy, numeracy and social-emotion skills, explore color, texture and pattern, and develop hand-eye coordination. A true whole-child approach to learning! In this book, adults discover 40 fun, creative and open-ended sensory experiences for young learners.

For more story time fun, visit our Gymboree Play & Music YouTube channel where our teachers will take you on different adventures such as:
Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music Activities!
Through these videos your little one will be engaged in play, building crucial skills to support a lifetime of learning! 

Get your daily dose of fun!

Celebrating Creativity: May Book Recommendations!

May book graphic

Our May book recommendations are all about celebrating creativity!

Creativity is not just limited to artistic expression – such as painting a picture, singing a song, or putting on a puppet show – but it also includes science and math. Creativity is essential to social and emotional development, so your little one will learn to be flexible and adaptable.

Imaginative play in early childhood is a door to all kinds of creative possibilities!

Our expert programming team have hand-picked these May reads for your little problem–solver to enjoy!


Not a box

Not a Box, By Antoinette Portis

A box is just a box to most. But to this small rabbit, a little creativity goes a long way as a cardboard box transforms into anything he can imagine. If you and your little one enjoys this story, you’ll also love “Not a Stick” by the same author.


Sky color

Sky Color, By Peter H. Reynolds

Marisol loves to paint. When her teacher asks her to help paint a mural for the school library, she decides to paint the sky. But how can she paint the sky without any blue paint? Inspired by a dream, Marisol creates a brand-new color for the sky.



The Whale in My Swimming Pool, By Joyce Wan

One day a little boy goes outside for a swim. But he finds his pool is already occupied… by a whale! He tries everything to get the whale to move, but he won’t budge. Luckily, the boy comes up with the perfect creative solution.


Beautiful OOPs

Beautiful Oops, By Barney Saltzberg

A tear, a spill, a smudge, a stain. When you think you’ve made a mistake, try to turn it into something beautiful. This creative book uses folded pages and liftable flaps to teach little ones it’s ok to make mistakes. Sometimes mistakes can inspire you do more than you ever imagined!


Duck Rabbit

Duck Rabbit By Amy Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld

I see a duck! Or is it a rabbit? Everyone loves a good optical illusion. This book allows little ones to begin seeing the world from different perspectives. It’s all in how you look at it!


For more story time fun, visit our Gymboree Play & Music YouTube channel where our teachers will take you on different adventures such as:
Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music Activities!
Through these videos your little one will be engaged in play, building crucial skills to support a lifetime of learning! 

Get your daily dose of fun!


Rainbow Of Colors: April Book Recommendations!

April graphic

These uncertain times provide an opportunity to spend more quality time with your little ones. It can also present unexpected challenges of keeping them engaged in activities all day. Reading with your child at least once a day not only assists in the development of social and language skills, but it can provide security and comfort that helps to strengthen the family bond.

A Rainbow of Colors is our theme for the month of April! The ability to identify colors is considered a marker and milestone in your little one’s cognitive learning and is often part of the early screening for development and educational admittance.

Our Book recommendations for the month of April introduce your little learner to the world of color.


A color of his own

A Color of His Own, By Leo Lionni

Chameleons change colors wherever they go! They are yellow on lemons, purple in the heather, and even orange with black stripes on a tiger’s tail! But one chameleon wants to know, “Won’t we ever have a color of our own?” He soon meets another chameleon who tells him chameleons will always change colors, but if they remain side by side together, they will always be the same!


my many colored days

My Many Colored Days, By Dr. Seuss, Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher

“You’d be surprised how many ways I change on different colored days.” What color is your mood today? In this colorful book about feelings, Dr. Seuss, with paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, uses a spectrum of vibrant colors and a menagerie of animals to personify a range of human moods and emotions.


How the crayons saved

How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow, By Monica Sweeney & Feronia Parker Thomas

The Sun and the Clouds are the best of friends. They warm the Earth, help the plants grow, and together make the most beautiful rainbows. But one day they get into a fight and refuse to be in the sky together… which means no more rainbows. The world turns black and white, except for one last box of crayons forgotten in a little school desk. Together the crayons set out to create the biggest rainbows they can to reunite the Sun and the Clouds and restore color to the world.


Baby bear sees blue

Baby Bear Sees Blue, By Ashley Wolff

Baby Bear has so much to learn about the world! As he explores his surroundings, he and his Mama see yellow sunlight, green leaves, blue birds and more! This clever concept book combines vibrant illustrations with a sweet story of discovery in a way that encourages little ones to identify a variety of colors.


what makes a rainbow

What Makes a Rainbow?, By Betty Ann Schwartz & Dona Turner

Little Rabbit sets out to ask his friends, “What makes a rainbow?” Each animal friend answers with a different color, and with the turn of each page, toddlers will see a new colored ribbon appear in the sky. The last page is sure to delight your little one with a full rainbow of ribbons. Such a charming way to learn colors!




Early Child Development: March Book Recommendations!

march book

March is all about the importance of early child development here at Gymboree Play & Music! Through the power of play, we are preparing your little one for a lifetime of learning around three key elements: social/emotional, cognitive, and physical. Building your child’s skills at an early age helps them to grow to be confident, happy, and successful learners!

Our book recommendations for the month of March focus on letters, counting, and colors through tactile explorations that assist with motor skills, memory development, and so much more!


Brown bear

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle

A brown bear… A blue horse… A purple cat… What do you see? Children learn colors and animals while exploring Eric Carl’s bold and colorful collages on each page. The sing-song nature of the repetitive text helps build little brains and develop memory.


The Cheerios Play Book

The Cheerios Play Book, By Lee Wade

Cars need Cheerio wheels and fish need Cheerio bubbles! Snack time becomes play time when you add the iconic O-shaped cereal to this interactive book. Little ones practice fine motor skills as they pinch, pick up, and place Cheerios into the circular cutouts on each page.


Touch and explore

The Ocean (Touch and Explore), By Nathalie Choux

Let’s dive in and explore over 24 different ocean animals! This book combines tactile exploration with ocean facts and colorful illustrations. Children can feel bumpy barnacles and rough shark’s skin, lift a flap to find a hiding clown fish, and learn facts about the different sea creatures. Check out the other themes in the Touch and Explore Series, like Farm, Safari, and Dinosaurs.


A is for Apple

A is for Apple (Smart Kids Trace and Flip), By Tiger Tales & Giorgie Birkett

This innovative book features an interactive alphabet with tracks to trace and flaps to flip! Children run their fingers along the large grooved letters to explore each shape. Colorful illustrations and lift-the-flap interaction keeps little ones engaged while introducing them to the basics of the alphabet


One is a Shell

One is a Snail Ten is a Crab, By April Pulley Sayre & Jeff Sayre

If one is a snail and ten is a crab, we must be counting feet! Children will love this playfully illustrated early introduction to simple math. Little ones learn numbers, counting, addition and multiplication as they count the feet on snails, dogs, spiders, and more!


Visit your local Gymboree Play & Music today! 



Bonding & Connection in February: Book Recommendations!

The month of February is all about Bonding and Connection!

Reading with your little one is a simple way to not only improve their communication skills, but it also stimulates patterns of brain development responsible for bonding and connecting. Our expert programming team has complied their top book recommendations that portray connecting to family, friends, community, and everyone in between!

Come bond with us in February with these fun reads!


Guess How muchGuess How Much I Love You By Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram

This beloved classic lets children “love you right up to the moon and back!” Follow Little Nut Brown Hare and his Dad as they playfully vie to express their love for one another.


Love Makes a family

Love Makes a Family By Sophie Beer

Love is waking up bright and early. Love is lending a helping hand. Whether a child has two dads, two moms, or one of each, this book helps teach us that what’s most important in a family’s life is the love shared between family members.


A friend Like You

A Friend Like You By Andrea Schomburg, Barbara Rottgen & Sean Juilan

Squirrel and bird are very different, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be friends. They’re both willing to try something new! They discover that their small differences won’t stand in the way of their newfound friendship but will help them discover new things about themselves.


Friendship is Like a Seesaw

Friendship is Like a Seesaw By Shonna Innes & Irisz Agocs

Friendships have their ups and downs, just like a seesaw. This story offers a gentle approach to the emotional issues children face while dealing with friendships and their peers. In the end, it’s all about finding the right balance.


I would tuck you in

I Would Tuck You In By Sarah Asper-Smith & Mitchell Watley

This sweet bedtime book is filled with baby animals and their mommies. An otter tucks her little one into a kelp forest bed. A humpback whale sings a song to soothe her calf. Learn all about the different ways animal mothers show love to their babies, while spending some quality time with your little one.


Visit your local Gymboree Play & Music today! 



Reaching Milestones in January: Book Recommendations!

Book Recommendations_January Header Image

This month is all about reaching milestones at Gymboree Play & Music!

It’s a new year with new milestones for our little ones! That’s why our January theme is REACHING MILESTONES! Encouraging exploration, self-expression, and play is essential in early development and reaching important milestones. Our expert programming team compiled their top book recommendations that teach the importance of overcoming obstacles, believing in oneself, and celebrating small achievements.

Reach for the stars in January with the below fun reads!


How to Catch a StarHow to Catch a Star By Oliver Jeffers

There once was a boy who loved stars. He decided to catch one… but how? He tried many different methods, but to no avail. Just as the boy is about to give up, he discovers that sometimes things aren’t where, or what, we expect them to be.


The dot

The Dot By Peter H. Reynolds

Vashti does not believe she can draw.  One day, her art teacher tells her to “just make a mark and see where it takes you,” so she angrily jabs at her paper, leaving a small dot. This little dot would mark the beginning of Vashti’s creative journey of self-expression.



Because By Mo Willems & Amber Ren

Because sometimes the smallest moments can have the biggest influence. Number one New York Times best-selling author Mo Willems weaves a tale of inspiration, perseverance, creativity and accomplishment as we follow a young girl’s journey to become a musician and share her compositions with the world.


The Little Engine that Could

The Little Engine That Could By Watty Piper

Go vintage with this classic American folk tale, which became widely popular in the U.S. after publication in 1930 by Platt & Munk. You may remember this story from your own childhood! Follow a small yet determined engine as she completes a big job. This story teaches children the importance of hard work and a positive outlook.


That Thing You Couldn't Do

The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do By Ashley Spires

Lou and her friends are BRAVE adventurers. They run FASTER than airplanes. They build MIGHTY fortresses. They rescue WILD animals. But one day, Lou’s friends want to do something Lou just knows she cannot do: climb a tree. She tries to convince her friends to play somewhere else; She makes excuses; She decides she doesn’t even want to climb the tree… but maybe she is just afraid? By first admitting, then facing her fears, Lou learns that the most important thing is just to try.


Visit your local Gymboree Play & Music today! 



Building Community in December: Book Recommendations!

December Book Recommendations_Header Image

December is all about the power of building community here at Gymboree Play & Music. For children, community involvement and engagement produces long-term benefits that provide a sense of belonging and is crucial to their early childhood identity.

This month’s book recommendations inspire the importance of strengthening community bonds and developing relationships between your littles, family, and teachers.

Happy Reading!

Maybe Something BeautifulMaybe Something Beautiful By F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell

Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California, “Maybe Something Beautiful” shows how people living in a gray city bring a little color into their world. Citizens come together to create a work of art more beautiful than they could have ever imagined on their own, and it all starts with one little artist!


Its a Wonderful WorldWhat a Wonderful World By Bob Thiele, George David Weiss & Tim Hopgood. As sung by Louis Armstrong

“And I think to myself, ‘What a wonderful world!” There is so much beauty to behold in the world around us. This brightly illustrated book adopts Louis Armstrong’s famous song lyrics to promote love for your community and your “world.”


The secret Sky

The Secret Sky Garden By Linda Sarah & Fiona Lumbers

Funni loves spending time at the old car park playing her recorder and flying her kite…. but something is missing. So Funni decides to create a garden in the space. A little boy sees her garden out the window of an airplane and decides to try and find it. As Funni’s flowers bloom, a special friendship blossoms too.


All our Welcome

All Are Welcome By Alexandra Penfold & Suzanne Kaufman

Read all about a school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. These students grow and learn from each other’s cultural traditions, and the whole community comes together to celebrate the Lunar New Year.


Rabbits Gift

Rabbit’s Gift By George Shannon & Laura Dronzek

Winter is here and the snow will be falling soon. Luckily, Rabbit finds a turnip… and another one! Does Rabbit hide his extra turnip away for the long winter? Not Rabbit. He decides to share his turnip amongst his forest friends, setting off a heartwarming wave of generosity.


Visit your local Gymboree Play & Music today!