Gymboree Play & Music March Book Recommendations

Photo Credit Robyn Budlender

Imagine the World Through A Child’s Eyes

This month we are focusing on the magic of imagination and how children see the world from their own perspective. The books we selected are perfect for encouraging children to use their creativity. As you’re reading with your child feel free to ask them questions about the illustrations, or the storyline. Ask them what they think is likely to come next in the story. You can even ask them to imagine a different outcome for the books and see what they come up with.

Our book recommendations for parents include new titles by Michaeleen Doucleff and Kristina Kuzmic. Check out the full list below. 

Recommendations for Children

Everything You Need for a Treehouse

by Carter Higgins and Emily Hughes

Delight your baby in this great big hug in book form, perfect for Valetine’s Day or any time year ‘round! You’ll find love on every page along with Boynton’s classic illustrations and rhyming text.

In a Jar

by Deborah Marcero

Llewellyn, a little rabbit, is a collector. He gathers things in jars–ordinary things like buttercups, feathers, and heart-shaped stones. Then he meets another rabbit, Evelyn, and together they begin to collect extraordinary things–like rainbows, the sound of the ocean, and the wind just before snow falls. And, best of all, when they hold the jars and peer inside, they remember all the wonderful things they’ve seen and done. But one day, Evelyn has sad news: Her family is moving away. How can the two friends continue their magical collection–and their special friendship–from afar?

The Box Turtle

by Vanessa Roeder

An irresistibly cute story about finding the confidence to be yourself, starring a turtle in search of the perfect shell. Terrance the turtle was born without a shell, so he uses a cardboard box instead. Terrance loves his box. It keeps him dry on soggy days, safe from snooping strangers, and is big enough to cozy up with a friend. But when another turtle points out that Terrance’s shell is, well, weird, he begins to wonder whether there might be a better shell out there…

Eventually, and through much trial and error, Terrance learns that there’s nothing wrong with being different–especially when it comes to being yourself.

Please Bring Balloons

by Lindsay Ward  

Ever wondered what it would be like to ride a carousel right off its platform?  As Emma discovers, all it takes is a handful of balloons and a very kind polar bear to show you the way.  This soaring story of friendship, between a carousel bear and the little girl who noticed him, will take readers to the arctic and back—in time for bedtime, of course—and remind them anything is possible.  Even flying.

Max’s Castle

by Kate Banks and Boris Kulikov 

When Max finds a pile of forgotten toys under the bed, his brothers Benjamin and Karl wonder what’s so special about some old blocks. So Max shows them. With some clever twists of both blocks and imagination, he constructs not only a castle but an entire adventure, complete with pirates and knights, a dark dungeon and a dragon.

This ingenious sequel to Maxs Words and Maxs Dragons shows readers just how much fun wordplay can be. This title has Common Core connections.

Recommendations for Parents

Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans

by Michaeleen Doucleff 

In Hunt, Gather, Parent, Doucleff sets out with her three-year-old daughter in tow to learn and practice parenting strategies from families in three of the world’s most venerable communities: Maya families in Mexico, Inuit families above the Arctic Circle, and Hadzabe families in Tanzania. She sees that these cultures don’t have the same problems with children that Western parents do. Most strikingly, parents build a relationship with young children that is vastly different from the one many Western parents develop—it’s built on cooperation instead of control, trust instead of fear, and personalized needs instead of standardized development milestones.

Filled with practical takeaways that parents can implement immediately, Hunt, Gather, Parent helps us rethink the ways we relate to our children, and reveals a universal parenting paradigm adapted for American families.

Thrivers: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine 

by Michele Borba Ed D. 

Michele Borba has been a teacher, educational consultant, and parent for 40 years — and she’s never been more worried than she is about this current generation of kids. The high-achieving students she talks with every day are more accomplished, better educated, and more privileged than ever before. They’re also more stressed, unhappier, and struggling with anxiety, depression, and burnout at younger and younger ages — “we’re like pretty packages with nothing inside,” said one young teen.

Thrivers are different: they flourish in our fast-paced, digital-driven, often uncertain world. Why? Dr. Borba combed scientific studies on resilience, spoke to dozens of researchers/experts in the field and interviewed more than 100 young people from all walks of life, and she found something surprising: the difference between those who struggle and those who succeed comes down not to grades or test scores, but to seven character traits that set Thrivers apart (and set them up for happiness and greater accomplishment later in life). In Thrivers, Dr. Borba offers practical, actionable ways to develop these traits in children from preschool through high school, showing how to teach kids how to cope today so they can thrive tomorrow.

Hold On, But Don’t Hold Still: Hope and Humor from My Seriously Flawed Life

by Kristina Kuzmic 

Kristina Kuzmic has made herself a household name, speaking directly to mothers from the trenches of parenthood via her viral videos and social media presence. She is now bringing her message of self-acceptance, resilience, and joy to book readers. With a refreshingly unpretentious, funny, and galvanizing voice, Kuzmic goes behind the scenes to reveal how she went from broke and defeated to unshakably grounded and brimming with thankfulness. Illuminating the hard-won wisdom from a life always spent one step behind–whether it was as a high school student new to America, a suddenly single mother to two kids, remarried and juggling two teens and a toddler, or the unexpected recipient of Oprah’s attention and investment–Hold On, But Don’t Hold Still is the book every mother needs to reassure her that she’s not only fine just as she is, but that she already has more tools and support than she can possibly imagine. Sparkling with wit, this heartfelt memoir is like a long coffee date with a best friend, or the eleventh-hour text message that gives you just the boost you need to get through the night.

The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life

by Julie Bogart and Susan Wise Bauer 

In this book, Julie Bogart distills decades of experience–homeschooling her five now grown children, developing curricula, and training homeschooling families around the world–to show parents how to make education an exciting, even enchanting, experience for their kids, whether they’re in elementary or high school.

Enchantment is about ease, not striving. Bogart shows parents how to make room for surprise, mystery, risk, and adventure in their family’s routine, so they can create an environment that naturally moves learning forward. If a child wants to pick up a new hobby or explore a subject area that the parent knows little about, it’s easy to simply say “no” to end the discussion and the parental discomfort, while dousing their child’s curious spark. Bogart gently invites parents to model brave learning for their kids so they, too, can approach life with curiosity, joy, and the courage to take learning risks.

The Montessori Toddler: A Parent’s Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being

by Simone Davies  and Hiyoko Imai 

It’s time to change the way we see toddlers. Using the principles developed by the educator Dr. Maria Montessori, Simone Davies shows how to turn life with a “terrible two” into a mutually rich and rewarding time of curiosity, learning, respect, and discovery.

With hundreds of practical ideas for every aspect of living with a toddler, here are five principles for feeding your child’s natural curiosity, from “Trust in the child” to “Fostering a sense of wonder.” Step-by-step ways to cultivate daily routines with ease, like brushing teeth, toilet-training, dealing with siblings, losing the pacifier. Plus learn how to:

  • Stay composed when your toddler is not and set limits with love and respect—without resorting to bribes or punishment
  • Set up your home and get rid of the chaos
  • Create Montessori activities that are just right for your one-to-three-year-old
  • Raise an inquisitive learner who loves exploring the world around them
  • See the world through your toddler’s eyes and be surprised and delighted by their perspective
  • Be your child’s guide—and truly celebrate every stage

February Book Recommendations

Photo Credit Kelli Mcclintock

Love is in the air at Gymboree Play & Music 

The month of February has been known for “love” for as long as any of us can remember. This February we have decided to show our love a little differently. 

For those of you who have followed our brand since our inception 40+ years ago, you know that we provide an inclusive, warm environment for our parents to support their children’s learning and growth. To expand this practice, this month we have added a few braille children’s books.  These books can be read by the parent, and can help your child become acquainted with braille. 

Gymbo loves each and every one of you, and he wants to help more children cultivate an appreciation of reading through more versatile titles. 
 
See the full list below. 

 

Recommendations for Children

Snuggle Puppy

By Sandra Boynton

Delight your baby in this great big hug in book form, perfect for Valetine’s Day or any time year ‘round! You’ll find love on every page along with Boynton’s classic illustrations and rhyming text.

Love

By Emma Dodd

This sweet story featuring a pair of bunnies is perfect for babies and toddlers. Follow a young rabbit and her parent as they spend the day in the meadow. The little rabbit finds love in many places, but knows a parent’s love is always best! This book is also available in braille at nbp.org

I Love You Stinky Face

By Lisa Mccourt & Cyd Moore

Older toddlers and preschoolers will love this playful bedtime story that shows a mother’s unconditional love for her little boy. “But Mama, what if I were a super smelly skunk, and I smelled so bad that my name was Stinky Face?” As he imagines himself to be a variety of sillier and sillier creatures, he finds that nothing will change his mother’s love for him. This book is also available in braille at braillebookstore.com

A Kiss for Little Bear

By Else Holmelund Minakik & Maurice Sendak

Little Bear asks Hen to deliver a drawing he made to his grandmother, who then sends Hen back with a kiss for little bear. Your older toddler or preschooler will love hearing how the kiss travels from Little Bear’s grandmother, to Hen, and all the way to Little Bear with a few stops along the way. Kisses are a great way to show your little one some love! Make this story lovingly playful by giving your little one a kiss each time the kiss in the story is passed along. This book is also available in braille at braillebookstore.com

Happy Valentine’s Day, Curious George

By N. Di Angelo, H. A. Rey, & Mary O’Keefe Young

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Curious George!  Join every preschooler’s favorite inquisitive ape as he and his friends decorate cookies and make Valentines, with some hilarity along the way! How much mischief can one monkey get into on Valentine’s Day?

Recommendations for Parents

The Scaffold Effect: Raising Resilient, Self-Reliant, and Secure Kids in an Age of Anxiety

by Harold S. Koplewicz  

In The Scaffold Effect, world-renowned child psychiatrist Harold Koplewicz introduces the powerful and clinically tested idea that this deliberate build-up and then gradual loosening of parental support is the single most effective way to encourage kids to climb higher, try new things, grow from mistakes, and develop character and strength.

Drawing on Dr. Koplewicz’s decades of clinical and personal experience, The Scaffold Effect is a compassionate, street-smart, and essential guide for the ages.

Make Their Day: 101 Simple, Powerful Ways to Love Others Well

by Karen Ehman  

In this practical and deeply touching guide–inspired by her book Reach Out, Gather In–popular author Karen Ehman gives you 101 actionable ideas you can implement today to truly make a difference in the lives of other people. Make Their Day is filled with creative ideas to connect with your family and friends on a deeper level throughout the year. This book will help you develop habits of kindness, reconnect with friends and family, and make encouraging people a priority. You’ll be able to put these ideas into action in real time with everyone in your life–even if hospitality doesn’t come naturally to you or you don’t think you have time.

Let’s outshine the negativity and hatred in our world, and reach out to others with love, just as God intended.

Live Love Now: Relieve the Pressure and Find Real Connection with Our Kids 

by Rachel Macy Stafford 

With illuminating, straightforward strategies, this guide reveals the importance of practicing acceptance, pursuing peace, and exploring wellness and purpose for yourself so you can be the kind of real, relevant, and lifelong role model young people are searching for. Engaging and thoughtful, each chapter includes moving stories from Rachel’s personal journey as a mom of a teen and pre-teen along with illustrative narratives and prompts to help you reflect and take steps toward becoming the kind of adult young people trust.

Whether you’re a parent, educator, older sibling, coach, or anyone in a role of leading young people, this book will help you meet the goal of raising and guiding young people to become resilient, compassionate, and capable adults.

The Intellectual Lives of Children

by Susan Engel  

Adults easily recognize children’s imagination at work as they play. Yet most of us know little about what really goes on inside their heads as they encounter the problems and complexities of the world around them. In The Intellectual Lives of Children, Susan Engel brings together an extraordinary body of research to explain how toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary-aged children think. By understanding the science behind how children observe their world, explain new phenomena, and solve problems, parents and teachers will be better equipped to guide the next generation to become perceptive and insightful thinkers.

The activities that engross kids can seem frivolous, but they can teach us a great deal about cognitive development. A young girl’s bug collection reveals important lessons about how children ask questions and organize information. Watching a young boy scoop mud can illuminate the process of invention. When a child ponders the mystery of death, we witness how children build ideas. But adults shouldn’t just stand around watching. When parents are creative, it can rub off on their children. Engel shows how parents and teachers can stimulate children’s curiosity by presenting them with mysteries to solve.

UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World

by Michele Borba Dr. 

In UnSelfie Dr. Borba pinpoints the forces causing the empathy crisis and shares a revolutionary, researched-based, nine-step plan for reversing it.

The good news? Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured. Dr. Borba offers a framework for parenting that yields the results we all want: successful, happy kids who also are kind, moral, courageous, and resilient. UnSelfie is a blueprint for parents and educators who want to kids shift their focus from I, me, and mine…to we, us, and ours.

January Book Recommendations

Photo Credit Paige Cody

Out With the Old, In With the New… Books 📚

We’re celebrating 2021 by focusing on experiences that are new and exciting for parents and kids alike.

From yoga and mindfulness to New Year’s celebrations and flowers, our January book recommendations teach your little one about the joy of new beginnings.

See the full list below.

 

Recommendations for Children

The Stars Will Still Shine

by Cynthia Rylant and Tiphanie Beeke 

Author Cynthia Rylant and illustrator Tiphanie Beeke bring us a story that is perfect for all ages. No matter what the new year may bring, the stars will still shine.Through positive affirmations in gentle verse this book teaches that even when we face new challenges in our lives, many things will always stay the same. We can take comfort in all he goodness life has to offer.

Little Yoga: A Toddler’s First Book of Yoga

by Rebecca Whitford and Martina Selway 

Get your toddler up and moving and try something new with this first book of yoga poses! Encourage your toddler to move just like “yoga baby” as you model the poses alongside them. Make a New Year’s resolution to spend time each day moving along with your toddler!

The Night Before New Year’s

by Natasha Wing and Amy Wummer

It’s the night before New Year’s! The whole family is dedicated to staying up until midnight to bring in the New Year. Everyone has sparkly streamers and fancy party hats. But after a night filled with many cupcakes and card games, will the children be able to stay awake? Older toddlers and preschooler will love this rhythmic rhyming text and hearing about the family’s New Year’s festivities.

The Tiny Seed

by Eric Carle  

Beloved author Eric Carle brings us an inspiring story about a flower. We begin with a tiny, brand-new seed floating in the wind. Preschoolers will love the gorgeous collage illustrations as they learn about all the hardships this tiny seed endured to be able to grow into a new flower. At the end of the story, we see the cycle begin anew as the flower sheds its seeds into the wind.

If I Never Forever Endeavor

by Holly Meade

A little bird, safe in the comfort of his own nest, wonders whether he should try to fly. On the one wing, he might fail. But on the other wing, he might soar! He’ll never know unless he tries. This sweet story about trying new things will resonate with anyone facing a challenge, a rite of passage, or a change. Preschoolers will enjoy following along with this story and cheering on the little bird until he is finally ready to take flight.

Recommendations for Parents

The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired

by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson 

Based on the latest brain and attachment research, The Power of Showing Up shares stories, scripts, simple strategies, illustrations, and tips for honoring the Four S’s effectively in all kinds of situations—when our kids are struggling or when they are enjoying success; when we are consoling, disciplining, or arguing with them; and even when we are apologizing for the times we don’t show up for them. Demonstrating that mistakes and missteps are repairable and that it’s never too late to mend broken trust, this book is a powerful guide to cultivating your child’s healthy emotional landscape.

Untigering: Peaceful Parenting for the Deconstructing Tiger Parent

by Iris Chen 

In Untigering, Iris Chen shares her journey of leaving behind authoritarian tiger parenting to embrace a respectful, relational way of raising children. As a Chinese American mom, she draws from her experiences of living in both North America and Asia and offers insights and practices to:

Heal from your childhood wounds
Change your beliefs about yourself and your children
Parent through connection instead of control
Redefine your understanding of success
Navigate and challenge cultural norms

Iris calls for a radical shift from parenting that is rooted in power to one that is grounded in partnership, but she does so with humor, humility, and empathy. This book is her invitation to you to begin your own journey of transformation as a parent.

Parent Up: Inspire Your Child to Be Their Best Self

by Kelly Rippon  

How do you raise a champion? After her son Adam Rippon, medaled in the 2018 Olympic Games, single mom Kelly Rippon found herself being asked this question all the time. Kelly had six children―what did she do to inspire them to their achievements and how did she raise confident, self-driven, emotionally intelligent children? Kelly realized that her unique parenting ideas shared the same leadership influence model she presented to audiences across the country as a motivational and professional development speaker.

Her philosophy is simple: a parent has the greatest opportunity to be the most significant influence in a child’s life. Kelly shares ten key types of influence―from Optimism to Accountability―that will inspire your kids and build your own sense of purpose and self-worth.

The Parenting Toddlers Workbook: Manage Your Child’s Moods, Potential, and Well-Being 

by Katie Penry PsyD

Toddlers have a difficult reputation―and an easy aptitude for connection, learning, and growth. Nurture your toddler’s potential with The Parenting Toddlers Workbook, a resource packed with research-driven tools and quick, accessible parenting techniques. Key insights into your child’s development, combined with tailored exercises and activities, help deepen your understanding―and strengthen your bond.

Explore strategies for parenting toddlers of different ages: 12 months, 18 months, 2 years, 3 years, and 4 years.

The 6 Needs of Every Child: Empowering Parents and Kids through the Science of Connection

by Amy Elizabeth Olrick (Author), Jeffrey Olrick  (Author)

Like most parents, Amy and Jeffrey Olrick left the hospital with their first child desperate to know, “What do we do?” But years of parenting three kids and Jeffrey’s work as a child psychologist convinced them to ask a better question: “How shall I be with this new person?”

In a culture obsessed with parenting formulas, it’s easy to miss the fact that science and lived experience have proven that human development and thriving are a matter of relationship. Drawing on decades of psychological research, neuroscience, and their own experience as parents and people of faith, the Olricks present six relational needs for human growth that will transform the way you think about your child–and yourself. Together, the needs form a trustworthy compass to guide you and your child to a path of purpose and relational wholeness.

December Book Recommendations

This Month is All About Traditions

This December we’re celebrating the many ways families observe different traditions from around the world. 

What better time of year to explore the concept of “tradition” than the holiday season. At a time when the world is going through so many changes, it’s our traditions that have kept us anchored. 

This month we curated our book recommendations to help you and your child understand the importance of traditions, and why they’re important. See the full list below. 

Recommendations for Children

Global Babies

by The Global Fund for Children

You and your baby will love looking at these vibrant photographs of babies from all around the globe. From Guatemala to Bhutan and many places in between, get a quick snapshot of the daily life, traditions and clothing of babies from around the world. The simple text teaches that no matter where they come from, all babies everywhere are special and loved.

Let’s Celebrate Special Days Around the World

by Kate Depalma and Martina Peluso 

Learn all about 13 special days from around the world and the traditions that go along with them. “Let’s Celebrate” uses colorful, vibrant illustrations and rhyming text to explore holidays from several different cultures around the globe, like Kodomo no Hi in Japan, Carnival in Brazil, and more!

Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup

by Pamela Mayer  and Deborah Melmon 

Two grandmas, two traditions, two kinds of chicken soup and Sophie caught in the middle! She loves Bubbe’s Jewish chicken soup with kreplach. She also loves Nai Nai’s Chinese chicken soup with wontons. Read to find out how Sophie brings her whole family together to form a brand new family tradition.

Love and the Rocking Chair

by Diane Dillon  and Leo Dillon 

Colorful paintings illustrate this simple yet touching story that shows us tradition can come is all forms. A young couple of parents-to-be purchase a rocking chair for their nursery. As years go by, we see the little boy grow up and move away, the rocking chair left to collect dust in the attic. But the cycle begins again when the little boy, now a man, has a child of his own and the rocking chair is needed again. “Love and the Rocking Chair” is a beautiful reminder of how family love is passed on from generation to generation.

My Food, Your Food

by Lisa Bullard and  Christine M. Schneider 

This week is Food Week in Manuel’s class. Each student gets to talk about a kind of food that is special to them and their family. As we learn about different dishes from around the world, we discover that even when foods are different, they can still be alike. What food will Manuel share with his class.

Throw Your Tooth on the Roof : Tooth Traditions from Around the World

by Selby Beeler and G. Brian Karas 

Travel around the world and discover the surprising things children do when they lose a tooth. Selby B. Beeler spent years collecting traditions from every corner of the globe for this whimsical book, and G. Brian Karas adds to the fun, filling every page with humorous detail. He perfectly captures the excitement and pride that children experience when a tooth falls out.

Recommendations for Parents

The Joy of Family Traditions

by Jennifer Trainer Thompson 

 THE JOY OF FAMILY TRADITIONS offers more than 400 fresh ideas and creative approaches to cultivating birthday, anniversary, holiday, and other rite-of-passage and seasonal traditions that strengthen personal bonds and reflect a family’s individual style, spirituality, and values. It inspires and instructs families on how to create, personalize, adapt, and preserve relevant traditions that reflect how we live today. It explores the historical, cultural, and often quirky origins of holidays, customs, and milestones, both uncommon and familiar. And it includes holidays, holy days, annual events, once-in-a-lifetime occasions, and personal celebrations.

Danish Dinner Party: Traditions and Recipes

by Richard E. Klein 

More than a cookbook, Danish Dinner Party has everything you need to host an authentic Danish dinner for 12, including cherished customs from times gone by. Both inviting and entertaining, this book will teach you how to give a proper toast, sing a classic song, and delight your guests. Delicious, time-honored recipes are included for each course.

Author Richard Klein draws from his Danish-American childhood, as well as friends in Denmark, to share Danish history, customs, and a perfect meal plan. Illustrated with whimsical artwork and peppered with personal experiences, Danish Dinner Party will help you embrace the art of hygge and the comradery of a formal, yet intimate, party with your friends and family.

Good Luck Life: The Essential Guide to Chinese American Celebrations and Culture

by Rosemary Gong  and  Martin Yan 

Good Luck Life is the first book to explain the meanings of Chinese rituals and to offer advice on when and how to plan for Chinese holidays and special occasions such as Chinese weddings, the Red Egg and Ginger party to welcome a new baby, significant birthdays, and the inevitable funeral. Packed with practical information, Good Luck Life contains an abundance of facts, legends, foods, old-village recipes, and quick planning guides for Chinese New Year, Clear Brightness, Dragon Boat, Mid-Autumn, and many other festivals.

Written with warmth and wit, Good Luck Life is beautifully designed as an easily accessible cultural guide that includes an explanation of the Lunar Calendar, tips on Chinese table etiquette for dining with confidence, and dos and don’ts from wise Auntie Lao, who recounts ancient Chinese beliefs and superstitions. This is your map for celebrating a good luck life.

The Atlas of Christmas: The Merriest, Tastiest, Quirkiest Holiday Traditions from Around the World

by Alex Palmer 

Do you know that in Guatemala there’s a tradition to kick off the Christmas season, where revelers gather to set fire to piñatas? In Sweden, a popular figure in Christmas traditions is the Yule Goat, a rowdy, menacing character who demands gifts. And in Japan, a big bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken has become the classic Christmas Day feast. These and many other global Christmas traditions are featured here in this delightful book. From decorations and activities to feasts and special treats, there’s a wide range of both lovely and unusual traditions from around the globe.

The Little Book of Jewish Celebrations 

by Ronald Tauber  and  Yelena Bryksenkova 

From lighting the menorah on Chanukah to standing under the chuppah at a wedding, every Jewish ritual reflects a time-honored practice passed down for generations. With a foil-stamped cover and a ribbon marker, this elegant volume shares the beloved stories and traditions behind Jewish celebrations, from year-round holidays to once-in-a-lifetime special events. Featuring lush illustrations that capture the heart of Jewish tradition as well as a glossary of important terms for each holiday, this little gift book is a treasure to be shared at any occasion—from bar and bat mitzvahs to Passover seders.

November Book Recommendations

Tis’ the season for gratitude and thanks. 

At Gymboree Play & Music we believe in teaching kids to see the world from a point of appreciation because we know that even in tough times, learning to look for the silver lining is a skill set that should be learned from an early age.

This month we curated our book recommendations around the concepts of gratitude and thanks to help you and your child incorporate these values into your daily lives.

See our recommendations below. 

Recommendations for Children

I Love to Gobble You Up!

By Sandra Magsamen

Take a moment to show your baby how grateful you are to have them in your life with this delightful book! Your little turkey will love the sturdy cardboard pages and soft felt feathers, and of course being “gobbled up” by your Thanksgiving cuddles!

1 2 3s of Thankfulness

By Patricia Hegarty & Summer Macon

From the same author as “ABCs of Kindness,” practice counting with your toddler as you teach them about the value of giving thanks and sharing gratitude. Together, we learn that “one little thank you can go a long, long way.”

Thank You, Mr. Panda!

By Steve Antony

Mr. Panda is so generous he is giving away gifts to all his animal friends. But his friends aren’t being particularly grateful. This heartwarming story helps teach little ones the importance of saying “thank you” and recognize it’s the thought behind the gift that counts the most. Toddlers will love Mr. Panda’s silly gifts and repeating the tag line, “It’s the thought that counts!”

Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks

By Margaret Sutherland & Sonja Lamut

What is Thanksgiving for? It’s a time for food and family, and also a time for giving thanks! There is so much to be thankful for, and this charming book will give your toddler or preschooler some ideas of what they can be thankful for too!

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

By Traci Sorell and Frané Lessac

“Otsaliheliga” is a Cherokee word used to express gratitude. Engage your preschooler in learning some Cherokee vocabulary as you read about the Cherokee traditions and celebrations that occur over the year. The book includes a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary to help you learn and pronounce the Cherokee words. See if you preschooler can repeat the words back to you as you learn together!

Zen Pig: The Art of Gratitude

By Mark Brown & Amy Lynn Larwig

Zen Pig teaches his friends about gratitude, compassion, and mindfulness in the first book of author Mark Brown’s “Zen Pig” series. It’s never too early to start learning the art of giving thanks! This book makes the concept of gratitude easier to understand for little ones. 

Recommendations for Parents

The Gratitude Diaries

by Janice Kaplan

In In this New York Times bestseller, Janice Kaplan spends a year living gratefully and transforms her marriage, family life, work and health. Her pioneering research was praised in People and Vanity Fair and hailed on TV shows including Today, The O’Reilly Factor, and CBS’s The Talk. On New Year’s Eve, journalist and former Parade Editor-in-Chief Janice Kaplan makes a promise to be grateful and look on the bright side of whatever happens. She realizes that how she feels over the next months will have less to do with the events that occur than her own attitude and perspective. Getting advice at every turn from psychologists, academics, doctors, and philosophers, she brings readers on a smart and witty journey to discover the value of appreciating what you have.

The Little Book of Gratitude

by  Dr. Robert Emmons

Gratitude is the simple, scientifically proven way to increase happiness and encourage greater joy, love, peace, and optimism into our lives.

Through easy practices such as keeping a daily gratitude journal, writing letters of thanks, and meditating on the good we have received, we can improve our health and wellbeing, enhance our relationships, encourage healthy sleep, and heighten feelings of connectedness.

Easily accessible and available to everyone, the practice of gratitude will benefit every area of your life and generate a positive ripple effect.

Thanks A Thousand

by A.J. Jacobs

Author A.J. Jacobs discovers that his coffee—and every other item in our lives—would not be possible without hundreds of people we usually take for granted.

By thanking these people face to face, Jacobs finds some much-needed brightness in his life. Gratitude does not come naturally to Jacobs—his disposition is more Larry David than Tom Hanks—but he sets off on the journey on a dare from his son. And by the end, it’s clear to him that scientific research on gratitude is true. Gratitude’s benefits are legion: It improves compassion, heals your body, and helps battle depression.

Living Life As A Thank You

by Nina Lesowitz  (Author), Mary Beth Sammons  (Author), Lee Woodruff (Foreword) 

Whatever is given — even a difficult and challenging moment — is a gift. Living as if each day is a thank-you can help transform fear into courage, anger into forgiveness, isolation into belonging, and another’s pain into healing. Saying thank-you every day inspires feelings of love, compassion, and hope. These ideas are the basis for this timely book. Authors Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons present a simple, but comprehensive program for incorporating gratitude into one’s life, and reaping the many benefits that come from doing so.

Gratitude

by Oliver Sacks 

During the last few months of his life, he wrote a set of essays in which he movingly explored his feelings about completing a life and coming to terms with his own death.

“It is the fate of every human being,” Sacks writes, “to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.”

Together, these four essays form an ode to the uniqueness of each human being and to gratitude for the gift of life.

October Book Recommendations

Whether it’s standing up to the monsters under the bed, or learning how to be stronger today than we were the day before, both parents and children have to learn how to overcome their biggest fears. In a month that is known for spooky celebrations and ghost stories galore, we’ve decided to focus on overcoming our fears, and learning how to live more bravely and courageously. 

Our recommendation list features a few seasonal favorites for children, as well as some tried and true titles for parents. And as a special treat, we’ve invited authors Mark Brown and Amy Morin to join us on The Parent Pod this month, so be sure to look for our updates for the podcast release dates.

Recommendations for Children

Zen Pig : Feelings are Clouds

By Mark Brown and Anastasia Khmelevska

In the 6th book from Mark Brown’s “Zen Pig” series, Zen Pig helps his niece understand, accept and welcome her feelings. This story is the perfect tool to help teach your older toddler or preschooler how to manage overwhelming emotions or feelings of uncertainty.

Eek Halloween!

By Sandra Boynton

Uh-oh – the chickens are nervous! Strange things are happening! Babies and toddlers love Sandra Boynton board books, and they’ll love discovering what’s gotten these chickens so riled up! Relax, silly chickens – it’s only Halloween!

Go Away, Big Green Monster

By Ed Emberley

Babies, toddlers and even older children will get a kick out of this cleverly illustrated book. With each turn of the page, we see another feature added to the Big Green Monster. But once we’re ready to show this monster who’s boss, we can turn the pages to make him disappear! Toddlers and older children will love helping you turn the pages to face their fears, while babies will love the colorful visual experience.

Boo Bunny

By Kathryn O Galbraith

Your toddler will love the rhythmic rhyming text in this adorable Halloween-themes book. Halloween night can be spooky… especially for a timid little bunny! But when one bunny meets another, they join together to face their fears and celebrate the best Halloween ever!

The Dark

By Lemony Snicket & Jon Klassen

Like many preschoolers, Lazlo is afraid of the dark. The dark usually spends most of its time in the basement, where Lazlo visits it once in a while. But one night, the dark makes its way to Lazlo’s room. After spending some time with the dark, Lazlo discovers it may not be so bad after all.  Help your preschooler feel more comfortable in the dark with this  poetic and empowering story.

Recommendations for Parents

13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do

by Amy Morin

As a foster parent, psychotherapist, and expert in family and teen therapy, Amy has witnessed first-hand what works. When children have the skills they need to deal with challenges in their everyday lives, they can flourish socially, emotionally, behaviorally, and academically. With appropriate support, encouragement, and guidance from adults, kids grow stronger and become better. Drawing on her experiences and insight, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do combines case studies, practical tips, specific strategies, and concrete and proven exercises to help children of all ages—from preschoolers to teenagers—build mental muscle and develop into healthy, strong adults.

The Conscious Parent

by Dr. Shefali Tsabary

Instead of being merely the receiver of the parents’ psychological and spiritual legacy, children function as ushers of the parents’ development. Parents unwittingly pass on an inheritance of psychological pain and emotional shallowness. To handle the behavior that results, traditional books on parenting abound with clever techniques for control and quick fixes for dysfunction. In Dr. Shefali Tsabary’s conscious approach to parenting, however, children serve as mirrors of their parents’ forgotten self. Those willing to look in the mirror have an opportunity to establish a relationship with their own inner state of wholeness.

Raising Good Humans

by Hunter Clarke-Fields MSAE and Carla Naumburg PhD

With this book, you’ll find powerful mindfulness skills for calming your own stress response when difficult emotions arise. You’ll also discover strategies for cultivating respectful communication, effective conflict resolution, and reflective listening. In the process, you’ll learn to examine your own unhelpful patterns and ingrained reactions that reflect the generational habits shaped by your parents, so you can break the cycle and respond to your children in more skillful ways.

The 5 Love Languages of Children

by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell 

Discover how to speak your child’s love language in a way that he or she understands. Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Ross Campbell help you:

  • Discover your child’s love language
  • Assist your child in successful learning
  • Use the love languages to correct and discipline more effectively
  • Build a foundation of unconditional love for your child

Discover your child’s primary language—then speak it—and you will be well on your way to a stronger relationship with your flourishing child.

The Self-Driven Child

by William Stixrud PhD and Ned Johnson 

The Self-Driven Child offers a combination of cutting-edge brain science, the latest discoveries in behavioral therapy, and case studies drawn from the thousands of kids and teens Bill and Ned have helped over the years to teach you how to set your child on the real road to success. As parents, we can only drive our kids so far. At some point, they will have to take the wheel and map out their own path. But there is a lot you can do before then to help them tackle the road ahead with resilience and imagination.

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.

Opposites

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.

Cribsheet

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!