Gymboree Play & Music Partners with Penguin Random House for October Book Recommendations


 

This month we’re partnering with Penguin Random House for our October book recommendations. Our October theme is Music to My Ears, so we’re highlighting three books that give children a glimpse into the lives of famous singers.

Each book selection reveals stories of triumph, cultural appreciation, and overcoming and will give your child a behind-the-scenes look at what it feels like to be a star on the rise.

This month we’ve also included ISBN details and princing information so you can purchase it from the bookstore of your choice. To learn more about each book, double click the cover art to be taken to the Penguin Random House website. And as a special treat, you can listen to snippets of the book below as well. 

About Penguin Random House

Penguin Random House is the international home to more than 300 editorially and creatively independent publishing imprints. Their mission is to ignite a universal passion for reading by creating books for everyone. They believe that books, and the stories and ideas they hold, have the unique capacity to connect us, change us, and carry us toward a better future for generations to come.

Their dedicated team of publishing professionals is committed to helping authors realize their very best work and to finding innovative new ways of bringing stories and ideas to audiences worldwide. By leveraging their global reach, embracing new technologies, and collaborating with authors at every stage of the publishing process—from editorial and design, to sales and marketing, to production and distribution—they aim to provide them with the greatest platform possible. At the same time, they fiercely protect their authors’ intellectual property and champion freedom of expression, ensuring that their voices carry beyond the page and into the folds of communities and societies around the globe.

 

Sing with Me

by Diana Lopez

An exuberant picture book celebrating the life and legacy of Selena Quintanilla, beloved Queen of Tejano music.

From a very early age, young Selena knew how to connect with people and bring them together with music. Sing with Me follows Selena’s rise to stardom, from front-lining her family’s band at rodeos and quinceañeras to performing in front of tens of thousands at the Houston Astrodome. Young readers will be empowered by Selena’s dedication–learning Spanish as a teenager, designing her own clothes, and traveling around the country with her family–sharing her pride in her Mexican-American roots and her love of music and fashion with the world.

Extra Details:

Hardcover | $17.99
Published by Dial Books
Jul 20, 2021 | 32 Pages | 8-1/2 x 11 | 4-8 years | ISBN 9780593110959

My Voice is a Trumpet

by Jimmie Allen

From rising country star Jimmie Allen comes a lyrical celebration of the many types of voices that can effect change.

From voices tall as a tree, to voices small as a bee, all it takes is confidence and a belief in the goodness of others to change the world. Coming at a time when issues of social justice are at the forefront of our society, this is the perfect book to teach children in and out of the classroom that they’re not too young to express what they believe in and that all voices are valuable.
 
The perfect companion for little readers going back to school!

Extra Details:

Hardcover | $17.99
Published by Flamingo Books
Jul 13, 2021 | 32 Pages | 9-1/4 x 9-1/2 | 3-7 years | ISBN 9780593352182

Nina : A Story of Nina Simone

by Traci Todd

This illuminating and defining picture book biography illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Christian Robinson, tells the story of little Eunice who grew up to become the acclaimed singer Nina Simone and her bold, defiant, and exultant legacy.

Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in small-town North Carolina, Nina Simone was a musical child. She sang before she talked and learned to play piano at a very young age. With the support of her family and community, she received music lessons that introduced her to classical composers like Bach who remained with her and influenced her music throughout her life. She loved the way his music began softly and then tumbled to thunder, like her mother’s preaching, and in much the same way as her career. During her first performances under the name of Nina Simone her voice was rich and sweet but as the Civil Rights Movement gained steam, Nina’s voice soon became a thunderous roar as she raised her voice in powerful protest in the fight against racial inequality and discrimination.

Extra Details:

Hardcover | $18.99
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Sep 28, 2021 | 56 Pages | 8-1/2 x 10-1/2 | 4-8 years | ISBN 9781524737283

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month With These Special Book Recommendations


 

September 15 – October 15th is observed in the United States as Hispanic Heritage Month. National Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements in the United States. To celebrate, we curated a special book list to honor authors who have a Hispanic, Latin American background.

The titles feature a mix of bilingual books, picture books and stories that will give your family a deeper look into the lives and cultural experiences of some of the authors.

 

La Princesa and the Pea

by Susan Middleton Elya and Juana Martinez-Neal 

El príncipe knows this girl is the one for him, but, as usual, his mother doesn’t agree.

The queen has a secret test in mind to see if this girl is really a princesa, but the prince might just have a sneaky plan, too . . .

Readers will be enchanted by this Latino twist on the classic story, and captivated by the vibrant art inspired by the culture of Peru.

Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You

by Sonia Sotomayor and Rafael López 

In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges–and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we’re not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.

Alma and How She Got Her Name

by Juana Martinez-Neal

If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; José, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.

La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for los Niños

by Susan Middleton Elya and Juana Martinez-Neal 

Classic favorites get a modern Latino twist

The itsy arañita
climbed up the water spout.
Down came la lluvia
and washed la araña out.

Classic Mother Goose rhymes get a Latino twist in this cozy collection. From young Juan Ramón sitting in el rincón to three little gatitos who lost their mitoncitos, readers will be delighted to see familiar characters in vibrant, luminous scenes brimming with fanciful details.

La Madre Goose will make a playful multicultural addition to every modern bookshelf.

¡Te amo, te abrazo, leo contigo!/Love you, Hug You, Read to You!

by Tish Rabe and Frank Endersby 

“There are three things I’ll always do . . . love you, hug you, read to you!” The simple promise of togetherness offered in this bilingual (Spanish and English) board book is enhanced by interactive prompts throughout, encouraging parents to engage with their child while reading. Studies show that asking questions, like the ones in this book, helps children learn to read faster than if they just listen to a story. Love and literacy are gifts we can give to our children every day!

My Papi Has a Motorcycle 

by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña 

When Daisy Ramona zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, she sees the people and places she’s always known. She also sees a community that is rapidly changing around her.

But as the sun sets purple-blue-gold behind Daisy Ramona and her papi, she knows that the love she feels will always be there.

With vivid illustrations and text bursting with heart, My Papi Has a Motorcycle is a young girl’s love letter to her hardworking dad and to memories of home that we hold close in the midst of change.

Nosotros Means Us: Un cuento bilingüe

by Paloma Valdivia 

A moving bilingual ode to the unshakeable bond between a parent and child in the tradition of Runaway Bunny and The Wonderful Things You Will Be.

If I were a sheep, you would be a lamb.
If I were a bear, you would be a cub.
As a mother holds her toddler, they muse over the way their love would translate if they were different animals. But no matter how they change, they will always be “us.” This bilingual story is a timeless ode to the unshakable bond between parent and child.

Not a Bean

by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez and Laura Gonzalez 

With Spanish vocabulary and a clever counting concept, this poetic story shares the life cycle of a Mexican jumping bean. This curious jumping insect is actually a seedpod from a shrub called yerba de la flecha, into which a caterpillar burrows, living inside the pod until it builds a cocoon and breaks out as a moth. Perfect for preschoolers and pre-readers, this creative picture book explores the Mexican jumping bean’s daily life and eventual transformation and escape from the pod.

Cerca / Close 

by Juan Felipe Herrera and  Blanca Gómez

Some things are close — cerca. Others are far — lejos. With sweet simplicity, this charming dual-language board book and its companion volume, Lejos/Far, engage young children.

Mi cuarto está cerca de la cocina. My bedroom is close to the kitchen.

As she walks from her kitchen through a daisy-filled yard to the house next door, a little girl notices things that are close to each other — just as the little boy she goes to visit is close to her.

Carmela Full of Wishes

by Matt de la Peña and  Christian Robinson 

When Carmela wakes up on her birthday, her wish has already come true–she’s finally old enough to join her big brother as he does the family errands. Together, they travel through their neighborhood, past the crowded bus stop, the fenced-off repair shop, and the panadería, until they arrive at the Laundromat, where Carmela finds a lone dandelion growing in the pavement. But before she can blow its white fluff away, her brother tells her she has to make a wish. If only she can think of just the right wish to make . . .

With lyrical, stirring text and stunning, evocative artwork, Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson have crafted a moving ode to family, to dreamers, and to finding hope in the most unexpected places.

Foster First Foundations with our September Book Recommendations


Early childhood is a crucial time in a child’s development. 

Every experience your child has in their formative years from the places they visit regularly to the people they engage with frequently, everything becomes a  building block of your child’s brain architecture. And as a whole, these things will strongly influence your child’s ability to learn, maintain healthy habits, and support positive behavior throughout their life.

 

At Gymboree Play & Music, we believe in cultivating the whole child. So whether it’s through play in our centers, or play dates your child has with friends after class, we wanted to select books that support this area of growth beyond our doors. 

Check out our September booklist for titles that will teach you and your kids about building foundations in community, school, and life.

Recommendations for Children

All Are Welcome

by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman 

Discover a school where all young children have a place, have a space, and are loved and appreciated.

Readers will follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where students from all backgrounds learn from and celebrate each other’s traditions. A school that shows the world as we will make it to be.

First Day Jitters 

by Julie Danneberg and Judy Love 

Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn’t want to start over at a new school. She doesn’t know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. This charming and familiar story will delight readers with its surprise ending.

by Peter H. Reynolds

The Word Collector

Some people collect stamps. Some people collect coins. Some people collect art. And Jerome? Jerome collected words . . . In this extraordinary new tale from Peter H. Reynolds, Jerome discovers the magic of the words all around him — short and sweet words, two-syllable treats, and multisyllable words that sound like little songs. Words that connect, transform, and empower.From the creator of The DotI Am Human, and Happy Dreamer comes a celebration of finding your own words — and the impact you can have when you share them with the world.

School is More Than a Building

by Kelley Donner 

With its delightful watercolor illustrations of school life, School is More Than a Building paints a positive picture of a school environment where children know and understand that the people who work there care and look out for their best interests. When read aloud, children are reminded that they are part of a very special community and that schools are there for them.

Sticks

by Diane Alber 

A heartwarming story about finding your place in the world. Sticks is about a Popsicle that accidentally melts and becomes just a plain stick. He has a hard time adjusting to his new normal but with the help of some new friends (who happen to be sticks too) he realizes that everything happened for a reason and that melting was part of his journey.

Sticks is a story that almost anyone can relate to. It’s about finding yourself in a situation that didn’t turn out like you expected and having your friends and family help you find he courage to pick yourself back up and persevere.

Recommendations for Parents

What Do You Say?

by William Stixrud PhD and  Ned Johnson 

William Stixrud, Ph.D., and Ned Johnson have 60 years combined experience talking to kids one-on-one, and the most common question they get when out speaking to parents and educators is: What do you say? While many adults understand the importance and power of the philosophies behind the books that dominate the parenting bestseller list, parents are often left wondering how to put those concepts into action. 

In What Do You Say?, Johnson and Stixrud show how to engage in respectful and effective dialogue, beginning with defining and demonstrating the basic principles of listening and speaking. Then they show new ways to handle specific, thorny topics of the sort that usually end in parent/kid standoffs: delivering constructive feedback to kids; discussing boundaries around technology; explaining sleep and their brains; the anxiety of current events; and family problem-solving. What Do You Say? is a manual and map that will immediately transform parents’ ability to navigate complex terrain and train their minds and hearts to communicate ever more successfully.

Parenting Right From the Start

by Vanessa Lapointe and Shefali Tsabary 

The baby and toddler years are the most important period for any child’s emotional and psychological development. Parents naturally want to do what’s best for their kids, but they often struggle to know what that is, especially when dealing with the big “battlegrounds” of sleep, feeding, and managing aggression.

The latest scientific research indicates that it is through a strong and stable sense of connection to their parents that children learn how to regulate their emotions, master social skills, and develop a sense of identity. Unfortunately, many of the currently accepted parenting practices and traditional attitudes disrupt healthy connection rather than foster it, leading to behavioral issues and emotional problems that can last into adulthood.

The Importance of Being Little

by Erika Christakis 

 In her pathbreaking book, Christakis explains what it’s like to be a young child in America today, in a world designed by and for adults, where we have confused schooling with learning. She offers real-life solutions to real-life issues, with nuance and direction that takes us far beyond the usual prescriptions for fewer tests, more play

Parenting from the Inside Out

by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell 

In Parenting from the Inside Out, child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and early childhood expert Mary Hartzell, M.Ed., explore the extent to which our childhood experiences shape the way we parent. Drawing on stunning new findings in neurobiology and attachment research, they explain how interpersonal relationships directly impact the development of the brain, and offer parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories, which will help them raise compassionate and resilient children.

How Children Succeed

by Mariana Bissonnette 

Babies Build Toddlers is a unique parenting book with an innovative illustrative approach that makes child development information both accessible and actionable for everyday readers. Author, Mariana Bissonnette tells the powerful story of the child during their most essential stage of development: infancy. The first 18 months lay a critical foundation for a child’s future emotional, cognitive, physical, and social well-being.

But this early time is often the most difficult for parents! Many find themselves in “survival mode” until toddlerhood, something that overlooks the incredible potential of this early time. Babies Build Toddlers offers readers a window into the intersection of development, education and parenting through clear developmental timelines (including movement, language, eating, sleeping, hygiene, and bonding), practical suggestions for how to support that development, and illustrations from a team of illustrators who celebrate the fullness of each parent’s journey.

Support Your Growth Mindset with our August Book Recommendations


When it comes to mindset, we’re often encouraged to “be positive” and
“think outside the box.” If we’re up against a challenging situation. But what’s not often explained is why this is necessary and what happens when we don’t.

This month Gymboree Play & Music is leaning into the concept of the growth mindset in an effort to educate kids and families on the possibilities that become available to us when we persevere and allow ourselves to “grow” through various situations instead of “go” through these circumstances.

Check out our August booklist for titles that will teach you and your kids about the growth mindset.

Recommendations for Children

Three Little Engines

by Bob McKinnon , Lou FancherSteve Johnson 

Graduation day is finally here! The Little Blue Engine, the Yellow Passenger Engine, and the Red Freight Engine are excited to take their final test of Engine School: making their first solo trip over the mountain. But each engine encounters different challenges and obstacles on their journey. Gorgeous illustrations by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson combine with a poignant story told by Bob McKinnon to remind a new generation of readers to “think they can.”

Beautiful Oops

by Barney Saltzberg

An award winning, best-selling, one-of-a-kind interactive book, Beautiful Oops! shows young readers how every mistake is an opportunity to make something beautiful. A singular work of imagination, creativity, and paper engineering, Beautiful Oops! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges, and even an accordion “telescope”—each demonstrating the magical transformation from blunder to wonder.

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain

by JoAnn Deak Ph.D.Sarah Ackerley 

Educator and psychologist Dr. JoAnn Deak offers a fun and engaging introduction to the anatomy and functions of the brain that will empower each young reader to S-T-R-E-T-C-H and grow their fantastic, elastic brain! 

The Book of Mistakes

by Corinna Luyken 

As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest “mistakes” can be the source of the brightest ideas—and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too.

Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle

by Chris Raschka 

Learning to ride a bike is one of the most important milestones of childhood, and no one captures the emotional ups and downs of the experience better than Chris Raschka, who won the 2012 Caldecott Medal for A Ball for Daisy. In this simple yet emotionally rich “guide,” a father takes his daughter through all the steps in the process—from choosing the perfect bicycle to that triumphant first successful ride. Using very few words and lots of expressive pictures, here is a picture book that not only shows kids how to learn to ride, but captures what it feels like to fall . . . get up . . . fall again . . . and finally “by luck, grace, and determination” ride a bicycle!

Recommendations for Parents

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

by Carol S. Dweck 

In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.

Grit for Kids

by Lee David Daniels 

Your kids are the most important people in your lives. In this increasingly competitive and confusing world they need you to help them be their best. They need you to guide them in developing traits for success and happiness. Grit for Kids will teach you how to help your child to develop their own grit in just 16 easy-to-follow chapters.

Helping Children Succeed

by Paul Tough 

In How Children Succeed, Paul Tough introduced us to research showing that personal qualities like perseverance, self-control, and conscientiousness play a critical role in children’s success.
      Now, in Helping Children Succeed, Tough takes on a new set of pressing questions: What does growing up with economic and other stresses do to children’s mental and physical development? How does adversity at home affect their success in the classroom, from preschool to high school? And what practical steps can the adults who are responsible for them take to improve their chances for a positive future?

by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson 

In The Yes Brain, the authors give parents skills, scripts, and activities to bring kids of all ages into the beneficial “yes” state. You’ll learn

Big Little Breakthroughs

by Josh Linkner 

Instead of shooting for a $10-billion payday or a Nobel Prize, the most prolific innovators focus on Big Little Breakthroughs—small creative acts that unlock massive rewards over time. By cultivating daily micro-innovations, individuals and organizations are better equipped to tackle tough challenges and seize transformational opportunities.

How Children Succeed

by Paul Tough 

How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough traces the links between childhood stress and life success. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do—and do not—prepare their children for adulthood. And he provides us with new insights into how to help children growing up in poverty.

Instill Independence in Your Child With Our July Book Recommendations


As parents, we love coddling our children.

For example, when our kids want to try the high slide alone, we hold their hands all the way down.

When they insist on dressing themselves, we step in to help them go faster. 

When they want to pour their own milk, we grab it and do it for them.

But when our overdoing becomes more than coddling, we inadvertently prevent our children from gaining a sense of independence. So how do we encourage kids to develop this skillset, while we also gain a better understanding the limitations of our “parenting”?

We read. 

Check out our July booklist for titles that will teach you and your kids about self-esteem, failure, success, and confidence. 

 

Recommendations for Children

Flight School

by Lita Judge 

A persevering penguin is determined to fly in this adorably inspiring picture book from the creator of Red Hat and Red Sled.

Although little Penguin has the soul of an eagle, his body wasn’t built to soar. But Penguin has an irrepressible spirit, and he adamantly follows his dreams to flip, flap, fly! Even if he needs a little help with the technical parts, this penguin is ready to live on the wind.

 The Most Magnificent Thing 

by Ashley Spires 

Award-winning author and illustrator Ashley Spires has created a charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea. “She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. For the early grades’ exploration of character education, this funny book offers a perfect example of the rewards of perseverance and creativity.

Ladybug Girl Series

by David Soman and Jacky Davis 

In the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series, which encourages independence and creative play, and celebrates imagination for every preschool child!
 
When Lulu puts on her ladybug costume, she becomes Ladybug Girl, a superhero who uses her imagination to have adventures right in her own backyard. Her dog, Bingo the basset hound, is always by her side and the two prove that they are not too little to explore nature, build forts, and make their own big fun.

I Don’t Want To Go To School

by Lula Bell and Brian Fitzgerald 

It’s Mouse’s first day of school. It’s Dinosaur’s first day of school. As each of them get ready for the first day of school, they definitely DON’T want to go! But when class begins, there is a very big surprise! A reassuring tale for those first-day-of-school jitters.

It’s Mouse’s first day of school, and she is so nervous. She can’t eat her cereal, and she wonders what the children will be like. And it’s Dinosaur’s first day of school, too! He is so nervous that he can’t eat his toast. He is afraid that the teacher won’t like him. And the school looks so scary! But when Mouse and Dinosaur arrive at school, they’re both in for a big, happy surprise!

A Little SPOT of Confidence

by Diane Alber 

Confidence plays an important role in a child’s future happiness, health, and success. Confident children are better equipped to deal with peer pressure, challenges, and negative emotions. A little SPOT of Confidence is a story that uses an orange spot to help a child visual there confidence spot growing or shrinking. It shows a child real-world situations on how they can grow their confidence SPOT.

Recommendations for Parents

How to Raise Successful People

by Esther Wojcicki 

The godmother of Silicon Valley, legendary teacher, and mother of a superfamily shares her tried-and-tested methods for raising happy, healthy, successful children using trust, respect, independence, collaboration, and kindness: TRICK. Wojcicki’s methods are the opposite of helicopter parenting. As we face an epidemic of parental anxiety, Woj is here to say: relax. Talk to infants as if they are adults. Allow teenagers to pick projects that relate to the real world and their own passions, and let them figure out how to complete them. Above all, let your child lead. 

Social Skills for Kids

by Keri K. Powers 

In Social Skills for Kids, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how social skills develop in children and what you can do to support their growth. In this book, you’ll find games to encourage them in group settings, activities that you (or another caregiver) can do alone with your child, and ways to make the most of virtual interactions for social skill development.

The Gift of Failure

by Jessica Lahey 

Modern parenting is defined by an unprecedented level of overprotectiveness: parents who rush to school at the whim of a phone call to deliver forgotten assignments, who challenge teachers on report card disappointments, mastermind children’s friendships, and interfere on the playing field. As teacher and writer Jessica Lahey explains, even though these parents see themselves as being highly responsive to their children’s well-being, they aren’t giving them the chance to experience failure—or the opportunity to learn to solve their own problems.

The Yes Brain

by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson 

In The Yes Brain, the authors give parents skills, scripts, and activities to bring kids of all ages into the beneficial “yes” state. You’ll learn

• the four fundamentals of the Yes Brain—balance, resilience, insight, and empathy—and how to strengthen them
• the key to knowing when kids need a gentle push out of a comfort zone vs. needing the “cushion” of safety and familiarity
• strategies for navigating away from negative behavioral and emotional states (aggression and withdrawal) and expanding your child’s capacity for positivity

The Yes Brain is an essential tool for nurturing positive potential and keeping your child’s inner spark glowing and growing strong.

The 4 Habits of Raising Joy-Filled Kids

by Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey 

Joy-filled kids aren’t always happy kids, but they do know how to work for and wait for what is truly satisfying in life. In The Four Habits of Raising Joy-Filled Kids you will discover a tool box full of skills that you can use with your children to help them grow in maturity and live with greater joy.

These tools help your kids, from infants to teens, build skills like:

Regulating upset emotions so they can return to joy.
Forming a stable identity that doesn’t change with each new emotion.
Developing discernment to distinguish between what is satisfying and what is only temporarily pleasurable.
Discovering heart values and not just living to please others.
Building “joy bonds” rather than “fear bonds.”

15 Books That Will Teach Your Child About PRIDE, Family Love, and Embracing Their Identity


Now more than ever, parents want to teach their children to be kind, inclusive, and compassionate. They also want to make sure that the books they bring in their home are representative of values that validate, affirm, and dignify all people. 

In celebration of Pride Month, Gymboree Play & Music has curated a list of books that will support these efforts for families everywhere. Feel free to see which books made our list below. 

 

 

 

Rainbow: A First Book of Pride

by Michael Genhart PhD and  Anne Passchier 

This is a sweet ode to rainbow families, and an affirming display of a parent’s love for their child and a child’s love for their parents. Readers will celebrate the life, healing, light, nature, harmony, and spirit that the rainbows in this book will bring. and sharing. “A great choice for the beginning of the school year.”*

Except When They Don’t

by Laura Gehl and Joshua Heinsz 

This rhyming picture book encourages children to celebrate their individuality and lets them know that it’s okay to play with whatever toys they want to!

It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity

by Theresa Thorn and Noah Grigni 

This sweet, straightforward exploration of gender identity will give children a fuller understanding of themselves and others. With child-friendly language and vibrant art, It Feels Good to Be Yourself provides young readers and parents alike with the vocabulary to discuss this important topic with sensitivity.

Pink Is For Boys

by Robb Pearlman and  Eda Kaban 

Pink is for boys . . . and girls . . . and everyone! This timely and beautiful picture book rethinks and reframes the stereotypical blue/pink gender binary and empowers kids-and their grown-ups-to express themselves in every color of the rainbow. Featuring a diverse group of relatable characters, Pink Is for Boys invites and encourages girls and boys to enjoy what they love to do, whether it’s racing cars and playing baseball, or loving unicorns and dressing up.

Mommy, Mama, and Me

by Lesléa Newman and Carol Thompson 

Rhythmic text and illustrations with universal appeal show a toddler spending the day with its mommies. From hide-and-seek to dress-up, then bath time and a kiss goodnight, there’s no limit to what a loving family can do together.

Share the loving bond between same-sex parents and their children in this heartwarming story of family.

Daddy, Papa, and Me

by Lesléa Newman and Carol Thompson 

Rhythmic text and illustrations with universal appeal show a toddler spending the day with its daddies. From hide-and-seek to dress-up, then bath time and a kiss goodnight, there’s no limit to what a loving family can do together.

Share the loving bond between same-sex parents and their children in this heartwarming story of family.

Love Is Love

by Michael Genhart and Ken Min 

When a boy confides in his friend about bullies saying he doesn’t have a real family, he discovers that his friend’s parents―a mom and a dad―and his two dads are actually very much alike.

Dr. Michael Genhart’s debut story is the perfect resource to gently discuss discrimination with kids. This sweet and straightforward story shows that gay families and straight families and everything in between are all different kinds of normal. What makes a family real is the love that is shared.

Julián Is a Mermaid 

by Jessica Love 

When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love’s author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.

Our Rainbow

by Little Bee Books 

Every young child is enchanted by the beautiful colors of the rainbow. Now, Our Rainbow can teach toddlers all about the meaning of each color of the pride flag. Told in simple, engaging text and paired with bright illustrations, this board book teaches the youngest of readers all about the colors of this rainbow and the simple acts of kindness that can brighten up our world! This book is published in partnership with GLAAD to accelerate LGBTQ inclusivity and acceptance.

Born Ready

by Jodie Patterson and Charnelle Pinkney Barlow 

In this exuberant companion to Jodie Patterson’s adult memoir, The Bold World, Patterson shares her son Penelope’s frustrations and triumphs on his journey to share himself with the world. Penelope’s experiences show children that it always makes you stronger when you are true to yourself and who you really are.

From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea

by Kai Cheng ThomKai Yun Ching and Wai-Yant Li 

In this captivating, beautifully imagined picture book about gender, identity, and the acceptance of the differences between us, Miu Lan faces many questions about who they are and who they may be. But one thing’s for sure: no matter what this child becomes, their mother will love them just the same.

When You Look Out the Window

by Gayle E. Pitman and Christopher Lyles 

When You Look Out the Window tells the story of Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, one of San Francisco’s most well-known and politically active lesbian couples. Describing the view from Phyllis and Del’s window, this book shows how one couple’s activism transformed their community — and had ripple effects throughout the world.

Love Makes a Family

by Sophie Beer 

Love is baking a special cake. Love is lending a helping hand. Love is reading one more book. In this exuberant board book, many different families are shown in happy activity, from an early-morning wake-up to a kiss before bed. Whether a child has two moms, two dads, one parent, or one of each, this simple preschool read-aloud demonstrates that what’s most important in each family’s life is the love the family members share.

Families Belong

by Dan Saks and Brooke Smart 

This deliciously warm board book is an appreciation of the unconditional love and comfort shared within a family. Through a handful of specific yet universal scenarios, from singing songs together to sharing food together, from dancing together to lying still together, this book invites the youngest readers to celebrate what it means for a family to be truly together.

I Am Jazz

by Jessica HerthelJazz Jennings, and Shelagh McNicholas 

From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like herself in boys’ clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz’s story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.

Re-Socialize Your Kids With Our June Book Recommendations


After more than a year indoors, parents are looking for ways to help their children learn the crucial social and emotional skills so they can be school-ready by the fall.

With that in mind, we wanted to curate our June recommendations to not only support social skills for kids but also identify books that are useful tools to help teach social skills and tackle social-emotional issues for parents.

We scoured the internet and several best-selling book lists to see what titles are trending, and here are the titles we think your family will enjoy.

Recommendations for Children

Rulers of the Playground 

by Joseph Kuefler 

A funny, relatable story about how becoming “rulers” of the playground, in the end, is less fun than playing together and sharing. “A great choice for the beginning of the school year.”*

This picture book about sharing, friendship, and kindness in a playground setting will remind you of favorites such as This Is Not My Hat from Jon Klassen and The Day the Crayons Quit from Drew Daywalt.

 Stick and Stone  

by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld 

When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor?
Author Beth Ferry makes a memorable debut with a warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti-bullying message even the youngest reader will understand. New York Times bestselling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld imbues Stick and Stone with energy, emotion, and personality to spare.
        In this funny story about kindness and friendship, Stick and Stone join George and Martha, Frog and Toad, and Elephant and Piggie, as some of the best friend duos in children’s literature.

Home is In Between 

by Mitali Perkins and Lavanya Naidu 

In the timely yet timeless picture book Home Is in Between, critically acclaimed author Mitali Perkins and illustrator Lavanya Naidu describe the experience of navigating multiple cultures and embracing the complex but beautiful home in between.

Shanti misses the warm monsoon rains in India. Now in America, she watches fall leaves fly past her feet. Still, her family’s apartment feels like a village: Mama cooking luchi, funny stories in Bangla, and Baba’s big laugh. But outside, everything is different – trick-or-treating, ballet class, and English books. Back and forth, Shanti trudges between her two worlds. She remembers her village and learns her new town. She watches Bollywood movies at home and Hollywood movies with her friends. She is Indian. She is also American. How should she define home?

My Very Own Space 

by Pippa Goodhart and Rebecca Crane 

A little rabbit is trying to read his book in peace, but there’s so much going on around him! Maybe he needs some space just for himself…

With minimal text accompanying beautiful and sweet illustrations, this charming picture book explores ideas of personal space and sharing in a way that even very young children can enjoy.

Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie

by Laura Rankin 

Ruthie loves little things-the smaller the better. So when she finds a teeny tiny camera on the school playground one afternoon, she can hardly believe her luck. She wants to keep the camera in the worst way, but there’s one little problem: It isn’t hers.

Ruthie swears to her teacher and to her classmate Martin that she got the camera for her birthday. But deep down, Ruthie knows better, and all day long that teeny tiny camera weighs on her conscience until she can hardly stand it. How could one little camera turn into such a great big problem?

Recommendations for Parents

Screen Kids: 5 Relational Skills Every Child Needs in a Tech-Driven World

by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane 

In Screen Kids Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane will empower you with the tools you need to make positive changes. Through stories, science, and wisdom, you’ll discover how to take back your home from an overdependence on screens. Plus, you’ll learn to teach the five A+ skills that every child needs to master: affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention. Learn how to:

  • Protect and nurture your child’s growing brain
  • Establish simple boundaries that make a huge difference
  • Recognize the warning signs of gaming too much
  • Raise a child who won’t gauge success through social media
  • Teach your child to be safe online

A Grown-Up’s Guide To Kids’ Wiring

by Kathleen Edelman 

Whether you’re a parent, teacher, coach, grandparent, or the fun uncle in your family, YOU HAVE PROBABLY TRIED TO “FIX” A CHILD.

We’ve all said things like, “He has to calm down.” “She has to speak up!” “Why won’t they just do what I tell them to do?”No matter the age or stage, kids are . . . hard. But understanding their wiring might change the way you look at (and speak to) every child that crosses your path from this day forward.

Communication expert Kathleen Edelman has spent three decades helping grown-ups make sense of the kids around them. The result? Better behavior, better relationships. In this book and the six videos that go along with it (free on YouTube), she’ll do the same thing for you and the kids in your family, in your classroom, or on your team.

The Relationally Intelligent Child

by John Trent PhD and Dewey Wilson PhD

Most parents today understand brokenness and loneliness when it comes to relationships. Then comes the need to teach relationship skills to their children! Having experienced isolation and loneliness on their own, parents can be terribly aware of how much their own children need and long for relationships.

The Relationally-Intelligent Child teaches parents the crucial insights of a must grasp concept: relational intelligence. This tool for growth and connection will not only change a child’s life, but also a parent’s own relationships. You’ll discover five key elements that can engage and equip your child with skills for being relationally intelligent with family, friends, and others.

Hunt, Gather, Parent

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.

How to Raise an Adult

by Julie Lythcott-Haims 

In How to Raise an Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims draws on research, on conversations with admissions officers, educators, and employers, and on her own insights as a mother and as a student dean to highlight the ways in which overparenting harms children, their stressed-out parents, and society at large. While empathizing with the parental hopes and, especially, fears that lead to overhelping, Lythcott-Haims offers practical alternative strategies that underline the importance of allowing children to make their own mistakes and develop the resilience, resourcefulness, and inner determination necessary for success.

Relevant to parents of toddlers as well as of twentysomethings–and of special value to parents of teens–this book is a rallying cry for those who wish to ensure that the next generation can take charge of their own lives with competence and confidence.

May Book Recommendations for AAPI Heritage Month


Photo credit: Rendy Novantino

We’re Celebrating Asian Authors for AAPI Month!

 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month (AAPI Month), brings attention to the contributions of people from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Palau, the Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Vanuatu, Vietnam, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

To celebrate, we’re honoring Asian authors who’ve written books that highlight the many cultures and stories within the AAPI community. Our final selections were based on recommendations from several public libraries, publishing houses, blogs, and by sales ranking. There are titles for kids and parents alike, feel free to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to see the full list.

 

Recommendations for Children

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners

by Joanna Ho  and  Dung Ho 

A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers’. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother’s, her grandmother’s, and her little sister’s. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.

Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self-love and empowerment. This powerful, poetic picture book will resonate with readers of all ages.

Drawn Together 

by Minh Lê and  Dan Santat  

When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens-with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.

With spare, direct text by Minh Lê and luminous illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, this stirring picturebook about reaching across barriers will be cherished for years to come.

The Most Beautiful Thing

by Kao Kalia Yang and Khoa Le 

Drawn from author Kao Kalia Yang’s childhood experiences as a Hmong refugee, this moving picture book portrays a family with a great deal of love and little money. Weaving together Kalia’s story with that of her beloved grandmother, the book moves from the jungles of Laos to the family’s early years in the United States.

When Kalia becomes unhappy about having to do without and decides she wants braces to improve her smile, it is her grandmother―a woman who has just one tooth in her mouth―who helps her see that true beauty is found with those we love most. Stunning illustrations from Vietnamese illustrator Khoa Le bring this intergenerational tale to life.

Priya Dreams of Marigolds & Masala

by Meenal Patel 

Priya lives in the United States and her family is from India. She feels the magic of the place her family comes from through her Babi Ba’s colorful descriptions of India–from the warm smell of spices to the swish-swish sound of a rustling sari. Together, Priya and Babi Ba make their heritage live on through the traditions that they infuse into their everyday lives.

Priya Dreams of Marigolds & Masala is a celebration of the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren, the threads that connect each of us to our heritage, and the power of sharing our traditions with others.

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee

by Julie Leung and Julie Kwon 

Hazel Ying Lee was born fearless—she was not afraid of anything, and the moment she took her first airplane ride, she knew where she belonged. When people scoffed at her dreams of becoming a pilot, Hazel wouldn’t take no for an answer. She joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II. It was a dangerous job, but Hazel flew with joy and boldness.

This moving, true story about a groundbreaking figure will inspire young readers to challenge barriers and reach for the sky.

Recommendations for Parents

How Much of These Hills Is Gold: A Novel 

by C Pam Zhang 

Both epic and intimate, blending Chinese symbolism and reimagined history with fiercely original language and storytelling, How Much of These Hills Is Gold is a haunting adventure story, an unforgettable sibling story, and the announcement of a stunning new voice in literature. On a broad level, it explores race in an expanding country and the question of where immigrants are allowed to belong. But page by page, it’s about the memories that bind and divide families, and the yearning for home.

Interior Chinatown 

by Charles Yu 

After stumbling into the spotlight, Willis finds himself launched into a wider world than he’s ever known, discovering not only the secret history of Chinatown, but the buried legacy of his own family. Infinitely inventive and deeply personal, exploring the themes of pop culture, assimilation, and immigration—Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu’s most moving, daring, and masterful novel yet.

A Place for Us: A Novel 

by Fatima Farheen Mirza 

A Place for Us takes us back to the beginning of this family’s life: from the bonds that bring them together, to the differences that pull them apart. All the joy and struggle of family life is here, from Rafiq and Layla’s own arrival in America from India, to the years in which their children—each in their own way—tread between two cultures, seeking to find their place in the world, as well as a path home.

The Joy Luck Club

by Amy Tan 

With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties. Tan is an astute storyteller, enticing readers to immerse themselves into these lives of complexity and mystery.

What We Carry

by Maya Shanbhag Lang 

Unable to remember or keep track of the stories she once told her daughter—stories about her life in India, why she immigrated, and her experience of motherhood—Maya’s mother divulges secrets about her past that force Maya to reexamine their relationship. It becomes clear that Maya never really knew her mother, despite their close bond. Absorbing, moving, and raw, What We Carry is a memoir about mothers and daughters, lies and truths, receiving and giving care, and how we cannot grow up until we fully understand the people who raised us. It is a beautiful examination of the weight we shoulder as women and an exploration of how to finally set our burdens down.

Gymboree Play & Music April Book Recommendations

This month is all about neurodiversity at Gymboree Play & Music!

Neurodiversity is a concept that’s been around for a while. In a nutshell, it means that brain differences are just that: differences. So conditions like ADHD and autism aren’t “abnormal.” They’re simply variations of the human brain. For kids with learning and thinking differences, the idea of neurodiversity has real benefits. It can help kids (and their parents) frame their challenges as differences, rather than as deficits.

Our book recommendations for April aim to support both kids and their parents understand the complexities around neurodiversity, and to educate others on this concept as well. Check out our full list below. 

 

Recommendations for Children

Wiggles, Stomps, and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down

by Lindsey Rowe Parker and Rebecca Burgess 

A Picture Book about Sensory Differences. 


The vibration in her feet when she runs, the tap-tap-tap of her fork on the table at mealtime, the trickle of cool water running over her hands–these are the things that calm her jitters down. This book is for anyone who has ever felt the need for a wiggle, stomp, or squeeze! 

A Friend for Henry

by Jenn Bailey and Mika Song 

In Classroom Six, second left down the hall, Henry has been on the lookout for a friend. A friend who shares. A friend who listens. Maybe even a friend who likes things to stay the same and all in order, as Henry does. But on a day full of too close and too loud, when nothing seems to go right, will Henry ever find a friend—or will a friend find him? With insight and warmth, this heartfelt story from the perspective of a boy on the autism spectrum celebrates the everyday magic of friendship.

Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You

by Sonia Sotomayor and Rafael López 

Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful.

In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges–and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we’re not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.

I See Things Differently

by Pat Thomas 

I See Things Differently will help children understand what autism is and how it affects someone who has it, and is a wonderful catalyst for discussion that will help children to better understand and support autistic classmates or siblings. Titles in the sensitively presented A First Look At series explore the dynamics of various relationships experienced by children of preschool through early school age. Kids are encouraged to understand personal feelings and social problems as a first step in dealing with them. Written by psychotherapist and counselor Pat Thomas, these books promote positive interaction among children, parents, and teachers. The storylines are simple and direct–easily accessible to younger children. There are full-color illustrations on every page.

All My Stripes

by Shaina Rudolph 

Zane the zebra feels different from the rest of his classmates. He worries that all they notice about him is his “autism stripe.” With the help of his Mama, Zane comes to appreciate all his stripes — the unique strengths that make him who he is!

Includes a Reading Guide with additional background information about autism spectrum disorders and a Note to Parents and Caregivers with tips for finding support.

Foreword by Alison Singer, President, Autism Science Foundation.

Recommendations for Parents

Sincerely, Your Autistic Child

by Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network (Author), Emily Paige Ballou (Editor), Sharon daVanport (Editor)

Most resources available for parents come from psychologists, educators, and doctors, offering parents a narrow and technical approach to autism. Sincerely, Your Autistic Child represents an authentic resource for parents written by autistic people themselves.

From childhood and education to culture, gender identity, and sexuality, this anthology tackles the everyday joys and challenges of growing up while honestly addressing the emotional needs, sensitivity, and vibrancy of autistic kids, youth, and young adults. Contributors reflect on what they have learned while growing up on the autism spectrum and how parents can avoid common mistakes and overcome challenges while raising their child.

Part memoir, part guide, and part love letter, Sincerely, Your Autistic Child is an indispensable collection that invites parents and allies into the unique and often unheard experiences of autistic children and teens.

Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

by Steve Silberman and  Oliver Sacks 

What is autism? A lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more—and the future of our society depends on our understanding it. Wired reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.  Going back to the earliest days of autism research, Silberman offers a gripping narrative of Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger, the research pioneers who defined the scope of autism in profoundly different ways; he then goes on to explore the game-changing concept of neurodiversity. NeuroTribes considers the idea that neurological differences such as autism, dyslexia, and ADHD are not errors of nature or products of the toxic modern world, but the result of natural variations in the human genome. This groundbreaking bookwill reshape our understanding of the history, meaning, function, and implications of neurodiversity in our world.

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

by Barry M. Prizant 

Autism therapy typically focuses on ridding individuals of “autistic” symptoms such as difficulties interacting socially, problems in communicating, sensory challenges, and repetitive behavior patterns. Now Dr. Barry M. Prizant offers a new and compelling paradigm: the most successful approaches to autism don’t aim at fixing a person by eliminating symptoms, but rather seeking to understand the individual’s experience and what underlies the behavior.

“A must-read for anyone touched by autism… Dr. Prizant’s Uniquely Human is a crucial step in promoting better understanding and a more humane approach” (Associated Press). Instead of classifying “autistic” behaviors as signs of pathology, Dr. Prizant sees them as part of a range of strategies to cope with a world that feels chaotic and overwhelming. Rather than curb these behaviors, it’s better to enhance abilities, build on strengths, and offer supports that will lead to more desirable behavior and a better quality of life.

The Pattern Seekers: How Autism Drives Human Invention

by Simon Baron-Cohen  

Why can humans alone invent? In The Pattern Seekers, Cambridge University psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen makes a case that autism is as crucial to our creative and cultural history as the mastery of fire. Indeed, Baron-Cohen argues that autistic people have played a key role in human progress for seventy thousand years, from the first tools to the digital revolution.


How? Because the same genes that cause autism enable the pattern-seeking that is essential to our species’s inventiveness. However, these abilities exact a great cost on autistic people, including social and often medical challenges, so Baron-Cohen calls on us to support and celebrate autistic people in both their disabilities and their triumphs. Ultimately, The Pattern Seekers isn’t just a new theory of human civilization, but a call to consider anew how society treats those who think differently.

Connecting With The Autism Spectrum

by Casey “Remrov” Vormer  

For a friend, family member, or coworker with autism, communication can be challenging. But Connecting with the Autism Spectrum can help you find common ground with expert tips and helpful insights about talking (and listening) to neurodiverse adults so you can make your interactions more transparent, meaningful, and rewarding for all.

Written by Casey Vormer, a self-taught artist and autism advocate, this comprehensive guide is a trusted source for understanding neurodiversity that features a brief introduction to the autism spectrum. It also provides easy communication strategies like active listening and positive encouragement as well as steps to avoid misunderstandings by teaching how to recognize biases and correct them. Additionally, you’ll learn why the term “high functioning autism” is a misnomer to define members of this vibrant community.

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