Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Gift for Everyone! The Ultimate Gift Guide Round-Up With 23 Gift Guides from The Kid's Co-Op, An Indie Book List to Help You Find the Perfect, Unique Gift and a Christmas Give-A-Way!

Confession #1: Books are on the top of my list of gifts to give and receive. 

Confession #2: I'm kind of a hippie. I love supporting my local farm share. I prefer my local coffee shop to chains. I buy almost everything second-hand. I like discovering and supporting other independent artists. I'm an indie filmmaker. 

Confession #3: I bite off more than I can chew -- often...This year this combination means I decided to put together an Indie Book Gift Guide, even though I certainly didn't have the time to do so! Still, it had to be done. After all, two of my (and my sons) favorite, new children's books of 2013 were indie books: The Magic Poof and I Am Mixed

In addition to my Indie Book Gift Guide, there's 23 diverse gift guides from The Weekly Kid's Co-Op. As for the Indie Book Gift Guide, I've kept it simple with a few top picks in each category. They are either books I've read and love, books I've been eyeing for awhile or books that have been recommended to me by bloggers and/or readers I trust.

(Quick Bonus Gift Giving Tip: When in doubt for someone on your list, donate to a charity in their honor. #GivingTuesday is just around the corner. Key organizations I plan on supporting this year include No Kid Hungry and the American Cancer Society

Confession #4: Notification of a charity donation that was inspired by me is the only gift I like to receive more than a good book.

Children's Books (Ages 3-8)
Many of these books are also available as eBooks on Kindle or Nook, so you can look for them there as well. 

Multicultural Kid Lit Top Picks

Beautiful Rainbow World created by Suzee Ramirez and Lynne Raspet with original lyrics by Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou *New Book - Added in 2014*

My boys and I love this vibrant book that highlights the beauty, diversity and joy of of children around the world. Plus, the lovely song that inspired the book had my sons twirling and dancing around the house and full of utter joy!

The Magic Poof written by Stephen Hodges and illustrated by T. Kyle Gentry

My boys were both immediately drawn to this picture book with Wild Thing exclaiming excitedly about having a book with someone who looked like him. What I loved most about the book was the universal, valuable message that what makes us different is also what makes us unique, special and, perhaps, magical! 

In addition to Amazon and Barnes and Noble, copies can also be purchased directly from The Magic Poof website at the lowest rates currently available. Don't forget to comment so that you're entered to win a signed copy!

I Am Mixed written by Garcelle Beauvais and Sebastian A. Jones
and illustrated by James C. Webster

This book about twins growing up in a mixed race family is one of the best gifts WIld Thing and Caterpillar received this year. In the book, the children share about their rich cultural backgrounds and celebrate their unique and wonderful family

I Am Mixed is available on Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Wilbur, The Would Be Tree written by David N. Fischer and Joan M. Wilson
and illustrated by Sharon K. Olden

Though about a tree, I still decided to feature this book as multicultural kid lit because of its goal and message as Wilbur's initial struggles with being different evolve into an understanding of how special and unique he truly is. 

Bonus - this book was written by my dad! 

Wilbur, The Would-Be Tree is available through Barnes & Noble and Xlibris.

The Bug Barians by Author Marty Byk and Illustrator JoAn DiMaggio

I love the idea of a Leaf Erickson bug and of Viking bugs in general. Via Mother Daughter Book Reviews I loved reading that the book features a diverse cast of characters including a Jamaican bug and a fabulous female Bug Barian who saves herself and her friends through her own strength.  I look forward to reading this book, and I LOVE the illustrations!

Visit The Bug Barians site for complete links of the books availability, including Amazon, Kindle, 
Barnes and Noble, Nook and iPad versions.

Pinata written by Ken Locsmandi and Sebastian A. Jones
Art by Tomo

My mother is actually reading this fun and sweet book to my kids as I write. It tells the story of a pinata maker and his pinatas, who discover their fate and try to escape. However, our hero Pinata discovers how much joy he can bring to children, including the pinata maker's granddaughter and returns to face his demise, only to eventually be saved and treasured by the granddaughter. I also appreciate that the book includes various Spanish words for children to learn and that the granddaughter, our heroine, is in a wheelchair. The book also includes instructions for making your own pig pinata! 

Pinata is available through Stranger Books with 10% of your purchase going to Kids Need To Read.

Sports, Pets, Music and More!

Anna and her Rainbow-Colored Yoga Mats written by Giselle Shardlow
and illustrated by Paul Wrangles

This was the perfect book to transition from Multicultural to Sports because it is actually both. Anna's love of yoga sets her apart as does her hearing impairment. Eventually, Anna's love of yoga spreads to her classmates. This book has a fabulous message and is perfect for yoga classes or for children with no previous yoga experience. I've been a fan of Giselle of Kids Yoga Stories for awhile. Her site is fabulous!

Anna and her Rainbow-Colored Yoga Mats is available at Kids Yoga Stories and on Amazon.

Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence written by Lisa and Michael Cohn
and illustrated by Heather Nichols

As a mother who often does my creative work with my little ones nearby, this book is on my must-read list since it was written by a mother and her 5 year-old son. The book shows the way a pet can boost a child's confidence -- in sports and life. 

You can purchase Bash and Lucy on Amazon or directly from the authors here.

Wombat's Musical Adventure written by Chrissy Tetley
and illustrated by Theresa Burns

Another book that's on my list because my boys love music, particularly exploring different instruments, and I love nurturing their love for music. In this book, Wombat tries to find an instrument that is just right -- not too big, not too small. 

Wombat's Musical Adventure is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the Book Depository.

Character Building

Playing with Purpose: Character Building Made Fun
Written by Chelsea Lee Smith

Chelsea of Moments A Day is another writer whose work I follow and love. This eBook features 100 fun and simple activities that can help children (particularly under 6) learn about and develop positive character traits. This book would be a great gift that you could give to your entire family for the new year!

Playing with Purpose is available at Moments A Day. I'm also looking forward to checking out

Learning to Speak Life: Fruit of the Spirit by Carlie and Michael Kerchavel
This guide is perfect for families who value family Bible time as it explores the fruits of the
spirit in ways that the whole family can understand with several activity ideas to go with each fruit, including role play ideas, silly sayings and more. Bonus idea: get it for a children's minister, Sunday School teacher, or youth minister in your life. 

This guide is available in the Amazon store in paperback and eBook versions.

5 Indie Children's Books with Great Messages selected by Elsa Takoaka
(Selections include books for ages 4-12).

Elsa is a former Spanish and E.S.L teacher, a mother of two, the future Indie author 
of Goo and Spot books, and reviewer of indie books.

Destiny and Faith's Summer Adventures by Teddy O'Malley

This early chapter book is from an undiscovered gem of a writer. The book is fun and fresh as it follows the adventures of twins as they learn sign language and so much more!

Destiny and Faith's Summer Adventures is available on Amazon.

Let's Hear It For Almigal written by Wendy Kupfer and illustrated byTammie Lyon

Elsa isn't the only one loving this book. It won the Best Children's Book Picture at the National Indie Excellence Awards and has been nominated for the Reader's Choice 2013 Award for Favorite New Special-Needs Children's Book. The book follows Almigal's journey as a hearing impaired girl desperate to hear "every single sound in the entire universe." It eventually followers her decision to get cochlear implants. 

Autographed copies of Let's Hear It For Almigal can be bought from the author at,
and copies are also available through IndieBound and on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Arlo Needs Glasses by Barney Saltzberg

A 5-star reviewed picture book about a free-spirited dog who needs glasses -- perfect for a child new to wearing glasses. 

Arlo Needs Glasses is available on Amazon.

Little Miss HISTORY Travels to the Statue of Liberty written by Barbara Ann Mojica 
and illustrated by Victor Ramon Mojica

Wild Thing (my 4 year-old son) loves adventures, mysteries to uncover and exploring new places. 
This book is on my list for him as it seems like something he will love!

This book, as well as the first Little Miss HISTORY book, is available on Amazon.

The Curious Disappearance of Professor Brown or the Pumpkin of Doom 
written by Tim Flanagan and illustrated Dylan Gibson

This is Elsa's book for middle school aged readers, particularly reluctant readers. The mystery, quality art, and humor (yes, a little bit of bathroom-humor) might be the perfect thing for a emerging pre-teen reader. 

This book is available as a Kindle Edition on Amazon.

My Top YA/Comic Pick (Ages 12 and up)*

"13" - Volume 1 from Creator/Writer Dani Dixon

   "13" is a comic book series about a society where every kid gets a superpower for one year when they turn 13. It features a diverse cast, and an intriguing and engaging story arc to pull in and interest any reader. Perfect for the comic book lover or SciFi fan on your list. 

13: Volume 1 includes comic book issues 1-5 as well as bonus materials. Dixon also has 13 trading cards available for the series. Both can be found at  She previously shared 10 tips for encouraging kids to make their own comics on my blog.
*I know many adults that love this comic series too. 

Books For Mommies!


I Just Want to Pee Alone: A Collection of Hilarious Essays About Mother
Various authors, including Jen of People I Want to Punch in the Throat who has been featured 
by The Huffington Post, Babble and Headline News.

If you have a kindle loving mama on your Holiday list who loves to laugh, this humorous collection could be perfect. Or, buy it for yourself! "Motherhood is the toughest – and funniest – job you'll ever love. Raising kids is hard work. The pay sucks, your boss is a tyrant, and the working conditions are pitiful – you can't even take a bathroom break without being interrupted with another outrageous demand."

I Just Want to Pee Alone is available for Kindle on Amazon.

The Mother of All Mommy Meltdowns: Real Stories of Moms' Finest (Worst, Completely Awful) Moments written by "A Bunch of Hot Mamas Losing Their Cool" including Crystal Ponti of Mommi Fried.

"Every mother, at some point, inevitably becomes her own worst enemy. In a millisecond, her halo crumbles and she has a moment so crazed it is forever known as the one…The Mother of All Meltdowns." - This collection of essays celebrates those meltdowns as a release for all moms who have ever lost their cool. It also highlights the silver lining within those moments and helps every mom remember that we are human, and we will survive!

This book is available on Amazon for download and in print. 


Dreamcatcher by Author Tara Pohlkette

This book of poems and essays is focused on capturing all of those little moments - the magical, beautiful moments between a mother and child as they learn and grow together. The excerpts I've read are beautiful and touching. I can't wait to read more.  

Dreamcatcher is available through Pohlkotte Press

Plus, you can also find over 15 more great book ideas in this post highlighting books by bloggers I absolutely love -- many of these books are focused on nurturing creativity in children and creative play ideas and activities from bloggers like Red Ted Arts, Imagination Soup, Nurture Store, The Artful Parent and many more. Check it out!

I truly hope you will consider supporting an independent author or artist this holiday season and that you will shop at local businesses first. It can make a big difference -- and PLEASE join me in being a part of #GivingTuesday! - Thanks. :) 

And now (finally!) it's time for The Kid's Co-Op. I've pulled together all the gift guides shared last week and consolidated and organized them for you starting with my favorite: the Ultimate Gift Guide for Sustainable Giving from ALLterNATIVElearning. She shares one of my favorite sustainable gift giving tips -- resale, which is the way my family shops every year! 

What Do We Do All Day? has fabulous book and toy gift set ideas and a guide focused on math gifts for kids. Learning with Mouse also has fun and educational gift ideas with game recommendations for brainy kids, and Powerful Mothering has Wooden Learning Toys for those under 3. Three other educational gift guide picks are Two Daloo's Best Toys for Speech and Language DevelopmentTrue Aim Education's Gift Guide focused on Character Building in Children, and School Time Snippets' Educational Stocking Stuffers.

B. Inspired Mama also shared great Stocking Stuffer ideas during her Gift Guide Week. 

Buggy and Buddy shared her Top Gifts that Inspire Creative Play, The Measured Mom shared Gender Neutral Gifts for Kids, and Fantastic Fun and Learning highlighted Gifts for Future Astronauts.

For kids interested in exploring the world and all of its beauty and diversity, Multicultural Kid Blogs shared its Multicultural Kids Holiday Gift Ideas and The Educators' Spin On It shared a Toy/Gift Guide for Exploring the World.

For toddlers and babies, there were several guides I liked: House of Burke's Ultimate Toddler Gift Guide, Play Trains' Train Gift Guide for Toddlers, The Eyes of a Boy's Ultimate Toddler Holiday Gift Guide and Nothing if not Intentional's Unique (and Affordable) Gift Ideas for Babies and Toddlers.

I also loved the Kid Made Gift Ideas from Teach Beside Me and Mamas Like Me.

Now for the final three: Imprints From Tricia's Gift Guide focuses on Favorite Toys for Under $15, Gifts that Strengthen Relationships from The Connections We Share, and I love Stir the Wonder's creative Gift Guide highlighting Experience Gifts for Kids. Now it's time to link up and play! Happy Holidays! (Pssst...Don't forget to live your comment requesting the Poof!)


  1. I love "The Magic Poof" too! I won a copy and had to write a post about it because it was just that good! :) (By the way, awesome round-up. "A gift for everyone" is the perfect title!)

  2. What a fun book list!! (And thank you so much for including us in your roundup!) I am so intrigued by so many of these books! I've never heard of any of them and they look great. The Magic Poof is adorable! Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. Thanks so much for including The Mother of All Meltdowns in your books for Mommies list!! We've all been there!

  4. Thank you for including us, Jenni! Love your ideas!

  5. My confession is that books are at the top of my list to give and receive too. Always! I love Pinata. And thank you so much for mentioning our book, "The Mother of All Meltdowns." As well as "I Just Want To Pee Alone."

  6. Love The Mother of all Meltdowns. Thank you for featuring the book for moms.

  7. Thanks so much for putting together this list and for including our recommendation. I didn't realize that The Magic Poof was an indie book! Who knew?! :-)

  8. We would love the Poof. It looks like a great book.

  9. Great collection! I know so much work went into making such an incredible list. And thank you for including the Multicultural Kid Blogs holiday gift guide!

  10. What an amazing collection!! I would love to win a copy of the Magic Poof. It looks like a great book!

  11. I love to learn about new books--thanks for a great list! I'd love to read The Magic Poof!

  12. Thank you for the time and effort in putting this list together. I am honored to be a small part of it!

  13. I love indie artists' work - you get a much more unique voice when there isn't a huge marketing team in the background.

    My siblings used to call me "the big pouf" because I have so much hair (I usually thin out at least half of it now, and there's still a lot) - I would have LOVED that book as a kid!

  14. What an amazing list! Pinning it.
    I am an int'l follower of your blog, can I enter for this giveaway?
    If yes, then

  15. Fantastic list Jennifer! I can't wait to check out many of these titles!