10 Children's Picture Books You Must Read, Even If You Don't Have Children

My childhood is filled with memories of books. Being read to, reading on my own, and by the time I was nine or ten reading under the covers with a flashlight so I wouldn't get into trouble for staying up late. To nurture a love of books to last we need to introduce great books at every stage of reading development. Not just fun books, and not just books that teach us lessons. We need both, and if we can combine the two that is even better. Here are ten picture books that I think ever child, and adult, needs to read at least once.

Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendack is a classic favorite. Max climbs into his wolf suit and gets himself into trouble. After he is sent to his room a jungle grows up around him and he enters the world were the wild things roam. The monster are huge and mismatched, but their actions and big eyes keep them from being truly frightening for children. The book speaks to both children and adults and helps each understand the other a bit better.

Strega Nona by Tomie De Paola is a retelling of an Italian folktale. Strega Nona is a grandmother witch with a magic pasta pot. As expected someone=e tries to use the pot when Strega Nona is not there, and it goes hysterically wrong. Similar to The sorcerer's apprentice in the lesson of not messing around with things you do not fully understand, do not have permission to handle or simply try to take shortcuts for selfish reasons. 

Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst show us that everyone has bad days, and helps us laugh and put ours into perspective. Poor Alexander is having a rough day. Gum in his hair, lunch without dessert, a trip to the dentist and worst of all having to watch kissing on television. Its all enough to make anyone want to more to Australia, especially young Alexander.

Harold And The Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson is a great book for showing adults and children just how far our imaginations can take up=s if we let it. Harold and his crayon creates his own path, a landscape, and world to explore. We see the power of art and creativity all stemming from one boy's imagination. What better way to encourage art, writing, any creative process than to remind yourself and introduce your child to the wonders that we can each create.

Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter is a cautionary tale about listening to your mother, but is still not stale after all these years. Directly disobeying orders to stay out of the garden Peter can not help himself, and gets himself in quite the mess because of it. The realism and truth of this book is much better, in my opinion, then some of the more white washed tales given to our children today.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a fantastic tale of unconditional love. Simple illustrations are the perfect mirror to the story. A tree loves a boy who befriends him and proceeds to give the boy literally everything of itself over the years as the boy grows up and his needs change. The tree requires nothing other than knowing that it is helping, and is happy to finally give the boy grown into an old man a place to sit when that is all it has left to give.

Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss is a tale of nurturing and love of all life, no matter how insignificant it might seem. Dear Horton hears a cry for help from a speak of dust and does everything in his power to help whoever made that cry because "a person's a person, no matter how small".

The True Story of Three Little Pigs by Jon Sciesz tells the classic fairy tale from a different point of view. The wolf claims to have simply been looking for some sugar to make his granny a cake. Is he really to blame if his sneezes could blow down a house? Would it have been better if he had just let food go to waste? A great book to encourage everyone to think about the other side of every story. 

The Monster At The End Of This Book by Jon Stone is a strong favorite in my house. Poor Grover is terrified of seeing the monster at the end of the book, because he doesn't know quite what to expect. He tries everything he can to stop the reader from turning pages, but fails. Feeling foolish he discovers that he is the monster at the end of the book and there was nothing to fear.
No, David! by David Shannon follows the mischievous adventures of David. We see young David cause all kinds of trouble, breaking things, flooding the bathroom, coloring on the walls as Mom desperately pleads with find from off the page. However at the end of the day we see him assured that no matter what he is loved.

There are so many great children's books out there, these are just ten of my favorite picture books. For more suggestions pay a visit to your local library and spend some time in the children's room or talking to the children's librarian. You will be glad you did.

Blog Tour: Curmugeonism: A Surly Man's Guide to Midlife by Kelly Crigger

Curmugeonism: A Surly Man's Guide to Midlife


Discovering who you are is not just for 
teenagers. Midlife men must also rediscover 
the world around them while struggling with 
their own impending mortality and legacy, 
especially those who change careers and 

Middle-aged men like me are under siege, 
beset on all sides by personal ambition, 
internal expectations, familial pressure, 
 disillusionment, uncertainty, and legacy. 
It’s a constant battle to balance the needs o
the self and the needs of others and a struggle to 
discover which ones really take priority. Some 
win this battle and some tragically lose.

Curmudgeonism is a state of mind, unwavering, 
 unapologetic, and uninterested in what people think. 
We are the proverbial old dog that can’t be taught new tricks because we know the 
old tricks are tried and true. We have firm beliefs that can’t be shaken. Free trade is 
good. True leaders are rare. Happiness is a luxury. Golf is a waste of time and we 
don’t have enough years left to be unproductive. We don’t apologize for our views 
because we’ve spent half a lifetime developing them. Theory and idealism sounds 
good in school but only until it becomes cost prohibitive and the real world 
determines ground truth. Curmudgeons are uncaring about what people think 
and have low expectations on the world because it’s done little more than disappoint 
us. We’re middle aged and tired of looking, acting,  feeling the way people want 
us to, so we’re breaking out and being who we were meant to be; irascible curs 
who make the world a better place through brutal honesty. We see this as our 
duty and take it seriously. Buy the ticket. Take the ride.


Think you’re owed happiness? You’re not. Happiness is a luxury, not a necessity. 
Some say “if you’re not happy doing what you’re doing then don’t do it.” Those 
people are surprisingly more comfortable with a welfare Christmas and a moped 
than the average person. It’s idealistic, but many times unrealistic and as we’ve 
learned already, idealism has a cost.

The definition of happiness is different for everyone but one thing is for sure-it’s 
fleeting. Just when you think you’re on the verge of a touchdown, the goal line 
moves. The variables change and suddenly you’re on a quest to make it to the 
next level of happiness. Even then, you can accomplish your mission in life and 
buy a nice house, nice cars, and a baby giraffe and feel happy but then you realize 
you have to protect it. You have everything you wanted and a life that’s enviable. 
That means you have to maintain it. You have to keep it going. That adds pressure 
and makes you unhappy again. It’s a vicious cycle. 

The universe does not owe anyone a single atom of happiness and there’s no law 
that says you have to love your chosen profession. As long as a job provides 
income and necessities for the family then it can suck badger milk because true 
happiness for a man comes from being a provider. It’s our responsibility to take 
care of our kin and we want to fulfill that responsibility no matter how happy or 
unhappy it makes us. Curmudgeons sacrifice the happiness of the self for the 
needs of the family because we’re not egotistical or narcissistic.

Some Deepak Chopra Zen master schmuck will tell you that you have to be 
happy in life or that you should continually strive to find greater levels of 
happiness. That works for some, but if you’re a family man then you have 
the responsibility to provide for those you love and that's it. If you're not happy 
but you’re providing a good life then suck it up, cupcake.

My soul dies a little each day at work, but I provide a comfortable living for 
my family therefore I will be its punching bag and shut up and take it. Some 
days I hate what I’ve become but then I step through the doors of my house 
and it’s all washed away. Coming home from a day on the job is like finishing 
a hard ass gym workout. It sucked, but in the end it’s satisfying to know my 
sacrifice had a purpose and my good health means I will live to work another 
day and my family will be good to go a little longer. Men are wired to provide, 
even if it’s just for ourselves, and when anything threatens our ability to do that 
we freak out just a little bit.

On the grand scale of things happiness is a want, not a need. We need to provide. 
We want to be happy but if we're not happy, but we're providing then that's a form 
of happiness in itself or at the very least a form of satisfaction. I may not fit some 
liberal’s view of happy but I’m content and that’s good enough for me. 

Don’t agree? Quit your crappy job just to spite me. It’s not easy is it? Show me a 
job that pays as much as I'm making now that I can enjoy and then I'll listen to your 
"don't work in a job you hate" argument. Otherwise leave me alone. I have a family 
to provide for.

Where to purchase Curmudgeonism

Amazon - Kindle
Amazon - Paperback
B&N Nook

The Author
Kelly Crigger is an angry troll who lives under a bridge, eats goats that wander past, and throws their bones into the canyon of despair.
Kelly's Twitter / Facebook  / Goodreads

Follow the entire Curmudgeonsim Tour HERE

Brought to you by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours

Book Review: The Magician's Fire by Simon Nicholson

The Magician's Fire is the first book in the Young Houdini series by Simon Nicholson. Manhattan was a tough place for kids in 1886, especially when you are alone or feel that you are. Young Houdini spends his days practicing magic tricks with his two best friends, Arthur and Billie. At least when he is not making enough money to pay for his room and to eat. But when Harry's magical mentor, Herbie, disappears after a performance at the theater, the three friends band together, determined to rescue the beloved magician. With nothing more than a mysterious puff of purple smoke, an ominous threat, and a menacing Bulgarian for evidence, Harry, Arthur, and Billie embark on a dangerously thrilling investigation that pushes their skill, and friendship, to the limits. Can Harry find Herbie and learn what it means to be a true friend before it's too late? 

The Magician’s Fire is an action packed mystery for the middle grade set. Harry is a shoeshine boy with a keen eye for magic and fine details. Billie works in a glue factory, and is very street smart and practical. Arthur has a father that pretty much ignores him, and has emerged himself in books, making him very smart and a great researcher. Together they make a fabulous team for creating and pulling of new magic stunts and for solving mysteries. However, astray search for Herbie and face the dangers of that mystery, they also face issues of trust and friendship. The combination makes for a great read, full of action and puzzling out who the culprit is and how the friends will come together to save the day. 

I would highly recommend The Magician’s Fire to all middle grade readers because there is a little something for everyone. It is historical fiction, mystery, action adventure, coming of age and magical read.  

Early Book Review: A Last Chance Christmas by Vicki Lewis Thompson

A Last Chance Christmas is the latest in the Sons of Chance book by Vicki Lewis Thompson. It is currently scheduled for release in digital format on December 1 2014 and in paperback on November 18, 2014. Ben Radcliffe has not had the best family life, and plans on never having a family of his own to avoid repeating his father’s mistakes. But when he delivers a special present to the Last Chance Ranch Ben catches a glimpse of what family could be. 

Genealogist and academic Molly Gallagher is all about family. And even if Ben's secrets make him as skittish as a wild mustang, there's nothing Molly loves more than an enigma. Can the magic of Christmas, and the Last Chance Ranch, help this pair trust each other, and Ben to trust himself?

A Last Chance Christmas is the latest installment of a series with heart. Like threats of the books, this one can stand on its own, but is even better if you have read the other books in the series. Ben is a saddle maker, and it is his custom work that brings him to Last Chance Ranch. To make his delivery of a surprise saddle look less suspicious to the family’s matriarch, it is said that he is looking to buy a horse and is welcome to stay for a few days to decide, and because of the weather. Molly is working on the family’s genealogy and staying at the ranch to get to know that side of the family and to research. She is not planning on staying for Christmas, or on finding love. Both characters are well done, but I will admit that I found Ben to have more depth than Molly. He had some big issues in his past, and hopefully we will see the pair working through them in future books. Molly was just a little to happy, a little too perfect, to feel real to me. However, the story came together well and made me chuckle a few times. 

A Last Chance Christmas was a good, but not great, read from Thompson. I love her writing, but found the situations here occasionally forced and not as compelling as I normally find her work. I will keep reading the series, and have full faith that Thompson’s next book will grab me full force like I have come to expect from her. 

Blog Tour: Trailer Reveal for Renee Donne's YA Novel HUNTER

Anaiah Press is proud to present the trailer reveal for YA novel HUNTER by Renee Donne.

Hunter coverMoving across the country isn’t Hunter’s ideal start to her Junior year of high school. She has no friends to hang out with, no beaches to lounge on, and she’s living just a few miles from the secluded hiking trail where her father died when she was a baby.

Living in Wyoming isn’t all bad, though, thanks to Logan, the handsome veterinary assistant at the animal clinic where she lands an after school job. And he seems just as interested in her as she is in him.

As Hunter begins to settle into her new home, she learns more about the circumstances surrounding her father’s tragic death, and it may not have been the accident everyone believes. Something dangerous lurks in the woods, and Hunter might be the next victim.

Release Date: June 9, 2015
Add HUNTER to Goodreads!
And now for the trailer...

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About The Author
Renee DonneRenee Donne is a native Floridian with a penchant for writing books with a western theme. In her head she's a world traveler and an amateur chef. In real life, she's a hometown girl with an affinity for fine wine and good friends. Her favorite place to write is sitting on her veranda, overlooking the beach.