Fairy Tales Meet Augmented Reality (Spoiler Alert: The Kids LOVE It)

This post is sponsored by Little Hippo AR. Buy Little Hippo AR books at your local Walmart.

A few days ago I got a call from the school, and a sad little voice on the end of the line informed me that he had a “sick tummy” and would like to come home.

I headed over to the school, gathered up my sad little boy and took him home. I got him settled in my bed and let him watch his favorite shows for awhile, but I wanted to break up the zoning out and spend some time snuggling him.

It’s pretty tough to convince a sick kiddo to take a break from a TV marathon, am I right?

So I pulled out a stack of Little Hippo AR books.

These books (available at Walmart) connect with a free app that has intuitive augmented reality technology, which means kiddos get to interact with the book itself! The Big Bad Wolf jumps out of the book to huff and puff and blow the house down.

Little Red Riding Hood greets little readers and gets them excited for the story.

The Three Little Pigs need help painting the page.

We sat down together and snuggled into our blankets and read every book together. My TV- and video game-loving little boy could not get enough.

He was impressed…lots of “WOW” and excitement at the little surprises that popped up throughout the book.

I like the balance of “screen” and “read” time—there are more pages that are good old fashioned reading than there are pages with AR features. And I like how those AR pages are placed in each book—just when a reluctant reader might be getting fidgeting or losing interest, here comes another surprise!

Screen time doesn’t have to be solo and reading time doesn’t have to be a struggle. If you’ve got an avid reader on your hands, they’ll love the Little Hippo AR books, but if you’d got a kiddo that hasn’t caught the reading bug, this is a great way to get them interested in sitting down for story time.

The Little Hippo AR books include some of your favorite fairy tales and even if your kids are familiar with these stories, they haven’t seen them like this!

Pick up a Little Hippo AR book today at Walmart for just $8.98 —they would make fantastic birthday gifts or go nicely tucked into an Easter basket.

Happy Reading!

Find and follow Little Hippo AR for ideas and reading inspiration!  

Facebook: @LittleHippoAR

Instagram: @LittleHippoAR

9 Ways to Raise a Reader

Photo: Josh Applegate, Unsplash

By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media

Kids become lifelong readers for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes there’s one key book that captures a kid’s imagination and opens him or her up to the exciting world of fiction. Other times, a teacher who assigns great books in class sparks a hunger for more big ideas and fine writing. In some cases, parents influence kids’ appreciation of books by sharing their own love of literature and modeling reader behavior — always having a book to read, taking books on vacation, reading before bedtime, making regular trips to the library and bookstore, etc.

Here are our best tips for nurturing a love of reading that can last a lifetime:

Read aloud: This comes naturally to lots of new parents, but it’s important to keep it up. Kids will enjoy it longer than you think. When reading to babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and kids in early grade school, it’s wonderful to have a kid on your lap, snuggled next to you on the couch, or drifting off to sleep in bed as you enjoy picture books together. You may have to read your kid’s favorite a hundred times, but just go with it. Your kid will remember the closeness as well as the story. And try nonfiction for those who are curious about pirates, Vikings, robots, castles, history, sports, biography, animals, whatever. For second through fifth graders, read those rich and meaty books that might be missed otherwise, maybe classics like Treasure Island or Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

raising readers

Many parents think that as soon as their kids learn to read on their own, they no longer need to be read to. But kids still love it and benefit from it as they hear the rhythm of the language, learn correct pronunciation, and get to relax and just take it all in. Kids will get the idea that there’s something worthwhile in books and that there’s something special about time spent with a parent.

Savor the series: It’s common for kids to become book lovers for life after getting hooked on a series. And there are lots of good ones that keep kids hungry for the next installment. Some reliable prospects: Ivy and BeanJudy Moody for beginning readers; Harry PotterA Series of Unfortunate Events, and the Percy Jackson for middle graders; and The Hunger GamesSisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and The Raven Cycle for older kids.

Grab onto a genre: Kids go through phases of genres they’re passionate about, from girl detectivesto science fiction and fantasy. Don’t get hung up on whether it’s considered great literature (although some genre books are). Be happy that your kid is devouring books one after the other.




Feed the favorite-author addiction: Once your kids find a writer they love, they may want to read all of his or her books — a great excuse for a trip to the library or an opportunity for book swapping among friends and classmates. Here are some good bets for favorites. Younger kids: Dav Pilkey (The Adventures of Captain Underpants), Beverly Cleary (Beezus and Ramona). Middle grade: Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn-Dixie), Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book). Tweens and teens: Judy Blume (Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret) and Sarah Dessen (Just Listen).

Count on the classics: Books are called classics because they continue to engage readers generation after generation. There are no guarantees, but you could try introducing your kids to books you loved as a kid and see which ones click. Some good ones to try are the Dr. Seuss and Narnia books, Charlotte’s Web, and The Secret Garden. Check out our Classic Books for Kids list to find more.

Find books about the things your kid loves: If your kid adores horses, try Black Beauty or any of the titles on our list of best Horse Books. If he’s wild about cars, trucks and trains, check out our list of Vehicle Books. Librarians, booksellers, and Internet searches will help you find books on any favorite topic.

raising readers


Funny is fine: Some parents wrestle with letting their kids read Captain UnderpantsDiary of a Wimpy Kid, and other edgy humor books about kids getting in trouble. Talk to your kids about the content, but keep in mind that kids like these books not because they want to imitate the characters’ actions but because they can live vicariously through their bad behavior. Humor is a great pathway to book loving.

Comics are OK: Graphic novels are among the hottest trends in children’s publishing, and they can get kids hooked on reading. Kids may start with Squish and Babymouse and move on to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. But these series can also lead to more sophisticated fare such as El DeafoBoxers and Saintsand This One Summer. Find other titles in our list of best Graphic Novels.

Engage with ebooks: Kids can cuddle up with a Kindle, Nook, or iPad before naptime or bedtime. Some recent studies say more than half of U.S. kids are reading digital books at least once a week. The electronic format has proved to be especially engaging for boys and reluctant readers, and you can download or access many books on an ereader, which make it a great choice for air travel and car rides.




But note that some studies show that book apps and interactive “enhanced” ebooks, while fun, can be distracting and inhibit reading comprehension. So to promote reading skills and encourage your kid to be a frequent reader, you might want to stick with ebooks that have the look of a bound paper book. Some even have animation that mimics turning the pages.

Make reading a family value: Actions speak louder than words. Take your kids to the library once a week or once a month to get new books, make regular outings to your local bookstore, hunt for low-cost books at used bookstores or second-hand shops, and show kids that finding a good book is like a treasure hunt.

Fit reading into your family lifestyle. Set aside time for reading only — turning off the TV, computer, and cell phone. Encourage focused reading time, either for independent reading or reading aloud. Take preschoolers to story time hours at libraries and bookstores. For older kids, a parent-kid book club can be fun. Read to kids at bedtime. Provide time and space for your kids to read for pleasure in the car (if they don’t get car sick!), on vacation, after homework is done, on their own before bed. Warning: It could be habit-forming!


See More on TodaysMama.com!

How to Spot Fake News and Raise Media-Savvy Kids

9 Ways to Turn Your Teen Into a Reader

11 Books Being Turned Into Movies for Kids and Teens That We Can’t Wait to See


If You Give A Mouse A Cookie . . . We’ll Watch It!

Have you heard? Amazon Prime Video has turned your favorite books into an adorable series! We’re in!

Check out the trailer:


If You Give a Mouse a Cookie follows the adventures of Mouse, Oliver, Moose, Pig, Cat, and Dog, as they discover that when you’ve got a curious Mouse for a friend one thing always leads to another, then another, and then another! Based on the beloved books by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond. Executive produced by Numeroff, Bond and Emmy Award-winning writer Ken Scarborough (Arthur, Sesame Street, Curious George) who also serves as head writer.  The pilot and beloved book are both rated 4.7 out of 5 stars by customers with 82% 5-star reviews for the pilot and 84% 5-star reviews for the book. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie will also feature new recordings by Grammy-nominated recording artist Lisa Loeb.

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie Amazon Series

Library running low? Check out all of the books in the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” series:

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

If You Give a Moose a Muffin

If You Give a Pig a Pancake

If You Give a Dog a Donut

If You Give a Cat a Cupcake

And so many other hilarious variations!


Amazon Prime Video 

I have Amazon Prime, but I’ve never used Amazon Prime Video. Here’s the skinny (to save you a Google)!

With an eligible Amazon Prime membership, you have access to thousands of Prime Video titles at no additional cost.

You also have the option to purchase Amazon Channel subscriptions to Showtime, Starz, and other streaming entertainment channels through Amazon Video. For more information, go to What are Amazon Channel Subscriptions?.


Prime Video is available for:

  • Paid Amazon Prime members
  • Amazon Prime 30-day trial members
  • Members of an Amazon Household with shared Prime benefits
    Tip: To learn more about sharing Prime benefits with an Amazon Household, go to Share Your Amazon Prime Benefits.

Prime Video is not available for:

  • Customers previously invited to share shipping benefits with a Prime member


  • Amazon Prime is a membership that includes FREE Two-Day Shipping for eligible purchases, Prime Video, Prime Music, the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and more.
  • Prime Video membership is a monthly plan that gives members access to Prime Video. Prime Video members are not eligible for FREE Two-Day Shipping or other benefits available to Amazon Prime members. To learn more about the Prime Video monthly fee, go to About the Prime Video Membership Charge.

More details HERE.

9 Ways to Turn Your Teen Into a Reader

Photo: Germán Poo-Caamaño, Flickr

By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media

Parents know how to inspire a love of books in babies and toddlers: Just put ’em on your lap, and start reading. But as kids get older and go to school, reading can be seen as work rather than fun — and kids, especially teens, may stop reading for pleasure. Here are nine ways to get teens reading, either again or for the first time.

  1. Find the “why” in YA. YA (young adult) novels tackle the edgy issues teens struggle with, from peer pressure and romantic longing to grief and trouble at home or school. Whether they’re personally grappling with these issues or seeking vicarious thrills, teens gravitate toward subject matter that’s relatable. Check the YA bestseller lists and Common Sense Media’s book reviews for ideas.
  2. Merge movies with books. Hollywood is turning to teen lit for ideas more than ever. Offer your teen the print version to read before or after a big film adaptation comes out, and talk about the similarities and differences between the two. Try a few of these awesome books being turned into movies. 
  3. Get graphic. Gone are the days when graphic novels were dismissed as comic books. Now recognized as literature, they may be the key to getting some teens hooked on books. They’re available in a wide range of genres — from adventure and fantasy to historical fiction, memoir, and biography — so certainly there’s a graphic novel out there to suit your teen’s taste. See Common Sense Media’s picks for Graphic Novels and Graphic Novels That Teach History.
  4. Lure ’em with adult books. Find nonfiction titles on subjects your teen’s curious about, such as climate change, race, political corruption, or true crime. Check adult nonfiction bestseller lists to see what’s catching fire. Funny adult books also work (by David Sedaris or Tina Fey, for example), as do horror (Stephen King), mysteries (Agatha Christie), thrillers (James Patterson, John Grisham), fantasy (George R.R. Martin), science fiction (Isaac Asimov), and sports (Michael Lewis).
  5. Try poetry. Novels in verse are a popular trend. All that white space on the page makes them easy to read, and the spare, lyrical approach can really pack a punch. Try Sarah Crossan’s One, Stasia Ward Kehoe’s The Sound of Letting Go, or Ellen Hopkins’ Rumble. Memoirs in verse are taking hold, too; check out Marilyn Nelson’s How I Discovered Poetry. 
  6. Let them listen. Spark teens’ interest by getting an audio book to listen to on the way to school or on long drives. Let them download audiobooks to their smartphones. (They won’t risk looking uncool, because they’ll be under headphones or have their earbuds in.)
  7. Model reading. Read at home where your teens can see you. Talk about what you’re reading, and express your enjoyment. Always take a book or magazine along when you go to the beach or face waiting in a long line. Send your teen the message that reading is a pleasure, not a chore.
  8. Keep reading material around. Kids who grow up with lots of books around tend to read more. Stock the bathroom, car, dining table — wherever there’s a captive audience — with comic books, graphic novels, and magazines geared to your teens’ interests; first books in hit YA series; or classic sci-fi and mysteries. There’s nothing wrong with “micro-reading.”
  9. Give the gift of reading. Hand your teen a gift card to your local bookstore. They’ll discover the treasure-hunt fun of looking for a good book.

ABC Family 13 Nights Of Halloween 2017 Schedule

We’ve got the FULL list!

Looking for a fun way to add a little Halloween spirit to your household this month? We love a good family snuggle-fest—popcorn, some Reeses pumpkins . . . maybe a little hot cocoa, cozy blankets, and something fun to watch on TV.

Freeform (Formerly ABC Family) is offering 13 nights of spooky Halloween programming starting October 19th. All 13 evenings are packed FULL of family-friendly Halloween movies (and the weekends extra spooky with movies running all day!) Check out the schedule below and mark your calendar to catch your favorites!


Thursday, October 19

  • 7am/6c Last Man Standing
  • 7:30am/6:30c Spooky Buddies
  • 11am/10c The Middle
  • 11:30am/10:30c The Middle
  • 12pm/11c The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2
  • 2:35pm/1:35c The Haunted Mansion
  • 4:40pm/3:40c The Addams Family
  • 6:45pm/5:45c Addams Family Values
  • 8:50pm/7:50c Hocus Pocus
  • 12am/11c ParaNorman


Friday, October 20

  • 7am/6c The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
  • 11am/10c The Middle
  • 11:30am/10:30c The Middle
  • 12pm/11c The Haunted Mansion
  • 2:10pm/1:10c The Addams Family
  • 4:15pm/3:15c Addams Family Values
  • 6:20pm/5:20c Hocus Pocus
  • 8:30pm/7:30c Sleepy Hollow
  • 12am/11c The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Saturday, October 21

  • 7am/6c Edward Scissorhands
  • 9:30am/8:30c Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
  • 12:30pm/11:30c Fun Size
  • 2:35pm/1:35c Matilda
  • 4:40pm/3:40c Sleepy Hollow
  • 7:10pm/6:10c The Addams Family
  • 9:15pm/8:15c Addams Family Values
  • 11:25pm/10:25c Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


Sunday, October 22

  • 7am/6c Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
  • 10:05am/9:05c Matilda
  • 12:10pm/11:10c Hocus Pocus
  • 2:20pm/1:20c Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • 5pm/4c The Addams Family
  • 7:05pm/6:05 Addams Family Values
  • 9:15pm/8:15c Hocus Pocus
  • 11:25pm/10:25c Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Monday, October 23

  • 7am/6c Last Man Standing
  • 7:30am/6:30c Frankenweenie
    Tim Burton Marathon
  • 11am/10c Edward Scissorhands
  • 1:35pm/12:35c Alice in Wonderland
  • 4:10pm/3:10c Dark Shadows
  • 6:50pm/4:50c Sleepy Hollow
  • 9:20pm/8:20c The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • 12am/11c Frankenweenie


Tuesday, October 24

  • 7am/6c Edward Scissorhands
  • 11am/10c Fun Size
  • 1pm/12c The Haunted Mansion
  • 3pm/2c The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • 4:40pm/3:40c The Addams Family
  • 6:45pm/5:45c Addams Family Values
  • 8:50pm/7:50c Hocus Pocus
  • 12am/11c Teen Witch

Wednesday, October 25

  • 7am/6c Last Man Standing
  • 7:30am/6:30c Teen Witch
  • 11am/10c The Middle
  • 11:30am/10:30c The Middle
  • 11:30am/10:30c Twilight
  • 2:25pm/1:25c The Addams Family
  • 4:30pm/3:30c Addams Family Values
  • 6:35pm/5:35c Hocus Pocus
  • 8:45pm/7:45c Men in Black
  • 12am/11c Bewitched


Thursday, October 26

  • 7am/6c Last Man Standing: Halloween Special
  • 7:30am/6:30c R.L. Stine’s Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls
  • 11am/10c The Middle
  • 11:30am/10:30c The Middle
  • 11:30am/10:30c Bewitched
  • 1:30pm/12:30c The Haunted Mansion
  • 3:35pm/2:35c Sleepy Hollow
  • 6:05pm/5:05c Men in Black
  • 8:20pm/7:20c Dark Shadows
  • 12am/11c The Haunted Mansion

Friday, October 27

  • 7am/6c Dark Shadows
  • 11am/10c The Middle
  • 11:30am/10:30c The Middle
  • 12pm/11c Sleepy Hollow
  • 2:25pm/1:25c Hocus Pocus
  • 4:35pm/3:35c Men in Black
  • 6:50pm/5:50c The Addams Family
  • 8:55pm/7:55c Addams Family Values
  • 12am/11c Hocus Pocus


Saturday, October 28

  • 7am/6c Spooky Buddies
  • 9:05am/8:05c R.L. Stine’s Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls
  • 11:10am/10:10c The Addams Family
  • 1:20pm/12:20c Addams Family Values
  • 3:30pm/2:30c The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • 5:10pm/4:10c Hocus Pocus
  • 7:20pm/6:20c Disney•Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.
  • 9:25pm/8:25c Disney•Pixar’s Monsters University
  • 11:55pm/10:55c ParaNorman

Sunday, October 29

  • 7am/6c R.L. Stine’s Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls
  • 9:10am/8:10c ParaNorman
  • 11:20am/10:20c The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • 1pm/12c Hook
  • 4:15pm/3:15c Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story of TERROR!
  • 4:45pm/3:45c Hocus Pocus
  • 6:55pm/5:55c Disney•Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.
  • 9pm/8c Disney•Pixar’s Monsters University
  • 11:30pm/10:30c Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story of TERROR!
  • 12am/11c Frankenweenie


Monday, October 30

  • 7am/6c Sleepy Hollow
  • 11am/10c The Middle
  • 11:30am/10:30c The Middle
  • 11:30am/10:30c Dark Shadows
  • 2pm/1c Sleepy Hollow
  • 4:30pm/3:30c The Addams Family
  • 6:40pm/5:40c Addams Family Values
  • 8:50pm/7:50c Hocus Pocus
  • 12am/11c Hocus Pocus

Tuesday, October 31

  • 7am/6c Last Man Standing
  • 7:30am/6:30c Hocus Pocus
  • 11am/10c The Middle
  • 11:30am/10:30c The Middle
    Hocus Pocus Marathon
  • 12pm/11c – 11pm/10c Hocus Pocus

Tell us in the comments which Halloween movie you’re most excited for!



11 Books Being Turned Into Movies for Kids and Teens That We Can’t Wait to See

If you’re one of those families that insist their kids read the book before seeing the movie, there’s some serious page-turning in your future. And if you’re happy just to be able to go to the movies for some kid- and teen-friendly fare, you’re in luck, too. From nursery classics like Peter Rabbit and The Story of Ferdinand to tween and teen-targeted thrillers like Maze Runner and Ready Player One, kids’ books and young adult novels are getting the Hollywood treatment. And now that movie trailers, sneak peeks, and behind-the-scenes footage hit the internet months in advance of the films’ releases, kids’ excitement for big-screen adaptations of their favorite books starts early. Check out the film adaptations hitting the big screen in 2017 and 2018 to see if you’d like to read up before you step up to the box office.

Fallen Movie PosterFallen by Lauren Kate (in theaters Sept. 8; targeted to teens)
Who’s in it:
 Addison TimlinJoely RichardsonLola Kirke
A teen girl is sent to spend senior year in reform school after her boyfriend dies in a suspicious fire and she’s blamed for his death. There she falls for a mysterious guy who turns out to be a fallen angel who’s loved her for centuries.
Why we’re excited: This best seller made NPR.com’s list of 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels. And like the romance in the Twilight books, the courtship in Fallen is fairly innocent. We’ll see if the movie keeps the hot stuff to to kissing and passionate dreams or if it ramps up the sex.

Wonderstruck Movie PosterWonderstruck by Brian Selznick (in theaters Oct. 20; targeted to kids)
Who’s in it:
 Oakes FegleyJulianne MooreMichelle Williams
This engrossing novel tells the stories of two kids — Ben in 1977 Minnesota and Rose in 1927 New Jersey — at once. Half the story is in words, and the other is in pictures. Both kids are deaf, and they both flee to New York City, where their stories converge in the Natural History Museum.
Why we’re excited: Caldecott Medal-winning author-illustrator Brian Selznick (The Invention of Hugo Cabret) wrote the screenplay, so his creative vision should be true to the book. Director Todd Haynes, who was nominated for a Best Director Oscar for Carol, is also known for his artistic storytelling. As the the movie’s trailer reveals, the older time period is depicted in black and white to signify a contrast between the two stories.

Wonder Movie PosterWonder by R.J. Palacio (in theaters Nov. 17; targeted to kids)
Who’s in it: Julia RobertsOwen WilsonMandy PatinkinDaveed DiggsJacob Tremblay
This beloved middle-grade novel follows Auggie Pulman’s year in fifth grade. Homeschooled and facially deformed, Auggie enters a private school where he experiences mean bullies, true friendship, and an inspiring, compassionate teacher.
Why we’re excited: Wonder has clung to the best-seller list practically nonstop since it came out in 2012. As fans of Auggie’s coming-of-age adventure, we’re eager to see whether the screen version does him and the book justice. Like the book, the film appears to be going for matter-of-fact acceptance rather than sentimental clichés.

Ferdinand Movie PosterThe Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (in theaters as Ferdinand Dec. 15; targeted to kids)
Who’s in it:
 Voice talents of John CenaKate McKinnonDavid TennantBobby CannavaleGina RodriguezDaveed Diggs
This classic of children’s literature is a warmhearted, charming story of a bull who prefers smelling flowers to fighting. Munro Leaf’s unforgettable words and Robert Lawson’s simple pen-and-ink illustrations show readers that they must choose their own path, despite what others may say or think.
Why we’re excited: This 3D computer-animated comedy wildly expands the simple story kids have loved for generations into a quest adventure after Ferdinand is mistaken for a dangerous beast. Captured and forced to compete in the bullfighting ring, he must get home to his loving human family with the help of a misfit team of animals. Even with the modern interpretation, the movie still looks to have the same core message that it’s OK to be who you are.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure Movie PosterMaze Runner: The Death Cure by James Dashner (in theaters Feb. 9, 1018; targeted to teens)
Who’s in it:
 Nathalie EmmanuelDylan O’BrienKatharine McNamara
After Thomas declines to have an operation to get his memory back, he and his friends plan an escape from WICKED (the government agency) headquarters and go to Denver, where they’ll be protected from a terrible disease. It’s not long before lawlessness reigns, and Thomas has to choose allegiance among three powerful forces.
Why we’re excited: The third and final installment in this grim dystopian series has the potential to answer lingering questions. The book left a few holes, so we’ll see if the movie does any better. In any case, there will be nail-biting suspense, exciting action, a high body count, and special effects that will be sure to impress whether you see it in 3D, 2D, or IMAX 3D.

Peter Rabbit Movie PosterThe Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (in theaters as Peter Rabbit Feb. 9, 1018; targeted to kids)
Who’s in it:
 Voice talents of James CordenKevin HartSteve Buscemi; live actors include Margot RobbieRose ByrneDaisy Ridley
Who doesn’t love rebellious Peter Rabbit, who, despite his mother’s warning, explores the garden of Mr. McGregor and gets chased out with a rake? Frightened and out of breath, Peter finally sees the gate and slips back home. He’s put to bed with a dose of chamomile tea while his three well-behaved sisters enjoy blackberries and milk.
Why we’re excited: Only a few weeks after Ferdinand, we get yet another movie adaptation of one of the most popular animals in children’s literature, and this one looks sweeter than blackberries. Potter’s classic book is being reimagined as an adventure comedy using a combo of live action and CGI animation. James Corden brings his signature charm and humor as the voice of Peter.

A Wrinkle in Time Movie PosterA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (in theaters March 9, 2018; targeted to tweens)
Who’s in it:
 Chris PineReese WitherspoonOprah WinfreyMindy KalingZach Galifianakis
This classic from 1962 has been many middle-grade readers’ intro to science fiction. But the story of a scientifically minded girl’s quest through time and space to find and rescue her physicist father has lots of heart, too.
Why we’re excited: Though it was made into a TV movie in 2003, the new feature film promises to be a full-blown fantasy whirlwind. We expect great things from director Ava DuVernay, who was the first African-American woman to get a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director, for Selma (2014). Plus, it has Oprah — need we say more?

Ready Player One Movie PosterReady Player One by Ernest Cline (in theaters March 30, 2018; targeted to teens)
Who’s in it:
 Hannah John-KamenMark RylanceT.J. Miller
This smart, funny science-fiction thriller deals with a high-stakes online contest that mixes puzzles with video game violence. Set in a depressed future United States, where most people escape into virtual reality, it features a bunch of tough-talking teens fighting to keep their online playground out of the hands of an evil corporation.
Why we’re excited: The provocative book both celebrates and critiques online culture. It’ll be interesting to see whether the movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, strikes that same balance. There’s plenty of action on the page, and we know Spielberg’s skill at climactic face-offs and special-effects wizardry.

The Jungle Book CoverThe Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (in theaters Oct. 19, 2018; targeted to kids)
Who’s in it: Live-action actors Rohan ChandMatthew RhysFreida Pinto; motion-capture performances of animals by Andy SerkisChristian BaleBenedict CumberbatchCate Blanchett
There’s loads of action and adventure in this century-old collection of short stories. From Mowgli’s battle of wits with Shere Khan the tiger to Rikki Tikki Tavi’s duel with cobras, the colorful characters never fail to inspire. The Jungle Book also includes positive messages about respecting the laws of nature and how compassion triumphs over brute strength.
Why we’re excited: Even though we liked the 2016 live-action/computer-generated Disney version, that film was based on Disney’s own animated feature. This new Warner Bros. version is based on Kipling’s classic text, so it could be darker — but it has more genuine live action. First-time director Andy Serkis, known for his performance-capture acting and voice work for computer-generated characters like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, has his work cut out for him. But if his madcap Twitter feed is any indication, we’re in for a wild ride.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Movie PosterDr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (in theaters Nov. 9, 2018; targeted to kids)
Who’s in it:
 Voice talents of Benedict CumberbatchKaitlyn Maher
This classic Christmas read-aloud features one of the funniest scoundrels in children’s literature: the mean, green Grinch, who aims to stop Christmas by impersonating Santa and stealing every last possession from the Whos of Whoville. Seuss subtly exposes greed and commercialism, while promoting the values of love and community with wit, humor, and flawlessly constructed rhymes.
Why we’re excited: Fans disagree on which screen version of the Grinch is best: the animated 1962 TV special or the 2000 live-action versionwith Jim Carrey. This new version should make the debate even more interesting. This adaptation stretches the story to feature-film length but uses cutting-edge CGI. Could it be the best of both worlds?

Mary Poppins Returns Movie PosterMary Poppins (in theaters as Mary Poppins Returns Dec. 25, 2018; targeted to kids)
Who’s in it:
 Emily BluntMeryl StreepColin FirthLin-Manuel Miranda
P.L. Travers’ classic children’s novel about a quirky nanny who transforms the Banks family of London is charming and magical — if a bit old-fashioned. It offers timeless lessons about good manners and understanding other points of view.
Why we’re excited: Set in Depression-era London, with Jane and Michael Banks all grown up, Mary Poppins Returns is a sequel to the original Mary Poppins starring Julie Andrews. Plus, it’ll be fun to see Hamilton star/creator Lin-Manuel Miranda as Mary’s lamplighter friend Jack in a venue we can afford! Rob Marshall (Into the WoodsPirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) directs. And Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the team behind Hairspray, wrote the songs, so you know they’ll be catchy.

— By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media book editor

Frannie Ucciferri, catalog data coordinator, contributed to this article.


One Simple Way To Raise Children To Be Leaders

Whether they admit it or not, almost every parent entertains visions of greatness for their child from the moment he is born. He’ll be a businessman, or a college professor, or maybe even the President of the United States.

Unfortunately, it’s often hard to move beyond daydreams and work toward making those imaginations become reality. Yet in spite of this difficulty, author and former college president Ben Sasse suggests that is exactly the job of every parent: to raise children “as if they’ll rule someday.”

According to Sasse, one practical way of raising future leaders is by creating a list of essential books for your children to read by the time they reach adulthood. In essence, this list becomes a “family canon,” and should include books influential in the parents’ lives, as well as ones which present concepts which shape society as we know it today.

Sasse and his wife took up this challenge, seeking to limit their list to under 60 titles in a wide variety of areas, including religion, fiction, science, history, and so on. The following list was the result [Note: Hyperlinked titles are those referenced elsewhere on Intellectual Takeout]:

  1. Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela
  2. Letters and Papers from PrisonDietrich Bonhoeffer
  3. Letter from a Birmingham Jail ­– Martin Luther King Jr.
  4. Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
  5. Orthodoxy ­– G.K. Chesterton
  6. Christianity and Liberalism – J. Gresham Machen
  7. Being Digital – Nicolas Negroponte
  8. Moneyball – Michael Lewis
  9. Commentary on Galatians – Martin Luther
  10. The Institutes of the Christian Religion – John Calvin
  11. Ethics – Aristotle
  12. Crito – Plato
  13. The Odyssey – Homer
  14. History of the Peloponnesian War – Thucydides
  15. Three Theban Plays – Sophocles
  16. Confessions – Augustine
  17. Why God Became Man – Anselm of Canterbury
  18. Bondage of the Will – Martin Luther
  19. Summa Theologica – Thomas Aquinas
  20. Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer
  21. Emile – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  22. Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare
  23. Hamlet Shakespeare
  24. King Lear – Shakespeare
  25. Julius Caesar Shakespeare
  26. Macbeth – Shakespeare
  27. Sonnets – Shakespeare
  28. The Declaration of Independence
  29. Constitution
  30. The Federalist PapersAlexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay
  31. Democracy in America Alexis de Tocqueville
  32. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave Frederick Douglass
  33. Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858
  34. Politics – Aristotle
  35. Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith
  36. The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846 – Charles Sellers
  37. Free to Choose ­– Milton and Rose Freidman
  38. Guns, Germs, and Steel – Jared Diamond
  39. Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx
  40. Origins of Totalitarianism – Hannah Arendt
  41. The Road to Serfdom – F. A. Hayek
  42. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  43. 1984 – George Orwell
  44. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  45. On the Nature of Things – Lucretius
  46. Structure of Scientific Revolutions – Thomas Kuhn
  47. Elements of Geometry – Euclid
  48. Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
  49. Death Comes for the Archbishop – Willa Cather
  50. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  51. Go Tell It on the Mountain – James Baldwin
  52. Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison

Sasse goes on to say:

“Whether you start out with the above list as an opening bid or choose to go another direction completely, the most important thing is to read early and often, and impart that habit to your children, too. …

If a whole generation grows up having become habituated to reading, then even if we don’t start them off with the same readings, we’ll have prepared and positioned them to enter into meaningful wrestling with their neighbors about a core set of texts that we should tackle together. Both their preparedness and their empathetic debating will strengthen our shared ability to stand in the face of the forces seeking to pull us apart.”

What do you think of Sasse’s list? Are there titles that you would add or take away? If so, why?



The Vanishing American Adult

In an era of safe spaces, trigger warnings, and an unprecedented election, the country’s youth are in crisis. Senator Ben Sasse warns the nation about the existential threat to America’s future.

Raised by well-meaning but overprotective parents and coddled by well-meaning but misbegotten government programs, America’s youth are ill-equipped to survive in our highly-competitive global economy.

Image Credit: Max Pixel

This post One Simple Way to Raise Children to be Leaders was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Annie Holmquist.

FREE Books with Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program

Now your kids can get FREE books with the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program! Did you know research over the last 100 years shows that a student’s standardized test results are lower at the end of summer vacation verses the beginning of summer? Ask any teacher you know and they’ll say the one thing you can do to help students this summer break is to READ! And now your kids can even earn free books for doing it! I mean…who wants free books this summer? I DO!!  

The Program is pretty easy.  Have your awesome little readers complete the steps below!

1. Read EIGHT books this summer and record it in your Reading Journal (download journal here).

2. Bring in your completed journal to a Barnes and Noble store between May 16th and September 5th, 2017. (Find a store near you!)

3. Choose your FREE book from the list of featured books (found on the back of the journal).

The Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program is for children grades 1-6. Get reading!!

Don’t have a Barnes and Noble near by? Contact your local library to see if they have a reading program or join in with other national companies who have programs your kids can participate in.  A few offering summer programs are Half Price Books, Books-A-Million and Chuck E. Cheese!

summer reading program barnes and noble

Have kids that aren’t in love with reading? Encourage summer reading by:

  • Reading with your children (even if they are old enough to read on their own).
  • Make it a family affair! Pick a book for all to read; take turns.
  • Set a goal to read a book that is now a movie; finish the book then watch the movie later!
  • Have an older sibling read to the littles; have the littles draw pictures of what they hear.
  • Let them read ANYTHING!! Back of a cereal box, comic books, books below their grade level–anything!


See more at TodaysMama.com!

Best Summer Reading Sites for Kids

Favorite Kids Books

My 7-year-old son REFUSED to Read — But THIS Changed His Mind

Diary of a Wimpy Kid in Theaters + a Giveaway

This is a sponsored post, the words and opinions are all mine. 

Family road trips are a childhood rite of passage most kids miss out on today. I grew up in New Mexico, and every summer my family would pile in our van for a road trip. I think it was a 12-16 hour trek each way to Utah and Idaho to visit family. Of course, by the time I tell my kids about these trips, I’m sure they’ll be uphill both ways. I probably will have had to walk or push the van for a good portion of it too. Even though the trips were a pain at the time, they made for great memories.

Here we are in Idaho hanging with my aunt and some cousins. I’m the camera shy baby in the red overalls. I guess not much has changed over the years.

Family Vacation

My most unforgettable trip happened when my brothers and sisters made me laugh so hard I wet my pants. Now I’m not going to say how old I was at the time, but let’s just say I was old enough to not be wetting my pants in the car. We were in the middle of nowhere, and my parents refused to stop and delay our schedule. Instead, my mom made me alternate between sitting on a plastic bag and hanging my tail end out the window to speed up the drying process. I can laugh about it now, but back then I wasn’t amused.

I immediately thought of that story when I saw the trailer for the new movie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. It will be in theaters May 19, and it embodies all that can go wrong (and right) when a family drives across the country together.

The movie is based on the best-selling book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid. In the film, the Heffley family sets out to visit their Meemaw for her 90th birthday. When Greg secretly plans a detour to a video game convention, the trip encounters some, uh, issues. If you ask me, that’s what makes for the best family vacations.

Even if you’ve never taken a road trip of your own, you can now go to WimpYourself.com to create your own family photo like this one:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Long Haul


We would love to send you and your family on a road trip of your own. Well, a road trip to the movie theater in your town, that is. We’ve teamed up with 20th Century Fox to give one lucky winner

  • A $100 Visa to see the movie in theaters with your family
  • A copy of the hardcover book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

To enter*, just leave a comment below with a favorite family road trip memory or destination. We will pick one prize pack winner.

Check out Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul in theaters everywhere May 19.


Open to US mailing addresses only. Prizing and samples courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Book Recommendations: 12 Favorite Children’s Books for Mothers

Moms are all kinds of awesome and so is our list of favorite children’s books for mothers. New moms, veteran moms and even grandmas will relate to these beautiful children’s books all about motherhood. Read these books with your children for mommy bonding time or pick your favorite as a gift.  Motherhood is amazing, and wonderful. It’s also hard and frustrating but rewarding. When you find that story that just gets all your mom feelings, it’s a keeper. Whatever your stage in motherhood, there will be a book that you can relate to on our list of favorite children’s books for mothers.

Children's Books For Mothers

Duck by Randy Cecil

You’re reading a bed time story to your little one (or ones) and bam! you feel all the feels. Oh man, this book got me good. If you’re a mother and you have had to let your child do some growing up (and in the process let them go their own way), you’ll understand why this is such a sweet tale.

Mom's Favorite Children's Books


I love My Mama by Peter Kavanagh

This is a great book for little ones. The cute rhymes follow adorable mother/child elephants as they play all day.

Children's Books That Moms LOVE

I Love You the Purplest by Barbara M. Joosse

If you have more than one child, you may have been asked who is your favorite? Using some mom wisdom, this book answers her boys question with ease. It’s a great way to remember that each child is unique and special in a mom’s eyes.

Children's Books For Mothers! (Our Favorites!)

Meet Me at the Moon by Gianna Marino

If you are a mom who ever has to leave your child, you know it’s not always easy whether it’s for the workday, the weekend or longer. This is a great book to share with your child to remind them that distance never matters and love will always bring you back together.

Dinosaur vs. Mommy by Bob Shea

Oh man, this hits the nail on the head when you have a busy little one. My kids thought this one was hilarious and now drop a “roar” when they beat me at life.

Mom’s the Word by Timothy Knapman

What makes everything so amazing? Moms. And this book proves it.

I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt

A mother’s love is not conditional. No matter what, mom will still love you. Plus some.

Children's book recommendations that will make moms heart smile!

Our Love Grows by Anna Pignataro

Our Love Grows is a sweet book for mothers as they watch their little ones grow into not so little ones.

Our Best Book Recommendations For Moms

Silly Wonderful You by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Mothers don’t always feel

Children's Books made for MOMS!

Someday by Alison McGhee

Alsion McGhee has written the most tender children’s book for mothers. Life has ups and downs but mothers are a constant through it all.

Perfect gift ideas for Mother's Day!

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

It’s the classic. This is a must-have in every child’s library.  And after all these years, it is the perfect way to describe how a mother will do anything for her child.

The best children's books for mothers!

Together by Emma Dodd

I have this thing for sea otters. The fact that when they sleep, they hold hands so they don’t drift apart is probably my favorite thing. Together is such a sweet story of a mama and her child.

Our very favorite children's books for mothers!


12 Favorite Children's Books For Mothers

Need more book recommendations?

Best Wordless Pictures Books

Our 10 Favorite Parenting Books