children

If I Had an Octopus


Author: Gabby Dawnay
Illustrator: Alex Barrow
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-500-65225-1
Pages: 32
Price: $14.95

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Illustrator’s website
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A little girl dreams of her perfect pet – an octopus! It would be able to play with all her friends at once, in whatever game they wanted to play. It’s a whiz at math, since it can count up to eight. It has great camouflage and can hide from everyone. But it would be especially good at hugs, since it has so many arms.

Imagination runs wild in this fun book that explores the joys of having this unique pet. I highly recommend If I Had an Octopus.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Plane Party


Author:Sheila Schmotzer
Illustrator: Marina Skiba
Publisher: Wander Wall
ISBN: 978-0-578-36545-9
Pages: 32
Price: $22.99

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The animals are ready to board the plane, and they intend to make it a fabulous event. As they settle in for the ride, they share conversation, tea, and even some dancing. But somewhere along the way, Picasso seems to have disappeared.

One they land on the beach, the party begins in earnest. But where is Picasso? They’re all in for a big surprise when they finally find her!

Kids will love trying to find Picasso, who hides in some interesting places, and they’ll giggle when they see where she turns up at the end. Plane Party will delight children with its lighthearted antics. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, finance

Simple Money, Rich Life


Author: Bob Lotich
Publisher: WaterBrook
Genre: Christian, Personal finance
ISBN: 978-0-593-19365-5
Pages: 304
Price: $18.00

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Many Christians believe that money is the root of all evil, but they have actually been misquoting the Bible. Our goal as Christians should be to avoid the love of money. Having money is not a bad thing, and can, in fact, be very good, if we are giving it away.

Simple Money, Rich Life explores the journey Bob and Linda Lotich have been taking with regards to their own financial lives. In this unique look at money, they share how they have been led to earn all they can and then give away all that they can. This book includes practical money management tips such as how to automate savings, learn to spend more on what you love (and not on things that don’t matter), and never spend 100% of your income. Plus it provides guidance on finding your own personal niche to earn a great salary. But the goal of all of this financial wisdom is to find ways to give away as much as you can.

Unlike many financial books, this is a quick and enjoyable read, with no dry number crunching. The authors are personable and speak as helpful guides. If you’re looking to achieve true financial freedom and design a life of eternal impact, this book would be perfect for you. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Get Off My Lawn!


Author & Illustrator: Michael Garland
Publisher: Boys Town Press
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-944882-75-4
Pages: 31
Price: $10.95

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Mr. Smith has such a beautiful lawn – the perfect lawn for children to play soccer on. Soon the soccer game is forgotten as they decide to pick flowers instead. When Mr. Smith finally notices them, he is horrified at what they have done to his garden, and chases them away.

Luckily one of their mothers asks what happened, and explains to them what they’ve done. In a gesture of goodwill, they draw flowers for Mr. Smith and offer to help him clean up the mess.

Get Off My Lawn! shows kids: it’s disrespectful to not ask permission before using something that belongs to someone else, they need to apologize when they’ve done something wrong, and they need to accept that the other person will say “no” to their request. But the story is told in a gentle and non-preaching way that kids will easily understand and relate to. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, finance

Teaching Kids to Buy Stocks


Author: J.J. Wenrich CFP
Genre: Personal Finance / Children
ISBN: 978-1-7337977-0-2
Pages: 188
Price: $29.99

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J.J. Wenrich has been teaching his kids how to buy stocks since they were little. Using the wisdom he gained in working in the investment field, he started with simple concepts to get them interested, and soon they were more savvy than the average adult. In Teaching Kids to Buy Stocks, he shares his wisdom with the rest of us.

This informative book covers ideas such as compound interest, stocks and bonds, earnings and dividends, and following the story of a company and its stock. It touches on bull and bear markets, and when to buy or sell. But mostly, it demystifies the process and turns it into something fun that kids and adults can enjoy learning from.

Although the book is geared toward actually working with kids, adults will find great benefit in reading Teaching Kids to Buy Stocks since it makes confusing topics manageable and understandable for the non-investor. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, birds, children

The Kids’ Guide to Birds of Colorado

Author: Stan Tekiela
Publisher: Adventure Publications
Genre: Children / Birds
ISBN: 978-1-64755-142-1
Pages: 240
Price: $13.95

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If you live in Colorado and like to watch birds, The Kids’ Guide to Birds of Colorado is the perfect book for your collection. This comprehensive guide to Colorado birds includes an introduction to birds, detailed information on each bird in the state, and some activities kids can do to learn more about the birds.

One of the best features of this book is that it’s organized by bird color. Kids only have to observe what the bird’s predominant color is, and can look it up in that color’s section. They don’t have to know if it’s a woodpecker or a raven – only that it’s mostly black. Then they can try to match the birds to the full color picture provided. Each two-page bird spread includes a photo with some up-close shots of things to look for, some interesting facts about the bird, and some cool commentary about the bird’s behavior.

I highly recommend The Kids’ Guide to Birds of Colorado for all Colorado bird watchers.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Memories of a Birch Tree


Author: Daniel Cañas
Illustrator: Blanca Millán
Publisher: Cuento de Luz
ISBN: 978-84-18302-54-1
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

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A young birch tree is enjoying his home among the other trees in the forest, content to live there forever. Suddenly, he is uprooted and planted along a busy city street. Initially, he finds it difficult to adjust to the environment. After time and some gardening care, he begins to flourish, as he realizes he has the opportunity to share his gifts with the people around him.

Memories of a Birch Tree touches on the differences between the country and the city, as well as handling change and making the best of it. Kids will enjoy this charming book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

The Library Book


Author: Gabby Dawnay
Illustrator: Ian Morris
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-500-65260-2
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

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Illustrator’s website
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Zach and Ro are visiting the library, and Ro can hardly wait to start browsing to find the perfect book. But Zach is not impressed. Ro excitedly explains to Zach about all the fun and adventure he can find in books as Zach remains stubbornly disinterested. Finally, after much encouragement, Zach’s interest is piqued and he can hardly wait to dive into his own stack of books.

This cute rhyming book is fun to read while extolling the virtues of all kinds of books. Kids (and parents) will love to read it out loud. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

self improvement

The Magic of Momentum


Author: Stephen Guise
Genre: Self-improvement
ISBN: 978-1956980943
Pages: 244
Price: $14.99

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If you’ve ever wanted to start a new habit but became frustrated with your lack of success, you may have been missing the magic element. Willpower and a good plan will get your started, but what happens when you have a couple of bad days and don’t meet your goals? Many people will abandon the new habit and give up. But what if you used momentum along with your plan?

The laws of physics state that an object in motion will continue moving until stopped. But does this actually work for humans? According to Stephen Guise, the answer is a resounding YES. But how can we make it work for us? Building on the ideas described in Mini Habits and Elastic Habits, he shows us how we can use the concept of making small changes to create the momentum we need to sustain our efforts. And once we get our momentum going, we become as unstoppable as a boulder rolling down a hill.

Guise frowns on what he calls perceived momentum – time-based massive change goals – that force us to do a lot for a short period of time, but come to a grinding halt when the challenge is over. And of course negative momentum – those pesky bad habits that we can’t shake – need to be reversed through creating positive momentum to replace them.

The Magic of Momentum is an important addition to the Mini Habits system of habit formation, and shares key information on why momentum is the magic element that drives us to success. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Nibbling Your Nails


Author: Paula Merlán
Illustrator: Brenda Figueroa
Publisher: Cuento de Luz
ISBN: 978-84-18302-36-7
Pages: 32
Price: $18.95

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Sara nibbles her nails all day – while she reads, waters her plants, and even when she dreams. But her body isn’t happy with her unconscious habit.

One day grandma shows up with a surprise – a beautiful cake made from strawberries and freshly cut nails! Sara is horrified. Why would she eat such a cake? But when grandma tells her that it’s made from Sara’s own nails, she realizes what she’s doing. Thankfully, it’s only a dream, but Sara wakes up determined to use the nail clippers from now on.

Breaking bad habits is hard, but Nibbling Your Nails might gross kids out enough to make them stop chewing their own nails. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger