Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Children’s Picture Books for Women’s History Month


There are lots of wonderful children’s picture books about wonderful women to consider reading during National Women’s History month.  I have chosen just a few which was actually very hard to do.  I made a very long list but in the end these were the ones that came to the top of my list.  Some are about women who young girls will know or have some connection to by what they like themselves.  Some feature current role models.  They reflect some of the diversity of our nation. 


I am a big believer in reading with children and I love well illustrated picture books.  They add so much to the story and give us lasting images that compliment the written word.  These picture books do just that.  They expand our minds as each of these stories should. 




Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

Perhaps your whole family enjoyed the movie.  The stories of the contributions of Mary Jackson, Christine Darden, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughn to NASA’s early success are complimented by Laura Freeman’s bold illustrations. Adults and children alike will enjoy this remarkable story and the striking illustrations.



Sonia Sotomayor A Judge Grows in the Bronx

This bilingual book tells the story of how Sonia Sotomayor persevered to become the first Hispanic U.S. Supreme Court justice. Although Sonia came from a poor family, she worked hard and graduated at the top in her class. The lively commentary and warm illustrations make this a very compelling book for young girls. 




Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough

American children couldn’t always borrow library books. Well, Anne Carroll Moore thought they should be able to. This is the true story of how Miss Moore created the first children’s room at the New York Public Library, a bright, attractive room decorated with artwork. Here is where children first had their own library cards and could borrow books themselves. If you and your children enjoy the children’s room at your local library you will enjoy this story and the lively illustrations which bring this story to life.






Here Come the Girl Scouts by Shana Corey

This book details the history of the Girl Scouts and the organization’s founder, Juliette Gordon Low. With a passion for adventure and doing service for others Juliette Low founded the Girl Scouts with the belief that girls can do anything. Girls who are in the girl scouts will enjoy this book.



Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Munoz Ryan
This is a wonderful story for older girls and their Moms and grandmothers to enjoy together.  It is about how two very serious and accomplished women had the equivalent of a Ferris Bueller’s day off.  Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt (you don’t find more serious people than these two) sneak away from a White House dinner party for an aerial adventure.  It is 1933 and aviation is nothing like we know it today! They commandeer a plane and fly from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore! The pencil drawings give this book the feel of a vintage movie.  The book provides an excellent backdrop for a discussion about two important women in history. 





All of these books are readily available online and many are probably in your local library.  Grandparents, Parents, Aunts, Uncles and Friends – Start a tradition a read a good book about women every March….or maybe every month!


Please share with us in the comments your favorite books about women.



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Monday, February 25, 2019

Major Anniversaries for Sesame Street, Barbie and Madeline



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Whenever a favorite character has a big anniversary year, there is sure to be special toy editions to celebrate and they are always showcased at Toy Fair.  Here are some favorites from Toy Fair NY this year.  These are my own photos so they may have other stuff in the background – but hey they are my actual pictures not a perfect but sterile shot.



Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary celebrated by Gund

Sesame Street is pulling out all the stops to celebrate its 50th anniversary and Gund is joining in the celebration with these items.






Happy Birthday Elmo by Gund
Sesame Street Best Friends by Gund





Barbie’s 60th Anniversary celebrated by Mattel

Barbie turns 60 this year and my she is well preserved – she doesn’t age at all!  This is the 60th Anniversary Collector’s model and for her diamond anniversary she is wearing a “diamond like” sparkly gown.  Her hair is in a beautiful dress up ponytail and her bright red lipstick and earrings complete the look.  The $60 price tag includes a certificate of authenticity.

Barbie 60th Anniversary Collector Model by Mattel
Barbie’s 60th Anniversary celebrated by Ravensburger
I know there are lots of Grandma Barbie fans and for those of you who also love doing jigsaw puzzles this is a must have puzzle.  This 1000 piece puzzle celebrates some of Barbie’s classic collector models.  I will let you know when it is available later this year.

Barbie 1000 piece Puzzle by Ravensburger




Madeline’s 80th Anniversary celebrated by Yottoy

Can you believe that Madeline is 80 years old this year? I remember discovering Madeline in the local library as a child and I loved this book.  So did lots of other little girls as this was a well used book in our library.  Then I bought Madeline books for my daughter and she loved them too.  Yottoy specializes in toys to compliment children’s favorite books.  Madeline, Genevieve (my Mom's middle name) and this cute tea set are perfect gifts to celebrate her 80th year.  The tea set is a little pricey but the cloth tablecloth and napkins with the M monogram....24 pieces in all....lots of imaginative play value.



Madeline and Genevieve by Yottoy
Madeline Tea Set by Yottoy
What are your favorite stories about these characters?  Please share in the comments. Lots more posts about Toy Fair in the coming weeks.  Subscribe to the blog and like The Grandma Chronicles on facebook so you don't miss anything. 




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Monday, January 28, 2019

2019 Newbery and Caldecott Book Winners


Children love books that feature popular characters and that is just fine.  I also like to introduce children to books that are beautiful and books with a story to remember - future classic children's books.  Books that don't get tossed in the giveaway pile but are one of those few special ones that get kept and then read with a future generation.

Which books may fall in that category?  Who better to ask than a very large group of librarians.  Each year the American Library Association selects the Newberry and Caldecott awards.  These books are usually extraordinary.

These awards were announced today at the Annual ALA Conference in Seattle.  Looking for a really good book for a child - you can't do any better than on of these.

The John Newbery Medal is for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:
Merci Suárez Changes Gears, written by Meg Medina, is the 2019 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Candlewick Press.
Merci and her brother are scholarship middle school students at a private school and they deal with the cultural difference issues along with all the standard middle school issues. The multigenerational family dynamic adds to the story. This book gets great reviews and should be enjoyed by middle school aged kids.

The Randolph Caldecott Medal is for the most distinguished American picture book for children:
Hello Lighthouse, illustrated and written by Sophie Blackall, is the 2019 Caldecott Medal winner. The book is published by Little, Brown and Company. 
This is one of those beautiful picture books that people of all ages - from young children to adults - will love to get lost in and let their imagination seize the day.  My favorite kind of book - this one will not be destined for the giveaway pile.  Whether it is a sunny summer day, time for conjuring up dreams at bedtime, or a foggy Saturday afternoon, this will always be the perfect book to cuddle up with. 

Both of these books are available at Amazon.  Click below to check them out.





Friday, November 30, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide for Age 6 and Up, Up, Up plus a Very Special Giveaway


This is the third in my series of holiday gift guides.  The first guide was for infants and toddlers and the second for preschoolers.  This guide is for everyone else – including grown-ups.  The final list will be for books.

This is actually my favorite, albeit most difficult list to put together.  Gifts for people in this category are heavily shifted to electronics and software for electronic products. This list includes only the “other stuff.”    I also have included some wonderful products that you have never heard of but are sure to be winners.  The bonus is that this list also features a super giveaway opportunity.  Read to the end to see the simple entry details.

About Holiday Lists at The Grandma Chronicles

This unique guide is from a grandmother’s perspective. It is my HONEST opinion - no corporate PR.

I go to toy shows throughout the year and I see thousands of items. Usually I see them out of the box and I may see demonstrations of how they work. The items on this list are those that I think will be enjoyed and you may not hear about them elsewhere. And… many will have cross generational interests.  This is how items make it on my lists.

The pictures were taken by me at shows - no stock photos.  They may be less than perfect with other stuff in the background, but they show the real deal.

Women's March Puzzle by eeboo

Women March 500 Piece Round Puzzle by eeboo – Our Giveaway!

I am so excited to be able to offer this very special item as a giveaway.  And there will be two winners! This has definitely become the “Year of the Woman” and it began on a cold January Day with the Women’s March in Washington, DC and all over the country.  To commemorate this event eeboo has produced this stunning 500 piece round puzzle.  The quote that surrounds “We are linked, we are not ranked, and this is a day that will change us forever because we are together, each of us individually and collectively will never be the same again” was by Gloria Steinem at the March. This is a gift not only for puzzle lovers but for everyone who appreciates the seismic shift happening in women’s empowerment.  It is that unexpected, thoughtful gift you wish you could think of but have no idea what to give.  And it is budget friendly!

The Women’s March puzzle is a Oppenheim Platinum Toy Award winner that was recently featured on the Today Show.


Pepper Mint in The Great Treehouse Engineering Adventure and
The Fantastic Underwater  Science Voyage  by Thames and Kosmos






Thames and Kosmos are well known for the science oriented kits.  I’m including the best STEM item for girls that I saw this year – Pepper Mint in the Great Treehouse Engineering Adventure  -  a Toy of the Year finalist. I also recommend the Fantastic Underwater Science Voyage which should appeal to boys and girls.  For older kids who are interested science and like to build things, these are both worth checking out.



Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall by LEGO

LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall
This award winning LEGO set is also on many Holiday Toy lists.  If you are interested in this item, buy it today, it easily will be a holiday sellout.  Harry Potter continues to be popular with new readers and people of all ages.  This 878 piece set is a gorgeous, detailed set – something LEGO knows how to do. It features  the potions and treasures rooms and the tower has a moveable staircase.  Plus a remarkale 10 minifigures – all your favorites!   This item can also be a wonderful intergenerational project to put together.  Although pricey, I put this in the good value category compared to many items offered in this price range.  There is also a more elaborate (6000 pieces) set available for serious LEGO aficionados.



Gnomes at Night by Peaceable Kingdom
Gnomes at Night by Peaceable Kingdom

Peaceable Kingdom has cooperative games for children of all ages and this one is designed for older kids.  The players must work as a team under time pressure to find the twelve treasures before morning that have been stolen from the Queen. Rather than play against each other, the players work together to find all of the treasures.  This is another excellent intergenerational opportunity.





Volkswagen T1 Campervan Puzzle by Ravensburger

This 162 piece 3d Jigsaw puzzle is a great present for Grandpa or the kids.  The grandparents vividly remember these and all of the Ravensburger 3D puzzles are fun to put together.  I have my eye on this for a Pop and grandson project when my grandson is with us for a sleepover.  I can picture some giggles and tales of long ago mixed up together.  Can you?



I Love Mermaids by Craftastic

There are six separate mermaid themed craft projects with everything needed included in the kit.  This is another good item to have to take out over the winter holiday break or on a cold snowy day.



Jurassic Park t shirt by Freeze    

If you know any Jurassic Park super fans – and there are many – you can’t go wrong with this t-shirt.  It may get worn immediately.


Giveaway Information
Two winners will receive a Woman's March puzzle by eeboo.
The hallmark of The Grandma Chronicles giveaways is that it is easy to enter and there are two ways. Both ways count as an entry so you get two entries if you do both.  I need to be able to contact you if you win. If you enter -  email your email address to marion@grandmachronicles.com.  I will not use your email address for anything except to notify you if you win.  Grandmother’s Honor.
Two ways to win:
Leave a comment here on the blog
and/or
Like The Grandma Chronicles facebook page - click here.
You can have two entries by doing both.  Deadline to enter: Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at midnight. This item can be sent to US addresses only.
Full Disclosure:  The reviews in this article are my own objective opinion.  I did not get paid to write these reviews nor I do I have a sponsorship/ambassador relationship with any of these companies.


You can find any of these items at Amazon and order immediately.  Just click on the icon below:


Monday, November 5, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide for Preschoolers plus a Giveaway


This is the second in my series of holiday gift guides and this one is specifically for preschoolers.  Preschoolers have favorite characters and love to have things associated with them.  My two year old granddaughter is not brand sensitive but my three year old grandson loves Lightning McQueen and Paw Patrol.  This change happens when we aren’t looking and it definitely affects gift giving.  My list for babies and toddlers did not include any character branded types of items but this one does.  I also recommend some wonderful products that you have never heard of but are sure to be winners. This list doesn't have any break the bank items but there are a few pricey ones.  Sometimes those wind up on the grandparents list. The bonus is that this list also features a giveaway opportunity.  Read to the end to see the simple entry details.

About Holiday Lists at The Grandma Chronicles 
This unique guide is from a grandmother’s perspective. It is my HONEST opinion - no corporate PR. 
I go to toys shows throughout the year and I see thousands of toys. Usually I see them out of the box and I may see demonstrations of how they work. The items on this list are the toys that I think the kids will enjoy. And… there are some that you will enjoy playing with the grandkids.  This is how items make it on my lists.

Most of these pictures were taken by me at toy shows - not stock photos.  They may be less than perfect with other stuff in the background, but they show the real deal.
Five Little Fish game by Ravensburger 
Kids begin to play games once they are preschoolers. The Five Little Fish game is full of developmental activities as well as being fun.  Check out this short video to see for yourself.  There are many preschool games to choose from.  I am delighted to be offering Five Little Fish as a giveaway with this guide.  See the end of the article for entry details.



Magnetic Game Box -  Seasons by HABA
This game box opens up and sturdy magnetic cardboard pieces can be attached to the board to represent the various seasons.  This is a great item for travel or bringing to the grandparent’s house.  The box is also a sturdy carrying case.



Once Upon a Craft™ The Gingerbread Man by Educational Insights

This simple book and craft kit make an excellent grandparent and child activity to do together. Forget the picture – there is no cooking involved.  The kit includes a 24 page book, foam gingerbread man and stickers, and finger puppets ready to color.  Will you be spending time with young grandchildren over the holidays?  This will be be a good item to have in your bag.  If this activity is a hit, there are more kits in the series.

Pop-Oh-ver Stove Set and Counter Top Set by Pop-Oh-Ver



















These toys were my special secret finds at Toy Fair.  Preschoolers love to play with kitchen sets.  However the big plastic and wood sets are costly and take up a lot of room. These cloth kitchen sets fit over an ordinary chair and transform into a kitchen stove and counter top.  They are washable and easy to fold up and put away when you are not using them.  If your preschooler is a frequent visitor to Grandma’s house or lives in an apartment, it is a reasonable investment to make at $39.95 each.  Other accessories including pots and pans, food and a chef’s outfit and tools are also available from this creative small toy company - Pop-Oh-Ver.

Paw Patrol Headband Headphones by Spinmaster

For many pre-schoolers you can’t go wrong with anything Paw Patrol themed.  There is lots to choose from.  Here is an item that is a little different.  It is a headband with headphones inside.  It provides clear, volume controlled sound.  The headband is washable. 

Deluxe Walking Spirit and Lucky Doll by Just Play

This may be one of those special items on a preschooler’s holiday list that is referred to grandparents who want to buy “that special gift.”  Spirit Riding Free is a very popular Netflix series and there are many toys based on this theme.  This set includes a 14.5 inch walking Spirit and 11.5 inch Lucky doll.  There is sound and movement.  Yes, it costs $50.  Yes, she will love it.

LEGO DUPLO Jurassic World T. rex Tower 

Calling all Jurassic World fans.  This set includes a T.rex lookout tower, a car, Owen Grady figure, a T Rex and other accessory pieces.  22 pieces in total.  This DUPLO set is great for all dinosaur lovers – not just the Jurassic fans. 

Heart Glows Grinch Plush by Just Play
The new holiday Grinch movie debuts on November 9th and will be heavily advertised.  If the grandkids see and love the movie you may want to spring for this extra special Grinch plush. This super soft Grinch's heart lights up, he sways to the music and says phrases from the movie. Pricey but very cute for Grinch lovers. This could easily be one of those most wanted hard to get items by Thanksgiving.

Giveaway Information
One winner will receive a Ravensburger Five Little Fish game.
The hallmark of The Grandma Chronicles giveaways is that it is easy to enter and there are two ways. Both ways count as an entry so you get two entries if you do both.  I need to be able to contact you if you win. If you enter -  email your email address to marion@grandmachronicles.com.  I will not use your email address for anything except to notify you if you win.  Grandmother’s Honor.
Two ways to win:
Leave a comment here on the blog
and/or
Like The Grandma Chronicles facebook page - click here.

You can have two entries by doing both.  Deadline to enter: Thursday, November 29, 2018 at midnight. This item can be sent to US addresses only.

Full Disclosure:  The reviews in this article are my own objective opinion.  I did not get paid to write these reviews nor I do I have a sponsorship/ambassador relationship with any of these companies.

All of the items in this holiday guide can conveniently be ordered from Amazon.  Just click on the icon below to go to Amazon.