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On the Shelf: Moms and babies and so much more

Settle in for a story snuggle and then turn the big kids loose on a detailed book that speaks to their interests – from loads of facts to rivers and yes, even vegetables. Look for these books from your library or bookstore or online. 

“A Book About Mom” and “A Book About Dad” (Workman Publishing, ages 5 – 12)

For gifts that will be treasured forever, you can’t beat a fill-in book created by kids. These hardcover books have prompts for words and pictures that will make parents’ hearts fill with joy. And kids will enjoy the project, too. If little ones feel overwhelmed with the number of blanks, make this an ongoing gift that can be added to all year. 

“Blue Ridge Babies 1, 2, 3: A Counting Book” by Laura Spencer Gardner, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman (Page Street Kids)

This sweet picture book is made even more fun because its engaging rhymes can be sung to the tune of the folk song “Over in the Meadow.” (And you may or may not find yourself humming that for days.) The illustrations here are delightful and little ones will quickly learn the words so they can sing along. This is a welcome addition to story time. 

“Little Kids First Big Book of Why” and “Why? Over 1,111 Answers to Everything” (National Geographic Kids, ages 3 – 7 and 8 – 12)

More wonderful nonfiction works from National Geographic – these will keep your young fact-masters engaged for hours. For younger readers, author Amy Shields loads up details at an age-appropriate level, though pre-readers will need some help here. For parents, there are some tips and a glossary, just in case the questions keep going after the reading stops. For older readers, Crispin Boyer fields a treasure trove of questions and answers from space to physics to history and more. Both books feature bright, engaging photos and a layout that makes learning fun. 

“Dear Mrs. President” by Ana Maria Medici, illustrated by Nurit Benchetrit Motchan (, ages 3 – 7)

Let preschoolers see what the future holds with this picture book written as a letter from a child to the first female President of the United States. The book is designed to inspire and give little ones a view of what is possible as they dream big. 

“Veggie Power” by Olaf Hajek and Annette Roeder (Prestel, ages 8 – 12)

If the pages of this book end up framed on the walls of your home, well, who am I to judge? I certainly think this is for kids and adults. It has wonderful details about vegetables, but the illustrations can inspire so many creative stories. Make this one a coffee table book for all ages. 

“Great Rivers of the World” by Volker Mehnert and illustrated by Martin Haake (Prestel, ages 8 – 12)

For a book that will keep detail-oriented readers busy, this one is hard to beat. It’s a “Where’s Waldo” of facts and maps and science and history – all against the backdrop of rich, beautiful illustrations. It’s truly a spectacular volume for all ages.