Parenting. There are a million opinions here, but I’ve found some general guidelines that have helped guide my parenting so far. From the research I’ve seen, connecting with your child and developing a strong relationship even from infancy is the greatest contributing factor in fostering development across all areas. Here are some resources I like: Provides a variety of researched based articles on early learning and parenting topics.

Positive Discipline For Today’s Busy (and Overwhelmed) Parent. By Jane Nelson, Kristina Bill, and Joy Marchese. This book is the latest in a series of Positive Parenting, there are also books specifically for birth to three, preschoolers, teens, and a variety of other populations. This one is specifically for working parents, which I learned, are 75% of moms in America. I liked that the book takes the unique perspective of the working mom into account, and addresses issues such as mom guilt, limited time, and also gives kind of a roadmap for positive discipline, making the point that connected and really good parenting also exists for the working mom too. I loved it.

No Drama Discipline. We know from research that connection and attachment are the basis for all kinds of areas within child development, and this book recognizes this concept. There is a great metaphor for "flipping your lid" in this book, with the brain like the palm of a fist and then all finger extended like you are making the number "4" sign. When your "lid is flipped," you are in flight or fight mode, and similarly in marital argument, you can't make decisions clearly or act rationally when you're in that state. You need to get your body and brain calm again before being able to work through something. Similarly with a child, when they get to that state, (tantrum, etc.) the first priority is helping them (and yourself) regulate and calm down, before addressing the cause of the situation.

More books:

The Emotional Life of the Toddler

Parenting From the Inside Out

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

The Whole Brain Child

One piece of encouragement I wanted to include was that I learned that we don’t have to be perfect parents 100% of the time to have good outcomes for our kids. I have heard this statistic cited multiple times, although I cannot find the source, but I’ve heard that mothers who respond to their babies in 30% of opportunities are linked to good outcomes for development. We try to meet all the needs of everybody all the time, and yet, we are human and we cannot. Doing our best, connecting with our child, offering empathy and compassion, will go a long way in sending the message that our children are seen, known, loved, and belong. I can think of no greater gift for a child.

Shared in partnership with the publicity team for Positive Parenting. I received a copy of the book for review, although all opinions are my own.



A few weeks ago we were on a trip with three other couples and their kids, and we stumbled into the most adorable toy and book store for kids that I've ever seen. It had so many of the small shop products I recognized from Instagram, but in person. So often when shopping small we have to buy online without seeing it first, but it was so nice to get to feel and try out so many of these specialty toys and books in one place (It's Captain Little if you ever find yourself in small town Olympia, Washington.)

They had this incredible book display, and it introduced me to so many new books I wasn't familiar with. So fun to discover new ones and wanted to share some highlights here. (Organized by publisher.)


This is How We Do it, Marvelous Cornelius, Green is a Chili Pepper, Vehicles, ABC, and My Big Touch and Feel Word Book by Chronicle Books

These books are SO AWESOME.

This Is How We Do It highlights a day in the life of seven children from around the world, based on real families: the different things they eat, what school looks like, how they get there, what they wear, and so on. The book is illustrated but there are photos of the actual families in the back. The authors even note that while they did their best to find authentic representations of the cultures, that, still, "not everyone in Peru likes to play soccer, in the same way that you and your friends may have to do different chores and may wear different clothes. While none of these kids can be representative of their country, this genuine glimpse into their daily lives can reveal wonderful insights about lifestyles and traditions that may differ from our own." So well done.

Marvelous Cornelius is a folktale based on a true story of Cornelius Washington, who was a garbage man during Hurricane Katrina, and shows the power of people rallying together after destruction. The introduction has an inspiring quote from MLK: "Even if it's called your lot to be a street sweeper, go out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, "Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well." -Martin Luther King Jr.

Green Is A Chili Pepper highlights Hispanic culture, rhyming, colors, and a few words in Spanish. Colorful illustrations and a Spanish glossary in the back make this book both educational and fun.

The last three are from the "Touch Think Learn" series, and the illustrations have these raised indentations, it's kind of hard to describe, but you can kind of see from the front cover that each page kind of fits together like a puzzle. So artfully done and so appreciated for children of designers of all kinds. The last one also has interactive tactile sensations with varied textures on each page. This style of "word" book is excellent for language and early vocabulary development. These are the only book boards featured in this post and perhaps the most appropriate for the toddler age range. We really love these three.

My Dad Used to Be so Cool, Tough Guys Have Feelings Too, and The Little Gardener by Flying Eye Books

The first two are both by a local author out of Washington, Keith Negley. I liked them for Trey because it's hard to find books that address feelings (especially specifically for boys) and I thought the Dad one would be cute for Father's Day.

The Little Gardener is a cute story about a boy and his garden, and working hard and giving hope. Beautifully done and perfect as we approach spring.


Home, Maps, and Jabari Jumps by Candlewick Press

These are as beautiful on display as they are in little hands. Maps is like a coffee table book, big, and intricately illustrated with lots to look at on each page. I've seen a DIY project of cutting out the pages in that book to use as a wallpaper in a boys' room, and I love the idea.

Home is a beautiful rendition of all the different kinds of homes people live in. It highlights different people, cultures, and the places they live so nicely. "Clean homes, messy homes, tall homes, short homes." Plus the illustrations look straight out of Anthropolgie.

Jabari Jumps is a heart warming story featuring a little boy demonstrating a courageous act of jumping off the high dive thanks to the encouragement of his dad telling him it's ok to feel scared. The main character is a race other than white which is rare to see, and I love that.

Additionally, Candlewick Press has a #weneeddiversebooks campaign, highlighting people and stories that you don't see as often in children's literature, and many of those titles are listed here.

Happy reading!

Shared in partnership with all publishers.


I know there's no age too young (or too old!) to start reading to your baby, but for me as a new mom, I was mostly focused on keeping him alive for the first three months, and less about his academic development. 

Now that he's three months old, a few things have happened: he's starting to have a more predictable nap schedule and semi-routine to his days, his attention span is growing, he's reaching for objects and he's distinguishing more colors visually. All these combined have made it a good time for me to start incorporating a few books into our play. There are so many great ones out there, and I'm sharing a few we love here.

A note on type: most of these featured are board books, with the except of two. I like board books as first books because the pages are thick and sturdy and can withstand drool, spit up, mouthing, etc, and I can let Trey play with them without worrying about them being ripped.

Your Baby's First Word Will Be Dada and Trucks. The Jimmy Fallon book is hilarious (he tried so hard, but his daughter's first word was...Mama!) and I really love the Trucks book right now for Trey. It was one of the first books I read to him, and the illustrations have cute, colorful drawings, paired with simple sentences. There's a few more in the Bryon Barton series that are cute for boys (or girls!): Trains, Boats, and Planes.

Hello World San Francisco and Good Night Seattle. Two cities I love, both represented in books here. It's so fun to have books with places that we will take Trey to someday, and these both feature common places to visit in each city.

Sophie the Giraffe Series. I like that the Sophie's Color's prompts asking and answering "What" questions (ie "What color are the strawberries? The strawberries are red") and that the Sophie teether can be a fun prop to pair the books with.

Inspirational Nursery Rhymes. A cute series for teaching values like thankfulness and responsibility. There's a line in one of these books that's perfect for Seattle kids: "I like when the days are sunny, but I always give thanks for the rain. Rain gives water to drink, so we never should complain."

Little Books Boxed Set. These are hilarious. They're backwards stories on common kid struggles: Little Pea is about a pea not wanting to eat his dinner (candy), but he has to finish it before he gets his favorite dessert (spinach). Little Oink and Little Hoot are also funny tales of having to clean rooms and go to bed. Available at Bitte Shop, I love their entire collection of kid's books.

Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You. If You Were My Bunny. Guess How Much I Love You. These three were gifted to us by friends and they are the sweetest, cry-while-reading, kinds of books.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Goodnight Moon. Brown Bear. Classics from my own childhood, perfect for language development.

The only non-board books on here, Press Here and The Wonderful Things You Will Be. Press Here is interactive, with these cute little dots that you tap, press, and shake, and is a great book for teaching comprehension, colors, following directions, and so many other concepts. The Wonderful Things You Will Be book is beautifully illustrated (think Rifle Paper Co for kids) with an encouraging and positive message. It was gifted to me by a friend who's a teacher and quickly became a favorite.

If you're looking for a great gift (or for your own kids!) a book subscription is an awesome way to get new titles. This one by BookRoo delivers three board books or two picture books monthly, and they're wrapped up as cute as can be. Use code BOOKROOLOVE for 10% off your first box.

Next on my list recommend by a friend: Home by Carson Ellis, Sara O'Leary books, Stephen Krensky books, Little Blue Truck, Not A Box. I'd love to hear your favorites as well in the comments!

Also remember to check your local library, they'll likely have most of these titles, and they often have a weekly storytime for kids and so many other great resources.

Shared in partnership with Bitte Shop, BookRoo, Sophie, and Inspirational Nursery Rhymes. Book picks are my own.