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Past Posts

12 Kids' Books About Princesses That Adults Can Love Too

Boy Detective let me know early on that he did NOT like princesses. "Mom," he said, "I like FAIRIES, not princesses." Strangely, though, he loves every book in this list. It's amazing how a good story can transcend genre prejudices, isn't it? And I enjoyed reading them as much as Boy Detective did.

I also enjoyed finding out that our library is exploding with sassy, spunky, athletic princesses! Unfortunately the vast majority of them are white, reflecting the diversity crisis in children's books in general. (I actually delayed this post for quite a while searching for more princesses of color.) So especially if you have any books that could help diversify this list, please leave any suggestions in the comments.

(If you're new here, here's the full list of picture book posts: friendship, dogs, pirates, bedtime, awesome girls, robots, magic, gardens, cats, superheroes, love and marriage, knights, family, science fiction, food and cooking, art and creativity, dinosaurs, and kids' poetry books. This post uses Amazon affiliate links - but we always encourage checking your local library!)

One Riddle, One Answer by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Linda S. Wingerter.

Aziza is the daughter of a powerful sultan who wants to find his beloved daughter a good husband. But his advisors just recommend their own sons! Aziza comes up with her own plan for finding a husband, and since her dad knows she's a smart lady, he signs on. Aziza loves numbers, you see, so she poses a riddle. Whoever answers it correctly is clearly compatible. It's a gentle, clever book, and the happily ever after feels so good that I dare you not to smile! My number-loving son thought this book was "SO GOOD!"

Continue reading 12 Kids' Books About Princesses That Adults Can Love Too.

8 Fantastic Comics About History, Legends, and Myths

Some stories are just BIG. Sweeping epics, or moments in history that will be remembered for centuries. Even if they're moments that never happened, in a world that never existed. These comics are those stories.

(This post joins my recommended reading lists of of zombie comics, comics about magic, post-apocalyptic comics, comics about race and social justice, and all-ages comics. This post uses Amazon affiliate links - but we always encourage checking your local library!)

First up, Prince of Cats by Ron Wimberly, with letters by Jared K. Fletcher.

So, a hip-hop ninja Romeo and Juliet remix about Tybalt. You have never read anything like this, and it has all the passion of the story that inspired it. Reading Wimberly's afterword, I was struck again by how good of a writer he is, and the connections he drew between Kurosawa's Ran, Wu-Tang Clan, and the streets of Verona to create this book.

Do I have to say anything else to sell you this book? Really?

I didn't think so.

Continue reading 8 Fantastic Comics About History, Legends, and Myths.

Maybe I need to be in bed too?

Me: Now he's playing an accordion in his room [instead of going to sleep]!

C-Man: A xylophone, but yes.

Me: That's what I meant.


I think someone wears me out... but at least we have similar taste in accessories. And apparently he holds still for pictures better than I do!

8 Kids' Books About Dinosaurs That Adults Can Love Too

It's a widely held belief that all kids go through a dinosaur phase. I'm not sure if it's true, because we never reached obsession level with Boy Detective. However, he's definitely been open to a good book about giant prehistoric lizards who could crush you with one footstep. For the young reader in your life who's amused by similar thoughts, here's our list of well-written children's picture books about dinos.

A lot of writers and artists have done creative things with this topic, which has been so enjoyable for us as parents! If you're going to be asked to read it 100 times, it helps if it's a good book! However I'd be thrilled if you could suggest any dino books with people of color and/or girls as the central characters. Seriously, leave a comment, or use a passenger pigeon, whatever works! Need more diversity!

(If you're new here, here's the full list of picture book posts: friendship, dogs, pirates, bedtime, awesome girls, robots, magic, gardens, cats, superheroes, love and marriage, knights, family, science fiction, food and cooking, art and creativity, and kids' poetry books. This post uses Amazon affiliate links - but we always encourage checking your local library!)

Sammy and the Dinosaurs by Ian Whybrow, with illustrations by Adrian Reynolds. This is one of my favorite children's picture books ever, because it captures the specific quality of a child's deep love for a subject. In this case, it's Sammy's love for dinosaurs, as represented by his collection of plastic dinosaurs. This isn't about materialism or toys, it's about him knowing all of their names, and their place in his heart. Lovely book.

Continue reading 8 Kids' Books About Dinosaurs That Adults Can Love Too.

Ava Snow Battles Death: It starts here!

I was powerless against Ava Snow Battles Death.

Sure, I'm afraid of getting sucked into web series in case all my time disappears down a rabbit hole of awesome content. And yeah, I'm afraid of knowing there are sections of Kickstarter beyond comics in case all my money disappears in a similar way. And so yes, when filmmakers Zack Drisko and Arielle Davidsohn approached me for help publicizing a web series being funded on Kickstarter last fall, I wanted to plug my ears and yell "LA LA LA" so I could not hear them.

But Ava Snow is just too cool!

I'm a sucker for a passion project anyway (witness my affection for Office Ninja), and just look at this description:

"Ava Snow Battles Death" is a fantasy-horror-comedy about a knife-throwing badass named Ava Snow and the overlords from another dimension who want to steal her soul.

She's also a redhead. So I helped publicize the Kickstarter. (And gave them my allowance.) Fast forward to July, when FINALLY after a hectic few months of traveling I was able to settle down during a quiet evening and watch the three episodes up on YouTube.

My assessment? A little bit campy, a good dose of awesome, and definitely worth the wait. I love Ava's no-nonsense persona. I'm intrigued by her friend Kylee who seems so different from Ava at first glance. The first three episodes left me wanting more. And I didn't have to get a babysitter or stay up late.

So I may need to re-think my web series avoidance? In my years reviewing action movies with ass-kicking women (and girls), I have gotten SO tired of making excuses for movies. Even among my favorites, too many big budget films are kind of what I want, or a glimpse of what could have been. There's a pretty striking contrast between a woman of color Kickstarting a fan-film about Storm and the Days of Future Past story being taken away from Kitty Pryde on the big screen. Maybe I've been looking in the wrong places for the stories I really want.

If you haven't watched Ava Snow Battles Death yet, you should fix that! You can start here:

Once you watch all three episodes, the Ava Snow Battles Death website has a trailer and teaser that show additional scenes. Fingers crossed the series can keep going so we can get those future episodes.

And if you have any webseries to recommend, let me know in the comments!

7 Of My Favorite Conspiracy Comics

Want to make me happy? Give me a secret cabal of evildoers, behind the scenes machinations, and a determined resistance fighting against seemingly overwhelming odds. Throw in some superheroes or magic powers, or not! I'm happy either way.

So here are my favorite creepy conspiracy graphic novels, joining my recommended reading lists of of zombie comics (with kick-ass female leads!), comics about magic, post-apocalyptic comics, comics about race and social justice, and all-ages comics. (Does this post use affiliate links? Yep! More about that if you're not familiar.)

Let's start with Mind the Gap by Jim McCann. Art by Rodin Esquejo with Adrian Alphona helping out. Colors by Sonia Oback, Rodin Esquejo, Arif Prianto, and Beny Maulana. Letters by David Lanphear.

Elle was attacked on a subway platform days ago, and now she's in a coma. Maybe. Maybe she was attacked? She can't quite remember now. Her mind is in some kind of dream world while her body is trapped in a hospital bed. Her parents and her brother and some of the doctors know more than they're telling, and her best friend and boyfriend are getting suspicious. Then Elle wakes up in someone else's body and things get even more complicated. Intrigue, betrayal, threats, secrets, lies, it's all here.

Continue reading 7 Of My Favorite Conspiracy Comics.

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Thanks to Chris Giarrusso for the title "Planet Jinxatron." Buy his books!

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