10 Great Holiday Books For Kids

10 Great Holiday Books For Kids

The Following is a fun list of 10 great holiday books kids ages 0 to 5 will love! Click the title to purchase a copy. Happy Holidays.:) – Mandy

1. Hanukkah!

Written by Ronni Schotter, Illustrated byMarilyn Hafner, Ages 4 – 8, 32 pages, $8.99, Published by LB Kids

2. A Christmas Carol: A BabyLit Colors Primer (BabyLit Books)

Written by Jennifer Adams,  Illustrated by Alison Oliver, Ages 0 – 3, 22 pages, $9.99, Published by Gibbs Smith

3. Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa

Written by Donna L. Washington, Illustrated by Shane W. Evans, 32 pages, Ages 4 and up, $10.39, Published by Katherine Tegen Books

4. Christmastime Is Here!: Lift the Flap

By Ellen Weiss (for Fisher Price Little People), 10 pages, Ages 2 and up, $9.99, Published by Reader’s Digest

5. Together for Kwanzaa

Written By Juwanda G. Ford, Illustrated by Shelly Hehenberger, 24 pages, Ages 3 and up, $3.99, Published by Random House Books For Young Readers

6. Charlie and the Christmas Kitty

Written by Ree Drummond, Illustrated by Diane deGroat, 40 pages, Ages 4 and up, $11.83, Published by HarperCollins

7. Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy

Written by Don Freeman, Illustrated by Lisa McCue, 14 pages, Ages 3 and up, $5.99, Published by Viking Juvenile

8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

By Dr. Seuss, 64 pages, Ages 5 and up, $10.20, Published by Random House Books For Young Readers

9. Pete the Cat Saves Christmas

Created and illustrated by James Dean, Story by Eric Litwin, 40 pages, Ages 4 and up, $10.40, Published by HarperCollins

10. Hanukkah Lights

Written by David Martin, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet, 26 pages, Ages 1 and up, $5.99, Published by Candlewick


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Book Review: Dark Eden by Patrick Carman

Dark EdenTitle: Dark Eden

Author: Patrick Carman

336 pages, Published by Katherine Tegen Books, A Harper Collins Imprint, Ages 13 & up, Buy the Book: Amazon

Patrick’s Info: Twitter | Website | Facebook

Dark Eden Web Info: Facebook | Website

There’s An App For That! iPhone | iPad | Android


Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares—with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night’s experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains. What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden? (Synopsis provided by Katherine Tegen Books.)

My Thoughts:

It is fitting that my review for Dark Eden by Patrick Carman runs on Halloween, because this is one creepy, scary book! The book centers around Will Besting, a teen suffering from a crippling phobia. The book opens with Will’s therapist, Dr. Stevens,  suggesting Will attend a a wellness retreat run at a place called Fort Eden with six of her other patients who are also battling phobias. Will does not want to go, but his parents insist. When Will arrives deep in the wilderness at Fort Eden, he is met with two creepy concrete buildings. What Will does next will lead him on a scary journey…

iStock_000017324018XSmallThe star of this book is the setting. Carman has created an austere  landscape where a new horror lurks around every corner. I am a sucker for a scary setting, whether it’s in a book or a horror movie and Dark Eden’s setting is awesome! Much of the book takes place in the basement of a concrete bunker. In the basement, Will finds a bank of TV screens where he can secretly observe the treatment as the other patients work with the mysterious (and super creepy) Dr. Rainsford.

Patrick Carman does an excellent job of creating a story where details are given to the reader on a need to know basis. As a result, as the main character’s anxiety increases so does the reader’s. I also enjoyed the different ways Carman moved the narrative forward. In addition to a traditional narrative, the author uses footnotes, audio transcripts, and daydream sequences to tell Will’s story.

Great storytelling and wonderful character development on Carman’s part aside, the coolest thing about this book is the app that readers can download for their iPhone, iPad or Android. I downloaded the app on my iPhone, and I was blown away by all of the incredible features available on the app! How many times have you read a book and wondered what a character looks like, what a character’s voice sounds like, or how a sequence from the book might play out in a movie? With Dark Eden these questions do not have to remain a mystery, because readers can experience all of it within the app. At one point in the book Will thinks the following:

People are always talking about how important it is to write things down, but I think recording your own voice is important. I’ve tried to read many biographies; most of them die on the page. Reading Martin Luther King’s story is wholly unsatisfying, but listening to him speak – to hear his voice is to know the man.

Dark Eden AppThe above passage from the book speaks to what an exciting time we are all living in. A time where technology has advanced to the point where readers don’t have to wait for the movie versions of their favorite books to come out to see the words on the page in action. I hope more YA authors will follow Katherine Tegen Books and Patrick Carman’s lead and produce apps for their books. It is a great tool to get teens interested in reading! Although, I think I should probably mention, the Dark Eden app actually tells the whole story of Dark Eden. So readers who purchase the entire app can experience the whole story via the app rather than reading the book. I chose to use the app as an enrichment tool while reading. So, if a particular sequence in the book really interested me, I looked it up on the app and just purchased that chapter. Each segment of the the app seems to correspond to a chapter in the book and includes text, audio, video and pictures that tell the story of that chapter.

Patrick Corman’s Dark Eden is not just a great book with a spooky setting and awesome plot filled with surprises and unexpected twists. Dark Eden is also a virtual treasure trove for people who love to read. The enrichment materials for this book available within the app make purchasing it a must for the teen in your life.

View the book trailer for Dark Eden below:



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