Books: The Perfect Gift

Books: The Perfect Gift - Red Apple ReadingIt can be intimidating trying to find the perfect present for every person on our list. Plus, last-minute shopping can often be chaotic – hitting the stores and surfing online can put a damper on the merriest person’s holiday cheer. Look no further. Red Apple Reading has the perfect gift idea for everyone on your list: BOOKS!

  1. Books Provide an Escape – When you give a book you give a vacation. Books are the perfect way to escape our everyday lives and experience something new and different.
  2. Books Engage the Mind – There’s nothing wrong with some occasional mindless entertainment; but books are not only entertaining, they also engage the mind.
  3. Books Keep on Giving – A book is the gift that keeps on giving. You can go back multiple times to a good book and revisit the characters who have become old friends.
  4. Books are a Good Fit – Books are a good fit for everyone. You can always find a book no matter what the gift recipient’s interests. Biographies, novels, cook books, graphic novels… the possibilities are endless!
  5. Books are Inexpensive – Relatively speaking, books are not an expensive gift. Thrifty shoppers can also take advantage of sites such as which often have new or like new books for discounted prices.
  6. Books Communicate Value – When you give a book as a gift, (especially to your children) it communicates that you value reading. It’s important for our kids to understand that we as parents consider reading to be a gift.
  7. Books are Versatile – Books are available in so many forms these days you can easily find the right version for even the pickiest person. My husband is not a big reader but he’s listened to hundreds of audio books on his commute to work over the years. Maybe a subscription to Audible would suit a similar person on your list. Or, if your loved one doesn’t have the space for books, why not give him a Kindle or Nook gift card?
  8. Books are Simple – No special skills are needed to work a book. Anyone who can read can enjoy one. Even children who aren’t yet readers enjoy looking at picture books!
  9. Books are Easy to Wrap – We all know how demoralizing it can be to attempt to wrap a gift that is weirdly shaped. Books are easy. Books are straightforward. Books are easy to wrap.
  10. Books can be Shared – After you read a book you can pass it on for others to enjoy. In fact, a book is one of the few things you can unashamedly re-gift!

It’s pretty easy to see why a book is the perfect present. We’d love to hear about a meaningful book you received as a gift. Leave us a comment below! Merry Christmas from all of us at Red Apple Reading!

Children’s Books About Kindness and Compassion

If you’re less than thrilled with the way you see people interacting with one another these days, you’re not alone. We could all stand to treat one another with a little more consideration! With that in mind, Red Apple Reading has compiled a list of ten children’s books that focus on kindness and compassion.


A Sick Day for Amos McGee  (Philip C. Stead) – Amos McGhee works hard at his job at the zoo, but he always has time and attention to share with his animal friends. One day when Amos gets sick and can’t go to work, his friends come to visit him and show him a little T.L.C.!  Kindergarten – 2nd grade


How to Heal a Broken Wing  (Bob Graham) – When a pigeon breaks its wing, no one seems to notice except a young boy. Will takes the injured bird home and lovingly nurses it back to health. Preschoolers and young elementary student will like this affirming tale.


Unspoken  (Henry Cole) – This beautifully illustrated, wordless picture book delivers a powerful story about compassion. A young farm girl discovers a runaway slave in her family’s barn and brings her food wrapped in a star patterned cloth. The runaway slave eventually goes, but she leaves behind a doll made from the cloth in which the food was covered.  Grades 2 – 4


The Invisible Boy  (Trudy Ludwig) – Nobody at school takes notice of Brian or bothers to include him in their activities. When the new boy, Justin, arrives at school and the kids make fun of his lunch, Brian befriends him. The two boys team up on a class project and Brian’s artistic abilities shine! Six to nine-year-olds will appreciate this story about inclusion.


Enemy Pie  (Derek Munson) – It was shaping up to be the ideal summer – all until Jeremy moved into the neighborhood and became enemy number one. How’s a young boy supposed to get rid of his enemies? Fortunately, Dad has an ingenious plan for just such a problem! It’s tough and involves spending an entire day playing with Jeremy while Dad makes the enemy pie. Five to eight-year-olds will enjoy seeing how this problem is resolved.


Little Bird  (Germano Zullo) – This lovely picture book will delight children and parents alike. The story of a man and a little bird serves to remind readers that small acts of kindness can change lives. A heartwarming book for preschool and early elementary students.


The Name Jar  (Yangsook Choi) – It’s hard being new and having a name nobody seems to be able to pronounce. Unhei considers choosing a new name, but when a classmate visits her neighborhood and learns her real name, the kids in the class encourage her to keep her Korean name. Early elementary age students will enjoy this one!



Each Kindness  (Jacqueline Woodson) – Chloe and her friends refuse to include the new girl, Maya, when she joins the class in the middle of the year. Maya doesn’t have nice clothes and is called “Never New” because she wears second hand clothing. Maya eventually leaves school. When the teacher has a lesson about the power of small acts of kindness, Chloe regrets her behavior toward Maya. This heartbreaking tale will resonate with 2nd – 5th graders.


How Kind!  (Mary Murphy) – When Hen gives Pig a nice present, Pig decides to do something kind for Rabbit, and Rabbit does something kind for Cow. This simple picture book for preschoolers is a great introduction to kindness.


Wonder  (R.J. Palacio) – If you are looking for a book about kindness and compassion for your reader in middle school, look no further. Auggie Pullman has a facial deformity. He’s been homeschooled all of his life but is about to begin 5th grade in public school. This story is told from several different viewpoints, including Auggie, his sister, his sister’s boyfriend , and his friends. This story captures how cruel as well as how kind people can be.


Goosebumps for Halloween

Do you have children who like a good scare? During the spooky month of October we celebrate a mysterious author’s birthday: R.L. Stine. Stine is best known for his spine-chilling children’s book series: Goosebumps.

I can recall in sixth grade when I read Stine’s eleventh book in the series: The Haunted Mask. In this thriller, an 11-year-old girl with my own name, Carly, battles bullying and decides to stand up to her tormentors. She buys a frightening Halloween mask to scare them on Halloween night, but there’s something wrong: the mask won’t come off and is stuck to her own face! Carly grows more and more aggressive that night and must do what she can to get the mask off.

This ghostly tale is the perfect read for youngsters ages 8 to 12 who enjoy a little scare to get in the mood for Halloween. Your child might also enjoy one of over one hundred other Goosebumps stories in the series. Check them out at any library or bookstore!

Spotlight on RL Stine - Red Apple Reading

Fall Family Favorites

When I was a child, a big part of feeling festive around the holidays was to read holiday and seasonal books. My mom always had plenty of books that went back and forth between home and the school where she taught, and she still has a bookcase full of picture books even though we are grown and she is no longer teaching in the classroom. Here are some of our favorites from the shelf that are sure to get you and your kiddos into the fall spirit!

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrettcloudy-with-a-chance-of-meatballs

Kiddos can discover the town of Chewandswallow, a land where breakfast, lunch, and dinner come from the weather! What will happen when too much food falls from the sky?
Ages 4 to 8


Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar? by Bonnie Lasswho-took-the-cookies-from-the-cookie-jar

Help the small critters find out who took the cookies. Was it Raven? Snake? Frog? Follow the cookie crumbs to solve the mystery and be delighted with the happy ending.
Ages 4 to 7


Beneath the Ghost Moon by Jane Yolenbeneath-ghost-moon

The mice have prepared for their Ghost Dance Ball, but some creepy-crawlies destroy their work. Help the mice fight back and celebrate in the Halloween moon with a clever and catchy rhyme scheme.
Ages 5 and up


Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alboroughwheres-my-teddy

Eddie finds his teddy in the woods, only to discover the teddy has grown. A real bear comes along with Eddie’s real-sized teddy, and they both get spooked.
Ages 3 to 7


Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet  by Diane de Groattrick-treat-smell-feet

Gilbert is in for a surprise when he accidentally takes his sister’s Halloween costume to school and not his. This story will teach the good and the bad about being different.
Ages 4 to 8


The House That Drac Built by Judy Sierrahouse-drac-built

Trick-or-treaters on Halloween resolve the chaotic events going on in the house that Drac built. Not for the faint of heart.
Ages 4 to 7



Mustard by Jessel Millermustard

Witness Mustard blossom into a happy, kind, and insightful woman. Thanks to her parents and angels, she grows up with soft love and strong values. Children will be drawn to the vivid and detailed illustrations.
All ages


The 13 Days of Halloween by Carol Greene13-days-halloween

In this spooky spin-off of The 12 Days of Christmas, a ghoul proves his love to another with haunting gifts like hissing cats and flying brooms. Read to discover what frightening present he receives in return!
Ages 4 to 8


My sister and I listened to and read these stories countless times before bedtime. Luckily none of them are too scary for nightmares! Find some seasonal favorites of your own and your children will enjoy them for years to come.


6 Great Nighttime Reads for Curious Kids

Putting a Curious Soul to Bed - 6 Great Nighttime Reads - Red Apple ReadingBeing a parent can be a challenging experience. It takes plenty of patience to educate children well and help them understand why certain things should be done. What is your trick when trying to put your curious little child to bed at night?

Here are six great nighttime reads that may come in handy for parents trying to ensure the best childhood experience for their little curious souls:

A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles by Thich Nhat Hanh
First on our list is A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles. Why? Surprisingly, this is not only an interesting nighttime read to consider but also one that can calm your child down and get him ready for a good night’s sleep. Even if you never though it was possible to introduce your child to meditation at this age, it is actually highly-recommended. This read will help you do so. Playful activities and fun are ensured for you and your child right before bed!

6 Great Nighttime Reads for Curious Souls - A Handful of Quiet - Red Apple Reading

I Am Yoga by Susan Verde
How about introducing your child to yoga through fun activities that are appropriate for her age? This will feed her curiosity and get her ready for bed in a pleasant, calm manner without hassles and arguments. I Am Yoga is a child-friendly guide to 16 innovative poses that will make your child feel the thrills of fun interaction, not to mention the fun you will be having on the side!

Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton
This is a great nighttime read that parents should consider when they want to teach children about friendship, living with pets and living through fear even at early ages. Your child will certainly end up imagining himself being Splat on his first day of school with his pet mouse friend, Seymour to have his back. Learning all about making new friends and the amazing adventures on the first day of school will ensure a great night of sleep for your child while dreaming about another world.

6 Great Nighttime Reads for Curious Souls - Splat the Cat - Red Apple Reading

Unstoppable Me: 10 Ways to Soar Through Life by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Here is another recommendation for you – Unstoppable Me: 10 Ways to Soar through Life. It allows you to teach your child all sorts of valuable lessons that she will enjoy learning. She will learn all about living without fear and adopting a life without limits. Your happy kid will discover new ways of never having to just fit in and live her life to the fullest. You may get new insights for the child living inside of you as well.

Skippjon Jones by Judy Schachner
Get ready to introduce your child to a very special kitten. There is nothing ordinary about this character and the lessons he can teach your kid. Let El Skippito, the great sword-fighter against banditos around the world, teach valuable lessons in a fun way. Your child will fall asleep imagining himself being on a new adventure and will learn all about the way in which positive characters always win the battles against negative ones – all with the help of a frisky cat!

6 Great Nighttime Reads for Curious Souls - Skippyjon Jones - Red Apple Reading

Dreams Come True: All They Need Is You by Mike Dooley
Teach your child a valuable lesson right before bedtime: dreams always come true if she trusts herself to make things happen. Read all about the magnificent land of dreams where young friends are headed towards the greatest adventure of their lives. Let your child enjoy the thrills of living a new adventure every time she goes to bed and learn valuable lessons about life with the help of Dreams Come True: All They Need is You.

Every night before bedtime, introduce your child to a new world packed with valuable lessons and entertaining dreams that will keep him sleeping like an angel and waking up well-rested and ready for new activities. These reads will help you get started!

By Steve Brown and!