Posted in Anti-Gift Guide

ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME YOU HATE ME? A Holiday Anti Gift Guide & 5 Books We Would Strongly Prefer

The expectation that when someone gives your kids something- when they were not asked to do so- you must pretend to be grateful, and then let it collect dust until it finally finds its way onto a donation pile or scrap heap is complete nonsense. And I object. So I’ve created a sample season’s greetings but no thank you letter for you all!


The narrative of forced gratitude for something that is actively inconvenient and wasteful is especially infuriating, to me, when the offending item was purchased for my child without considering my child as a person with preferences and feelings.  (My kids are capable of talking, why doesn’t the person call them up and ask them “Hey what kinda stuff do you like?”)

Extra infuriating when it’s gigantic and noisy.

Can we please start changing the narrative that relatives and family friends need to give flashy toys to demonstrate a relationship?  It’s really messed up, inconvenient, wasteful, and desperately harmful to our environment.

Before you say “well some people can only afford crappy plastic toys and they deserve to enjoy the gift giving time of the year” YES, they do, but can they ask first? Can they ask what the kid actually likes instead of deciding ‘that’s a boy-child and I’m gonna buy them a great big gun thing.’     Can they maybe get a ten dollar bill, go to the convenience store, have it broken into nickels, and give the kid a giant bag of coins? (My brother in law did that one year, and it was such a huge hit with my kid, and it cost him less than ten bucks.) Can they perhaps just buy some nice books, write a nice message in them, and sit down and read to the child?  It’s not hard to make space for books, if they’re good books they get enjoyed way longer than a crappy plastic toy, and its an opportunity to build a relationship.  

So here is a list of 5 love filled Grandparent Books I recommend Grandparents buy instead of getting random crap in the clearance section at Walmart. 

TIME FOR BED, OLD HOUSE Janet Costa Bates, A.G. Ford @candlewickpress  a boy’s first sleep over with his Grandpa, and it’s time to say goodnight to every part of the house.

CARLA AND THE CHRISTMAS CORNBREAD  Carla Hall and Cherise Harris @simonkids a beautiful nostalgic story, with a delightful array of foods, and family traditions.

THE ELECTRIC SLIDE AND KAI Kelly J. Baptist and Darnell Johnson @leeandlowbooks  One boy practices his dance moves in anticipation of finally seeing his grandpa again. A joyful happy family story.

THE WHOLE WORLD INSIDE NAN’S SOUP Hunter Liguore and Vikki Zhang  Absolutely beautiful, would be nice to include your own recipe to pass down when writing a dedication into the end papers.

WE’LL BE TOGETHER AGAIN Lucy Menzies and Maddy Vian @quartokids  this one is unusual, it flips open like two doors, and shows the little girl waiting to be reunited with the grandfather, who is on the otherside.  

THE LONGER THE WAIT THE BIGGER THE HUG  Eoin McLaughlin and Polly Dunbar @faberchildrens the third book in this charming classic series about love and affection.

These books were all submitted by the publishers for the #bookstagang _bestof2021  which is currently being judged! 



Posted in Anti-Gift Guide

5 Toys I Regret Buying & 5 Books You Should Get Instead! : More Books, Less Crap

This year I’ve had it with the garbage. I’m done I tell you, finished.  I’ve been burned too many times before, and not only am I going to try my best to minimize the plastic crap that comes into my house, I want to warn you all against some of my worst purchasing choices (that came highly recommended) and give you a short list of the most hilarious read aloud books from this year. So yes, I bought all of these crappy toys, please don’t make my mistakes.

These book were all gifted to me by publishers, some are submissions for the #bookstagang_bestof2021 which is being judged as we speak. I am doing NO affiliate linking. If you choose to buy any of these books, I recommend ordering them from your local independent book shop, you can call and place an order ahead of time! 

“Gigantosaurus: Roar, Giganto, Roar!: A Puppet Book” by Cyber Group Studios @bigpicturepress Willow is obsessed with this dinosaur puppet book.  Such a huge hit! 

“When I’m Not Looking” Farren Phillips @yeehoopress hilarious, engaging, search and find element included. Absolute delight. 

“The Grumpy Fairies” by Bethan Stevens, adorable, funny, beautiful. 

“Here Be Dragons” Susannah Lloyd and Paddy Donnelly @quartokids this one doesn’t technically release until February in North America but if you order from Blackwell’s you can get around that in time for the holidays.

“Sloth and Squirrel in a Pickle” Cathay Ballou Mealley and Kelly Collier @kidscanpress

“Maybe…” by Chris Haughton Okay I said five but here’s a bonus book because I can’t leave it off the list! We love Haughton’s humorous books about mischievous animals and this new one about monkeys tempted by a tiger surrounded mango tree is top notch.  Instant classic.

So these are the books I thought were the funniest of the year so far, they’re not the most educational, they’re not the most important or diverse. Just the funniest books my kids and I loved. If you’re looking for something more sentimental, fact filled, or looking to create a more intentionally diverse collection, check out some of my other recommended lists!