The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has just announced new policy recommendations and resources related to children’s media use and screen time. The recommendations include the following:

  • Children younger than 18 months should not use screen media except for video-chatting. These guidelines are different from previously established guidelines recommending that children under 24 months avoid all screen media.
  • Children ages 18-24 months should only be exposed to high-quality, educational programming, such as content by Sesame Street and PBS KIDS. Media exposure for children this age should always be accompanied by an adult who can help them understand the content.
  • Children ages 2 to 5 years should be limited to an hour of screen time involving high-quality programs. Parents should also co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to their own lives.
  • Children ages 6 and older should have clear limits about both the amount of media time and the type of media content they are allowed to use.
    Families should establish “media-free” times and locations, such as during dinner, driving, and in children’s bedrooms.
  • Regardless of children’s age, families should have regular conversations about online safety and etiquette.

It comes as no surprise to me that the key ingredient to the right media diet for our kids hinges on parental involvement. A parents’ role in managing the media diets of our children has never been greater because problems can begin when media use displaces physical activity, hands-on exploration and face-to-face social interaction in the real world. At our house, we have a pretty strict media rules. However, I need to work on ways to teach my children to use media in a more positive way.

If you have a children age zero to five years of age, you may want to check out the AAP policy statement which focuses on infants, toddlers and pre-school children called “Media and Young Minds”. If you have school aged children you can get more helpful information from the AAP policy statement “Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents”.

In addition to these new media use guidelines, the AAP launched an online “Family Media Use Plan” tool that could help parents establish a healthy media diet that is appropriate to your family’s unique needs.

Good luck parents, we all need it!

via ChildrenAndMediaMan

Quentin Blake Typeface

Introducing The Quentin Blake Typeface

If you have ever read a children’s book illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake, you are probably familiar with Blake’s playful and original handwriting style. The folks at Monotype were tasked with creating a typeface that replicated the unique form of Blake’s writing in an authentic and natural way.

Monotype’s solution included using four subtly different variants of each letter that was selected from a large collection of writing samples. The variants allow for the typeface to seem to have random alterations and diversity among the letters, making it appear more like handwriting. The result is a typeface that doesn’t just look like Sir Quentin Blake’s writing, it acts like it too.

Quentin Blake Typeface

via Kottke



I like words with complex or interesting meanings that have no counterparts in English. A few years ago I stumbled across the word Nervio and loved the definition so much that I try to use it whenever I can. Roberto Greco describes it this way:

Shortly after meeting my wife, she introduced me to the nuanced meaning that the Spanish word nervio had acquired in the lexicon of her family. As used in their Chilean home, the word could be defined as a feeling of such intense affection that one trembles or grits his teeth with restraint so as not to harm the object of his affection. I have heard others allude to the sensation in seemingly bizarre phrases such as, “It’s so cute [that] I want to squeeze it to death.”

Nervio was a sensation I have felt so many times in my life I was shocked that I had not, up until that point, seen a word that describes it. Nervio brings to mind phrases like, “I’m gonna squeeze you right in two” and, “Oh, I could just eat you with a spoon.” Nervio is why I am constantly threatening to nibble on my children’s toes. It’s a physical and emotional sensation that sits in the gut and wells up through you. The Robert Capa portrait, below, of Pablo Picasso with his son Claude does a good job of depicting the sensation with an image.


There has been some psychological research experiments to determine where nervio comes from but there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

What Pet Should I Get

First New Dr. Seuss Book In 25 Years

What Pet Should I GetImage via Random House

The first new Dr. Seuss book in 25 years, was released yesterday! “What Pet Should I Get?”” was discovered in a pile of papers by Audrey Geisel (Dr. Seuss’s wife) shortly after his death in 1991. It is thought that he wrote and illustrated the book sometime between 1958 and 1962. And there are more unpublished books from that posthumously discovered pile of papers to come!

I have read “Hop on Pop” to my son so many times I have it committed to memory. I sure he’ll like this new one too.

Parent-Friendly Kids Music (For Free!)

This weekend I downloaded this new, and free, children’s album For Kids By Kids: Songs From Iowa Rock City from the Iowa City Public Library. The entire family enjoyed listening to it.

For Kids and By Kids mixes moods and musical styles—from roots music, for which Iowa City is known, to punk, polka, folk, hip-hop, and synth-pop. It not only crosses musical genres, but also generations … Dozens of youths appear on For Kids and By Kids, and we hope that the many more who hear this album will be inspired to pick up an instrument, form their own bands, or do something else creative.

All of the songs are original, spanning all types of genres and moods. The lyrics are not condescending, gratingly repetitive, or infantile. I’m sure we’ll be breaking this one out for listens all summer.

Top 100 Best Children’s Books

Scholastic’s Parent & Child Magazine released a list of what they thought were the best children’s books. You can see the list in an easily sortable table below. Links to Amazon.com for each book are also provided.

Top 100 Children's Books

RankTitleAuthorAge RangeCategory
1Charlotte's WebE.B. White8-10Fantasy / Science Fiction
2Goodnight MoonMargaret Wise Brown0-3Animal Characters
3A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet)Madeleine L’Engle11+Fantasy / Science Fiction
4The Snowy DayEzra Jacks Keats4-7Realistic Fiction
5Where the Wild Things AreMaurice Sendak0-3Fantasy / Science Fiction
6Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)J.K. Rowling11+Fantasy / Science Fiction
7Green Eggs and HamDr. Seuss4-7Fantasy / Science Fiction
8The Diary of a Young GirlAnne Frank11+Non-Fiction / Informational
9The Giving TreeShel Silverstein4-7Traditional / Poetry
10Frog and Toad Are FriendsArnold Lobel8-10Animal Characters
11Anne of Green GablesL.M. Montgomery11+Realistic Fiction
12The Very Hungry CaterpillarEric Carle0-3Non-Fiction / Informational
13MadelineLudwig Bemelmans4-7Realistic Fiction
14The Wind in the WillowsKenneth Grahame8-10Fantasy / Science Fiction
15The DotPeter H. Reynolds4-7Realistic Fiction
16Tuck EverlastingNatalie Babbitt11+Fantasy / Science Fiction
17Pat the BunnyDorothy Kunhardt0-3Non-Fiction / Informational
18When Marian SangPam Munoz Ryan8-10Non-Fiction / Informational
19Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary TaleMo Willems0-3Realistic Fiction
20Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and DrawingsShel Silverstein8-10Traditional / Poetry
21Bud, Not BuddyChristopher Paul Curtis11+Realistic Fiction
22CorduroyDon Freeman0-3Fantasy / Science Fiction
23The Phantom TollboothNorton Juster8-10Fantasy / Science Fiction
24The Little Engine That CouldWatty Piper4-7Fantasy / Science Fiction
25The GiverLois Lowry11+Fantasy / Science Fiction
26Where the Mountain Meets the MoonGrace Lin8-10Traditional / Poetry
27Black on WhiteTana Hoban0-3Non-Fiction / Informational
28Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!Mo Willems4-7Fantasy / Science Fiction
29Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.Judy Blume11+Realistic Fiction
30My Rotten Redheaded Older BrotherPatricia Polacco8-10Realistic Fiction
31The MittenJan Brett4-7Traditional / Poetry
32The Runaway BunnyMargaret Wise Brown0-3Animal Characters
33The Hunger GamesSuzanne Collins11+Fantasy / Science Fiction
34SwimmyLeo Lionni4-7Animal Characters
35Freight TrainDonald Crews0-3Non-Fiction / Informational
36The Secret GardenFrances Hodgson Burnett8-10Realistic Fiction
37The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry BearDon & Audrey Wood4-7Animal Characters
38Diary of a Wimpy KidJeff Kinney11+Realistic Fiction
39Zen ShortsJohn J. Muth8-10Traditional / Poetry
40Moo Baa La La LaSandra Boynton0-3Non-Fiction / Informational
41MatildaRoald Dahl8-10Fantasy / Science Fiction
42What Do People Do All DayRichard Scarry4-7Non-Fiction / Informational
43The Lion, the Witch, and the WardrobeC.S. Lewis11+Fantasy / Science Fiction
44Good Night, GorillaPeggy Rathmann0-3Fantasy / Science Fiction
45The CompositionAntonio Skarmeta8-10Realistic Fiction
46Not a BoxAntoinette Portis4-7Animal Characters
47Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle0-3Non-Fiction / Informational
48HatchetGary Paulsen11+Realistic Fiction
49Martin's Big WordsDoreen Rappaport4-7Non-Fiction / Informational
50Sarah, Plain and TallPatricia Mac-Lachlan8-10Realistic Fiction
51Sylvia Long's Mother GooseSylvia Long0-3Traditional / Poetry
52The Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Lightning ThiefRick Riordan11+Traditional / Poetry
53The House at Pooh CornerA.A. Milne4-7Fantasy / Science Fiction
54Through My EyesRuby Bridges11+Non-Fiction / Informational
55Smile!Roberta Grobel Intrater0-3Non-Fiction / Informational
56Living SunlightMolly Bang & Penny Chisholm8-10Non-Fiction / Informational
57The Bad BeginningLemony Snicket11+Fantasy / Science Fiction
58Harvesting HopeKathleen Krull8-10Non-Fiction / Informational
59Dear JunoSoyung Pak4-7Realistic Fiction
60Head, Shoulders, Knees and ToesAnnie Kubler0-3Traditional / Poetry
61The Lion & the MouseJerry Pinkney4-7Traditional / Poetry
62Diary of a WormDoreen Cronin8-10Animal Characters
63The Invention of Hugo CabretBrian Selznick11+Realistic Fiction
64My Truck is Stuck!Kevin Lewis0-3Animal Characters
65BirdsKevin Henkes4-7Realistic Fiction
66The Maze Of BonesRick Riordan8-10Realistic Fiction
67Esperanza RisingPam Munoz Ryan11+Realistic Fiction
68Counting KissesKaren Katz0-3Non-Fiction / Informational
69The Magic School Bus At The WaterworksJoanna Cole8-10Non-Fiction / Informational
70BlackoutJohn Rocco4-7Realistic Fiction
71Bridge to TerabithiaKatherine Paterson11+Realistic Fiction
72Are You My Mother?P.D. Eastman0-3Animal Characters
73Tea with MilkAllen Say8-10Realistic Fiction
74Owl MoonJane Yolen4-7Realistic Fiction
75HolesLouis Sachar11+Realistic Fiction
76Peek-A Who?Nina Laden0-3Animal Characters
77Hi! Fly GuyTedd Arnold8-10Fantasy / Science Fiction
78Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NimhRobert C. O’Brien11+Fantasy / Science Fiction
79Llama Llama Red PajamaAnna Dewdney0-3Animal Characters
80What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?Steve Jenkins & Robin Page4-7Non-Fiction / Informational
81Lincoln: A PhotobiographyRussell Freedman11+Non-Fiction / Informational
82Ivy + BeanAnnie Barrows8-10Realistic Fiction
83YokoRosemary Wells4-7Animal Characters
84No No Yes YesLeslie Patricelli0-3Non-Fiction / Informational
85Tales of a Fourth Grade NothingJudy Blume8-10Realistic Fiction
86Interrupting ChickenDavid Ezra Stein4-7Animal Characters
87RulesCynthia Lord11+Realistic Fiction
88Grumpy BirdJeremy Tankard0-3Animal Characters
89An Egg Is QuietDianna Hutts Aston4-7Non-Fiction / Informational
90Puss in BootsCharles Perrault8-10Traditional / Poetry
91Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the MoonCatherine Thimmesh11+Non-Fiction / Informational
92What Shall We Do with the Boo Hoo Baby?Cressida Cowell0-3Fantasy / Science Fiction
93We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United StatesDavid Catrow8-10Non-Fiction / Informational
94I Took the Moon for a WalkCarolyn Curtis4-7Traditional / Poetry
95A Single ShardLinda Sue Park11+Realistic Fiction
96GossieOlivier Dunrea0-3Animal Characters
97The Adventures Of Captain UnderpantsDav Pilkey8-10Fantasy / Science Fiction
98First WordsRoger Priddy0-3Non-Fiction / Informational
99Joyful Noise: Poems for Two VoicesPaul Fleischman11+Traditional / Poetry
100AnimaliaGraeme Base4-7Non-Fiction / Informational

Read More

The Most Popular Baby Names For 2011

2011 is well over halfway behind us and Nameberry has decided to come out with their list of the most popular/fastest growing baby names of 2011 (so far). Here they are:

Girls names:

Ada, Adele, Adeline, Adelaide – Pretty vintage girls’ names that start with ‘Ad’ are all the rage this year (much like Addison was last year), and rightfully so if you ask me.
Elula – An ugly name, drawn from the Hebrew calendar, is gaining attention because the Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen gave to their second daughter.
Hadley – The name of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife – Hadley Richardson. I knew a Hadley in College and will probably always think of this as a boys names.
Luna – This is a beautiful name. However, my affinity for the moon might make me a little biased. Supposedly this name was made popular by the Beckhams who ultimately chose Harper for their daughter.
Mila – We have Mila Kunis to thank for this one. It’s also a variation of the overused Mia, Maya and Lila.
Pippa – Pippa Middleton’s has attracted a lot of worldwide attention in 2011, and so has her name. Pippa is really just a nickname for the full version of her name Philippa. Taking the number one spot for baby names this year, Philippa is the new Isabella. Kate has bubbled up this year too, but isn’t nearly as hot.

Boys names:

Archer – Semi-literary names a supposedly hot right now (i.e. Atticus, Holden, Harper).
Arlo – Another great boys name with a vintage feel. It’s trending along with Nico, Hugo, and Otto, all three great names in themselves. It must have something to do with ending in the ‘O’ sound.
Asher – I love this name. While I’m usually don’t get too excited about biblical names, Asher has a softness I like while still retaining its masculinity. It’s unfortunate that it’s trending. This year it overtook Henry as the #1 name for boys.
Everett – This name is a little too feminine for me. It’s no surprise since it’s popularity is riding on the coattails of fashionable female choices like Eva and Evelyn. I think Everest would be an improvement here.
Flynn – Hmmmmm. This one wouldn’t be my choice.