Best Books for Kids 9-14 and their Grown-ups
Finding or creating time to read aloud with children can be a wonderful sharing experience. Once kids reach elementary school age, they are ready to step up to the next level from picture books to novels (aka chapter books). And there are countless good books to choose from. Many of the best books have endured the tests of time; they’ve been passed down generation to generation. Some are more contemporary, but equally rich and captivating. All good stories have strong characters, both human and animal, who experience the challenges and magic of life in real and imaginary places. Having an adult to read these tales with encourages a child’s reading and opens the door to conversation and learning.
We found a great article highlighting the Top 100 Must-Reads for Kids 9-14 and picked a few to give you a sampling. The list is long and the variety is great, so there’s something for everyone.
Most good books can be found at your local library in print or digitally. Borrow from a friend or visit an independent book store. You can also get them new or used online via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other websites.
Books to Read Aloud: Froggy
Some characters in children’s books are loved, revered - even cheered for. Bright green, wide-eyed, flat-footed Froggy is one of those; he’s a kid just like his readers - except that he has an appetite for flies! He’s a kid who has everyday childhood and family experiences. What’s so special about that? Froggy makes them FUN!
Brightly-colored illustrations with lively aliteration and word sounds are completely engaging for preschool through 2nd grade readers. Froggy’s enthusiasm and zest for life are irresistible, even contagious. Fortunately, there are scads of these popular Froggy stories, so the fun doesn’t have to end with one or two. Froggy books can be read and reread over and over.
Here are some of our Froggy favorites:
You can find these wonderful books by Jonathan London online or in your local library.
Baby Safe Wall Paint and Window Decorating Solutions
Baby safe wall paints? Yes, you learn something new every day. When we searched for safe, healthy ideas for decorating baby nurseries and kids’ rooms we discovered valuable information about how to choose safe wall paints. What’s a safe wall paint? One with minimal VOC’s, the chemical fumes that may increase the likelihood of your child developing asthma, allergies and other health issues. Reduced VOCs is, of course, “greener” and better for the environment too.
Today there are many wall paints in your local paint shop that are healthier alternatives to basic commercial paints. There are Low VOC paints and Zero VOC paints. The price will be greater, but the health benefits may be too. Here’s a sampling:
Selecting a safe wall paint is better for your child’s health, better for your family’s well-being, and better for the environment.
In addition to what goes on the walls, another important consideration in nursery and bedroom safety is choosing window treatments. All natural materials are the current hot trend (see this HGTV trend report), but be sure to read carefully to ensure the purity and safety of your selection. The Daily Green and Green Home have comprehensive checklists of what to consider when choosing window treatments.
We love the simplicity of natural, organic window treatments for a child’s room, like this fabulous baby nursery via decor pad… Notice the bamboo shades mixed with natural linen draperies…a great option for keeping the room healthy. Sustainable materials, like bamboo are a perfect choice for covering windows. Natural woven shades are more readily available than ever, from custom choices at The Shade Store, Smith + Noble to big-box stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s (see thefind.com for pages of ideas).
Natural honeycomb shades are a great option for windows too…
As we’ve looked for more ways to keep your family safe and environmentally-friendly, we’ve come across a few good reads on the subject, like these two by Dr. Alan Greene, M.D. available via Amazon…
Let us know what choices you are making to keep your baby and whole family safe and healthy.
Why Do Parents Love our Dresser Drawers? Safety
What’s more tempting to a toddler than opening and closing drawers? The satisfying slamming and bamming puts a big smile on an innocent face, until his or her hands or fingers are caught and pinched. Ouch!
We found a simple, toddler-proof solution to protect those curious little fingers. It’s a Soft Close drawer system with a fancy name: the Quadro self-closing slide from Hettich. It’s purpose? It prevents drawers of casegoods (aka: dressers, armoires, storage drawers, bookcases) from a slamming close. The drawer hardware puts the brakes on, slows the drawer and closes itself. Even the mightiest toddler will be hard-pressed to get a good slam. Better yet, our drawers are QUIET.
What’s so great about the Young America Drawer System? Our cases feature a 4-piece solid wood drawer box made of sustainably harvested North American hardwood with English dovetails in all 4 corners; our drawer system reflects a standard of American craftsmanship that is hard to find today, especially when paired with Soft Close Hettich Quadro self-closing drawer glide hardware; an under-mount, ball bearing design that facilitates the smoothest, most even open/close possible. This unique combination of superior materials, construction and advanced engineering means safe, high-quality furniture parents can trust, for many years.
One More Drawer Safety Feature to be Excited about. The Soft Close Quadro self-closing drawer slide includes a dynamic load capacity of up to 55 pounds and a maximum safety extension, which limits how far drawers can be pulled out to reduce the possibility of tip-over accidents. We also include an anti-tip kit with each casegood (dressers, armoires, storage drawers, bookcases) to further protect against your adventurous toddler’s attempt to climb the furniture. Rest assured we always have your child’s safety in mind.
Here’s a little drawer glide demo:
There’s a Good Reason to order Harbor Town and Mix Now
If you’ve been considering a purchase from either of these collections, including the Built to Grow Encore Crib and Kudos Crib and you must place your orders with your Young America retailer or online before October 4, 2013. After that date, it’s good night Mix and Harbor Town.
Protect your Baby’s Health with an Organic Crib Mattress
Young America cribs are GREENGUARD certified to protect babies from exposure to potentially harsh chemicals. Cribs that are not GREENGUARD certified or crib mattresses not certified “Organic” may “off-gas” and be unhealthy for a baby.
The term “Off-gassing" refers to the evaporation of synthetic compounds used in manufacturing products, from cars to computers and toys to tennis balls and cribs and other home furnishings. Two identifiable types of off-gases are the “new car” and “new carpet” smells, but they can be odorless too.
What are the Health Risks of off-gassing?
Exposure to or inhalation of these airborne gases may cause asthma, coughing, rash, hives, watery eyes and compromised immunity. To avoid the health risks of off-gassing, we recommend pairing a Young America crib with an organic crib mattress to ensure a pollutant-free nursery and indoor environment. You will also want to be mindful of other elements in a baby’s living space, including carpets, wall paint and even toys.
What is an Organic Crib Mattress?
Mattresses made with organic, non-toxic materials, without conventional chemicals (ie: formaldehyde, polyvinyl chloride or PVC) and meet strict standards. The mattresses are, of course, not 100% organic as 1) they are not an agricultural products and 2) you probably do not want a biodegradable mattress, but they are made with the highest percentage of non-toxic materials available and meet strict standards for health and safety.
Why Choose an Organic Crib Mattress?
Parents and physicians recommend an organic crib mattress as an important way to avoid unnecessary exposure to the off-gassing of toxic chemicals.
What are the Certification Standards for an Organic Mattress?
Organic mattresses, like other certified products made with organic fiber and textiles, are certified under the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). The largest U.S. GOTS approved certifier is Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO).
In particular, the GOTS standard requires that all fiber and fabrics, with limited exceptions, must be made from certified materials that meet the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) standard and are processed in accordance with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
All other components (such as innersprings, fire protection, etc.) must meet stringent Federal standards for health and safety.
Are Mattresses labeled “Eco” or “Green” good too? Not really.
"Eco" and "Green" are not regulated terms and can be misleading. For example, plant-derived or soybean foam used in many eco mattresses are vastly petroleum/chemical-based and not really made of soybeans. Likewise, bamboo fabric found in eco models is typically made using environmentally-toxic chemicals with no trace of bamboo plant in the finished product. Many of these eco materials may sound enticing, but are not truly natural or green and are certainly not focused on eliminating harmful chemicals.
Where to Buy an Organic Crib Mattress?
We recommend two companies as organic crib mattress sources - made in USA - as healthy companions to our GREENGUARD certified Young America cribs:
Naturpedic and Colgate mattresses are broadly distributed or may be ordered directly via their websites. FMI contact a Young America Signature Shop or retailer in your area: Young America Store Locator