All the World's a Classroom

My Favorite Children’s Books: Part 3

My Favorite Children’s Books: Part 3

This post is part of the Favorite Children’s Books series.

 

This is the third installment of my favorite children’s books. Looking for Christmas gifts for your little ones? I think these books would make perfect gifts!

 

A particular theme that I love in children’s books, or in general, is turning mistakes or weaknesses into strengths. I’m a big fan of the message that encourages creativity to reframe seemingly negative experiences into positives. I know I need to hear this often, and it is never to early to instill this reframing skill in our kids.

 

By the way, some of the books recommended in my previous posts (here and here) are on sale on Amazon like Rosie Revere, Engineer and What Do You Do With An Idea . Also, use Honey to track price changes on books and everything else you’re shopping for. It’s great for the holiday season!

 

As usual, help me find more fantastic children’s books by commenting your favorites.

 

1. Beautiful Oops!

This one is an interactive book that shows you and your little ones how oopsies, like torn paper or a smear, can be turned into a beautiful creation. I love the message. And seeing the message illustrated visually just impresses the mind that much more.

 

2. The Pout-Pout Fish

 

In my house, this book guarantees a laugh from my son. For that alone, I’d read it a hundred times. But this too is a beautiful story about seeing ourselves in new light. As an added bonus, it also rhymes and rhythmic. I can’t get enough of books with rhythm!

 

3. The Book With No Pictures

True to the title, this book’s cover is not shown in this post’s picture (see above). Written by B.J. Novak of The Office, with mischief, this book makes you say whatever it says out loud, no matter how ridiculous. It’s a super fun read. Also guarantees a laugh.

 

4. Vegetables in Underwear

Nothing too deep here. But the pictures are funny. And I guess underwear is just funny. 

 

5. Eraser


Eraser is feeling invisible and unrecognized, because her job, though important, is invisible. She erases the mistakes of others. Again, it’s about finding your individuality, reframing weakness into strength. 

 

What are your favorite children’s books? Shoot me your favorite titles!

Other Favorite Children’s Books in the Series

My Favorite Children’s Books: Part 1

My Favorite Children’s Books: Part 2

 

Product links on this post are affiliate links, which means I get credits if you purchase products through them. Would appreciate it if you do!

My Year with The Next Big Idea Club

My Year with The Next Big Idea Club

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This post contains affiliate links. If you join The Next Big Idea Club or purchase products through my links, I will earn a commission. Opinions are entirely my own.

 

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been a member of The Next Big Idea Club, the nonfiction book subscription club curated by Susan Cain, Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, and Daniel Pink. Each quarter, a nice blue box arrives with two pristine hardcovers, plus other trinkets (e.g., book summaries, bookmarks, tote bag).

 

Keep reading to find out more about the club and my reflections on reading the selections so far. First, more details on The Next Big Idea Club.

 

 

How The Next Big Idea Club Works

 

There are three membership levels that you can choose from: Hardbacks, E-books, or Express Membership (you supply your own books). The club reads two books each quarter. Here’s the breakdown of the pricing:

 

Membership Option Billing Frequency Cost/year* Cost/quarter* Equivalent Cost/month
Hardbacks Annual $215.00 $53.75 $17.92
Quarterly $236.00 $59.00 $19.67
E-Books Annual $189.00 $47.25 $15.75
Quarterly $196.00 $49.00 $16.33
Express Membership Annual $89.00 $22.25 $7.42
*Bold face = actual amount billed

 

The Hardbacks subscription—the one I have—comes with a free tote bag and a bonus book. And if you pay the annual fee, you get 10% off.

All of the subscriptions include:

  • Access to video shorts by authors, reading guides, and author interviews for current and past seasons.
  • Access to a Facebook community forum to interact with authors, curators, and attend live Q&A sessions.
  • A donation to kids in under-resourced communities, in partnership with The Future Project.
  • For a limited time, you also get one year of Business Insider PRIME ($99 value) included with your subscription.

 

If you want to check out the club before paying for a membership, you can get a 2-week trial with the Express Membership.

 

I’ve read 6 books with the club so far and these are the ways that The Next Big Idea Club (NBIC) has added value to my life.

 

Exposure to New Books and Ideas

 

As with any good book clubs, NBIC exposes me to book selections I wouldn’t necessarily read otherwise. I would submit that this is the highest value a book club could offer, as it expands the horizon of our reading diet (as opposed to just reading books that are already aligned with our pre-existing worldview).

 

I’ve appreciated the way NBIC has expanded my exposure to certain issues and ideas, the most impactful being the principles behind building modern-day movements in New Power and the issue on free speech on college campuses in Uncensored . I was always interested in social movements and campus life, but these books introduce new questions to probe, new challenges to push through, and new paths to consider, like the ones in the next two points.

 

Big Ideas Take Time

 

Here’s the thing about big ideas: They’re big.

 

They’re not easy life hacks that you can implement and get results in two days. They need to diffuse into our minds. Their essence and principles need to be extracted. And finally, they need to be tested in our real life applications.

 

All of this takes time.

 

Sure, there are actionable steps proposed in each of the book, but the full truth and power of the ideas are not going to manifest fully unless you apply them in a sustained manner over an extended amount of time.

 

Changing culture isn’t easy, building endurance definitely isn’t instant, creating movements and paving a career may take years, engaging in difficult conversations and learning are lifelong pursuits.

 

The span of big ideas is measured in lifetime.

 

Why the long timescale? Because the true work of implementing big ideas is difficult, which brings me to the next point.

 

From Analysis to Design

 

One thing emerges for me as I read through the books: With big ideas, there are the easy part and the hard part of the work.

 

The easy part: Reading the books, critiquing the ideas, and talking about them.

The hard part: Asking how the ideas would inform my life and work decisions, and putting them into practice.

 

The easy part: Thinking about other people who should read the books and implement the ideas.

The hard part: Reflecting on how I contribute to or hinder the progress to a better world, as proposed by the books.

 

The easy work is done at an analytical distance. The hard work is internal and will step on our toes.

 

For me, the question is, how do I move from being a recipient of these ideas to a contributor. From consumer to creator. From analyst to artist.

 

While discussing the Culture Code , I posed a question to someone who is in a position of power, “What are the ways you intentionally shape the culture of your company?” The person paused to reflect and said that the answer is not fully obvious right now.

 

I think often there’s disconnect between engaging intellectually with the ideas vs. bringing them to real life. And it’s always easier to apply them to other people.

 

This question of artistry and design is where NBIC is pushing me to go.

 

(By the way, NBIC is not without criticism—see this blog post by Diana Senechal, which relates to this and the last point. As a NBIC member, I think it’s incumbent on each person to assess the truth of the principles in their own life and work, and not get too wrapped up in the “bigness” or trendiness of the ideas.)

 

Community: Where Ideas Brew

 

Ideas need communities. Communities are where ideas incubate and evolve. For me, the most valuable aspect of NBIC is the community—both the existence and the quality—it fosters.

 

I have found the Facebook community to be an enlightening space where thoughts get exchanged in respectful and considerate ways (much needed these days).

 

But of course, nothing replaces the meeting of minds in flesh and blood. I’ve truly enjoyed the NBIC Meetup groups (shout out to Carrie Sheaffer for organizing the Denver Meetup) and spending time with people whose common preoccupation is learning.

 

Beyond the NBIC-labeled communities, though, I have been in many conversations with others who ask about the club, the books, and by extension, the subject matter of the books. In a way, being a member of NBIC helps me find my tribe in and out of the club. And for this, I am really grateful.

 

Does The Next Big Idea Club sound like something you’d like? Join or check out the free trial here:

For another review of the club, see this post.

Photos by Johnny Loi.

My Favorite Children’s Books: Part 2

My Favorite Children’s Books: Part 2

This post is part of the Favorite Children’s Books series. | Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

Time for the second installment of my favorite children’s books! The main criteria for this series is simply this: I shouldn’t get tired reading these over and over again.

 

My little man is growing and showing his preferences too, so I’m adding “Z’s review” on some of the books to show his favorites.

 

As usual, help me find more fantastic children’s books by commenting! I’m particularly interested in books that show diversity.

 

1. Barnyard Dance! Pajama Time! And Other Sandra Boynton Books

These books are full of rhythms and so much fun. The characters are also super cute, I want to squeeze them if I could.

 

Z’s review: I ask for Pajama Time! every night and I have a little dance to ask for the Barnyard one.

 

2. What Do You Do With a Chance

 

 

 

I love What Do You Do With a Chance and look forward to getting the other two. The book is gorgeously illustrated, deeply reflective, and profound for kids and adults.

 

3. Baby Loves Science Series

 

These are perfect if you’re building Nerdlandia, like us! These are the three that we own, because they’re basically CHEME001 and CS001, and we are so dorky. They also have one on Aerospace Engineering, Gravity, Structural Engineering, Green Energy. I mean, you can just go crazy and unleash your inner nerd here.

 

Z’s review: Hey it’s my Choo Choo book! And the babies are cute.

 

4. Jesus Storybook Bible

 

This is the best kids’ Bible I’ve come across. The stories are so well-written, freshly delivered, and concise. Very kid and parent-friendly (i.e., not boring). I really, really appreciate the writing of this Bible, not to mention the lovely illustrations–I have never seen Jesus drawn this way and I like it.

 

Z’s review: I can now say the word ‘Bible” and I love flipping through its pages. (Some I have ripped!)

 

5. No Matter What

 

Heartwarming story about the no-matter-whatness of love.

 

What are your favorite children’s books? Comment with your favorite titles!

Favorite Children’s Books Series

My Favorite Children’s Books: Part 1

 

Product links on this post are affiliate links, which means I get credits if you purchase products through them. Would appreciate it if you do!

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