If you've followed my blog for a while, you know that I love making quilts to donate to Seattle Children's Hospital. So when my friend Lisa brought of the idea of an Usborne Books "party" to help send books to the children at Seattle Children's Hospital, I jumped at the chance. Here's more from Lisa to share some of her favorite books and let you know how your book purchases can also benefit the kids at Seattle Children's..and don't forget to read all the way to the bottom to enter the GIVEAWAY!!
I am excited to be partnering with Polly to provide books for the Seattle Children’s Hospital. I am committed to raising a generation of readers and I love sharing Usborne and Kane Miller Books because they can be the carrot to get kids hooked on reading.
The book drive will go through March 31st, and you can participate in our book drive in two ways.
- One, purchase books for the children in your life. They make great gifts for birthdays, Christmas, baby showers, summer reading, car trips, etc.
- Two, donate directly to our book drive. All sales and donations will be matched at 50% in free books for the hospital.
Usborne Books are high quality, engaging, educational and affordable. Many of my favorites are under $10.00. We have over 1700 titles for ages ranging from infants to high school levels, so there’s something for every kid on your list. Read on for some book recommendations and great reading tips.
We have lots of books that are great for infants and toddlers. For infants, the Baby’s Very First Black and White Library is a good place to start. The That’s Not My series is also good. The illustrations are outlined in a bold black line so that infants can see them and they are full of textures for toddlers to enjoy. My favorite Touchy-Feely books are our newest series, the Playbooks. All the books in this series have very bright, fun colors and lots of textures, cutouts and interactions on each page. The Big Playbook even has a sound panel. My First Word Book is the perfect book for growing vocabularies with new talkers.
Our growing line of noisy board books are crowd pleasers. Kids can’t keep their hands off my copy of Noisy Orchestra. I love how it shows what each instrument section sounds like and then combines them together in the end. And the music is nice to listen to. Another favorite is Noisy Nursery Rhymes. I can’t keep these in stock at my events because they are so popular. Nursery rhymes are a great way to introduce toddlers to some of the intricacies of language and they provide early positive experiences with literature that can kindle a lifelong love of reading.
Preschool to 1st Grade
Preschool to 1st Grade is a fun time as children are learning to read. We have many great books for early and emerging readers. Our Phonics Readers have fun, engaging stories with lots of great pictures. For a great value, Ted & Friends and Farmyard Tales are both combined volumes of reader books. They each come with a CD so kids can listen to the stories when parents are not available to read. They are great for the car. Another great resource is the Very First Reader Set. This 15 book set features progressively harder books. The first books are dual level meaning there is a section for the parent to read and a section for the child. The child’s part starts very basic but the parent part allows for a more engaging story. At the end of each book are puzzles to check for comprehension as well as a guide of what phonics are introduced in each book.
For story time, Gobble, Gobble Moooooo Tractor Book, Cuddle Bear and Dan the Taxi Man are some of my favorite picture books. Gobble, Gobble Moo has a bunch of farm animals that are imitating the sounds of a tractor using animal noises. It is fun to read aloud and will have little ones giggling all the way through. Cuddle Bear can be purchased with a Cuddle Bear plush that can make a great companion for a snuggly story time. Dan the Taxi Man has a fun jazz rhythm when read aloud.
Hey Jack and Billie B Brown are perfect beginning chapter books for emerging readers. They have limited words per page, large print and illustrations on every other page spread. They are not overwhelming but still give new readers the satisfaction of reading chapter books. They also have fun stories about dealing with all sorts of situations our young readers might experience in their own lives.
2nd Grade to 5th Grade
We have several fun series for this age range. Starting with the lower level books, Jack Russell: Dog Detective, Amy Wild Animal Talker and The Pony-Crazed Princess are great series for animal lovers. Oliver Moon is a fun series with a bit of magic. All of these books are appropriate for a 2nd to 3rd grade level. The Illustrated Stories and Illustrated Originals are perfect for introducing children to Shakespeare, Dickens, Greek Myths, Aesop, Grimm and more. For a more in-depth read, The Usborne Book of Greek Myths is a perfect tool. It’s the perfect companion book for any Percy Jackson fan.
The Silver Spires series is a fun set for 3rd grade and up that delves into the complexities of friendships and rivalries. For the same ages, the Extreme Adventure Series is full of nail-biting, non-stop action. I Am Jack is a wonderful book for discussing bullying. It’s based on the real experiences of the author’s son and portrays his emotions, struggles and triumphs.
Finally, the Conspiracy 365 series is designed for the reluctant reader. The plot is quick moving and the language is not too complex. It is for ages 10 and up and once a reader is hooked on the first book, there are 12 total in the original series with others that follow with the same characters.
6th Grade and up
For our older readers, I recommend the Phoenix Files series. It’s a science fiction/action series designed for ages 14 and up. Also, The Last Thirteen for ages 11 and up. This is another science fiction series that will consist of 13 books. The remaining books will be released each month until December.
I also enjoyed The Roman Pony Trilogy, which is an engaging story of an adventurous heroine set during Roman Britain. To view our other great titles for middle grade students, visit my website.
Activities, Arts and Crafts
For the budding artists, we have books for coloring, stickering, doodling and art. Some of our most popular ones for younger kids are I Can Draw Animals and I Can Draw People. Our new title, the Step-by-Step Drawing Book, is a great addition and even includes areas to try drawing right inside the book. Our Wipe-Clean series is great for interactive, repeated use. We currently have 13 titles available ranging from very basic Doodles to practice pencil control to more complex skills like First Words and Telling Time. They come with a dry erase marker, but I recommend getting some Crayola dry erase crayons if you plan to give these books to a child who may draw on their clothing or furniture as dry erase does not wash out very well.
For bigger kids, the Complete Book of Art Ideas, 365 Things to Make and Do, and Big Book of Things to Draw are all great combined volume books with lots of fun arts and craft ideas. I love the series of coloring books designed for older kids. These have line drawings that are fairly detailed with an example of what it could look like once it’s colored. Topics include Butterflies, Flowers, Rainforest, Birds, Forest Life, Undersea Life and a combined volume—Nature to Color.
Must have non-fiction
No library is complete without non-fiction books to show the wonders of the world. Our non-fiction books feature bright, beautiful engaging pictures with bite sized pieces of text. Non-fiction is important to increasing vocabulary. It is nearly impossible to progress past a 4th grade vocabulary without experiencing non-fiction writing. Our Beginner Discovery series is perfect for introducing our young readers to all sorts of amazing topics. For 8 and up, the Discovery and Discovery Adventure series are popular.
I also love our encyclopedia set. It includes three volumes: Science, World History and Geography. Within the books are links to the Usborne Quicklinks site. These links connect the child with multiple websites that have been screened for safety, reliability and appropriateness. Therefore, these three encyclopedias can be the spring board to a wealth of research for virtually any school project. No home should be without this fantastic set.
For a bit of fun along with lots information, our See Inside flap book series is popular. Studies have shown that children learn more from flap books due to the engagement of more senses. Don’t forget to check these out—especially Your Body.
How to Help
- Click here to see the entire catalog and to support the Seattle Children’s Hospital Book Drive with your purchase.
- Donate here and have 150% of your donation purchase books for the hospital.
Three things to do TODAY to help your child develop good reading habits:
- Create three book boxes (shoe box, basket) filled with plenty of reading materials. Place one by the kitchen table, or where your child eats breakfast, one in the bathroom, and one next to your child’s bed.
- Place a reading light by your child’s bed.
- Allow your child to stay awake 20 minutes longer at bedtime if they choose to read in bed.
For more tips on encouraging reading, receive a free copy of “10 Ways to Raise a Reader” by subscribing to my newsletter here. If you are not on Facebook, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe and I will send it to you.
To host a Facebook party to earn free books for your family or to do your own book drive for an organization, contact me. If you mention this post, you’ll receive $10 in extra free books when we close your party.
Usborne Books & More