I have two kinds of kids. Kids that love reading, and kids that hate reading. Yep – I got a couple of each. Well…let’s be honest. I got 3 and 1. If we throw Tyler’s kids in there, we got 3 and 4. For the ones who hate reading, I have a hard time finding books that will keep their interest. For the ones who love reading, I have a hard time finding books fast enough. Either way, books are a big part of being a mom.
I bet you can guess which kind of kid Briggs is!
I want to start by saying, this is NOT meant to be sales-y. This post is meant to inform. There will be a shopping link at the bottom of this post, but my purpose is not to make a buck here. My purpose in this post is to share something I am SO GLAD I stumbled upon a couple years ago, and wish I had found sooner. By the time I found this publishing company, my youngest was already exploring with letters and sounding things out, so I feel like I missed the whole baby and toddler stages of being able to enjoy these amazing books.
I wasn’t planning on posting about this, but I had a friend ask if I’d do a post on these books because her grandma bought books for all of her great grandkids for Christmas last year, and it was such a hit that she’d like to do it again this year. My mom did the same thing last year for her grandkids, so I figured I’d put this out there before Christmas. This is about the easiest (and most appreciated and parent-approved) grandparent shopping-for-grandkids experience I’ve seen. I also know lots of parents who make it a point to give all of their kids books for Christmas, so I figured this post would probably be a good one to share with everyone, since there are lots of parents and grandparents out there.
The Best Books in the World
Usborne Books & More publishes AMAZING books for kids of all ages from babies to teens, ranging from activity books to nonfiction books, picture books to chapter books…and more.
The prices of Usborne books are comparable to any other books found in bookstores. I don’t tend to go to places like Barnes and Noble very often, but I’d say Usborne books are certainly not more expensive than books you would find there or even Target.
How Do They Compare to Scholastic Books?
I like Usborne books 100% better than Scholastic books. Don’t get me wrong. I love Scholastic. They have great books and their prices are unbeatable. But once you hold an Usborne book in your hand, you’ll know what I’m talking about. MOST of the Usborne books are just simply awesome quality. There are some books that are just like Scholastic (and their prices definitely show it). You know the ones…the cheap, flimsy, shiny-covered books. They do have some of those. But the majority of their books just make you feel good holding them in your hands. I love the matte finish that is on most of their covers. Maybe it’s just me. But I love them.
What is in This Post?
Organized By Section
Warning: this post is long. It’s because I don’t want to leave anything out!
Just read the sections you are interested in. You don’t need to check out the baby section if you have elementary-aged kids and up (although, you still might want to, because they are so dang cute and they make the best gifts!)
It starts with NONFICTION, then it goes into AGE groups, and then TYPES of books. Be sure to at least scroll through the whole post so you don’t miss any of the categories.
But you have to check out the Activity Books section. I don’t care who you are or who you are buying for. They are just so cool! They make awesome gifts, road trip activities, or great remedies for the dreaded “I’m bored” phrase. And they have them for ALL AGES!!!
Why All the Videos?
Because you get to SEE what’s ACTUALLY INSIDE the books, instead of just crossing your fingers and judging the books by their covers (literally). If you want to know what is actually inside a book that you are interested in, watch these videos. If you want to know about a specific book that I haven’t featured in a video, go search the title on YouTube. Chances are, there will be a video on it!
How to Use This Post
Like I said at the beginning, the goal of this post is not necessarily to “sell” you on something. It is to inform. I was so excited to be introduced to these books, and we love to share what we love, right? So I’m sharing it with you.
Go ahead and skim it, skip it, or read every word.
Use it as a tool to educate yourself on the different books available out there. Use this as a way to learn about what Usborne has to offer, if you’ve been invited to a home or Facebook party, but haven’t ever attended one. Or use this post to get some serious Christmas shopping done.
If you plan on getting some Christmas shopping done…
Go ahead and print this handy list out right now. Maybe print 2 copies. If you’re like me, you want to write down everything that catches your eye, so you don’t get to the end and have to go through everything again because you’ve forgotten everything. Use the first copy you print for that. Then use the second copy you print for your REAL list. You’ll probably need to cross some things off your original list, but it’s nice to have all the options staring you in the face when you’re making decisions.
This list has 4 columns:
- Title – to write the title of the book
- Section – to write which heading you saw it under (so you can go back and look at it again)
- Who – to keep track of which kid that book is for, and to make sure you didn’t miss anyone
- Cost – I am not posting prices on this post because prices change, but when you click on the shopping link, you can search the titles of the books you’ve written down and get prices from the shopping site.
The shopping link is at the bottom of the post.
Okay. Are you ready? Here we go!!!!!
♥♥♥Nonfiction – All Ages♥♥♥
This is the reason I fell in love with Usborne books. I love their nonfiction. I love how my kids are learning real-world stuff, but they don’t even know it, because it’s so FUN! You just won’t find better quality or more engaging books anywhere – about all different topics!
I personally don’t have any baby books, because like I said, by the time I learned about Usborne, my kids weren’t babies anymore. Although I will say, I did consider having another baby just so I had an excuse to get all the books! HA!
**LIFT-THE-FLAP BOOKS and PEEK, LOOK, & SEE INSIDE**
All of these feature fun flaps and engaging text geared towards specific age ranges.
- “Peek Inside” series is technically for kids 3+, but I feel they’re best for kids 2-3
- “Look Inside” series is for kids age 3+ (though I would say kids in the 4-6 age range will get the most out of them)
- “See Inside” series is for kids ages 7+
- “Lift-the-Flap First Questions and Answers” – geared toward a younger audience, like the Peek/Look Insides
- “Lift-the-Flap” books – all ages!
Here is a video of the ones we have. We can’t get enough of these books!!!!
Oh, and don’t mind my cow pajama sleeve (facepalm – my goodness – did you know that’s one word?! Who knew)! To say I had some technical difficulties while filming these videos would be a major understatement. Let’s just say these few videos in this post consumed about 16 hours of my day, and I had to re-do the two longest ones the next morning. And I didn’t realize my fuzzy cozy cow pajamas would be showing.
The SHINE-A-LIGHT books have hidden pictures that appear when the page is lit from behind with a flashlight…plus they’re full of great information!
**THE USBORNE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WORLD HISTORY**
This is a great reference book that doesn’t feel like a reference book. It is internet-linked, which means Usborne has verified reliable websites that have additional information. These are invaluable resources for kids writing research papers.
**THE USBORNE COMPLETE BOOK OF THE HUMAN BODY**
♥♥♥BABIES AND TODDLERS♥♥♥
I don’t have any baby books. But there are some GREAT videos out there on YouTube if you want to see baby recommendations. Just search Usborne Books and then any word…baby, toddler, etc. If you want to search some specific titles, here is a list of my favorites!
**THAT’S NOT MY…**
For simple board books with not a lot of words, the most popular series is “That’s Not My…” and there are TONS of options. Over 40 titles! (There are a couple sets that save money, like the kitty/puppy combo)
**ANIMAL HIDE AND SEEK**
This book is awesome! It’s a touchy feely, lift-the-flap, counting, look and find animal book, all in one!
These are just so fun…there are little indented paths for little fingers to follow on every page!
**SLIDE AND SEE BOOKS**
LOVE these. There is a little finger hole to slide the board back and forth to reveal what’s behind.
**VERY FIRST BOOK OF THINGS TO SPOT**
This is a really fun first look-and-find book!
**ALL BETTER & BIG BOOKS**
“All Better” is interactive, with reusable “band-aid” stickers to apply throughout the book.
“Big Books” are super fun because they have large fold-out pages, making them extra big!
**WIND-UP AND PULL-BACK BOOKS**
The WIND-UP and PULL-BACK books feature a wind-up or pull-back toy that zips around built-in tracks – kids ADORE these books! Here is a video of our Wind-Up Tractor book.
These are some of our favorite good old-fashioned picture books!
“Ludwig the Space Dog” is 3-D!!!!!! SO FUN!!!!! And if you are worried about those 3D glasses getting lost or wrecked, fear not. I already ordered a 10-pack for backups 😉 I got you!
**Potty Training Books**
Kinder-ish – Learning to Read
**My Very First Reading Library**
Teach your child to read!!!! THIS is an AMAZING set I used with Briggs (my youngest). It has 50 books for $79.99. That’s less than $2/book. Just watch the video!!!
Where have these been all my life?! This concept is genius! The top line is for the new reader, with the bottom text for the adult to read. What a great concept! We have a few of these but I like this one the best. It is a collection of Bible stories, and it also comes with a CD.
**So your child can read. What now?**
***”Billie B. Brown” and/or “Hey Jack.” That’s what!!! Each book has 4 chapters, 10-12 pages each, for a total of 48 pages per book. Huge font, pictures on every page. Here is a peek into them. Billie B and Jack are best friends, so they show up in each other’s books. You don’t have to read one to get the other, but both characters will be familiar, regardless of which series you go with. Billie B. is a girl and Jack is a boy. THESE ARE WHAT MADE ME LOVE USBORNE BOOKS!!!!! Saved Hallie’s life!
***After finishing the entire Billie B Brown series twice, we moved on to the Billie B Brown Mystery Series (6 total). They are about double in length, and the pictures diminish to one every few pages. It’s a GREAT transition into longer chapter books, since you already know the character and writing style so well!
Emerging Readers Entering Chapter Book Land
**Chapter Books for Young Boys**
I forgot about Wheel Nuts in this video! Wheel Nuts is a SUPER fun series, with bright pictures and is more comic book style. I’d say they’re about the Axel & Beast level of reading ish….
**Chapter Books for Young Girls**
Have a reluctant reader? Or a reader who just isn’t ready to give up pictures in his/her books? These graphic novels are for them!!
Next Step in Chapter Books
**Chapter books that my kids have read and loved**
The Impossible Quest series was Kambree’s FAVORITE! These are like Harry Potter/Percy Jackson, but they aren’t nearly as long. Fantasy.Butterflies is just one book – not a series. My daughter loved it. It’s about a girl who has to navigate being a teenager with a deformed face (from a fire).
The Conspiracy 365 books are no longer available in paperback, which is really crappy, because hardbacks are a lot more expensive, but I still wanted to put them on here because they are so good! These are more real-life intense books…
The Last 13 is also a great series. These have more of a “Divergent” feel…societal books, where certain people have different “powers.”
**Chapter Books That We Haven’t Gotten to Yet, But Looked Intriguing Enough to Buy**
I’m going to be honest. I did an entire video on these and it was my longest one, and I didn’t realize it had also been deleted and I am so done with the video thing that I am just putting up pictures here. But I have a TON of these and LOVE THEM ALL, so PLEASE don’t hesitate to ask if you want to see anything in more depth.Usborne has AWESOME ACTIVITY BOOKS!!!! Too many to showcase, but here is a taste…
Pretty much ANY OF THESE make AWESOME gifts!
**Wipe Clean Books**
These are available in different topics and sizes.
I feel like there are at least a hundred different sticker books, and they are NICE. They go from totally girly doll dressing ones, to super boyish war ones, and everything in between.
They have different levels too. What I mean by that is, there are some with blank scenes that the child fills up with stickers. Others are more particular, where the child needs to match things to put them in the correct spot. They even have mosaic ones for older kids. There really is something for everyone in the sticker department!
Gorgeous colors and scenes – I don’t know how they keep coming up with these! These also come in a variety of skill levels.
I think this one is so cute…instead of Where’s Waldo, it’s William Shakespeare. It has a two-page spread summarizing one of his most popular works, and then there is a 2-page spread with the look and find things relating to that play. Such a fun way to introduce Shakespeare!
**100 _____ to Fold and Fly**
They have a TON of these also…they come with instructions and this gorgeous paper to make them. There are Airplanes, Bugs, Spaceships, Dragons, Birds…pretty much anything you can think of that flies!
I love their Academy Series. They give fun information on the career you choose, and walk you through some training to become that professional for the day, and then have you do different activities. Super cute!
**My Beautiful Room**
LOVE this book! If you have someone interested in interior design, this is a gold mine! This book walks you through all the things you need to know to design your very own room. From floorplans to the color wheel to textures, this book is very thorough and fun!
**Make a Difference Books**
LOVE these books! They are a GREAT motivation to do things to make the world a better place. The bright-colored pages and creative ideas are amazingly combined to make you want to go out and do good! These are great for summertime or Christmas break, or on a weekend when you have nothing going on.
Believe me when I say I have not even scratched the surface here. If you have a child with specific interests, comment below and I will point you in the right direction!
I discovered these during the third Facebook party I attended and fell in love. These are SO COOL!!! I LOVE the “Listen and Learn” books because they pronounce the words for you!
I just have to put in a plug for these. To read more about them, here is a post I did on them. I even made a free printable for your child to track their progress on each math fact. You can download it in that post.
I grew up with wrap-ups and loved them! I use them all the time when tutoring math. They help kids become quicker with Math Facts, and they AREN’T flashcards!
Illustrated Bible Series
This is one of my favorite books we have gotten from Usborne. It comes with a CD which is a glorious idea. On Sundays after church, I am able to set the kids up with this book and CD and let them have some Bible time while I get some time to do something spiritual for myself. And you don’t even have to depend on your kids who can read. They can all just veg and listen. I featured this book in the Dual Reader video already.
Peek Inside a Fairytale
Usborne offers six different “Peek Inside a Fairy Tale” books — they are absolutely GORGEOUS and will quickly become favorites for your children (and let’s be real, a favorite of YOURS as well).
Phew! You made it through!
I warned you this was long. If you have any questions about anything I mentioned (or didn’t mention), please feel free to comment below! And for those who are interested in shopping, you will find the shopping link below. ♥