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Absorbing Reads for Middle Graders These new novels for 4th- through 7th-graders feature lions, aliens, a Bronze Age adventure, a boy who sets out to save his sister's life and the environment, and a heartwarming tale of a homeless girl. "Feral Pride" by Cynthia Leitich Smith; …Read more. Pet Tales To Please These funny new books star a rambunctious bunch of pets sure to make children laugh and then want to read more. "Dogs Are People, Too" by Dave Coverly; Henry Holt; 214 pages; $12.99. "A Collection of Cartoons To Make Your Tail Wag," as it's …Read more. Rock and Relax with These New CDs Music made for children has evolved dramatically in the past 10 years. With high-quality music just as lush and well-produced as adult tunes, this gamut of new CDs is well worth a listen. All are, or soon will be, available at such outlets as iTunes …Read more. Books for Clever Teen Girls Young adult fiction has come a long way in the past 10 years, mostly due to the sheer volume of intriguing, fun and smart novels and the popularity of teen reading. These are a few of the most promising reads aimed at girls. "The Perfectionists" by …Read more.
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New Year's Reads for Kids


A new year is a great time for youngsters to be introspective and become mindfully healthy. These self-help-style books will assist young readers in becoming happier and healthier in the new year.

"Soul Searching" by Sarah Stillman; Beyond Words/Simon Pulse; 176 pages; $9.99.

Teen girls are inundated daily with images of super thin models and pictures of idealistic beauty that's impossible to attain. "Soul Searching" is a thoughtful, introspective book aimed at pointing girls toward more realistic and smarter ways to achieve self-discovery, health and happiness. "Soul Searching" uses meditation exercises, dream analysis, journaling tips, spa treatment and yoga ideas to help girls relax and become more attuned to their goals. Revised for today's teen, the book also includes sections on social media, health and sexuality. It also includes inspiring stories of girls around the world.

Stillman wrote the book originally at age 16, and then went on to graduate from Yale, earn a Ph.D. and work with migrant factory workers in China and refugees in Guatemala. The young author has also been a foreign correspondent in Iraq and won awards for reporting.

With practical advice, inspiring exercises and fun quizzes, "Soul Searching" is a valuable tool to help girls navigate the tricky challenges of being a teen.

Tweens and teens looking for a high quality yoga DVD should check out "Shanti Generation: Yoga Skills for Youth Peacemakers" from Cinema Libre Studio. Healing benefits from yoga have been proven for all ages, and "Shanti Generation" merges yoga exercises and mindfulness techniques for kids ages 7 to 16.

Developed with a renowned youth yoga expert, the five half-hour practice sequences are, "Creating Happiness," "Energy Amplified," "Choosing Peace," "Being Sound" and "Voice Choice Possibility." Other poses and sequences help kids work on focus, stress management and mindful awareness. Visit for ordering information.

"A Little Book About Feelings" and "My Feelings Activity Book: a Book About Me & the Way I Feel" from The Mother Company; $12.95 each.

From the makers of the award-winning "Ruby's Studio: The Feelings Show" comes an enchanting new book series aimed at helping young children recognize, express and move through their feelings.

"A Little Book About Feelings" is a gentle story about what feelings are with a colorful backdrop of cozy, homespun plush animals.

"My Feelings Activity Book" is a hardcover, stylized journal that asks kids about their own feelings and encourages sticker use, coloring, writing and filling in blanks to better understand themselves and others. A fun activity book of self-discovery, "My Feelings" makes a smart gift for any young child but especially for those dealing with fears or sadness.

Slightly older kids, girls especially, will enjoy the spiral-bound guides from American Girl.

"Feeling Great" is "A Girl's Guide to Fitness, Friends & Fun" and is a tote-able paperback full of fun ways girls and their friends can do strength exercises, yoga poses, active games and make tasty, healthy snacks. A fill-in goal guide can be removed from the guide to take along on exercise forays.

American Girl's "Just Grandma and Me" is a fill-in, tear-out, fold-up book for girls and their grandmothers. Projects, activities and story starters are included, as are picture frames and CD labels the pair can share. Tear out notes, coupons and get-to-know-each-other checklists add to the bonding fun.


"The Tale of the Teeny, Tiny, Black Ant" by Teresa R. Allen and Tea Seroya, (New Horizon Press, $9.95), helps children learn persistence, to work hard and never give up, all within a cute tale about a tiny black ant delivering a beautiful bird's feather as a gift to a Queen.

Also from New Horizon Press, "Joni and the Fallen Star," by Cindy Jett Pilon and John Hazard, ($9.95), it's a story of teamwork about a classroom full of friends who each use their own talents to return a star to the sky.

Food allergy sufferers will enjoy "The Princess and the Peanut," by Sue Ganz-Schmitt, (Wild Indigo Publishing). A cheeky take on "The Princess and the Pea," this sensitive tale centers on a peanut placed under a mattress and the dilemma a peanut butter-loving prince has after meeting a princess with a peanut allergy.

Also from Wild Indigo Publishing and Sue Ganz-Schmitt, "Even Superheroes Get Diabetes" is an informative, kid-friendly, colorful picture book tale about a child superhero learning to manage his diabetes.

To find out more about Lee Littlewood and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



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