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5 Easy Ways to Pick Great Children’s Books

5 Easy Ways to Pick Great Children’s Books

One of the most vivid memories from my childhood is when each evening, our babysitter would tell us stories of mysterious creatures from faraway lands. Growing up, those memories played a huge role in shaping me. They also set me up for further exploration through reading.

Research states that we’re wired for storytelling. Good storytelling teaches life skills, builds emotional intelligence and creativity in children. Not just that, it also helps with their language skills and connecting with their own roots and culture.

As a parent, it can be tough to find good books for your children. There are literally millions of books out there and any parent would agree how hard it is to sift through them all. So how do you find a “good” book? The best way to know a good book from a not-so-good one is to keep your child’s interest in mind. For starters, a good book is never going to be boring.

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1. Ask the experts

Experts, who? Your children! Ask them what they enjoyed about a book they read. They are the best children’s book critic you’ll ever find.

Make a note of books that bring them a sense of joy, no matter whether the plot is too simple or twisted, and the type of characters they can relate with.

A good practice could be to ask them share three key lessons they learned from every book they read.

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2. Let them reject

You can always share the books you loved as a child with your children. But remember, it is not about you. Let them reject books they don’t enjoy (they can make a decision by just looking at the cover).

Don’t force them to read something they have already rejected. The more often you take them to the library, the more they want to pick books for themselves. Let them.

3. Don’t reject books rich in vocab

There will be times you’re worried whether a book is too challenging for your child. If it is classified in the right age group, still pick it and see how your child responds to it. Children learn new words through exposure and by making connections through reading.

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4. Use best-seller lists

If you’re stuck, try books from a best-seller list. Here are some good ones to keep your kids considerably busy for a long time:

1. The NEA’s Top 100 Kid’s Books
2. The NEA List of Top 100 Teacher’s Picks
3. New York Times Best-Sellers Children’s Picture Books
4. New York Times Best-Sellers Children’s Middle-Grade
5. New York Times Best-Sellers Young-Adult

5. Use an online library

If you’re concerned about the content of books your child is reading or want to be sure your fifth grader didn’t pick the next Game of Thrones, try online tools such as Library Thing, BookBub, BookGorilla and The Fussy Librarian, that let you choose types of books by preferences on profanity, sex and violence for your kid’s account.

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There you have 5 easy ways to find great children’s books. Have a sixth way to pick up good books? Tells us in the comments below!

Want more great books for your child? Try 15 Children’s Books Best Read on an iPad.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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