8 Great Picture Books That Teach Kids They Matter…No Matter What

8 Great Picture Books That Teach Kids They Matter #childrensbooks #mindbodyspirit

weekend swoon creative awesomeness

I’m so excited to share these children’s books with you – all chosen because of the ways they teach our kids they matter…no matter what. I know lots of you are parents and grandparents doing your best to raise happy-hearted kids who will become happy-hearted adults. These titles will totally help!

Between having a mom who’s a children’s literature expert, being a mama to two spirited kids and my years of working in family communications & advocacy, I’ve seen lots (and lots) of children’s books that aim to pump up kids’ self-esteem. But frankly, many fall flat. It was super hard to choose, but I’ve collected eight children’s books that do a wonderful job of making little ones feel deeply loved and empowered to make their mark on the world. Hope you swoon over them as much as I have. Happy reading!

Because of You children's book - empowering and life-affirmingBecause of You by B.G. Hennessy, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata

This sweet and simple book details many reasons the world is a better place because of you – one more person to share with, one more person to love others, one more person to make peace. I love the first line of the book: “Each time a child is born, the world changes.”

Incredible You by Dr. Wayne Dyer - great children's bookIncredible You! by Dr. Wayne Dyer & Kristina Tracy, illustrated by Melanie Siegel

We have all of Wayne Dyer’s uplifting children’s books, but I like this one best. The sing-song rhyming offers 10 simple ways to shine – from taking care of yourself to changing your thoughts, with an example of each that kids can relate to.


I Like Me - self-esteem boosting book by Nancy CarlsonI Like Me!, written and illustrated by  Nancy Carlson

This is a classic and both of my kids have loved it. The main character is a darling pig who finds goodness in all of her talents and her ability to overcome mistakes, realizing in the end that she is her own best friend.

I'd Know You Anywhere My Love by Nancy TillmanI’d Know You Anywhere My Love by Nancy Tillman

This brand new book is already a New York Times bestseller, thanks to its lovely illustrations and beautiful premise – informing a child that their personality and spirit would shine through even if he or she were to turn into a wild animal: “There are things about you quite unlike any other. Things always known by your father or mother. So if you decide to be different one day, no worries… I’d know you anyway.” 

Children's Book - Sprinkle Your Sparkles by Kirsten Tulsian

Sprinkle Your Sparkles by Kirsten Tulsian, illustrated by Mary Gregg Byrne

I’m especially delighted to share this book – a big dream come true for a childhood friend of mine. Kirsten is an elementary school teacher and spirited mama who wanted to make love and kindness tangible for kids, so she encourages readers to imagine they’re spreading sparkles every time they open their heart to someone else. Love it! P.S. I had the honor of writing an endorsement for the back of the book.

Children's book - No One Buy You by Douglas Wood; part of list featuring 8 Great Books To Teach Kids They Matter

No One But You by Douglas Wood, illustrated by PJ Lynch

This book is such a beauty, with gorgeous illustrations of kids taking in their surroundings and the message that no one but you can see the world through your eyes or do things the way you can. I adore Wood’s other books, like Old Turtle and Grandad’s Prayers for the Earth, and this one is just as enchanting.

children's book - Mama Do You Love MeMama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse, illustrated by Barbara Lavallee

I bet I have read this book 300 times between my two boys. First published in 1998, it’s sold over a million copies and comes in board book form and paperback (we have a hardcover version, but they’re harder to find these days). The story follows a little girl who lives in the Arctic, asking her mama if she’d still love her even if she did all kinds of frightful things – from putting fish in her mukluks (boots) to running away with the wolves. The mama tells her how she’d feel (surprised, sad, worried) but that she’ll always love her little one no matter what.

If I Could Keep You Little by Marianne Richmond - part of children's book roundup teaching kids they matter...no matter what

If I Could Keep You Little by Marianne Richmond

Okay, this one is a bit of a cheat. Though kids will love it too, I think this sweet book by my friend Marianne Richmond is really a great gift for parents, reminding us of all the wonderful milestones and meaningful moments we get to witness as our little ones grow up. The first time I saw it, I nearly fell apart right there in the store! I can totally relate to not wanting my kiddos to get bigger…but loved thinking about all of the ways our love will grow as they do.

I know, I know – I forgot a book you adore, right? So share in the comments any titles you think are great for teaching our kids they matter…no matter what.

shine on: 10 shiny works of art you’ll swoon over

weekend swoon - shine your light

Isn’t always such a wondrous thing when the sun breaks through after a rainy day? Happened here yesterday; as the day was ending, the clouds began to clear and gorgeous rays of sun shone through. Actually happens to the best of us, right? There’s nothing like feeling like your own inner light is back in working order. So, I decided to dedicate the latest edition of The Weekend Swoon to art created specifically to celebrate our ability to shine bright.

Thanks to all the talented artists giving us a reason to swoon & shine today…
Rise & Shine art by The WheatfieldRise & Shine Print // The Wheatfield // $18 – $30

shine necklace in gold - marilyn monroe quote -

Shine Necklace with Marilyn Monroe Quote // Heartfelt By Foxy // $30

shine pillow.

Shine Embroidered Pillow // Hummingbee // $26

Shine Card - Click Image to Close

Shine Your Little Light Print // CurlyGirl Designs // $20 (on sale!)

Shine Bright - Adjustable Twist Aluminum Ring - handed stamped ring

Shine Bright Aluminum Ring // FamilyHouseStampin // $10

Shine Rubber Stamp from Creatiate - part of collection of SHINE art on Etsy

Shine Rubber Stamp // Creatiate // $14

Let Your Light Shine - Yoga Wrap Bracelet - Dragonflies - via D2EGallery

Let Your Light Shine Wrap Bracelet // D2EGallery // $35

Permission to shine - mixed media print by Kelly Rae Roberts

Permission To Shine Print // Kelly Rae Roberts // $29

Even In The Darkest Of Nights, The Smallest Of Stars Will Shine 2 Inch Leather Cuff Bracelet with Custom Hand Stamped Metals by MyBellaSmallest of Stars Shine Cuff Bracelet // MyBella // $38

You Can Turn Off The Sun But I'm Still Gonna Shine - Jason Mraz; art by The Pressing Pigeon (click for more SHINE art)You Can Turn Off The Sun But I’m Still Gonna Shine print // ThePressingPigeon // $8.99

“have courage” art & jewelry {weekend swoon}

weekend swoon creative awesomeness

Courage has been top of mind for me this week, as I’ve witnessed so many of the students in my blogging class cracking wide open and learning to embrace the value of their voices and the purpose of their stories. That takes some serious courage and I can’t wait to see where it takes them. So, for this Weekend Swoon, I’ve got some great prints, cards and jewelry from courageous, creative peeps. Enjoy and support them if you can!

Vulnerability Is Our Most Accurate Measurement Of Courage / Brené Brown - Inspirational Quote Dictionary Page Book Art Print - DPQU068Brene Brown Print // WhiskerPrints // $8.99

Courage - unisex Cuff bracelet - via Rusted Chain JewelryCourage Bracelet // Rusted Chain Jewelry // $28

E E Cummings Courage Quote Paper Relics Letterpress Luxe Greeting Card

It Takes Courage Card // PaperRelics // $5

Courage Wood Sign - Your Choice of Color - Typography Word ArtCourage Doesn’t Always Roar Wooden Sign // Vinyl Crafts // $55

sz 5 Silver COURAGE RingSilver Courage Ring // Nora McNamara // $20

Courage Quote from Walt Disney - Pink Print

Courage Quote Print // SydneyNCompany // $32

sterling silver feather warrior earrings - COURAGE or your custom word - made to orderCourage Feather Earrings // VernonBea // $65

Creativity Takes Courage- 10x8 print

Creativity Takes Courage 10×8 Print // HelloNiccoCo // $20

Have a wonderful weekend, all – and may you find the courage to embrace your awesomeness!

handmade gifts for rainbow lovers {weekend swoon}

rainbow rugs

Last week, I was totally swooning over these rainbow rugs at a shop in Santa Fe. I love a burst of rainbow colors – so that’s what I decided to find for this edition of the Weekend Swoon: great gifts for rainbow lovers, created by people who are doing what they love. 🙂 Enjoy!

Wooden Toy Rainbow Stacker- Imagination Kids- Waldorf

Rainbow Wood Stacker Toy for Babies // ImaginationKids // $25

Here Comes the Sun - rainbow, dove and last drop of rain - NECKLACE -Rainbow Necklace with White Dove // MixKo // $30

swinging from rainbows. colorful illustration by rachel awes. art print.

Inspirational  9×12 “Swinging” Rainbow Print // Rachel Awes // $18

Handmade Wooden Rainbow Colored Beads Bracelet Set, Party-goingRainbow Beads Bracelet // ADeaConcepts // $11.11

Rainbow Frame with Chevron Pattern from Two Hands Designs on Etsy, part of Rainbow Gifts Collection at LivLane.comRainbow 4×6 Photo Frame with Chevron Pattern // Two Hands Designs // $25

Ceramic Mug Rainbow Striped Roy G Biv 19 Ounces Ready to Ship

Handmade Ceramic Rainbow Mug // Judy B Freeman // $25

Wood Pendant Necklace with Matching Earrings - Woodburned Design Colored with Prismacolor Pencil - Rainbow Colors

 Wooden Rainbow Pendant with Matching Earrings // Mud Horse Art // $26

wall clock bright rainbow colorful heart kitchen wall clock wall art home decor

Rainbow Clock with Heart Center  // ArtisEverything // $39

Hope your weekend’s extra colorful, friends! If you like any of the work by these awesome artists, please share ’em or like ’em using the buttons below. Thanks!

The Weekend Swoon: Turquoise Treasures (Art, Jewelry & More)

weekend swoon turquoise treasures

I’m in Santa Fe, New Mexico this weekend and I’m on a turquoise kick. I’m swooning over the rich, soothing color – it’s everywhere here – and thought I’d share a few online finds with you so you can swoon along with me.

Handmade Brown/Turquoise Mottled and Howlite Beaded Feather BraceletTurquoise Bracelet with Feather Charm // AshsCosmeticsJewelry // $18

To Be Brave - Huge 16 x 20 paper print  - inspirational or graduation gift with blues, pinks, quotation and typography

To Be Brave 16×20 Print // Mae Chevrette Art // $42

Robins Egg Blue-Teal-Turquoise-Ceramic Mug

Turquoise and White Ceramic Mug // JuliaEDean // $25

Turquoise bracelet // turquoise cuff // turquoise jewelry // statement turquoise // turquoise accessoriesTurquoise Beads Wrap Bracelet // Lachlobijoux // $54

Turquoise iPhone 5 case or iPhone 4 case

Turquoise iPhone 5 Cover // Decouart Shop // $19

TURQUOISE/Cast Iron Bottle Opener /Kitchen Decor /Vintage/ Retro Style / Man-cave/ Game Room/ Patio/ Rustic Metal Wall Decor

Turquoise Vintage Bottle Opener // FromShab2Chic // $7

Boho Turquoise Wrap Bracelet - Turquoise Beads, Silver Chain, Black Leather

Boho Turquoise Wrap Bracelet // fleurdesignz // $38

Print : May You Know You are Loved by Lori Portka

May You Know You Are Loved Print // Lori Porkta // $25

Turquoise Feather Dress for Babies from LittleMacBoutiqueTurquoise Feather Dress for Babies // LittleMacBoutique // $60

Ha, that last one cracks me up! Couldn’t resist sharing that little sweet pea with you! And I can’t wait to share stories and pics of my trip next week; so much magic and meaning I’m not even sure how I’ll put it into words. Have a beautiful weekend, all!


the weekend swoon: let’s go to the fair!

weekend swoon state fair art

Minnesota State Fair - The Midway at Night via LivLane.com #statefair

Yesterday, we made our annual family pilgrimage to the Minnesota State Fair. Ryder begged us to go on some big kid rides in the Midway – an area of the fair that is a haven for teens with blaring music, neon signage, flashing lights, shouting carnival workers, and insane crowds. With Tru’s sensory issues, we figured he wouldn’t make it more than 30 seconds in that environment. But to our surprise, he was totally dazzled by the Midway, looking at all the rides lit up against the night sky and repeatedly saying, “It’s soooo beautiful.” Seeing him so enthralled inspired me to find the beauty, too.

So, I thought I’d make the latest Weekend Swoon an ode to those colorful, charming, homespun fairs and carnivals. So many  talented photographers and artists have found beauty in them, too. Lemme show you…


Carnival Carousel - 5 X 7 Photography Print - State Fair Family Fun Tent Sparkle

5×7 Carnival Carousel photography print // lladybugzz // $12.99

minnesota state fair polaroid magnets ... set of 6 magnets

Minnesota State Fair Polaroid Magnets // PaintedFishStudio // 6 for $12

Fabric Cuff - Retro Michigan State Fair

Retro Michigan State Fair Cuff // StudioLams // $60

Carnival Postcard Collection - Lost on the Midway from The Black Apple

Lost on the Midway Carnival Postcards // The Black Apple // $15

Ferris Wheel Necklace by Short and Bald Jewelry. Part of the Weekend Swoon: Let's Go to the #Fair via LivLane.com.

Ferris Wheel Necklace // Short and Bald Jewelry // $19.75

County Fair Birthday Party "Prize Ribbon" Invitation

County Fair Custom Kids’ Birthday Invitation // CakeEvents // $16

Vintage Carnival Art Tags Vintage Carnival Art Tags (Instant Download)  // The Photo Cube // $2.50

Ferris Wheel Hand Carved Rubber Stamp


Ferris Wheel Hand Carved Rubber Stamp // TCWitchcraft Factory // $16

Hope you get a chance to really soak up the last days of summer, friends!  Happy (long) weekend!

Weekend Swoon: Beautiful Beaded Bracelets, Necklaces and Earrings

weekend swoon: beaded jewelry

Fun news, peeps! A while back, I started something called The Weekend Swoon – a chance to show you products and projects that had me swooning. It was a little to broad and I let it slide. But I’ve decided to reinstate The Weekend Swoon with a specific mission: to celebrate & showcase incredible artisans and creative crafters.

The timing is no coincidence; this week, I’m celebrating three years since opening my own Etsy shop. I know the courage it takes to put your art into the world and I love the idea of cheering some of those bravehearts on. So, if you see something you like, leave a comment or click “like” or pin it on Pinterest or…best of all…buy it from them!

This week’s theme is beaded beauties – happy swooning!

Rainbow Necklace Glass Pearl Beaded Necklace Multicoloured by The Candy TreeRainbow Necklace // TheCandyTree125 // $31

Red bead necklace, Multi strand necklace, chunky bead necklace, seed bead necklace,  acai necklace, beadwork jewelryRed Bead Necklace // JustineJustine // $38

Beaded Native American Earrings, Brick Stitch

Beaded Native American Earrings // SoulLovin // $60

Wrap Bracelet, Wide Bracelet, Beaded Bracelet, Triple Bracelet, Leather Bracelet, Chain Bracelet, Bohemian Bracelet, Fashion Bracelet, Nappa

Wrapped Bead Bracelet // Stella’s Little Shop // $26

kelly barton necklace - star bead, turquoise beads, striped beadsSoul Juice Star Necklace // Kelly Barton Art // $27

German Glass Bead Bracelet

German Glass Bead Bracelet // Ronni Kappos for Uncommon Good // $120

Nature's Splendor Beaded Necklace via Sundance Catalog

Nature’s Splendor Necklace // Sundance Catalog // $98 on sale!

Boho Southwest Bracelet, Cowgirl Bracelet, Turquoise Jewelry, Stacked Bracelets, RodeoBoho Southwest Bracelet // BohoStyleMe // $89

Lapis and Green Onyx Drop Bracelet from Wendy Mink

Lapis and Green Onyx Bracelet // Wendy Mink // $173

Colorful Long Dangle Earrings, Teal Yellow Red Lampwork Glass Earrings, Beadwork Earrings, Funky Earrings, Unique Earrings - Jabberwocky

Colorful Dangle Earrings with Lampwork Beads // Glass River Jewelry // $77

Orange and Turquoise Necklace - Asymmetrical Orange and Turquoise Statement Necklace - Color Block Necklace Fashion Trend 2013

Orange and Turquoise Beaded Necklace // Wildflowers and Grace // $49

Note: The links for Ronni Kapos, Wendy Mink and Sundance Catalog are affiliate links…if you click and purchase, I make enough money to buy, oh, one bead. 🙂 Have a beautiful weekend, everyone! 

The Weekend Swoon: “Awesome” Day Brighteners

Yesterday, I posted this on my Facebook page and invited people to share it with their friends, reminding the people they adore that they are, indeed, awesome. So fun to see how many of you have spread the awesomeness!  So, I decided to see what else is out there that celebrates all sorts of awesome. Success! Here’s a collection of totally awesome home decor and accessories I’m swooning over…

artwork via the wallaroo on etsy

awesome mug cozy by the knotwork shop on etsy

framed be awesome today print by kiki & company

anyone can be cool, but awesome takes practice” mug via new york public library

keep calm and be awesome throw pillow via ricaso on zazzle

 you are awesome mini print set {all 5×7} via kal barteski

Have an AWESOME day, everyone! xoxo


The Weekend Swoon: Playful Playrooms

I love that my kids have a play space to call their own – but it was crying for some TLC. Our playroom {above} had grown crowded with crap lining the walls – mostly stuff the kids never even played with. I’ve been slowly but surely throwing things out {under the cover of night, so they wouldn’t see!} and it feels so good to have a simplified, organized space again. The boys still love their train table, with drawers full of costumes beneath; the corner book shelves gives them easy access to stories. I’m always looking online for new inspiration; here are a few of the rooms and ideas I’m swooning over…

I love the rounded window seats in this playroom via Cavern Homes‘ blog, but am especially fond of the curtains on each shelf, hiding the mess of toys behind!

Found on Project Nursery, this playroom has chalk walls all around – so cool!

Super cute colors – a red and green playroom via Perfect Playrooms. I’m especially jealous of all the storage!

Oh my! I’m swooning over these bright, bold colors and wooden toys everywhere! via Cute Home Design

This is such a cool way to display kids’ art in a small space; tutorial from MerryPad.

Aaaaaand…I’ll leave you with the mother of all playrooms. Can you even believe this room!? A little overwhelming for me, but there are lots of great ideas in there – from the circle window and window seat to the puppet theater to the wall of desks. Wowza.

Hope you found a little bit of inspiration, whether to beautify your playroom or to just go play! Enjoy the day, all!