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Tag: Kids

My Favourite Books of 2014, Laurie Martella

by Dan
Kids / December 11, 2014

Mix it Up!

A fun companion to the hugely popular Press Here.

Mix It Up! takes the interactivity element one step further by introducing children to the concept of colour mixing. It encourages kids to have fun by not just simply mixing…but by smudging, smearing, smooshing pages together, and why not use your whole hand?!

I had the pleasure to meet author Herve Tullet in person, and watch him in action. His voice really resonates  through the text of his books, in a cool, fun and down to earth tone. What a creative, fun and colourful book!  

The Who, the What, and the When: 65 Artists Illustrate the Secret Sidekicks of History

It is the format and the subject of this book that I love. That combined with the fantastic artwork! It all blends together so well to illustrate the unsung heroes and what we don’t know about these people that helped shape the legends we cherish today.

Love Letters to the Dead

What better way to spill your heart out, than to write letters to dead legends? This was my favourite YA book of the year. Since it was mostly written in formal letter sytle, it gives the character the chance to really digs deep into her story. A story which starts off as a school assignment, which she can’t turn in because she’s hooked on writing more and more. It’s as if she is really connecting with people like Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Amelia Earhart – all these people who’ve died can relate.  And she certainly has lots to say. Mostly about losing her big sister May.

There are heart-breaking moments, nostalgic moments, awkward moments, and exciting moments too – all had me hooked and deeply connected to the experiences.  

Laurie Martella, Hornblower

My Favourite Books of 2013, Jamie Broadhurst

by Jamie
Vancouver / December 09, 2013

My favourite books of 2013 are two books that I started 2012 but am still reading due to technical difficulties.

Far From the Tree

I started reading Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon last November. I was on an early morning Friday flight home from New York having been away for the week on business. I needed to do class prep for a class I was teaching that afternoon so naturally I went to the newspaper stand for some procrastinatory reading material for the six hour flight. Both the New Yorker and New York magazine had picked Far From the Tree for their lead extended reviews. I was in tears reading both articles (fortunately I had no seat mates) and when I landed in Vancouver I downloaded the book. When I saw my son that night I squeezed him especially tight.

Because it was digital I didn't know the book is a doorstopper. Yet Solomon is a rare thing; a double National Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize shortlisted genius. It is the best book on ethics I have ever read.  Or almost finished reading.

Most parents have children with the expectation they will form what Solomon calls “vertical relationships.” That like the proverbial apple, your children will not fall far from the tree. What happens when they don't? Solomon maps the contours of "horizontal relationships” where children are different from their parents in ways that are sometime shattering and analyzes the communities that form around disabilities and differences that sometimes rival or replace parental bonds. Deaf children, blind children, Downs’s children, children of rape, autistic children, gifted children. It is debatable whether all these situations are as thematically similar as Solomon would have us believe, but his thesis about horizontal communities allows Solomon to catalogue some of the very best of human behaviour and the very worst of what can happen to the most vulnerable.

And you are surprised. One mother of severely disturbed boy states she copes with his violent fits because in their house with few amenities he has smashed all that there is to smash and all that they have left is each other.

The second book is War and Peace which I am also reading on my Kobo.  I had been given a copy as school prize years ago and never progressed too far but thanks to digital readers and public domain it was easy to start again. It is said that part of the success of Penguin Paperbacks is that they fit into the pocket of solder’s uniforms in the Second World War. It is the same for the Kobo reader. Very handy on buses and in coffee shops.

And it fits in the inside pocket of my jacket.

War and Peace seems far less intimidating on a digital reader, as you never really have any idea how much more text you have in front of you and soon you are caught up in the storylines and the  miracle of  immersive reading. I find it strangely comforting that the Tolstoy’s characters can’t get beyond the chaos of the incidental and the see the grand sweep of history. Who can?   And the scene where the  Russians are trying to fire a bridge to stem the French advance and where clearly the colonel in charge has no real control over events but has the supreme confidence to appear to have control over events seems to me a potent lesson on both the strength and futility of human leadership.

I broke my Kobo last summer alas, with a quarter of Far From the Tree  to go and on the eve of the battle of Borodino, when the haughty Austrians are convinced that victory is in their grasp. (Spoiler alert: it isn't). But I just bought a new reader this week and so Andrew Solomon and the Napoleonic Wars will continue for me over Christmas. They will be excellent company. 

Jamie Broadhurst, VP Marketing

Tasty Camping: Raincoast Books’ Cookbook Book Club

by Megan
Food & Drink + Kids / June 28, 2013

Grab your boots and bugspray and kiss your personal hygiene goodbye—it's camping season!

Camping cuisine for the Radford clan has traditionally entailed an intoxicating combination of beans, hot dog wieners, burned marshmallows, and malnutrition, so this year I threw caution to the wind and decided to try something new for me and my boyfriend’s 5-day camping trip: edible camping fare that wouldn’t give us scurvy!

I grabbed a copy of Hungry Campers by Zac Williams and threw it in my rucksack. This book promised a selection of simple and easy-to-make recipes for all meals (including the most important—dessert), as well as different recommendations/menu plans for weeklong or multi-day and overnight trips, and cooking for large groups. Some of the recipes are so simple and tasty that I found myself completely dumbfounded as to how such deliciousness could have been hidden in plain sight, much like a bear hides in the bushes waiting for you to turn the lights down to raid your cooler.

Here’s a sampling of the best of the weekend. And believe me, if we managed to concoct these tasty treats with no tears and minimal effort, you can too.


Pita Pizzas


-2 flatbread pita rounds

-2 tablespoons pizza or marinara sauce

-¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

-Assorted pizza toppings (pepperoni, diced ham, mushrooms, canned pineapple, green bell pepper slices, sliced black olives)

-Italian seasoning



1.     Place 1 pita round on a sheet of aluminum foil, shiny side facing up. Spread sauce over pita and add cheese and toppings as desired. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning to taste.


2.     Cover with the remaining pita.


3.     Wrap aluminum foil over pitas and fold in edges to seal. Place over coals and cook 10-12 minutes, turning once halfway through.


4. Chow down!


Baked Caramel Apples


-1 Golden Delicious apple

-3-4 Soft Caramel candies

-1 Tablespoon butter



1.     Cut out the top ¾ of the core of the apple, taking care not to cut through the bottom. Place 3 or 4 caramel candies into the hollowed-out apple and top with butter.


2.     Wrap apple in aluminum foil and place right side up on coals. Cook for 12-14 minutes, until apple is soft and caramel is melted. If necessary, stir butter and caramel to mix.


3.     Chomp, chomp, and chomp further.


And finally, a new twist on an old favourite: the ever-enduring glory of the s'more! The following photos of the BF chowing down, shot in Renaissance lighting, speak to my overwhelming affection for this camping staple. Hungry Campers suggests using a fudge-covered wafer instead of the classic graham cracker + chocolate square, and what a grand suggestion it was:


Want to win a copy of Hungry Campers of your very own? Drop us a comment below, telling me your very favourite camping dish, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win.

Happy camping!


What to expect… When you are expecting at Raincoast

by Liz
Fashion & Textiles + Gift & Stationery + Health & Wellness + Humour + Kids + Parenting / April 28, 2011

When you are having a baby, and work in an office, you can expect a number of things:

- Doors will be held

- Food is always  being offered

- Co-workers will discuss upcoming business while simultaneously rubbing your belly

But when you are having a baby in an office that deals with the distribution of top publishers from every genre, you can expect the extra gift of 'how to' and 'how not to' manuals of pregnancy and parenting to pile up on your desk (it's like little stork-elves appear in the night and hide baby books around my work area)

This is what has been delivered so far:

Pregnancy Planner: Essential Advice for Moms-to-Be (Chronicle Books)

- This is a great weekly planner that gives you facts, tips and hints about what is going on every week of your pregnancy. This week's interesting tidbit: My baby's teeth are already growing!

I'd Trade My Husband for a Housekeeper: Loving Your Marriage After the Baby Carriage (Chronicle Books)

- While I'm not ready to trade my husband in yet (thank goodness he cooks AND cleans!) this is an excellent book to keep on the bookshelf for after the babe is born and I need reminding of why I got into this whole mess in the first place.

After the Stork: The Couple's Guide to Preventing and Overcoming Postpartum Depression (New Harbinger)

- I can't really predict what will happen when our kid arrives but I can try to prepare in advance for what I can only imagine is an incredible emotional and physical upheaval. This book provides powerful tools for dealing with all the many changes that will come our way.

My Mom, Style Icon (Chronicle Books)

- Based on the awesome blog, Piper Weiss reminds us that our moms were people—young, hip, fashionable people—before we came along to monopolize their time. This book is an excellent reminder that having a baby doesn't mean I have to change who I am.

Mama's Big Book of Little Lifesavers: 398 Ways to Save Your Time, Money, and Sanity (Chronicle Books)

- As a first time parent any advice is appreciated. This book is full of hints and tips to help parents keep their sanity. Such as always carrying wipes, and if our child is messy eater don't let it stop us from eating out—just tip well! (as a former waitress I really like this one)

Fortune-Telling Book for Moms-to-Be (Chronicle Books)

- This is a fun little gift book full of ancient wisdom and old wives tales to decode everything from your baby's gender to their post-natal temperament. So far things I have learned are that tying knots during pregnancy can make labour difficult (note to self: give up macramé asap), and that I should eat avocados for a healthy and beautiful baby (but that a beautiful baby will make a homely adult... oh the dilemma...)

And I can't even get started on the baby name books we have. I'll save those for another post.

Favourite Books 2010: Heather Camlot, MySweetBaby

by Dan
Kids + News + Parenting / December 28, 2010

Create Your Own PlanetCreate Your Own Planet
Todd Parr
Chronicle Books ISBN 9780811871464

Trying to explain the world beyond the window to young children such as my own is tough, but this fun “doodle and draw” book makes them to think about life around them, from whether caterpillars wear shoes to what makes people happy.


Suzy Lee
Chronicle Books ISBN 9780811872805

Imaginative play at its best — while the young girl in Shadow creates her own world with simple items found in the attic, young readers create their own story to the simple, striking images in the wordless book. 


Every Day's A HolidayEvery Day's A Holiday: Year-Round Crafting with Kids
Heidi Kenney

Chronicle Books ISBN 9780811871440

I can’t get enough of craft books — they are without hesitation my favourite reads. I love this one for the range of techniques and materials, from fruit-stamping onto fabric to constructing a garden basket out of mini fencing, as well as for the list of unusual holidays — World Origami Days, who knew?


heather camlotHeather Camlot is the editor of MySweetBaby.

Favourite Books 2010: Annemarie Tempelman-Kluit, YoYoMama

by Dan
Kids + News + Picture Books / December 28, 2010

Play All DayPlay All Day
Taro Gomi
Chronicle Books ISBN 9780811871211

Trust Taro Gomi to take it to the next level. While everyone else is now doing doodle books he’s moved on to playing. Play All Day is filled with things to punch out and make from games to toys to finger puppets. It’s literally hours of engaging entertainment and would be great for holiday travel with kids.

Suzy Lee
Chronicle Books ISBN 9780811872805

Shadow, a two-word, two colour book about a dark attic, a light bulb and an imaginative little girl can be “read” right side up or upside down as one side shows what’s really in the attic while the other shows how the shadows of ordinary household items like a vacuum cleaner and a ladder morph into a tropical jungle complete with exotic animals, rampant vegetation and just a hint of danger. Kids of all ages are entranced by the shadow world and Lee's lovely art.


Ivy + Bean What's The Big IdeaIvy + Bean What's the Big Idea
Annie Barrows
Chronicle Books ISBN 9780811866927

I've enjoyed reading this whole series with my now seven-year-old and the latest book in the series. The adventures of this unlikely BFF duo are everyday in a lovely way that kids can relate to and parents will appreciate. With nary a licensed character in sight, Ivy and Bean's shenanigans are based on imaginary play and they're just "naughty" enough that kids will thrill to it but parents won't be dismayed. Plus I was thrilled to be able to meet Annie Barrows when she came to town this fall, my kids thought I was a rock star!

Annemarie Tempelman-KluitAnnemarie Tempelman-Kluit founded yoyomama, a free daily e-newsletter for mums in Vancouver (and now Toronto), in 2007 when she couldn’t easily find local info on products and services for mums and their babies. As a mother-of-two girls and busy entrepreneur, she taps into her own front-line experiences to provide readers relevant, useful information that will (hopefully) make their life less harried. 

5 Things Vancouver: Kelly McKinnon

by Dan
Kids + Travel + Vancouver / February 26, 2010

kidsbook-couchKelly McKinnon is the co-owner of Kidsbooks

Kelly enjoys travelling (especially on the seat of a bicycle), building Lego with her nephews, sports and eating (although in the email accompanying her answers, she suggests that the last two are linked!).

"I love my job running Kidsbooks, along with my business partner Phyllis Simon, because it is so much fun getting everyone excited books and reading," she says.  Amen to that!

What’s your favourite book about Vancouver?
City of Glass... Doug Coupland…he nailed it.

Where’s your favourite spot to eat on a budget?
Go Fish but the line-ups are terrible on a sunny day.

What is the best thing to do with kids in Vancouver?
The Aquarium...hands down!

What’s your favourite bar?
Rodney’s….the crabcakes are westcoast comfort food.

What’s your favourite free thing to do in Vancouver?
Waterfront…Walk, run, bike...

Thanks Kelly!

5 Things Vancouver: Maria + Stefanie, dandelion KIDS

by Dan
Travel + Vancouver / February 25, 2010

Maria + Stefanie dandelion KIDS

Maria Livingstone and Stefanie Missler are the co-owners Dandelion KIDS, a modern kids shop that stocks hip baby clothes and stylish duds for boys and girls. The store was born over 5 years ago over a casual coffee when they discovered a shared childhood dream of wanting to have a shop. The doors have been open since Winter 2004 on Commercial Drive in Vancouver and, in April 2009, Maria and Stefanie opened their second shop Port Moody.

What is the single best thing about living in Vancouver?
Maria: The moist air, your skin never gets dry
Stefanie: All the great parks and beaches

What’s the one place everyone should visit?
Stefanie: Museum of Anthropology
Maria: dandelion KIDS! [SHAMELESS! ~Dan wink ]

What is the best thing to do with kids in Vancouver?
Super Sundays at the Vancouver Art Gallery

What’s your favourite bar?
The Narrow Lounge

Why should people live in Vancouver and not just visit?
Maria: It would be nice to have that city buzz, and that only happens when there’s lots of people.
Stefanie: To bring even more flair, sophistication and diversity to this great place.


What’s the most common misconception visitors have about Vancouver?

That it rains too much (it’s spring in February-let it rain!!) and “we’re a no-fun city”

Thanks Maria + Stefanie!

5 Things Vancouver: Jill Amery

by Dan
Kids + Travel + Vancouver / February 25, 2010

Jill Amery is the Editor of UrbanMommies an online magazine with a focus on the stylish side of pregnancy and parenting.

Based in Vancouver, Jill is constantly searching for parenting tips, fun children’s activities and kid’s travel stories.

What is the single best thing about living in Vancouver?
Skiing and sailing on the same day.

Who is your favourite Vancouver author?
Aislinn Hunter

What’s your favourite restaurant for a romantic dinner?

What is the best thing to do with kids in Vancouver?
Can’t choose just one – skating at Robson Square, play area at the aquarium, Wreck Beach – the sand’s gradual entry into the ocean is perfect for kids.

What is your favourite Vancouver hangout?
The patio at the Art Gallery in summer.

What’s the most common misconception visitors have about Vancouver?

Tie: A) We never dress up. B) It rains all the time.

Thanks Jill!

5 Things Vancouver: Crystal Allen

by Crystal
Kids + Travel + Vancouver / February 24, 2010

Crystal Allen has been in the book industry for 11 years and has been a publicist at Raincoast Books for 3 years. She specializes in Children's Books and Travel Books. In her spare time she is mom to Isabella, wife to Rob (who also works at Raincoast) and designs children's clothing for her own online store Lilikoi Lane. She moved from Bellingham, Washington to Vancouver when she was 19 years old and  classifies herself as a truly West Coast Girl. "The West Coast is my home... I can't imagine living anywhere else!"
What neighbourhood do you live in? In my 11 years in Vancouver I have lived all over the place. My first apartment was above the Chapters on the corner of Robson and Howe. A great way to be introduced to the city as a 19 year old girl. I've also lived in The Commercial Drive Area, The Westend, Yaletown, Burnaby and now we live in the Queensborough Area of New Westminster. It is a great neighbourhood for families. We have a waterpark and community center 3 blocks west of us, a plot at our local community garden 5 blocks east of us, beautiful views of the North Shore Mountains and Mt. Baker... AND the Olympic Torch went right past our house! The exchange of the flame was literally right in front of our deck. It was such an incredible, intimate, community celebration. Just us and approximately 150 of our neighbors. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget!
Where’s your favourite spot to eat on a budget? Whenever my sister comes up to visit from Washington we always hit Legendary Noodles on Main Street. Not because it is budget friendly (though it is) but because it is just so darn good! I credit finding this restaraunt to Bob Blumer and his show Glutton for Punishment. I had probably walked past the restaurant a dozen times and never noticed it but Bob did an episode on the art of pulling noodles that I happened to catch. A week later I was dining at the small family run restaurant.  There can't be more than 10 or so tables in the place. They have a glass wall so you can see back into the teeny-tiny kitchen and watch them turn a ball of dough into hundreds of noodles with a few tugs and flips. They make it looks so easy but after watching Glutton for Punishment I'm very aware that it is anything but. They also do handshaved noodles... Oh it's just so good. Now I have to go again. Good thing my sister is coming up in March! They have a few locations but I've only been to the one on Main Street.
What is your favourite building in Vancouver? Hands down my favourite building in Vancouver is the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library at the east end of Robson Street. I had a great view of it from my living room window in my first apartment. Inspired by Roman Architecture it is a must see. So many people stop their walk on Robson once they reach Chapters and Sears... DON'T!!! Continue a few blocks further east, enjoy a coffee on the front steps, people watch and take in this beautiful building. Check out the Wikipedia Entry on VPL for photos and history.
Where’s the best place for coffee? Skip the coffee and go for tea! Check out David's Tea on 4th Avenue at Yew. David's Tea is a small chain of tea shops started in Montreal in 2008 by the then 27 year old David Segal. In the two years that followed 1 store bloomed to 9 with more on the way. Blends like Coco Chai Rooibos, Singapore Sting, Love Tea #7 and Forever Nuts keep me (and others) coming back for more. I'm in there often enough that my favourite Tea Gal Maegan knows me by name and we're now friends on Facebook (ask for her if you make the trip in.) There teas are so original with ingredients like chocolate chips, candied pineapple, shredded coconut and beetroot... this is not your grandma's tea. And if you can't make the trip to 4th ave you can always order online!
What is the best thing to do with kids in Vancouver? There are so many great things to do in Vancouver but one of my favourites has to be Granville Island. We used to make the trip up in the summer from Washington to visit when I was a kid and now I love taking Isabella there. It is the Canadian version of Pike Place Market but (in my humble opinion) even better. I could go on and on and on about all the terrific things to do there as an adult (strolling the Public Market for fresh cheese, pasta, produce, meats and flowers, visiting the artists community, having a leisurely lunch overlooking the water at Bridges or Sandbar...) but with kids I would say my favorite things to do are:

-Visit the Kids Market

-Stroll the Public Market and grab a pint of raspberries in the produce section and a Montreal Smoked Meat Bagel at Siegel's Bagels

  • -Head outside and eat your lunch on one of the benches overlooking the water and be entertained by buskers and interesting visitors from all over the world

-Chase the pigeons for awhile... Like Bella did in this picture.

-Hop on the Aquabus and take in the gorgeous views of False Creek and English Bay

-Then when they are all tuckered out and snoozing in their strollers head over to the Net Loft and browse the great titles at Blackberry Books

Enjoy Vancouver! It really doesn't rain here all the time. I feel so blessed to live in such an incredible city! Can you tell that I'm passionate about my city by the length of this blog post? smile

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