Best Bookshops Seattle: Petite Edition



There is something so special about walking into a bookshop and being immediately greeted and treated like you’ve been coming there for years (even on your first visit).  That is what you can expect when you stop in at The Secret Garden Books in the Ballard neighborhood (2214 NW Market St) of Seattle.  This independent bookshop is absolutely wonderful and has been in operation since 1977,  this bookshop has books for all ages, however, it would seem that their incredibly large children’s section is one of their passions.


I was so impressed with how inviting this store is, their staff is so incredibly helpful.  What I loved about this store is the way that they display their books, so many are facing out allowing you to interact with the books in much more enjoyable way.


Another aspect of this delightful bookshop is their huge selection of board books.  I was so excited to see so titles, so many fabulous options not just the usual.


What is even more impressive than their amazing stock of books, is their staff.  I had been wanting to pick up a new chapter book to read with the petite and was helped by the lovely Katie who had so many great suggestions about books that my girl might like and she was spot on with her recommendations.  I love a store when the staff is knowledgeable, has actually read the books and is passionate about books.

I am sure you will love everything about this shop, it’s amazing.  Here is everything you need to know to get there and experience it for yourself.  The parking in this neighborhood can be a little challenging, come ready to drive around for that perfect spot.

2214 NW Market Street
Seattle, WA 98107

Monday – Friday 10 – 8

Saturday 10 – 7

Sunday 11 – 5




It’s Lunchtime…The Bear Ate Your Sandwich

My smallest petite absolutely loves bears.  She says bear in such a cute little baby voice, sort of like the Foster’s Beer commercial pronunciation.  So I am always on the lookout for a new bear book to add to our current reading list.  We recently checked  out The Bear Ate Your Sandwich which was published just this month.  [I think we may have been the first people to check this gorgeous book out from the library]


Julia Sarcone-Roach has created such a fun book, so fun in fact that you will not mind reading it over and over again.  The opening page hooks you and you want to know more about bear and what happens and what exactly lead him to eat your sandwich.

I have to say I love this bear, I love his expressions, how he falls asleep in a truck that rumbles all the way into the city.  The story has some pretty amazing details that my older petite was curious about – the truck dips when the bear gets in it.  She made some cute predictions about why it would tip to the side.  I love stories that cause petites to become all the more inquisitive about what they are reading.  This is exactly one of those stories.

One more aspect that I find so charming about this story is that the bear is in a large city and he takes it all in, it is really fun to talk about how the bear might feel.  How there are similarities between the city and forest, and how the bear interacts with the city is really fun.

This is a delightful story that is also a little bit of a mystery and a whole lot of adventure.  My petites loved that the bear, who thought he was being rather sneaky, was caught eating the sandwich.  My oldest was concerned that the bear would not be able to get home, luckily he is able to find his way back to the forest.  This is such a remarkable story you are rooting and cheering for the bear and even scolding him for his naughty behavior at times.  We loved the twist at the end of who was really telling the story all along.

We know you will enjoy this book as much as we did.  The illustrations are so vibrant and lively, you can almost feel the summer breeze and smell of fresh berries.  This book is sure to become a classic, I can’t wait to hear what you think about this book.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild!

Cover Art

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild (Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards (Awards)) by Peter Brown is a truly wonderful book.  This book is not only beautifully illustrated and written, but the message is one that is so important for all children and even a nice reminder for adults.

Mr. Tiger is a proper gentleman who lives a rather ordinary life and is bored with it.  He wants to go wild and try something new.  There are so many things I love about this book, first of all the message of being yourself – even if it is different from everyone else around you.  I think that especially for children being yourself can sometimes be hard and any story that champions flying your own flag is one that should be read with passion and often.

Another aspect that I love is that once Mr. Tiger “goes wild” others around him realize they too want to do their own thing and try being themselves for a while.  Peter Brown has created a fantastic story about going your own way – what a fantastic message to give our petites.

Here are so fabulous activities that go along with this wonderful book from Peter Browns website.   Mr. Tiger Activity KitMr. Tiger Mask Mr. Tiger Match Game Mr. Tiger Stick Puppets Word Scramble

Petite Stag Story Time Favorite

I have a dear friend who always picks out the most amazing books to give children.  It is a special talent that she has, always knowing which book will become a favorite, will inspire or cause complete delight.  For the petites 5th birthday this friend gave her Secrets of the Apple Tree: A Shine-a-Light book by Carron Brown & Alyssa Nassner.  A brilliant book that is so much fun to read.

Secrets of the Apple Tree

What the petites love about this book is the interaction that they have with it.  When you read the page you can either hold the book up to a light or shine a flashlight behind the page to reveal the image.

It is so much fun.  She loves watching the images shine through – and when you turn the page you can get a closer look at the black and white images.   These stories are so informative as well which I appreciate. Another aspect that is wonderful is the potentially new vocabulary words presented, making it all the more educational.  Not to mention, this book is perfect for predicting skills when guessing what is hidden within the tree.

I was thrilled when I saw that there are two more titles in this series:

Secrets of the SeashoreSecrets of the Rainforest

Happy Reading!

Books for Petite Worriers

Petite Worriers

When my petite was only 3 1/2 she was expecting her new little sister.  She was used to her routine, wake up, eat breakfast, go to preschool, come home eat dinner, bath, books, bed.  When I was 33 weeks pregnant I went on bed rest.  As much as we talked about what was going on in a three year old appropriate way my little one worried and fretted.  Her routine and basically world had drastically changed.  We did our best to reassure her that I was fine and that her sister was fine – giving her fun new jobs, taking mommy’s blood pressure and listening to her sisters heartbeat with the doppler were all fun new activities for her.

For some it might seem silly for a little kid to be worried, they don’t have jobs, bills to pay, “real life” concerns.  But anytime life changes happen, new babies, moves, new school, any shift to their “normal” routine sometimes worries and anxiety set in.

We decided to think about how else we could talk about her worrying and fretting.  We wanted to use books to showcase feelings and how she wasn’t alone and it was okay to feel worried and anxious.

Since our daughter was only three at the time we chose to use picture books and when discussing books we read we would always ask about her feelings – hoping that this would help our girl to gain some new vocabulary that she could use to talk about how she felt.

Wemberly WorriedThis book was by far the best book we could have read with our daughter.  She loved Wemberly and the cute story that Kevin Henkes creates.  It is about a little mouse who worries about everything, literally everything.  She worried all the way to school until she meets a new friend.  Her new friend is also a little worried too and Wemberly and Petal become fast friends and her worries seem to fade.  Of course sometimes it’s not that simple, but this gives your petites a chance to see that others worry too and that it is okay.

Ready for Anything by Keiko Kasza two pals Duck and Raccoon have plans to go on a picnic that is put on hold while Raccoon thinks of just about every possible fearful outcome to their perfect picnic…dragons, killer bees and lightning.  However, Duck is quick on his feet and thinks of all the amazing things that could happen instead.  The illustrations are adorable and the two friends work through the fretting and end up having a fantastic time together. if maybe just a little more prepared for all possible outcomes.

The Way I feel by Janan Cane; this is great book that I’ve used many times with students as well as with my own petite.  It is so helpful for children to be able to identify and use words.  Often times we only get the outcome of feelings – hitting, yelling, crying or what have you, with this book the illustrations are fun and help children, even really small ones relate and learn the words to describe how they feel.

Scaredy Squirrelthis was one of the first books we bought for our daughter, long before she was even born.  Melanie Watt is hilarious in her writing of this squirrel.  You will be laughing the entire time.  The things squirrel is worried about seem a little silly, but sometimes what we worry about may seem silly to others.

Kissing Hand a classic story, written by Audrey Penn, that belongs in everyone’s collection.  A sweet story about Chester who doesn’t want to go to school, he would rather stay at home with his momma.  A great story to talk about how your little ones feels when they go to school.  This story also helps to build confidence in your anxious petites.

Llama, Llama Misses MamaAnother touching story, written by Anna Dewdney, about a llama who is anxious about going to school and unsure that his mama will come back.  I think that this book could be used to have conversations about meeting new friends at school and how it can be fun.  Llama doesn’t want to play when he first gets there because he is so anxious, but by the end of the day he is having a great time.

I think that simply reading these books would be beneficial to anxious and worried petites, but I think the conversations that you could have while reading are going to be the most important part.  I personally have used these stories to have my daughter identify the feelings the characters are either talking about or showing through their actions and the illustrations.  It helped, she learned some new words and could relate to some of these characters.

If you have other book recommendations, I would love to hear about them and add them to my library list.



Book Nook Love

I would like to share with you my idea of a perfect place to spend hours reading.  These gorgeous book nooks are so cozy and inviting.

Book Nook

no. 1 | no. 2 | no. 3

no. 4 | no. 5 | no. 6

no. 7 | no. 8 | no. 9

I think I love book nooks so much because it is a realistic way of having a library room in your home.  Plus, I think it might be easier to hide out in here and read – not that I would ever hide from my own darling petites (mainly because they always find me).  All joking aside, these are some of my favorite nooks.  If you want to see more, check out this site, they have book nooks galore.





Illustrator Love: Aaron Becker

Aaron Becker has created two of the most stunning books I have ever seen.  Journey was published in 2013 and Quest was published in 2014.  This is a trilogy so one more amazing book is to come, and I cannot wait to see what Mr. Becker has in store for us.  One thing I am sure about is that it will be stunning!


Sometimes it is hard to know what to do with a wordless book, or what it should look like when you go through the pages with your petite.  I want to assure you that you are not alone if you happen to feel like reading a wordless book is a little out of your comfort zone.

I recently came across this wonderful document written by, none other than, Aaron Becker.  There are so many helpful tips.  Even if you’ve been sharing wordless books with petites for years, you might find this article to be helpful, I know I did.

Your Guide to Reading a Wordless Book by Aaron Becker


I love the idea of asking what clues they see, which makes it so engaging and fun and for all ages.  One of my favorite tips is to take your time when reading a wordless book, since the words are not there to determine how long we spend on the page, I think this tip is so incredibly helpful.

When reading a wordless book there are so many possibilities and when the books are so beautifully drawn the possibilities are endless and you’re really able to follow your petites lead.  Another aspect to these books is the incredible amount of detail it makes each read new and exciting.

I Love Paris in the Springtime

Okay, I’ve never actually been to Paris, but dream of it often, and am sure I will love it.  Lucky for us there are some fantastic books all about Paris that will help to pass the time until we can get there in person.


An Armadillo in Paris by Julie Kraulis is a delightful story of Arlo who is an armadillo from Brazil, he sets out on an adventure, using travel journals his grandfather wrote – he loves Paris and all of the adventures he has there.

A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino are on a walking tour of Paris, to the top of Notre Dame, with charming tidbits of trivia as you go.  This book is beautifully illustrated and absolutely wonderful.

Everbody Bonjours! by Leslie Kimmelman is a sweet book about a little girl traveling through Paris, with a fun rhythmic cadence which makes it really fun to read.  The story is all about saying hello and that Paris is a really fun place for petites to explore.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans a true classic, if you’ve yet to purchase a Madeline book for your petites collection, this is the perfect one to start with.

Paris in the Spring with Picasso by Joan Yolleck is a really beautiful story of with all the characters you will remember, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, Max Jacob, Guillaume Apollinaire and Alice B Toklas.  I love the vibrant illustrations from Marjorie Priceman.  A really fun and stunning read, probably more suited to older petites as it is a little long.

The Iridescence of Birds: a Book about Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan with illustrations from Hadley Hooper is a completely lovely book.  I adore this story, it is so sweet as it depicts Henri Matisse’s childhood and how he grew into the artist we all know and love.

Adele & Simon by Barbara McClintock is an incredibly cute book that has an old school feel to it.  There is so much to see in the early twentieth century pen and ink illustrations.  It is a sweet story about a sister and brother looking out for each other as they travel through Paris.

This is Paris by Miroslav Sasek these books are stunning in their illustrations and put together in a way that is basically an illustrated travel guide pleasing to petites and adults alike.  What I find so fun about the This is series is that Sasek died some thirty years ago and his illustrations are being reissued and enjoyed by so many.  This is the World came out last year and is stunning if you have a globe trotting petite you might really enjoy this title.

Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christina Bjork is a beautiful book that celebrates a child’s love of impressionism and Monet’s beautiful gardens.  This book is quite lovely, it is rather long though and probably better suited to slightly older children.

All of these stories have one thing in common they inspire a love of adventure and wanderlust.  If you can’t get to Paris then you might as well enjoy some lovely stories in the meantime.

Wonderful Wordless Books

I have used wordless books in my English as a Second Language classes many times, because they so naturally promote oral language development.  The same principle applies for our petites who are learning new words, learning how to engage with stories and talk about the books that they are reading.

Why wordless books are wonderful:

  • Readers have more freedom to interpret and therefore a lot less risk when talking about stories (which makes them great for using with students learning English or struggling readers)
  • Great for all age ranges
  • Petites who aren’t yet able to read, can “read” these stories giving them a sense of accomplishment and building confidence
  • Promotes storytelling skills
  • Without having words, readers are able to work on comprehension skills – making self to text connections, predictions about what a character may be feeling, as well as predictions about what will happen next
  • Readers have a greater appreciation of the details in the images and pay closer attention to the illustrations to give them clues about what is happening
  • Promote conversations about the text
  • They help petites learn about sequencing and structures of stories

With so many reasons why wordless books are so valuable to our young readers lets talk about the books.  There are so many incredible books to choose from, some have been around for a while and others are newer.  I try not to rank books that are my favorite, because each one has something special about it or I wouldn’t take the time to share it with you.  However, one of the books was so incredibly stunning that I couldn’t wait for my petite to get home from school to share it with her.

photo 1

Draw! by Raul Colon is so incredibly stunning, the illustrations are simply amazing.  A little boy draws images of African animals and becomes part of the adventure.  This book is perfect for all ages, and each age range I suspect will take something different away.

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd.  I was intrigued by this book because it gives such a unique perspective about the dark.  I love this book and think that is has such neat features, little cut outs in the pages and beautiful illustrations.

Journey by Aaron Becker is a stunning book that depicts what happens when a little girl who is bored  draws a door on her bedroom wall and takes off on an incredible adventure.  This is one of my petites favorite books.

Quest by Aaron Becker is the story of two children who are given a map by a king who is then taken away and the kids are on a quest to rescue him.  It is simply gorgeous.

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle is an amazing story with flaps you can lift illustrating a little girl and her flamingo friend who do a very special dance – it is completely charming.  A very relatable story where petites can learn all about friendship.

Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle is the next step for our darling protagonist – since she has now mastered her ballet skills she moves onto ice skating with her penguin friend.  This is a story about friends navigating what friendship means.  A lovely story where your petites can sort through the ups and downs of friendship.

Photo 2

Chalk by Bill Thomson is a really fun story for petites about a group of friends who find a bag of chalk at the park.  As they draw with the chalk their images come alive.  Luckily a rainstorm comes just in time.  More suited for children a little bit older perhaps in the 7 and up range.

Wave by Suzy Lee is an incredibly beautiful story using just two colors of water color.  It is all about a little girl at the beach and her interactions with the waves, a great platform to discuss feelings and predictions.

Flotsam by David Wiesner a young boy goes to the beach ready to examine all of the things that float onto the shore, he is surprised to find a camera and all that it has to show him.

Tuesday by David Wiesner is a whimsical story of a Tuesday when frogs take to the air on their lily pads.  This is a phenominal book that has been in print since 1991 and has sold half a million copies – for good reason it is so much fun to read and discuss.

A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka is a fantastic story about a dog who looses her favorite ball to another dog, a highly relatable story for petites who have lost or broken a toy before.

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney based on Aesop’s fables, two unlikely friends come together and help each other through some difficult situations.  The illustrations are breathtaking.

These books are all wonderful.  With this list, I am sure you will be able to find a perfect story for you and your petites to enjoy.

Perfect Prints for a Petites Book Nook

In thinking about updating my girls book nook, I have been contemplating what type of art to put onto the walls.  I am so excited about some of the amazing things I have found.

Etsy is such a perfect place to find incredibly lovely prints at reasonable prices.  What I love most is that you can find amazing art from illustrators of some of our favorite books.

The Fox and the Tea Cup has amazing prints that depict strong-willed girls and adorable animals reading.  I love her designs and have written about her lovely book plates before.

Fox and the Tea Cup Knight The Fox and the TeaCup

Trafalgars Square is a fantastic shop, Kit Chase is the artist behind these designs and one of my petites all time favorite books Oliver’s Tree.  There are so man lovely designs I am sure you would be able to find prints for your petite’s nook.  I have written about her lovely illustrations before here and here.

Bookish ElephantThe Bookish SortPirate Book ClubLittle Scholar in Brown Study

The Black Apple is Emily Winfield Martin’s etsy shop.  It’s lovely, if you are a fan of her stunningly illustrated books Dream Animals and Day Dreamers then you will love these prints.  I’ve written about our love of her books here and my love of her illustrations here.

Dream Animals Fairy DreamDream Animals Fox Girl PrintDream Animals Narwhal Girl Print

The Little Fox is a really lovely shop filled with lots of whimsical prints, these are some of my favorites.

Owl Love BooksFly Away with a BookBooks Can Take You Anywhere

Another incredibly charming poster that would be a welcome addition to any nook


With so many reading inspired print options available you can choose any theme your petite might like.  Which are your absolute favorites?