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If you’re still on the hunt for educational holiday gift ideas for the elementary school aged children in your life, the Smithsonian Discover and Young Explorers series give glimpses into themes of their world famous museums in book and puzzle form.

Smithsonian Discover: Flight and Smithsonian Discover: Space are fabulous gifts for enthusiastic learners from about age 8 and up. Mixing historical information about the history of flight and scientific explanations for how various flight machines work, along with models for paper airplanes and even a large poster celebrating the concept of flight, Flight is a wonderful hands-on resource perfect for the emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. Space follows the same format with the inclusion of fact cards and a poster, as well, with the focus on aspects of our universe, information about the solar system, and details about the history of space exploration. The planet and glow-in-the-dark star stickers will surely delight, too.

In Smithsonian Young Explorers: Dinosaurs and Smithsonian Young Explorers: Oceans, each box set includes a large poster and a matching 130-piece puzzle, along with a 32-page book that might be deceptive at first glance, for it contains a remarkable amount of interesting information and illustrations for its size. Several dinosaurs and ocean creatures are highlighted in the books ideal for children aged 6 and up, who always enjoy learning- and sharing!- newfound facts.

For those of you fortunate enough to have access to Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and National Museum of Natural History, these books provide reinforcement of the visiting experience. If you’re too far from the nation’s capital to have a visit, then allow these sets to take you there in spirit.

We’re happy to offer a bundle of all four book and puzzle sets to a reader in today’s giveaway! 

Follow the instructions in the widget below to earn one or more entries.

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Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler. For many, many people, myself included, Amy Poehler is a comedy genius. Some know her best from Saturday Night Live, and the image of her as an exasperated Hillary Clinton next to Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin will never be forgotten. Others came to adore her as Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation. The true-blue fans from way back will cite her brilliance as a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade, a comedy troupe who had their own show on Comedy Central in the late 1990s. Regardless of your familiarity level with any of her work, picking up her (not-exactly-a) memoir is a fabulous idea. If Yes Please isn’t exactly a memoir, then what is it? Yes, the majority of the book is comprised of personal stories, but there’s a
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Last Train to Babylon

The opening of Charlee Fam’s debut novel Last Train to Babylon is somewhat hazy. It’s the kind of prologue that drops hints and bits and pieces of the story yet to come in a way that doesn’t make complete sense on the first read through, but when you later realize the seriousness of the scene, you get a hit-in-the-gut delayed reaction. As the novel progresses, the intensity increases while still maintaining a level of dark humor to balance out the seriousness of the story. Upon finding out that her high school best friend has died of a likely suicide, Aubrey Glass finds herself focused on her annoyance at her mother’s overly sentimental phone conversation. Dismissing her school guidance counselor mother’s barely veiled attempts at evoking some sort
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Revisit Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer with Penguin Classics

When was the last time you read Mark Twain’s classics Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or The Adventures of Tom Sawyer? I’m fairly certain I read Huck Finn’s story way back in high school, but I don’t think it really struck a chord with me until a few years later. I attended Elmira College, a small school in western New York located in the town in which Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) resided for many summers with his wife’s family who hailed from Elmira. Every day, I would walk past an octagonal study relocated to campus from the land on which the family lived, and it was thrilling to know that Clemens wrote some of his best work inside that little building, including these two novels. Each of the new Penguin Classics editions feature an introduction
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Animal Teachers

In the nonfiction picture book Animal Teachers, author Janet Halfmann introduces young readers to twelve different groups of animal parents and children. Beginning by pointing out to readers that parents and caregivers are their first teachers, parallels are then made to the ways in which animal parents teach their little ones skills or habits that are essential to each particular type of creature. The animals chosen for inclusion in this nonfiction book are widely varied, including some exotically wild ones like emperor penguins and cheetahs, and more domestic or familiar animals such as chickens and beavers. Each animal is depicted in attractive and realistic watercolor illustrations by Katy Hudson that portray their natural habitats well. What really appealed to me as a parent and early childhood educator was
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Snowman’s Story

A tall black top hat falls from an owl’s talons just as some woodland creatures are building a snowman. After a fluffy red scarf is put in place to accompany the hat, the now-animated snowman is handed a book, and the bear, bird, fox, and rabbit wait for the story to begin. Snowman’s Story by Will Hillenbrand presents a wordless adventure showing just how far some creatures will go for a good book. The rabbit perched inside the hat atop the snowman’s head is attentively listening to the story on that beautifully snowy cover illustration. But then sleepiness overcomes everyone, and as the creatures begin to settle in for the night, the rabbit gets a sneaky-eyed look on its face… and snatches the book right out
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Hank Has a Dream #Giveaway

Looking for a new bedtime story for your little ones? Hank Has a Dream by Rebecca Dudley brings back the delightfully adorable Hank, a stuffed woodland creature who showed his compassionate side in Hank Finds an Egg (linked to my brief review). This time around, Hank is telling a friend about his magical dream, and the meticulously detailed dioramas that provide the images in the book add greatly to the magic factor. You’ll want to hear more about this picture book, so head over to read my full review on 5 Minutes for Mom today. Be sure to view the video trailer for this imaginative book, and enter to win a copy, too.  
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Behold! The Dinosaurs!

Dinosaurs can be awfully fascinating to some children, and books and toys featuring the ancient creatures range from straightforwardly informational to outright silly. A new (sort-of) book by Dustin Harbin, Behold! The Dinosaurs!, presents over 100 dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures from the Devonian to the Cretaceous periods in eye-popping drawings. Did you catch how I called it a “sort-of” book? Well, I have to admit that I learned something new when I received this publication in the mail and I saw it referred to as both a leporello and concertina, and I was compelled to look up the terms before I opened the book. All I would have had to do was open the cover and see the fold-out pages, which measure more than six
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Today I’m Going to Wear…

Asking a toddler what he or she wants to wear can be the beginning of a seemingly endless process. I remember my own kids having their favorite articles of clothing and sometimes switching allegiances at the drop of a hat (pun fully intended). A new brightly colored board book by Dan Stiles, Today I’m Going to Wear…, depicts the experience of one very enthusiastic young girl choosing her clothing and accessories, and you can imagine that she shows her creativity in the process. Though it starts out simply enough with one little yellow bow, soon the girl is mixing and matching and accessorizing with glee and complete disregard for complementary colors or styles. Yes, she is a toddler, so this will come as no surprise to parents
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Mr. Tweed’s Good Deeds

Mr. Tweed is a smartly dressed dog who is heading out for his daily walk. With his dapper suit jacket, striped trousers, walking stick, and extremely tall stovepipe hat, he looks like quite the character. Soon, he reveals himself as a kind friend as he bumps into neighbor after neighbor in need of assistance. Mr. Tweed’s Good Deeds by Jim Stoten tells the story of this helpful dog, in a picture book that is part narrative, part counting book, and part ‘look-and-find’ activity book. Each friend that Mr. Tweed assists is looking for an increasing number of items or creatures- one kite, two kittens, three mice, in that type of pattern. After the missing object is declared, readers are invited to search for them on the
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Bad Dog Flash

A puppy and mischief go hand in hand, and in Ruth Paul’s new picture book Bad Dog Flash, the mischief couldn’t get any cuter. Flash has energy, and he just wants to play. When chasing the cat leads to him getting chastised, Flash tries to avert his attention to other playful things. But trying to carry a stick inside results in a broken window, and sniffing at the shoes all lined up in a row ends in a mess of chewed leather. After a series of indoor and outdoor adventures gone awry, poor Flash is mucky and sent out to his dog house away from everyone else. Thank goodness that his little girl knows when he needs some love. As a picture book, this makes
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Little Humans #Giveaway

Fans of Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York have likely heard about his newest book focusing on young subjects from his NYC photography project. Little Humans, which is already receiving tons of publicity and positive reviews, made me smile, too. A celebration of childhood through simple, encouraging text and gorgeous photographs of young kids, this book is a delight to look at whether you’re little or not. To hear more of my thoughts on this book, please read my full review over on 5 Minutes for Mom, where you can enter to win a copy of both this beautiful picture book and a Little Humans poster.
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