NAPPA Gold Award-Winners
Books, Music, Software, Websites & Video Games
In Part 2 of our 2010 National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) Gold Award-Winners’ coverage, we proudly bring you more top children’s products for fun and learning. Our expert judges, parents and child testers have again selected the most innovative and engaging products to help you find just the right gifts for this holiday season and throughout the year.
SOFTWARE/VIDEO GAMES/WEBSITES by Alex Chisholm
This year’s big story is Xbox 360 Kinect. Microsoft’s latest innovation eliminates the controller to open up fully immersive digital play. The early titles we tested are solid and just a glimpse of what we’ll see in the future. Another headline: Increasingly wonderful content is now available online for all ages and for family gaming.
For Preschool & Up
Tag™ Reading System, LeapFrog Enterprises, 2008; $39.99; leapfrog.com; ages 4 to 8.
For Early Elementary Students
Best Bang for the Buck
Herotopia, Herotainment, LLC, 2010; free (or upgrade with membership, $5.95/ month); herotopia.com; ages 6 to 12.
Leapster Explorer, LeapFrog Enterprises, 2010; $69.99; leapfrog.com; ages 4 to 8.
For Upper Elementary Students
Top Pick and Family Fun
Kinect for Xbox 360, Microsoft, 2010; $149.99; xbox.com; ages 6 and up.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Square Enix, Inc., 2010; $39.99; kingdomhearts.com; ages 10 and up.
Best Bang for the Buck
The Travels of Wiglington and Wenks Virtual World, Wiglington and Wenks Worldwide Pte, Ltd., 2009; free (or upgrade with membership, $5.99/month); ages 7 to 14.
For Tweens & Teens
Echo Smartpen, Livescribe, 2010; $169.95 for 4GB, $199.95 for 8GB; livescribe.com; ages 12 and up.
Global Agenda, Hi-Rez Studios Inc., 2010; $39.99; www.globalagendagame.com; ages 13 and up.
KidZui K2 Browser, KidZui:The Internet for Kids, 2010; free (or upgrade with subscription: $8/month and $40/annual); www.kidzui.com; ages 3 and up.
BOOKS & MAGAZINES by Dr. Helen Foster James and Rubin Pfeffer
What a thrill to see the remarkable range of entries in the children’s books category this year. Despite the press about the potential demise of the printed book and the electronic takeover of our reading habits, it’s wonderful to hold and read these stunning titles. Learn more about these Gold winners and discover our excellent list of NAPPA Honors books at NAPPA.Parenthood.com.
For Infants & Toddlers
Dancing Feet, by Lindsey Craig, illustrated by Marc Brown; Random House Children’s Books, 2010; $16.99; randomhouse.com/kids.
Old MacDonald Had a Farm, adapted by Kim Mitzo Thompson and Karen Mitzo Hilderbrand, illustrated by Patrick Girouard; Twin Sisters Productions, 2010; $10.99; twinsisters.com.
One Pup’s Up, by Marsha Wilson Chall, illustrated by Henry Cole; Simon & Schuster Children’s, 2010; $16.99; kids.simonandschuster.com.
Up, Up, Up!, by Susan Reed and Rachel Oldfield; Barefoot Books, 2010; $16.99; barefootbooks.com.
For Preschoolers & Up
Best Bang for the Buck
Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg; Workman Publishing, 2010; $11.95; workman.com.
Chirp Magazine, Owl Kids; $29.99 for 1-year subscription; $45 for 2-year subscription; owlkids.com.
Heads, by Matthew van Fleet; Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2010; $16.99; kids.simonandschuster.com.
The Peter Yarrow Songbook: Songs for Little Folks, by Peter Yarrow, illustrated by Terry Widener; Sterling Children’s Books, 2010; $16.95; sterlingpublishing.com/kids.
Swim! Swim!, by Lerch; Scholastic, 2010; $16.99; scholastic.com.
For Ages 6 to 8
Amazing Airplanes, by Gaby Goldsack, illustrated by Lee Montgomery and Anthony Williams; Silver Dolphin Books, 2010; $14.95; silverdolphinbooks.com.
Farm, by Elisha Cooper; Orchard Books, 2010; $17.99; scholastic.com.
My Name is Not Isabella, by Jennifer Fosberry, illustrated by Mike Litwin; Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2010; $16.99; Sourcebooks.com.
Who Will Plant a Tree? by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Tom Leonard; Sleeping Bear Press, 2010; $15.95; sleepingbearpress.com.
For Ages 9 to 12
American Girl Magazine, American Girl; $22.96 for 1-year subscription (6 issues); americangirlmagazine.com.
Birmingham Sunday, by Larry Dane Brimner; Boyds Mills Press, 2010; $17.95; boydsmillspress.com.
Do Something! by Nancy Lublin, Manessa Martir and Julia Steers; Workman Publishing, 2010; $13.95; workman.com.
The Dreamer, by Pam Muñoz Ryan, illustrated by Peter Sis; Scholastic, 2010; $17.99; scholastic.com.
The Popularity Papers, by Amy Ignatow; Abrams/Amulet Books, 2010; $15.99; amuletbooks.com.
The Social Times Magazine, Autism Asperger Publishing Company; $51 for a year’s subscription (nine issues), 10 student copies of each issue included; asperger.net.
For Ages 12 and Up
The Cardturner, by Louis Sachar; Random House Children’s Books, 2010; $17.99; www.randomhouse.com/teens.
Fat Boy Chronicles, by Diane Lang and Michael Buchanan; Sleeping Bear Press, 2010; $9.95; www.sleepingbearpress.com.
A Girl Named Mister, by Nikki Grimes; Zondervan, 2010; $15.99; www.zondervan.com.
Poetry Speaks Who I Am, edited by Elise Paschen; Sourcebooks, 2010; $19.99; www.sourcebooks.com.
MUSIC by John Wood and Tor Hyams
Music for children and their families is alive and well! Indie artists shined brightly in NAPPA’s 20th year, as they blended with established performers who continue to deliver. What a tremendous mix of new takes on traditional songs, terrific original songs and outstanding musicianship!
Music Together® Lullabies, various artists, Music Together LLC, 2009; $14.95; musictogether.com; ages 0 to 6.
Party Like a Twinkle Star, Charity and the JAMband, 2010; $17.98 double CD; jamjamjam.com; ages 0 to 9.
Sing Me Goodnight, Lisa Redfern, Hurricane Music, 2010; $15; lisaredfern.com; ages 0 and up.
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK
Sing Me to Sleep—Indie Lullabies, Various Artists, American Laundromat Records, 2010; $13.95; alr-music.com; ages 0 and up.
For Toddlers & Up
A Mighty Good Day, Hullabaloo, Hullabaloo Music, 2010; $12; www.hullabalooband.com; ages 0 to 6.
Rock and Roll Garden, Bari Koral Family Rock Band, Loopytunes, 2010; $10.99; www.barikoral.com; ages 1 to 5.
The Wild World of Wildlife, Birdie Mendoza, Birdie’s Playhouse, 2010; $10.99; birdiesplayhouse.com; ages 0 to 5.
For Ages 4 & Up
A Cow Says Moock, Alastair Moock, Moockshake Music, 2010; $15; moockmusic.com; ages 2 to 10.
Eat a Bowl of Cherries, Rhythm Child, The Rhythm Child Network, 2009; $15; rhythmchild.net; ages 0 to 6.
Funky Fresh and Sugar Free, Sugar Free Allstars, Wiser Music, 2010; $12.97; sugarfreeallstars.com; ages 3 to 10.
Jungle Gym, Justin Roberts, Carpet Square Records, 2010; $16; justinrobertsmusic.com; ages 3 to 9.
The Kids Are All Id, Randy Kaplan, Randy Kaplan Music, 2010; $12.99-$17.99; randykaplan.com; ages 4 and up.
Ranky Tanky, Rani Arbo, Mayhem Music, 2010; $15; raniarbo.com; ages 3 and up.
Swimming in Noodles, Jim Cosgrove, Hiccup Productions Inc., 2010; $13; jimcosgrove.com; ages 3 to 8.
Take It Outside, The Okee Dokee Brothers, Okee Dokee Music, 2010; $15; okeedokee.org; ages 3 to 9.
For Ages 9 & Up
Sunny Day, Elizabeth Mitchell, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2010; $11.98; folkways.si.edu; ages 9 and up.
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK
We’re Not Kidding! A Tribute to Barry Louis Polisar, various artists, Rainbow Morning Music, 2010; $14.95; www.Barrylou.com; ages 9 and up.
Meet the NAPPA Judges
Books & Magazines – Helen Foster James, Ed.D., is a lecturer at San Diego State University and former coordinator of library media services for the San Diego County Office of Education. She’s the author of S is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet. Rubin Pfeffer has held executive positions at several top publishing companies over the past 30 years, launched Beach Lane Books in 2008, and recently established the Boston office of East West Literary Agency, where he is a partner.
Music – John Wood brings more than 30 years of expertise to his reviews of children’s music, which appear in parenting magazines across the country and on Kidzmusic.com. He has performed more than 8,000 shows with his children’s group, J.P. Nightingale. In the last two decades, Tor Hyams has produced more than 50 albums from world-class recording artists, composed film and television scores, created live music festivals for children (Kidzapalooza), launched the Happiness Records family music label, and written and produced a NAPPA-winning children’s CD.
Software, Websites & Video Games – Alex Chisholm is a media research and development consultant who recently created games for iCue with NBC News and produced Generation Cures at Children’s Hospital Boston. He’s a founding member and executive director of the Learning Games Network (www.learninggamesnetwork.org), a nonprofit that supports innovation in the use of games for learning.
The Rest of the Best
Find more gifts kids will love among the NAPPA Honors winners featured at www.NAPPA.Parenthood.com. Here, you can download handy shopping lists—by age group—of all the 2010 NAPPA winners!