reading material : kid books you (maybe) shouldn’t read to the kids


even before pushing Seb out into the world, i was pretty amped about getting to stock up on a lifetime of kids books. my parents put so much solid effort into reading with my brother and i and now, as a (semi) grownup, i continue cherishing the written word. even if these days, it comes in small dosages of the new york times and not completed novels. we were gifted a good number of books from friends and i’ve been slowly adding to my list of beloved classics as well as discovering new gems. we’ve been reading Seb a small handful of the same books since he was born and now, as a 19-month old, he recognizes the titles of these books and the story lines. it melts my heart. i totally plan on shouting out these regulars but i’ve had so much fun with a few for-kids-but-not-for-kids books that i wanted to gush about these – the chile books that stay on the adult shelf. i bust them out when I need some comic relief and they make for some amazing coffee table accoutrements.


Go The Fuck To Sleep by Adam Mansbach

we’ll start with the mega million copy bestseller that everyone has heard of. real quick though, i would like to go on record and say that Adam Mansbach, the book’s author, is hunky. as. shit. a while back, baby father scored us date night tickets to see a special touring version of The Moth live storytelling and Adam closed out the night talking about creating the book and his life since the world went bonkers for it. he is from Philly. he loves hip hop. he has swagger for days. he is a loving husband and father. he is one sexy, sexy beast. Adam said he wrote the book in 23 minutes while in his underwear after a multi-hour exhaustion fest of trying to put his daughter to bed for the umpteenth time. for anyone not familiar with how this feels, Adam’s sweet story sums it up. it’s mirrored frustration all parents have on some/all nights with our wee ones. but written in the most genius way and accompanied by darling illustrations. it’s amazing.

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in a much-needed follow-up, You Have To Fucking Eat is Manbach’s (also bestselling, doiii) sequel and again, brilliantly illustrates what all parents, at one point or another, are secretly hissing under their breath while witnessing yet another bite of perfectly good food get spit out/pushed away/thrown off the highchair tray. you can absolutely raise a child on bread and yogurt. i’m watching it happen.

i hope he makes more in the series. they remind me that everything about raising a child is hilarious, if you’re able to step away and not sob out of sheer frustration/exhaustion/take your pick remember that these are precious, fleeting moments in time.


All The Buildings In New That I’ve Drawn So Far by James Gulliver Hancock

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my bestie gave us this one. she helps folks pick out the cutest and hippest in kid presents at one of Portland’s most fun kid stores, Black Wagon. so when it comes to gift-giving herself, Rae is the bomb. being the big apple sucker that i am and secretly wanting to raise a Manhattan-ready child, i love this book.



it’s 64 pages of romantic hand drawn buildings all over the island and neighboring boroughs. Hancock covers the classics and the modern and includes the sweetest info tidbits like, “You can always find your way by looking for the Empire State Building” and telling us that the Chelsea Hotel was once home to folks like Madonna and Frido Kahlo. as soon as Seb learns how to stop ripping book pages when he gets frustrated, this one might make it down off the adult-only shelf and into the nursery.


i’m sure I’m missing some gems for this category. i know I need to get my grubby hands on a copy of, “Dads Are The Original Hipsters”. how super un-Portlandia of me not to own a copy of that. but pops came here in 1976 with his Birkenstocks and beard on fleek and mom had her flower crowns, high-waist shorts and a Volkswagon Beetle. i mean…not to toot a horn or anything but damn if that’s not some solid unaware pre-hipster stock. god bless them both for being extra extra before their time. toot toot. #sorrynotsorry