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Boston Children’s Museum
308 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 426-6500

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Open Everyday 10am-5pm
Friday: 10am-9pm

Family Reading

Books for Kids | Books for Grown-ups

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Books for Kids

"Not a Box" by Antoinette Portis
Winner of a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award
A box is just a box...unless it's not a box. From mountain to rocket ship, a small rabbit shows that a box will go as far as the imagination allows. Inspired by a memory of sitting in a box on her driveway with her sister, Antoinette Portis captures the thrill when pretend feels so real that it actually becomes real—when the imagination takes over inside a cardboard box, and through play, a child is transported to a world where anything is possible.

Recommended by Senior Manager of Community Engagement, Kacy Hughes.
"Love the message about one of the best toys ever – a cardboard box! So many things it could be and it’s free!"
"Rosie Revere, Engineer" by Andrea Beaty
Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she's a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal--to fly--Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt's dream come true. But when her contraption doesn't fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie's contraption was a raging success. You can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit.

Recommended by Senior Manager of Community Engagement, Kacy Hughes.
"I like this book because it rhymes, the kids are good role models, and STEM is so important!"
"The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster
For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams.

Recommended by Science Program Manager, Alissa Daniels.

"My favorite kids book of all time, and my favorite book of all time for anyone, is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It’s written for about a 5th grade level, which is a little old for many of our visitors, but is a perfectly good read-aloud."
"10,000 Dresses" by Marcus Ewert
Every night, Bailey dreams about magical dresses: dresses made of crystals and rainbows, dresses made of flowers, dresses made of windows. . . . Unfortunately, when Bailey's awake, no one wants to hear about these beautiful dreams. Quite the contrary. "You're a BOY!" Mother and Father tell Bailey. "You shouldn't be thinking about dresses at all." Then Bailey meets Laurel, an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey's imagination and courage. In friendship, the two of them begin making dresses together. And Bailey's dreams come true!

Recommended by Early Learning Program Developer, Jessie Kravette.
"This book is a picture book but also a must-read for any adult who wants to understand the internal thoughts of a transgender child. It is beautifully written and illustrated and opens the door to understanding transgender children through a simple, picture book format.
"Rules of Summer" by Shaun Tan
Never be late for a parade.
Never forget the password.
Never ruin a perfect plan.

It's all about the rules. But what if the rules feel completely arbitrary? What if your older brother is the only one who gets to make them up all summer long? And what if he's the only one who can save you when the darkness of winter comes rushing in?

Recommended by Japanese Program Manager, Akemi Chayama.
"This book has beautiful illustrations, and it provides good perspective, looking through the anti-bias education framework."
"The Curious Garden" by Peter Brown
One boy's quest for a greener world... one garden at a time. While out exploring one day, a little boy named Liam discovers a struggling garden and decides to take care of it. As time passes, the garden spreads throughout the dark, gray city, transforming it into a lush, green world.

Recommended by Science Program Manager, Alissa Daniels.
"This book has a nice message about taking care of the earth. I stay away from books that really beat you over the head with their preaching, and books that are little cheerleaders for ‘We Recycle! Hooray for us!’ I think this book may be unfamiliar to our visitors, and I think that's a good thing."
"Leo the Late Bloomer" by Robert Kraus
Leo isn't reading, or writing, or drawing, or even speaking, and his father is concerned. But Leo's mother isn't. She knows her son will do all those things, and more, when he's ready.

Recommended by Health & Wellness Educator, Saki Iwamoto.

"I chose this book because it gently introduces perspective taking while making the story fun and relatable for children. Being able to look at an issue from different angles and think of various possible solutions beyond what is typically considered "normal" will help children understand diversity and take appropriate actions for more inclusion."

"Anno's Journey" by Mitsumasa Anno

A Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner
A pictorial journey through the traditional countryside, farms, and towns of northern Europe. In 1984 Mitsumasa Anno was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the highest honor attainable in the field of children's book illustration.

Recommended by Japanese Program Manager, Akemi Chayama.
"Japanese author Mitsumasa Anno’s books are widely distributed in US. His books are detailed and beautiful."

Books for Grown Ups

"Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of "race," a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Recommended by Senior Manager of Community Engagement, Kacy Hughes.
"I’m recommending this because I think it’s beautifully written and an important perspective. It made me think about the hard conversations I’ve had to have with my white son who has mostly friends of color and thinking that they are not nearly the same kind of hard conversations that my friends of color have with their kids. I also think it’s my responsibility as the parent of a white male to raise an ally."
"The Way Things Work" by David Macauley
From levers to lasers, from cameras to computers, this 384-page volume is a remarkable overview of the machines and inventions that shape our lives.

Recommended by Science Program Manager, Alissa Daniels.
"My favorite science resource book for anyone of any age is ‘The Way Things Work’ by David Macauley. I have a copy in my office and reference it regularly."
"All Souls: A Family Story from Southie" by Michael Patrick MacDonald

A breakaway bestseller since its first printing, All Souls takes us deep into Michael Patrick MacDonald's Southie, the proudly insular neighborhood with the highest concentration of white poverty in America. Rocked by Whitey Bulger's crime schemes and busing riots, MacDonald's Southie is populated by sharply hewn characters like his Ma, a miniskirted, accordion-playing single mother who endures the deaths of four of her eleven children. Nearly suffocated by his grief and his community's code of silence, MacDonald tells his family story here with gritty but moving honesty.

Recommended by Senior Manager of Community Engagement, Kacy Hughes.
"I’m recommending this because again – it’s an important perspective and it happened right in our neighborhood. I’ve heard the author speak and he’s excellent and inspiring. It struck me as I was reading the book that we are about the same age, growing up in the same time period, listened to the same music, read the same books, went to the same clubs but how far apart we were in life experience."

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