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Oldies, but Goodies Book Review | Awesome Books for Crafty Kids

Is your child \”crafty?\” Not like sneaky \”crafty,\” but someone who truly enjoys glue, paper, wood, yarn, and loves activities like homemade paper, creating a sticky nature collage, and creating nature collage bracelets? If that\’s a YES, here is another booklist in our Oldies, but Goodies theme!

As we mentioned in previous posts, sometimes, as readers and reviewers, we get so caught up in the \”newest and best\” releases that we forget about the goldmine of exceptional kids\’ books that already exist! The following are MORE books the Audrey Press Team has read over the last 4+ years that they feel are worthy of a fresh look. This summer reading booklist is dedicated to Littles; readers who are new to reading.


Made by Raffi by Craig Pomranz and Margaret Chamberlain


Raffi is starting to realize that he\’s a little bit different than the other boys in his class. He doesn\’t care about being loud, and rowdy, and talking about sports. He would rather sit quietly with the teacher. And practicing this activity is exactly how he picks up his life\’s passion for creating clothing! And it all starts with the rainbow scarf that he knits for his dad and it turns into a cape for their school play. And after that, he\’s a hit.

Pomranz and Chamberlain have put Made by Raffi into the world when it is desperately needed. This book teaches kids that it\’s okay to be different. Being different doesn\’t mean that you\’re wrong or weird. In fact, we should embrace our differences because they make us who we are and may eventually lead to our life passions, like Raffi and his clothing design! And props to Raffi\’s parents for being wonderful, understand, and loving of their child and his barrier-breaking hobbies!

As a baby, Shiraz’s mother died, and her father soon remarried, giving her a new mother and a sister to grow up with. But when her father died, everything changed. Shiraz’s stepmother forced her to do the household chores, and she grew apart from her sister, Monir. One day after finishing her chores, she was on the roof playing with a ball of yarn that was once her mother\’s when suddenly the wind took the yarn away, and it landed in a neighbor’s garden. Shiraz built up her strength and went to knock on the neighbor’s door. An old, scary lady answered the door and required that Shiraz complete a few chores before she was to get her yarn back.
Instead of destroying everything as the lady asked, Shiraz cleaned and tidied and made it beautiful. Shiraz was given the yarn back and told to dive three times into a clear pool and three times into a dark pool. When she had done so, she came out more beautiful than ever, looking so different than her sister and stepmother did not recognize her and almost did not let her in the house. After explaining her adventure, her stepmother threw a ball of yarn into the lady’s yard, took Monir to the door so that her daughter would be as beautiful as Shiraz. The woman again required Monir to do the same chores as Shiraz, except this time, Monir destroyed everything that Shiraz made beautifully. This time, the woman told Monir to dive in the dark pool first then the clear pool. When she returned to her house, she looked like a filthy beggar girl. It was then that Shiraz realized that the pools “don’t change the people who dip into them. They just make them look the way they feel on the inside.”
Opinion: We miss stories like these—stories about selflessness and caring. Many children’s stories today are transparent or hold simple meanings. The Girl with a Brave Heart is a truly beautiful story with a character that sees past a sad woman who demands destruction and instead realizes that what the woman truly wants is beauty. It is a rare talent to see the true hearts of people, and if children can learn from Shiraz, the world will be a much better place!

Crafts:  How to do a braided bun:

  • Grab three strands of hair and cross them over each other.
  • Add a piece to the next strand and cross it over the middle strand.
  • Add a piece to the next strand and repeat.
  • Repeat steps until you have no more hair to add-in.
  • Braid down to the end of your hair and secure it with a band.
  • Pull the braid to the center of your head.
  • Wrap it into a bun and pin with as many pins as necessary.

Knit, Hook, and Spin is one of those books that I wish I\’d had as a kid! There are so many different activities and crafts to fill your day with fun! Carlson talks about felting, weaving, knotting, stitching, knitting, crocheting, spinning, dyeing, and even recycling old projects! But not only does she give us all of these wonderful crafts, but Carlson also can\’t leave us without a little information first.

Before readers even get to the activities, they first have to learn about the materials they are going to be working with. Each activity has a description and occasionally even a history of use included with it. We honestly didn\’t know how many different types of yarn there were in the world! But we think our favorite part of this whole book is at the end.

After learning how to do all of these wonderful activities, Laurie Carlson suggests putting our newfound talents to good use: We can start making knit caps for premature babies, socks for homeless people, blankets to send to needy people around the world, comfort dolls to give to children who face abuse or tragedy prayer shawls, cancer caps…the possibilities are absolutely endless! Just get involved and make a difference with your crafting talents.


1. So we decided to pull out one of the crafts from Ms. Carlson\’s book! Last night, I spent a little while making yarn flowers with a fork! Super easy, fun, and cute! I had all the materials in my house, and they make the most beautiful bouquet! All you need is colorful yarn, green yarn, a fork, and a pair of scissors!
**Tip: weave your warn close together and almost all the way to the top of the fork\’s tines for a fluffier, fuller flower.
**Tip 2: If you make the steps long enough, you can make your flower into a little bracelet!
2. Into knitting? Once you get the basics down, you can work up to knitting an afghan/quilt like this!
3. Want some more patterns to practice your new skill?
    Got your crochet skills down? Try crocheting some cute little animals!
4. Interested in knitting/weaving/crocheting/spinning for a cause? Check out this website to see how you can get involved!

A Year in the Secret Garden


As parents, we want/need quality books with extension activities to help our young ones unplug and create memories. Pulling books from shelves, and stories from pages is also an important act that will the habit of being life-long readers. Quality books with companion book extension activities are not only working to create special family time, but it also allows kids to solve the world’s problems without major consequences. A Year in the Secret Garden is just such a book.

This delightful children’s book is co-written by Marilyn Scott-Waters and Valarie Budyar and it offers original month-by-month activities that allow readers to delve deeper into the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden.

Within the 120 pages (with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities)families will find many activities inspired by The Secret Garden that encourage them to step away from technology and enjoy getting hands and feet into the black earth of a family garden. This book will make a great gift and be the catalyst for many hours of family growth, learning, and FUN!


Grab your copy ASAP and “meet me in the garden!” More details HERE!