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Things We Like

The JNP Project

The JNP (Jane NOT Plain) Project, based in Annapolis, MD, aims to help kids worldwide discover their “inner awesome” through an online network of activities that promote self-esteem discovery. In addition to a plethora of online tools for parents, teachers and counselors, the project also includes a 33-volume book series that follows the exciting adventures of Jane, Jake and Oracle the magic goldfish. The JNP Project has also launched a holiday giving campaign to empower fourth graders in Anne Arundel County with their own self-esteem “superpowers.” thejnpproject.com

Raising a Rock Star Reader: 75 Quick Tips for Helping Your Child Develop a Lifelong Love of Learning” by Allison McDonald and Amy Mascott

Reading expert and D.C.-based mom of three, Amy Mascott, co-authored this book of engaging reading strategies and activities. The pair combined some of their most popular advice and teacher-tips from their blog Scholastic Parents: Raise a Reader, to create this comprehensive book. Help your child build both oral language and reading skills with hands-on activity guides that will make a meaningful impact. $13. amazon.com

Over the River and Through the Wood: A Holiday Adventure” by Linda Ashman

Linda Ashman's new interpretation of this classic song brings together a modern family for a holiday celebration, complete with travel chaos and a cry for pie. The sing-along book offers a fresh look at contemporary homeward travel that today's geographically scattered and diverse families take for the sake of a holiday reunion. In the end, a story-saving surprise unites the family of interracial and same-sex couples and their adopted and biological children. $8. amazon.com

CR8016 Messenger Turntable

Share your holiday tunes loud, proud and on-the-go with this innovative and functional turntable messenger bag. The lightweight bag plays three record speeds over built in speakers. The turntable also includes a headphone jack and auxiliary port for a variety of listening options. $90. alwaysfits.com

Brackitz

These innovative toys will make learning STEM concepts an exciting and imaginative process for little ones of all ages. Brackitz toys feature wooden planks and plastic connectors that can be assembled at any angle, giving kids the ultimate architectural and creative freedom. These portable and durable sets are sturdy even after they've been assembled. $30-$230. brackitz.com