Books for Kids (and you too!)



There are lots of great kids’ books, and nothing more enjoyable than reading them to your kids and grandkids. Here are a few of my favorites.

                Nic and Nellie’s Island Adventure published by Islandport Press. Our eight year old grandson Vishal loved Nic and Nellie, Astrid Sheckel’s beautifully written and illustrated story about a girl’s summer adventure with her grandparents on a Maine island. But Nic’s idyllic summer brings loneliness and tears, until she discovers some unfamiliar things that turn the summer into a joy-filled adventure.

Vishal got the adventure part right off. “If I was on the island, I would like catching fish,” he said. That’s my grandson! He also reported, “I would do the eating ice cream and roasting marshmallows.” Of course he would. Boy, this kid is a chip of old Grampy’s block.

Merry Moosey Christmas

            Merry Moosey Christmas published by Islandport Press. Lynn Plourde is one of our favorite children’s book authors, and this is one of her best, for sure. Rudolph asks Santa for a year off, so he searches for a substitute. The search results in a bull moose pulling Santa’s sleigh, but this is no typical moose. For example, he uses a headlamp (because he can’t get his nose to glow), a jetpack to lift him off the ground, and GPS to find his way to each and every home.

Felix's World                

          Felix’s World written and published by Kevin McShane of New Sharon. This  is a simple story, suitable for youngsters like our 19-month-old granddaughter Ada. The illustrations by Kristina Young are very entertaining. And yes, I may be trying to influence Ada toward, someday, joining Grampy on a real fishing adventure! When you access Kevin’s website ( to purchase this book, also check out his tiny “The Little Rabbits and the Fir Tree.” It’s a very imaginative way to present a story, billed as a “holiday car, story, and mantle decoration”).

Snowy Owl Story Islandport photo

               A Snowy Owl Story published by Islandport Press. Those staring eyes of a Snowy Owl on the cover will grab lots of readers for Melissa Kim’s new book. The cover illustrations and others in the book were done by the obviously-very-talented Jada Fitch of Portland. This is the first in a series called “Wildlife on the Move,”  a partnership between Islandport Press and Maine Audubon.

If the rest of the books are as good as A Snowy Owl Story, this will be a very profitable partnership. I am not exaggerating when I say I personally loved the book, and can’t wait until my new 10-month-old granddaughter is old enough for me to read it to her. Actually, I think I’ll get started on that now!

The “Wildlife on the Move” series will bring engaging stories about wildlife migration, conservation and respectful human interaction with nature to a Pre-K through second grade audience. Melissa Kim is working with Audubon naturalists to create scientifically accurate stories. What a great idea!

“Most books for the pre-K audience are very basic natural history books that simply recite facts about animals” says Kim. “These books tell stories about specific wildlife, how and why they move and what role people can play in their lives. I’ve not seen board books like this before and am honored to be part of this unique partnership to help introduce young people to important wildlife conservation concepts.”

A Snowy Owl Story is based on a true story of an owl’s journey from the Arctic to Portland, Maine. I only wish the owl had stopped in Mount Vernon! Actually, we’ve seen Snowy Owls in our area, as these amazing birds have moved south into Maine in pretty good numbers. I don’t want to give the entire story away, but the book’s owl was captured in Portland, transferred to wildlife rehabilitators at Avian Haven in Freedom, and released the following day near Rockland.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.