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Here's our monthly showcase of the latest and greatest new selections in media for youths.

From books and games to educational toys and DVDs, there's never a dull moment for active and eager young minds. April welcomes the green scene of flowers and gardening, with the promise of plenty of new learning adventures.

BOOKS

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, $16.99, Ages 4 to 8

'Flowers are Calling' by Rita Gray

Illustrated by Kenard Pak, this 36-page hardcover blends arts, science and poetry and is perfect for both Earth Day and Poetry Month, both observed in April. Merging nonfiction with rhyming poetry and expressive watercolors, the book illustrates the marvels of natural cooperation between plants, animals and insects by identifying specific flowers and pollinators and describing how each plays a part in the forest's cycle of life. It is in stores now or at hmhco.

LEARNING TOOLS

Ohio Arts, $7.49, Ages 4 and older

Classic Pocket Etch A Sketch

Classic Pocket Etch A Sketch is a salute to this year's special 55th anniversary for Etch A Sketch. No batteries and no problem with the classic pocket Etch A Sketch. Children can twist and turn to create pictures. Just turn either the horizontal or vertical knobs and watch the magic screen as lines begin to form. It's easy to draw with this decades old "magic slate." All it takes is a steady hand and a creative spark. When finished, just shake it and start the fun all over again. It's in stores or at ohioart.com.

Ohio Arts, $9.99 - $39.99 for kits in stores, Ages 8 and older

nanoblock kits

A phenomenon in Japan, where nanoblock was developed and first introduced, what is the world's smallest building block system has quickly become a favorite with kids, parents and collectors here in the United States. Every nanoblock features a patented double-feather design to lock micro-sized pieces firmly together, allowing for very realistic creations featuring significant detail and design. There are a wide variety of nanoblock building sets available, including sets that feature "small builds" to larger builds. It's in stores or at ohioart.com.

Green Toys, $16.99, For 18 months and older

Green Watering Can

Green Toys Watering Can is perfect for kids helping in the garden, and also fun at the beach. It is a classic set that encourages kids to help take care of the world around them. Made in the USA from 100 percent recycled plastic milk jugs, it features an easy-to-pour spout and cotton rope carrying handle that make this set frustration-free for little gardeners. It's great for spending time together outside, and kids will love helping and playing alongside the grownups to watch their garden grow. And it's even fun in the tub and dishwasher safe. It's in stores or at greentoys.com.

School Zone, $149.99, Ages pre-K to first grade

Little Scholar Tablet

School Zone Little Scholar Tablet is preloaded with School Zone's Proven learning curriculum and can also customize which apps, music and e-books are active on Little Scholar to fit specific learning needs such as educational apps to enhance math, reading, spelling, geography, science, creativity and critical thinking skills. With more than 200 preloaded apps, rear facing camera and ready to play with or without wi-fi.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

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