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Featured Book: Nurture Shock

Covering everything from praise to sleep to children's lying to talking about race, Nurture Shock will get you thinking, sharing, and trying new things.

Practical Parenting

for the 21st Century

By Julie A. Ross

This book's premise grabbed me: even waiters take six-week courses to work in fine restaurants, but for the most important job, parenting, many assume they'll do just fine figuring it out on the fly relying on instinct.  Practical Parenting offers a quick read and useful tools, a simple, milk and cookies book.

Positive Discipline

By Jane Nelsen

This was one of the first parenting books I read, and it opened up a new world in how to interpret situations, approach behaviors, and reach desired outcomes.  I particularly appreciated the idea of family meetings and how to orchestrate them.  I like the idea of meetings for classrooms and at home.

How to Talk...

By Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

I consider this a "must read" for interacting with children. Illustrations make concepts relatable and memorable, and summaries throughout help consolidate concepts.  This book is great to read yourself and its participatory activities make it ideal for working through with a spouse, grandparents, or parenting group.  

The Whole-Brain Child

By Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

Look no further for neuroscience translated in a tender, funny, and practical way.  Knowing what happens in a child's brain when you see certain behaviors empowers a more empathetic and effective response.  Keep an eye out for the refrigerator sheet of reminders at the end.

The Yes Brain

By Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

I like this book because the concepts were limited and memorable. The strategies were novel but easy to use. And it just feels* good to read a book about helping children (and adults) build an integrated brain for a life of balance, resilience, insight, and empathy.

The Power of Showing Up

By Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

Based on the idea that every child needs to feel the 4 S's - safe, seen, soothed, secure - this book looks at how parental presence shapes who our kids become and how their brains get wired, specifically regarding attachment science. A MOST IMPORTANT BOOK.

Siblings Without Rivalry

By Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

The structure of this book took some getting used to for me.  It's as if you're a fly on the wall at a parenting group. However, this is one of the most unique parenting books I've read and an immense help in framing your approach to your children's relationships with each other. Like How to Talk, it offers excellent illustrations, examples, summaries, and general wisdom.

Nurture Shock

By Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman

I find parenting books written by journalists - rather than doctors, psychologists, professors, teachers, or parents - to be uniquely devourable, and this is no exception.  While Practical Parenting offers the soft skills to guide parenting instinct, Nurture Shock offers research on topics from motivation to sleep to children's lying to talking about race, which help refine those instincts once more.

The Gardener and the Carpenter
By Alison Gopnik

Gopnik takes readers on a thought journey that includes education, psychology, and philosophy (her other specialty) with scintillating language that distills the power, paradoxes,  emotions, and evolutionary history of being a parent. A stimulating read. Love Gopnik's smart and sassy writer's voice!

Raising Human Beings

By Ross W. Greene

A how-to guide for Greene's noted problem-solving method, part of which he calls "Plan B:"  1) listening to the child's concerns, 2) expressing the adult's concerns, and 3) problem solving together. It works best in neutral situations as a tool for reflection and constructive planning. I promise you'll want to try this with your child!

Best Friends,

Worst Enemies

By Michael Thompson, Catherine O'Neill, and Lawrence J. Cohen

Best Friends, Worst Enemies uses research and personal and professional experiences to reveal the meaning and motivations behind children's social dynamics from birth through adolescence. It's dense at times, but I haven't read this information anywhere else.

Unconditional Parenting

By Alfie Kohn

Alfie Kohn's well-researched and thought-provoking Unconditional Parenting challenges parents to switch from a "doing to" style of parenting to a "working with" approach, which includes "how to replace praise with unconditional support to help children grow into healthy, caring, responsible people." A must read.

Punished by Rewards
By Alfie Kohn

After reading this with my husband, we - at first jokingly - started catching ourselves in words of praise: "Good job" on the climbing wall became "You did it." These mirthful edits with each other have become mindful intentions for interacting with our child. For a quicker read, see Kohn's article "Five Reasons to Stop Saying "Good Job!"

Ready or Not

By Madeline Levine

Levine suggests that the age of singular focus on SAT scores, grades, top schools, and direct trajectories to success is past, and can be limiting and damaging to children. Influenced by interviews with CEOs, military generals, and other leaders, Levine outlines the skills that young people will need to embrace today's squiggly paths to success.

The Addiction Inoculation

By Jessica Lahey

During a parenting group, Tina Payne Bryson called Addiction Inoculation the most influential parenting book for her family in the last three years. This book changed the way I will approach alcohol and addiction with my children. It also  changed how I talk about prescription medicine, even with young children.

Children Who Are Not Yet Peaceful

By Donna Bryant Goertz

Donna Bryant Goertz, renowned Montessori guide, has a gift for working with children and for storytelling.  The twelve powerful transformations described in this book read like marketing for Montessori education according to my husband; those in the Montessori world can attest to their truth. 

The Out-of-Sync Child

By Carol Stock Kranowitz

Reading this book felt like turning over a stone and uncovering something new!  This book gave me more information and confidence for understanding children who have been labeled difficult, picky, oversensitive, clumsy, or inattentive.  It also provides innumerable ideas to offer a "balanced sensory diet" to all children, such as different textured sponges at bath.

The Explosive Child

By Ross W. Greene

Remember this premise: children act out when the expectations placed upon them exceed their ability to respond adaptively.  Rather than modifying children's misbehavior through rewards and punishments, Ross Greene's method emphasizes identifying unmet expectations and lacking skills and then problem solving between caregiver and child.

The Enchanted Hour
By Meghan Cox Gurdon

This book could change your life. I came from a read-aloud family, and I am passionately on the way to creating a library and love of reading with my children. This book delighted, inspired, and totally upped my game.

The Homework Myth

By Alfie Kohn

Leave it to Alfie Kohn to present an unforgettable message: this time, on homework.  Thoroughly researched and unavoidably compelling, you may find yourself wanting to give this book to every homework-giving professional you know! 

Last Child in the Woods

By Richard Louv

Powered by nostalgia and groundbreaking research showing the importance of nature in a healthy childhood, this book offers a transformative perspective on our culture, laws, and future in relating to nature.

Simplicity Parenting

By Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross

I particularly appreciated the sections on creating rhythms and rituals and reducing clutter in the home.  While dense at times (more for some than others), I found this to be a lovely, soul-soothing read.  It's the perfect antidote and guide for those wishing to thoughtfully counter today's fast-paced, anxiety-ridden culture.

First Bite

By Bee Wilson

Recommended by a friend and mentor, First Bite had me from the preface. I enjoyed the writing, the history, the anecdotes, and the research; and it has influenced the way we introduce food to our children.  This is a book for curious minds, intentional parents, picky eaters, gourmands and more.

Zero to Five:

70 Essential Parenting Tips

Based on Science

By Tracy Cutchlow

Highly readable with a friendly and accessible tone, I view this as the cliff notes version of parenting research. It's not a substitute for in-depth books, but it's an excellent survey for the evidence-based information out there. So if you just want one book, this might be the one!

Montessori From The Start

By Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen

Look no further for the Montessori book for children from birth to age three.  It offers thorough and well-written information on preparing the adult and home for baby.  It also educates parents about normal human development and how to support it, rather than get in its way.  This is a great book for new parents!

Baby Knows Best

By Deborah Carlisle Solomon

Less artfully written and  less dense than its complement, Montessori From the Start, Baby Knows Best offers the RIE perspective on interacting with babies and toddlers.  I like the emphases on trust, respect, observation, and creating a safe space for children to explore.  I reference this book often and highly recommend it for new parents.

Bringing Up Bebe

By Pamela Druckerman

My husband considers this the most readable of the books for birth through age three.  Couple the devour-factor with its keen observations, ample research, and ideas you will itch to try, and it's no wonder this book became a cultural sensation.  I challenge you to read Bringing Up Bebe and not include "le pause" in both parenting practice and jocund family lingo.

The Self-Driven Child
By William Stixrud and Ned Johnson

"Incisive, witty, deeply- researched," says Ron Suskind. Page-turning science behind helping adolescents develop healthy brains during an age of unrelenting academic pressure and toxic stress. I love the concept of parent as consultant to encourage a sense of control.

What Do You Say?
By William Stixrud and Ned Johnson

 If you are a lover of language, this book is for you. If you're curious about effectively communicating with adolescents, this book is for you. If you're curious about how language can create a whole new paradigm for relating to children, this book is for you. This book is NEXT LEVEL - run to the store!

By Michelle Borba

"Empathetic breakthroughs" are to this author what concentration is to Montessori teachers. Something which leads to more, something that "strengthens" like a muscle, and something that can change the brain and one's orientation to life. The story about the Perlyn children blew my mind.

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