Be prepared to have your funny bone tickled this month, because parenting’s humorous side is on full display‚ especially in Go the Fuck To Sleep, which someone seems to mention daily. This includes my mother, who told me she didn’t think it was a funny book and that “ladies and gentlemen should not need to resort to the F word.” That sent me into peals of laughter, rivaling those of my original reading of the book. C’est la vie‚ you can’t make ’em all happy, but the buffet of titles below should certainly have something for most collections. Happy reading.
Cope, Mike. Megan’s Secrets: What My Mentally Disabled Daughter Taught Me About Life. Leafwood. 2011. 224p. ISBN 9780891122869. pap. $14.99. CHILD REARING
At age five, the author’s daughter, Megan, was diagnosed as mentally disabled owing to a rare genetic syndrome called Goldenhar. Requiring around-the-clock care, Megan died when she was just ten years old, leaving her parents to contemplate the “loss, joy, doubt, faith, grief, and hope” that her “frail, fragile, broken life” had introduced. While Cope attempts to impart the lessons he learned from this tragic experience, the narrative lacks both background and flow. Instead of openly sharing his story, Cope uses elusive metaphors, such as cultural standards of beauty, which fail to illuminate. The text is heavily bogged down in tiresome and repetitive Scripture and, regretfully, Megan remains a secret.
Davidson, Lela. Blacklisted from the PTA. Jupiter. Jul. 2011. 240p. ISBN 9781936214433. pap. $15. CHILD REARING
Realizing that the Pampered Chef and “drinking boxed Chardonnay” on the driveway was not her vehicle to self-actualization, Davidson set aside her aspirations to write a novel and, instead, gives this tongue-in-cheek look at life on the inside as the mother of small children. These brief “essays” range from two to five pages in length and cover such daily misadventures as missing piano recitals, the inflation of the tooth fairy, and the opulence of children’s birthday parties. Davidson is at times laugh-out-loud funny (e.g., “My name is Lela, and I have a housekeeper”) and other times predictably cliché. These would probably work better as blog entries, but Davidson humorously captures the day-to-day chaos of motherhood in a self-effacing style of her own. Optional for collections where OMG titles circulate well.
DiMarco, J.E. and M.K. Newman. When Your Child Is Being Bullied: Real Solutions for Parents, Educators, and Other Professionals. Vivisphere Pub. 2011. 134p. ISBN 9781587761812. pap. $17.99. CHILD REARING
The authors claim a child is bullied every seven minutes, and bullying is the No. 1 reason for suicide in kids ages 11-16. The authors, who have suffered through their own bullying experiences, help parents differentiate between bullying and typical kid posturing and provide action steps and sample dialog for communicating with kids, other parents, and schools. They are specific in their advice and recommendations (get help-don’t assume it will ember out); each chapter ends with a sidebar of “Lessons Learned,” which is a bullet-list summary of high points in the chapter. The book is a bit superficial when conveying the bullying stories and is often redundant throughout. While the book takes bullying very seriously, librarians should have additional, more in-depth materials available to patrons as well.
Duffy, John. The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens. Viva Editions. 2011. 184p. ISBN 9781573446570. pap. $15.95. CHILD REARING
Clinical psychologist Duffy thinks that parents today tend to “overparent, micromanage, and underappreciate” our adolescents. In addition, parents are often the ones who pull away-it’s not just the impetuous teen. Without embracing anarchy, he argues for acceptance, acknowledgment, and understanding on the part of parents, believing that “if you can remain available to your child through his teenage years, you lay a foundation for a healthy, loving relationship with him in the years beyond.” Duffy’s style is a bit wordy and dramatic, but his advice to chill-and work on yourself while you’re at it-isn’t too far off base. See also John R. Morella’s Give Teens a Break! for a similar approach. Because there are many titles on adolescence, this is an optional purchase.
Greene, Melissa Fay. No Biking in the House Without a Helmet. Farrar. 2011. 354p. ISBN 9780374223069. $26. CHILD REARING
Feeling the sun setting on her fertility at 41, Greene wanted just one more child. With four of their own quickly growing up, Greene and her husband eventually adopted five more children. Greene neither sugarcoats the adoption process nor portray herself as some savior-style uber-mom. Instead, the reader is graciously treated to a gratifying story that reveals both the tumultuous crises of parenting and the soul-melting moments. Each child’s struggle and personality shine through, with the love of the Greenes threading them all together into a rich and complex tapestry. This could easily be placed in parenting, biography, or adoption/social science collections. It is a charmer, and I wish Greene would adopt me.
Kaelin, Lauren and Sophia Fraioli. When Parents Text: So Much Said…So Little Understood. Workman. Sept. 2011. 276p. ISBN 9780761166047. pap. $10.95. CHILD REARING
Kaelin and Fraioli, founders of whenparentstext.com, have complied some of the best of their web entries with new, unpublished material and organized the entries into categories (e.g. texts regarding birthdays, mealtimes, pets, etc.). From the embarrassingly stupid texts from parents to the inevitable communication errors because of auto-correct (“we’re having k-sa-di-a”), to the digital generation divide, this is an addictive and side-splitting read. Much of the hilarity lies in the honest attempts at communication, but the underlying relationship between parent and teen is simultaneously touching and hysterical. My favorite: “Mom: Hi honey please stop using so much vodka for your pasta recipes we don’t have any left-XO mom.” This should be a best seller-it is a total moment-in-time classic. Enthusiastically recommended.
Mansbach, Adam (text) & Ricardo Cortes (illus.). Go the Fuck To Sleep. Akashic. 2011. 32p. ISBN 9781617750250. $14.95. HUMOR/CHILD REARING
Already a cult classic, a New York Times best seller, and an Amazon.com best seller, this book is taking parents by storm, and almost all of us are loving it. Written in rhyming quatrains, this 32-page charmer combines soaring nature metaphors with a parent’s expletive-laden thoughts when we’ve reached that witching hour called bedtime and the little cherub will have nothing to do with dreamland. Accompanied by Cortes’s charming illustrations, this adult read-aloud is meant to be shared and appreciated by every parent who seriously thought he was losing it at bedtime. No, this isn’t for the picture book collection or the parenting collection. Yes, it is definitely for every tired-ass parent whose blood boiled when her toddler wanted another drink of water. Hilarious.
Meek, Joan Younger and Winnie Yu. American Academy of Pediatrics New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding. Bantam. Jul. 2011. 254p. illus. ISBN 9780553386660. pap. $15. CHILD REARING
Revised from the first edition (2002), this work continues its strong commitment to communicating the benefits of breastfeeding and begins with a recent history of breastfeeding (statistics included). It also outlines the many benefits of nursing for both mother and baby. Covering everything from first feedings to weaning, the text tackles the obvious issues (e.g., latching on, how to tell if baby is getting enough, medication concerns) as well as updated topics such as nipple rings (mom’s, that is), birth control issues, and concerns for vegetarian mothers. Concise, supportive, and accompanied with a handy sample breastfeeding record, this book should leave the hospital with every new mother and should be on the shelf of every library. Essential for your core curriculum.
Schmitt, Barton D. My Child is Sick!: Expert Advice for Managing Common Illnesses and Injuries. American Academy of Pediatrics. Jul. 2011. 300p. ISBN 9781581105520. pap. $12.95. CHILD REARING
Pediatrician Schmitt (pediatrics, Univ. Colorado Sch. of Medicine) here gives parents a step-by-step guide on how to handle common childhood illnesses and injuries. Each chapter begins with a definition, causes, and symptoms (e.g., bacterial conjunctivitis), any relevant considerations (how to transport a knocked-out tooth‚ put it in milk!), and then gives either numbered or bullet-list-style advice on when to call 911, when to call the doctor immediately, when to make an appointment, and what to do at home. He includes helpful information on what conditions are contagious, when/if children can return to school, and drug dosage tables based on weight for common pediatric medications. This is a valuable and well-organized book that should be on the ready-reference shelf of every family home.
Walsh, David. Nurturing Your Child’s Intelligence: The One Brain Book You Need To Help Kids Grow Smarter, Healthier, and Happier. Free Pr: S. & S. 2011. ISBN 9781439121177. 288p. $25. CHILD REARING
Best-selling author (Why Do They Act That Way?) and media regular Walsh offers yet another brain book. We are clearly reaching the saturation point with these, but he nonetheless provides a comprehensive and engaging text on nurturing intelligence in young children and presents the latest brain research in a readable style for parents. He incorporates pre- and post-tests for the reader with summary dos and don’ts and includes space for readers to contribute their thoughts. From attention and memory to the differences between boys and girls, Walsh weaves the research into poignant stories told in a conversational style. If you need to update, this is most certainly a worthy addition. See also John Medina’s Brain Rules for Baby, and Jenn Berman’s SuperBaby for other leading brain research titles.
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