The child-rearing titles reviewed this quarter reflect the diverse array of journeys, needs, joys, and drama that go into the unique and transformative process called parenting. Less common offerings, such as stories about adoption, military stay-at-home dads, and home birthing, are joined by titles addressing more mundane but still essential subjects such as eating, sleeping, and surviving middle school bullies. Three titles from 2012 are among these rare offerings. Speaking of survival, I’d like to thank my colleagues—both near and far—in the youth and teen departments, who work so hard during the height of summer to offer reading programs, activities, enrichment opportunities, and so much more to our children and families. You are true treasures. I am not the first librarian in the “grown-up” department to utter, “Thank God for you. I could never do your job.” Kudos, people.
Danowski, Debbie. Why Can’t My Child Stop Eating? A Guide to Helping Your Child Overcome Emotional Eating. Central Recovery. 2013. 133p. ISBN 9781937612276. pap. $14.95. CHILD REARING
Obesity in younger children has tripled since 1980, yet only 20 to 40 percent of cases are believed to have genetic causes. Psychologist Danowski, who suffered from obesity as a young person, here shows parents how to help children break unhealthy connections among emotions, eating, and food. She outlines how children today are under greater stress than ever before (e.g., “high academic expectations, overbooked schedules, more rigorous beauty standards, rising divorce rates, and increased crime against children”). Since they also absorb society’s view of eating being a reward, many of today’s children are turning to food for comfort—a trend Danowski posits could have lifelong consequences. Children who associate birthday cake and holiday cooking with mom’s attention are at risk of confusing parental love with food. VERDICT Danowski’s style is basic and gentle. She examines the media culture behind food marketing, the power of parental example, ways to change thinking and eating patterns, and what not to do when helping children learn new approaches to food. There are no nuggets here on dieting or calorie counting, and many will balk at her clinical attitude (she never tasted her own wedding cake). Families who need a new understanding of their relationship with food will find Danowski’s advice supportive.
Drichta, Jane E. & Jodilyn Owen. The Essential Homebirth Guide: For Families Planning or Considering Birthing at Home. Gallery: S. & S. 2013. 352p. illus. notes. ISBN 9781451668629. pap. $16. CHILD REARING
In this supportive and fact-filled title, midwives Drichta and Owen fill a necessary gap in the literature about home birthing and provide a realistic and comforting view of how it is managed. Midwifery care is very different from obstetrical care, and its holistic approach is made evident here. The authors begin with a historical overview of homebirth and address choosing a provider, as well as prenatal care and the supplies, preparations, and considerations for the birth itself. This information is followed by notes on postpartum care and a wealth of appendixes, including photos, reading lists, and sample questions for a potential provider. The text is a wonderful combination of narrative, sidebars, medical information, Q&A, and birth stories, reflecting the recommended model of care—which emphasizes parent decision-making and midwife as coach. VERDICT Readers will come away from this title with a clear understanding of homebirth options and outcomes. With the rise in the number of women seeking a pregnancy-as-a-healthy-life-experience approach, this exceptional and distinguished guide should find a welcome readership in all communities. A mandatory purchase for all libraries.
Rosewood, Roanna. Cut, Stapled, and Mended: A VBAC Story; When One Woman Reclaimed Her Body and Gave Birth on Her Own Terms After Cesarean. Confluence. 2013. 174p. ISBN 9781935952770. pap. $15.95. CHILD REARING
Nearly one in three births in the United States are cesarean, which is major abdominal surgery and is associated with higher rates of surgical complications and maternal rehospitalization. Author Rosewood was not worried about that, however, before giving birth for the first time. She was unafraid, tough, and had every intention of rationalizing, troubleshooting, and verbalizing throughout. Days of labor and a C-section later, however, she writes, “I did not know that labor would be so big and intimate, that trust and comfort would be essential to progress.” Haunted by being tied down, cut open, and suffering inexplicable, ongoing pain, she visited holistic practitioners, medical intuitives, acupuncturists, magnet therapists, and rapid-eye-movement therapists, to name a few, in a bizarre but compulsively readable effort to heal. Two years later, pregnant with her second child and opting to try for a natural birth against medical advice, Rosewood labored for so long that her uterus was damaged and she was forced to endure another surgery. Finally, at home with a midwife (and again against medical advice), she welcomed her third child. VERDICT Rosewood is a very interesting writer. While her ideas and anger sometimes seem kooky and naive, she is a strong, vocal advocate for empowering birthing women. Her sparse but rich writing is creative and poignant, and the book will be of interest to readers of titles such as Naomi Wolf’s Misconceptions.
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The following titles are reviewed in the August 15, 2013 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
Aronson, Jane. Carried in Our Hearts: The Gift of Adoption; Inspiring Stories of Families Created Across Continents. Penguin. 2013. 288p. illus. ISBN 9780399161056. $25.95. CHILD REARING
Hoefle, Vicki. Duct Tape Parenting: A Less Is More Approach to Raising Respectful, Responsible, and Resilient Kids. Bibliomotion. 2012. 263p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781937134181. pap. $19.95.
Kilpatrick, Haley with Whitney Joiner. The Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School—Bullies, Brands, Body Image, and More. Free Pr: S. & S. 2012. 304p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781451627916. pap. $16. CHILD REARING
Koh, Christine & Asha Dornfest. Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More by Doing Less. Bibliomotion. 2013. 272p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781937134341. $19.95. CHILD REARING
Laditan, Bunmi. The Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting. Scribner. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9781476733715. $19.99. CHILD REARING
The Mindful Way Through Pregnancy: Meditation, Yoga, and Journaling for Expectant Mothers. Shambhala, dist. by Random. 2012. 119p. ed. by Susan Piver. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781590309667. $16.95.
w/CD. CHILD REARING
Sandler, Lauren. One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One. S. & S. 2013. 224p. ISBN 9781451626957. $24.99. CHILD REARING
Sinclair, Neil. Commando Dad Basic Training: How To Be an Elite Dad or Carer from Birth to Three Years. Trafalgar Square. 2013. 192p. illus. index. ISBN 9781849532617. pap. $14.95. CHILD REARING
Sleep: What Every Parent Needs To Know. American Academy of Pediatrics. Sept. 2013. 250p. ed. by Rachel Y. Moon. ISBN 9781581107814. pap. $16.95. CHILD REARING