Big Science, Breastfeeding, Teens, Childhood Cancer | Parenting Reviews, September 1, 2016

As summer comes to a close, I’d like to send a shout-out to all my colleagues who serve parents and children during these intense, interactive months. Youth services librarians are a special breed of professional, deserving of all the kudos that come their way. If your outreach involves children, you’re a hero. If you provide family programs, you’re a community builder, if you’re a librarian, you’re an anchor of society. Keep up the good work.

Brunelle, Lynn. Big Science for Little People: 52 Activities To Help You & Your Child Discover the Wonders of Science. Roost. Sept. 2016. 144p. ISBN 9781611803501. pap. $144. CHILD REARING

bigsciencelittlepeople.jpg83016Brunelle might describe herself as a mom with a deep passion for science, but her résumé boasts a distinguished career as a four-time Emmy Award–winning writer for Bill Nye the Science Guy, a best-selling author (Pop Bottle Science), and collaborative work on projects for National Geographic, Disney, the Discovery Channel, and many others. Her latest offering, aimed at children four to eight, outlines 52 activities to get kids excited about science with projects that “bubble, fizz, and explode.” VERDICT Younger kids will love these short activities with big impacts, and parents will relish the accessibility and brief explanations that follow the experiments. Recommended for youth ­science collections.

redstarDaly, Lisa & Miriam Beloglovsky. Loose Parts 2: Inspiring Play with Infants and Toddlers. Redleaf. Jul. 2016. 282p. photos by Jenna Daly. ISBN 9781605544649. pap. $32.95; ebk. ISBN 9781605544656. CHILD REARING

“Loose parts” refer to open-ended materials that can be “used and manipulated in different ways,” leading to unlimited play possibilities. Beginning with an introduction to the importance of play pertaining to child development, the authors, both educators, organize the text into subchapters such as “Looking,” “Grasping,” “Twisting,” “Balancing,” “Throwing,” etc. Each page in this oversize volume abounds with gorgeous, full-color photographs of toddlers at work. Muffin tins, paint rollers, and kitchen sieves offer hours of exploration, encouraging creativity that far exceeds the possibilities of manufactured toys. VERDICT Although pricey, this lovely book is rich in visual appeal and thus sure to inspire as designed. For all early child development and parenting collections.

redstarGrayson, Jennifer. Unlatched: The Evolution of Breastfeeding and the Making of a Controversy. Harper. Jul. 2016. 324p. bibliog. ISBN 9780062423399. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062423405. CHILD REARING

Environmental journalist Grayson provides insight into the present-day “mommy wars” and the government’s role in the ongoing controversy about whether “breast is best.” She transcends today’s conversation about whether formula-fed babies are less healthy, and, if working mothers are to blame, instead probing deep into the history of many cultures. Moving into an investigation of Western society, she considers early 20th-century professional literature claiming that “It is easier to control cows than women,” eventually segueing into the impact of current state-funded programs that offer free formula to new mothers such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). VERDICT Grayson is an accomplished writer whose own story is woven throughout her careful research. Her global perspective is a welcome addition to this important debate. Unequivocally recommended.

McCraty, Rollin & others. Transforming Stress for Teens: The HeartMath Solution for Staying Cool Under Pressure. New Harbinger. (Instant Help Solutions). Aug. 2016. 192p. ISBN 9781626251946. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781626251960. CHILD REARING

From academics to athletics to music lessons and more, today’s adolescents carry a heap of responsibility, often not in line with their own objectives. Here, McCraty (director of research, HeartMath Inst.) with a team of other educators aims to help teens manage stress, anxiety, daily emotions, and more. Based primarily on techniques involving emotional regulation skills, the work assists young people in understanding their emotions, listening to their inner voices, communicating with integrity, and developing healthy relationships. Differentiating between statements such as “chill out” and actually relaxing, the authors seek to put life into perspective and to show teens how to do right by themselves by taking a step back and listening to their inner selves. VERDICT Recommended for YA collections in high school and public libraries.

redstarPhelan, Thomas W. 1-2-3 Magic Teen: Communicate, Connect, and Guide Your Teen to Adulthood. Sourcebooks. Nov. 2016. 208p. ISBN 9781492637899. pap. $15.99. CHILD REARING

The esteemed Phelan (1-2-3 Magic) takes his 1-2-3 advice into the teen years, warning mom and dad that their job description is about to change. While appreciative that parents aren’t fond of “the snub,” Phelan argues that “our society has not yet found a way to deal with the fact that prolonged dependence is insulting to young people,” resulting in teens who “will regularly feel irritation toward older folks and a sense of alienation from the society they are a part of.” Phelan suggests that a worsening of adult-adolescent relationships increases the chances of kids getting hurt and asks parents to examine their own upbringings and remember as adults that rejection + risk = irritation + anger. VERDICT Few authors are as successful as Phelan and for good reason. His guidance is consistently sound, on target, and presented in an upbeat, practical way.

Pulde, Alona & Matthew Lederman. Forks Over Knives Family: Every Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy Kids on a Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet. Touchstone. Sept. 2016. 322p. ISBN 9781476753324. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781476753348. CHILD REARING

forksoverknives.jpg83016The 2011 documentary Forks Over Knives started a food revolution of sorts with the claim that disease can be prevented and reversed by simply eating a whole-food, plant-based diet. Following the film, several related books were released and became New York Times best sellers. This title, aimed at young families, is sure to follow. Physicians Pulde and Lederman begin with an introduction to the diet’s principles, stressing the importance of calorie density and outlining how the body reaches satiation with fewer calories consumed. The next three chapters focus on pregnancy, baby’s first year, and beyond the first year. The bulk of the content comes in the second half of the book, which contains over 100 recipes by vegan chef Darshana Thacker. VERDICT Variations of nachos, burritos, and snacks such as fig and walnut granola will tempt even carnivores, but a few hard-to-find ingredients (such as date paste) will deter even the dedicated. Still, expect demand for this title; librarians would do well to purchase multiple copies.

Reischer, Erica. What Great Parents Do: 75 Simple Strategies to Raising Kids Who Thrive. TarcherPerigee. Aug. 2016. 240p. ISBN 9780399176692. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781101992371. CHILD REARING

Clinical psychologist and parenting educator Reischer delivers a back-to-basics look at parenting via simple, action-oriented tips and a big-picture perspective. Underlying all of her advice are the “ABCs” of great parenting: acceptance, boundaries, and consistency. Organized by sections such as “Great Parents Cultivate Self Awareness,” strategies are accompanied by descriptions of the technique’s psychological impact (e.g., people who have developed self-awareness “tend to be more empathetic”). A “try this” section rounds out the volume and provides information that ranges from self-reflection for parents to sample dialogs to tools for avoiding typical outbursts or meltdowns. ­VERDICT Covering everything from discipline to encouraging curiosity, ­Reischer’s gentle yet firm model is simple and powerful. Parents who read one tip per day will have a sound rubric for child rearing through the years.

redstarSpurgeon, Anne & Nancy Keene. Childhood Cancer: A Parent’s Guide to Solid Tumor Cancers. 3rd ed. Childhood Cancer Guides. Sept. 2016. 576p. illus. index. bibliog. ISBN 9781941089903. pap. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781941089934. health/cHILD REARING

childhoodcancer.jpg83016In this latest edition of the esteemed childhood cancer guide, parents of sick children will find the best information available on diagnosis, staging, treatment, and prognosis for young people with solid tumors, including kidney, liver, neuroblastoma, retinoblastoma, and more. The most up-to-date information on clinical trials, radiation, surgery, chemotherapy, etc., are presented alongside stories from parents going through the experience. In addition to the necessary medical knowledge, readers will find a wealth of supportive material on coping with hospitalization, communicating with medical professionals, helping siblings manage, keeping schools informed, and other topics. Practical tools such as medical record keeping, catheter removal, and blood values for children precede an extensive bibliography. VERDICT Comprehensive, encouraging, and pragmatic, this essential title belongs in all libraries.

redstarUnderstanding the NICU: What Parents of Preemies and Other Hospitalized Newborns Need To Know. AAP. Nov. 2016. 260p. ed. by Jeanette Zaichkin & others. photos. ISBN 9781610020480. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781610020497. health/cHILD REARING

Having an infant in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is extremely stressful, and parents need all the help they can get. Here is that support, written in a factual yet personable voice by NICU practitioners. Readers will learn not only what the equipment and tests in this environment are used for but also how to communicate with the NICU staff, what common medical issues are treated, instructions for home care, and dealing with the loss of a newborn. Images of infants in intensive care will help assuage the intensity of this experience, and the stories of parents throughout will go miles in providing hope and understanding. VERDICT Over 380,000 babies are born prematurely each year. This is an important acquisition for all collections.

Julianne Smith received her BA in English and her MS in Information from the University of Michigan. She has been a librarian for over 20 years and an LJ reviewer for nearly ten. She currently serves as Assistant Director, Ypsilanti District Library, MI. Parenting consumes much of her time outside of work, and it’s a good thing she writes this column because her twins give her a run for her money on a daily basis

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