Reading: Challenging Times & Tricky Topics

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Recommending parenting books is a loaded business.  

In the interest of full disclosure, allow me to say that as I write this, one of my two children is confined to his bedroom for poor behavior. 

That said, with the prospect of change churning our emotional seas, I find myself revisiting some trusted sources.  They have, at various times, provided information, reassurance, perspective, strategies and the occasional, much needed laugh.  

I thought  they were worth sharing, because these volumes always deliver, even when I can't.

Good luck to all of us!

What is 'spirited', you ask?

Well, if you find yourself wondering how all the other mothers are able to drink their coffee while you are busy trying to stop your little darling from scaling walls, digging trenches or hot-wiring the car; if your child can't bear seams on her socks, itchy tags on her neck or strobe lighting; if your child is simply more  - more passionate, turbulent, energetic, precocious, particular, sensitive, intuitive or just plain full-on - than other kids, this book may be for you!

Pure gold.

A great one if you live with somebody who needs prompting to see the bright side.  

We now say goodnight with a cuddle while listing ten good things that happened that day.  The eight-year-old has figured out that he can score an extra two pages of story time in exchange for an additional ten positive things, for a total of twenty.  It's a win-win.

Oh, if only I could swallow this whole.  When I remember what to do, it works a charm.  

By the same brilliant ladies.  Siblings Without Rivalry won't necessarily stop the kids from fighting over the remote, but it provides fascinating insight into family dynamics that can help you minimize the bigger conflicts and make everyone feel appreciated for who they are, without comparison or favor.  Big ticket stuff.

When I grow up, I want to be Lauren Child.  Or Clarice Bean.  I'm not picky, either will do.  

Clarice Bean, Don't Look Now! is not a parenting book but a book for parents and kids alike.

In this installment of the Clarice Bean series, Clarice's best friend, Betty Moody, unexpectedly moves away when her mother takes a job overseas.  Eventually, after a bit of sadness and a few twists and turns, it all works out.  Told with candor, humor, feeling and astounding powers of syntax, Lauren Child does it again.  Brilliant.  We'll be revisiting this one as the time for good-byes draws near.

As a friend's mother likes to say, Feelings aren't right or wrong - they just are.  With clever cartoons and few words, Aliki subtly points out that how we act on those feelings - good and bad - is our choice, without ever being preachy or goody-two-shoes about it.  Genius.

If you laugh so hard that you snort while reading about manners, have you missed the point?  

If so, I am a lost cause.  Where Aliki uses subtlety, Munro uses a sledgehammer - of humor.  The Pigs and the Toucheys are now part of the family vernacular.  If only we didn't have so much cause to invoke their names!  

Lifetimes is elegant and powerful in its simplicity.  Every living thing has a beginning and an ending, with lifetimes in between.  And it's the living - no matter how long or short - that counts.  

Though not a parenting book per se, Lifetimes has helped us navigate some difficult conversations.  Stunning illustrations help convey the beauty and universality of life and death.  Perfectly pitched for children and adults alike, struggling to understand.


  1. am thinking you might just box up the whole lot for me and send them over !! xx


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