Friday, May 10, 2013

Jen’s Five Books Not Just for Parents

Looking for last-minute mother's day gifts? Early father's day gifts? Random books for thoughtful readers? These are all books that I've loved reading, and I feel that the lens of parenthood through which I read them merely added to the richness of the experience.

Also, any parents who are reading should know about the seventh annual Mt. Airy Kids' Literary Festival we're hosting next weekend! Events for toddlers and teens and kids in between. Music and readings and workshops and crafts and a poetry slam. Come check it out!

NurtureShock: New Thinking about Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman (Little, Brown, $14.99)
I keep telling people that everyone should read NurtureShock who has either had a child...or been a child. It’s a book of stories about research studies that turn much standard parenting wisdom upside down – or at least sideways. The writing is engaging, and topics range from infants to teenagers, from language development to lying, from sibling relationships to the importance of sleep. Go read it!!

Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon (Scribner, $37.50)
This is a huge, compelling book about identity and difference, focusing specifically on differences within individual families. Each chapter involves an identity -- such as deafness, musical prodigiousness, autism, or gender dissonance -- with which most of the parents interviewed had no experience until their child was born. At the heart of the writing is the question of whether each difference is something to be nurtured or cured/minimized, and how to strike a balance that nurtures the family as well as the broader community. Go read this too!

Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick (Harlequin, $16.95)
Okay, this is mostly for parents, but it’s pretty funny on its own. Based on the author’s blog of the same name, it features clumsy but endearing illustrations and stories told with sharp wit. Or overtired wit.

Half Baked: The Story of My Nerves, My Newborn, and How We Both Learned to Breathe by Alexa Stevenson (Running Press, $14.95)
A powerful memoir about what happens when you spend your life preparing for the wrong worst things. In this case, where the title refers both to a twin who wasn’t born and a twin who was born 15 weeks early, the author learns to transform both her anxiety and her “preparing” skills into advocacy that, in the end, saves her newborn daughter’s life.

Confessions of the Other Mother: Nonbiological Lesbian Moms Tell All! edited by Harlyn Aizley (Beacon Press, $16.00)
What’s it like to be the nonbio mother in a lesbian relationship? So many possibilities! Nif and I both found the essays in this book really helpful to read before embarking on our own parenting adventure.

Jennifer Sheffield, May 2013

1 comment:

Adrienne said...

Adrienne DeAngelo NutureShock is a must read (really, a must-own to revisit specific concepts at appropriate ages). Far from the Tree is a fascinating, if not depressing, read. The book raises thought-provoking questions about science, individuality and the nature of parenting. Each chapter merited its own book! Confessions didn't resonate with me; I like 'She Looks Just Like You' and 'Families Like Mine.' I love your lists!