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Family Forum: Books for Every Stage of Parenting

A list of great books to give as gifts or keep for yourself and where to find them.

Have you ever wished that you were issued a “parenting manual” when your child was born that covered all the tough challenges you would face in the years ahead?

Although I’ve never found a book that covered all the challenges I’ve faced so far as a parent, I have found some great resources that address specific development stages and their inherent obstacles. Here is a list of books I recommend that you might give as gifts or buy for yourself to help navigate some of the many twists and turns of being a parent.

The Girlfriends’ Guides by Vicky Iovine

From pregnancy to toddlerhood, author and mom of four Vicky Iovine has written a great series of books that tell you the real scoop on pregnancy and beyond.

What to Expect When You Are Expecting
 by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

This best seller was completely revised this year, and the fourth edition has a new cover and new information reflecting the changing times, including more information on giving birth to multiples and working during pregnancy.

The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time 
by Laurie David

This book is a great resource for any family who wants to create a ritual of having a family dinner together. It's filled with easy and nutritious meal ideas, great ways to make dinner fun, and conversation starters.

Beyond Smart: Boosting Your Child’s Social, Emotional and Academic Potential by Linda Morgan 

Linda Morgan, a local author and editor for ParentMap magazine, has written a comprehensive and realistic guide for parents on how to optimize their child’s learning experiences from birth. Among the insights shared in the book are how to find the right preschool, getting ready for kindergarten, keeping girls engaged in science and math and how to boost your teen's writing power.

Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills
 by Ellen Galinsky

Galinsky’s bestseller presents seven essential life skills children need, and gives parents practical and fun ways to help kids acquire these tools for success.

Raising Happiness: Ten Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents by Christine Carter

Drawing on research and brain science, mom and professor Christine Carter provides real-world strategies for raising playful, happy children from birth to teens and beyond. The many topics she addresses include how not to raise a brat, the right way to praise children and how to nurture a kind and compassionate child.

Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls
 by Mary Bray Pipher and Odd Girl Out, Revised and Update: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons 

Reviving Ophelia is a must read for any parent of a girl. Using research and anecdotal stories, Pipher outlines how adolescent girls face a daily battle to stay true to themselves and how parents can help. Author Rachel Simmons has updated her bestseller on how girls can cope with jealousy, anger and bullying with information about social media.

Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thomas and Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood by William Pollack

If you treasure a son, as I do mine, then you will find these two books, which explore what boys really need from a research perspective, and how to give it to them, very helpful.

How To Get Your Child To Love Reading
 by Esme Rail Codell and The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease 

Knowing my kids are avid readers, when my friends with “reluctant readers” ask for my advice, I recommend creating a habit of reading aloud to your kids every night, which Trelease’s book covers in depth, and author and former teacher and bookseller Codell’s book, which is a comprehensive resource on how to engage even the most reluctant reader.

Getting To Calm: Cool-Headed Strategies for Parenting Tween and Teens by Laura S. Kastner, Ph.D and Jennifer Wyatt and Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall: A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager by Anthony E. Wolf

The perfect books for any parent of a tween or teen who is feeling challenged by the complex task of raising today’s adolescents.

Where to find these books near you

You can log on to your King County Library System account, put a hold on the books from the above list and pick them up from the  or buy them as paperbacks and hardbacks and e-books for the Kindle from Amazon.com.

I often find many of these titles used at great prices at the Friends of the Redmond Library sales area inside the Redmond library, at  in downtown Redmond, at the  and  stores or new at  in and Issaquah. 

And if you are still mourning the recent closure of Borders in , you will rejoice that Ravens Books recently opened in Gilman Village in Issaquah. In addition to a selection of new bestsellers, Ravens Books offers used books at great prices including many of the books on my above list and a selection of kids’ books for toddlers to teens. This independent bookstore also has story times for kids. Bring your gently used books ready for a new home in for a store credit with no expiration.

Malia Kawaguchi September 28, 2011 at 06:19 PM
Love love LOVE those Girlfriend's Guides. Wish they'd do one for elementary school kids... Great list, Kathleen!

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