Books I Love

Reading is a passion of mine. I keep a giant stack of books on my nightstand and in the living room and I love sharing what books I’m reading on my Instagram stories. Reading is one of my favorite ways to learn AND unwind. Plus, I’m a big fan of modeling the behavior I want to teach. Since becoming Molly’s mom, I’ve been hungrier than ever for *legit* informational texts on parenting, and specifically, on brain development and emotional intelligence: the science at the heart of happy, well-adjusted kids. This book list includes some of my favorite reads so far, ones that have sparked deep conversations with other mamas or have pushed me to consider my parenting beliefs. And once you’ve got your own book stack, cruise over to Molly’s book list for ideas to add to your child’s stack!

      1. Brain Rules for Baby, by John Medina
        Dr. Medina is a developmental molecular biologist and dad. This book is scientific, humorous, and fascinating… and although it took me awhile to finish, it was hard to put down and the content stuck with me, even through the sleep-deprived hazy newborn days. It’s probably the most significant “parenting for life” book I’ve read, and the one I’d give to new parents at a baby shower. That’s saying a lot.
      2. The Whole-Brain Child, by Daniel Siegel
        My take aways from this book are practical. There’s A LOT of tedious repetition to parenting a toddler, and it turns out there’s a reason: it’s important to how small children process information. One of the best lessons I learned is that children process emotions by wanting to retell an event repeatedly. At 21 months and still early in her language development, Molly will point to the fireplace and say, “pider,” referring to the time I flicked a spider there, which had crawled down my arm and startled the PANTS off me. Once I retell it, she declares, “Yeah!”
      3. Your One-Year-Old, by Louise Bates Ames
        One of my mentors in the education world recommended this book to me (written in the 80s), and it has aged well. I read this book as we neared the end of Molly’s second year, and found so much value in the general characteristics described at this age. The only note I’ll add is on communication: this stage is fraught with frustration as little ones try and fail to get what they want, physically, communicatively, etc. “One” doesn’t mention sign language a parenting technique (the book was probably written before signing with babies was much of a thing.) Learning ASL with Molly helped us tremendously, and alleviated some of the pain for us. She had a means of communicating with us mooooonths earlier than most kids learn to talk. I will definitely be reading “Two” by Molly’s second birthday.
      4. How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen, by Joanna Faber & Julie King
        I’m taking a little liberty here… I’ve actually only read the teacher version, “How to Talk so Kids Can Learn,” by Adele Faber. Honestly, I don’t love the writing style with its dialog-y, narrative format, BUT the content sinks in, and that’s the important thing (for kids.) This edition IS in my queue, and since it seems the authors have created a niche for themselves, I thought I’d suggest the one most recent and most pertinent for caregivers of kids age 2 to 7, and one that includes a chapter on working with children with sensory processing disorders and autism-spectrum disorders.
      5. Zero to Five, by Tracy Cutchlow
        This is pretty much the cliff notes version of EVERYTHING! Easy to skim and revisit (we have the spiral bound version, which is nice and wide like a coffee table book); the author is a journalist who took the best bits from everyone and deposited it all in one convenient spot.