On World of Dreams: Soothing Songs and Lullabies, Charlie Hope’s languid, lilting voice, together with her slowly strummed guitar and reverberating synth, make for an album that earns its title, pulling listeners into an ethereal soundscape that evokes clouds, balloons, and other objects that tend to float away. These tunes may be crafted for kids, but the sophisticated songwriting will make them very appealing to adults, too. (Charlie Hope, 2010; http://www.charliehopemusic.com) —Melissa Chianta
Big Bird, Little Bird, a DVD collection of 13 music videos for children, features the soaring, soulful voice of musician and attachment-parenting mama Sara Hickman, of Austin, Texas. Her moving songs about family life and the disc’s uncomplicated animation together convey a simple, sweet message to the child heart in each of us: that the most important thing in life is love. —Melissa Chianta (Sleeveless, 2010; www.sarahickman.com)
25 Things Every New Mother Should Know By attachment-parenting guru Martha Sears, RN, with William Sears, MD, this is a reassuring book that addresses the psychological needs of a new mom, baby, and dad. Though practical issues are addressed, this is mainly a book of encouragement. Martha writes about trusting your intuition, fighting perfectionism, and balancing family needs. Dr. Sears interjects comments on issues concerning fathers and marriage. (Harvard Common Press, 1995)
Adventures in Gentle Discipline: A Parent-To-Parent Guide Author Hilary Flower collected the input of nearly 200 parents to create a theory and practice of discipline based on respect, compassion, and empathy. Encouraging parents to trust their hearts—and their children—this book is a welcome resource on setting limits. (La Leche League International, 2005) -Reviewed by Melissa Chianta
Edited by Sarah Conover and Tracy Springberry, this is a collection of absorbing, contemplative essays on the emotional complexities and life lessons inherent in raising children. Such notables as Martha Beck, Anne Lamott, Barbara Kingsolver, and Scott Russell Sanders contribute to this soul-satisfying volume. (Eastern Washington University Press, 2005) -Reviewed by Melissa Chianta
Baby-Gami: Baby Wrapping for Beginners by Andrea Sarvady, teaches how to swaddle and sling your baby in creative style. Crisp photographs by Bill Lilne capture the bright, boldy colored fabrics used for the author’s artful, fun designs. Check out the “gift wrap” a satiny swaddle complete with a bow for special occasions. (Chronicle Books, 2005) -Reviewed by Melissa Chianta
Depression in New Mothers: Causes, Consequences, and Treatment Alternatives by Kathleen A. Kendall-Tackett, Ph.D, IBCLC, details the causes of postpartum depression, including birth trauma, as well as social, psychological, and phisiological influences and risk factors. This comprehensive book, written primarily for mental-health professionals, covers alternative treatments such as herbs and supplements along with psychotherapeutic and pharmaceutical options. Special attention is given to how treatments affect breastfeeding. (Haworth Maltreatment and Trauma Press, 2005)
How to Say It to Girls: Communicating with Your Growing Daughter by Nancy Gruver, co-founder of New Moon: The Magazine forGirls and Their Dreams. This book features no-nonsense ways toaddress myriad issues pertaining to preteen and adolescent girls. Eachconcise entry details what to say—and what not tosay—about everything from anger to drinking, from money tosexuality. (Prentice Hall Press, 2004)
Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood by Zen Buddhist priest Karen Maezen Miller, eloquently frames the everyday experiences of parenting as opportunities for spiritual growth. A reluctant midlife mom, Miller unflinchingly confronts her ambiguity, fear, and rage with healthy doses of self-acceptance and forgiveness. In offering herself these healing balms, she invites her readers to do the same. Though I do not agree with some of her approaches to parenting, I ultimately found this memoir to be insightful and well written. (Trumpeter Books, 2006) -Reviewed by Melissa Chianta.
The Mommy Brain: How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Katherine Elllison, presents solid research to support her assertation that motherhood enhances the development of five key traits: perception, efficiency, resilience, motivation, and emotional intelligence. We highly recommend this cutting-edge work – and not just because it proves what moms have known it all along!
The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life With its contemplative black-and-white photos, spacious page layout, and soft-on-the-eyes font, Renée Peterson Trudeau’s The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life is soothing just to look at. Trudeau guides her readers through a year of reflective 20-minute journal exercises that encourage women to focus on their needs in addition to those of their families. (Balanced Living Press, 2006) -Reviewed by Melissa Chinata
Raising Drug-free Kids: 100 Tips for Parents Mark Thornton clearly outlines 19 simple techniques, mostly using breath and body awareness, to focus the mind throughout the day. His ultrashort methods don’t require any particular religious orientation, and could be just the ticket for helping stressed-out parents stay cool with their kids. (Sounds True, 2006) -Reviewed by Melissa Chianta
Autism and the God Connection: Redefining the Autistic Experience Through Extraordinary Accounts of Spiritual Giftedness William Stillman explores the exquisite spiritual sensitivities, including psychic abilities, of some people with autism spectrum disorder—even those who are severely incapacitated. Stillman, who himself has Asperger’s Syndrome, believes in “always assuming intellect” of the person with autism. His research demonstrates that, when treated with respect and given the right tools for communication, many such people are willing to share their special spiritual gifts with us. This very moving book is made all the more beautiful by the author’s palpable admiration for people living “on the spectrum.” (Sourcebooks, 2006) -Reviewed by Melissa Chianta
A Drug-Free Approach to Asperger Syndrome and Autism: Homeopathic Care for Exceptional Kids by past Mothering contributors Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, LCSW, and Robert Ullman, ND, as well as Ian Luepker, ND, is an accessible, inspiring introduction to homeopathic treatment for kids with autism spectrum disorders. After outlining the basics of homeopathic care, the authors use case studies to demonstrate how they choose remedies to successfully treat common groups of symptoms. (Picnic Point Press, 2005) -Reviewed by Melissa Chianta
The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work This is the outstanding new book from renowned couples therapist Terrence Real. If you were to happen by the Mothering office, chances are you’d see any one of our editors glued to her copy, an “Ah-ha!” look in her eyes. A feminist, Real is all about women’s empowerment—and helping men become capable of the deeper intimacy women are demanding. After 20 years of watching couples hash it out, his insights are right on target. He outlines five common destructive patterns of communication and behavior, then offers strategies for helping men and women ask for and give each other what they want and need. If you have relationship woes, put this on your gotta-get-it-now list. (Ballantine Books, 2007) -Reviewed by Melissa Chianta
Forthcoming from Beacon Press on Father’s Day 2009: A revealing look at the meaning of stay-at-home fatherhood—for men, their families, and for American society. It’s a growing phenomenon among American families: fathers who cut back on paid work in order to focus on raising children. But what happens when dads stay home? What do stay-at-home fathers struggle with—and what do they rejoice in? How does taking up the mother’s traditional role affect a father’s relationship with his partner, children, and extended family? And what does stay-at-home fatherhood mean for the larger society? In chapters that alternate between large-scale analysis and intimate portraits of men and their families, journalist Jeremy Adam Smith traces the complications, myths, psychology, sociology, and history of a new set of social relationships with far-reaching implications. As the American economy faces its worst crisis since the Great Depression, Smith reveals that many mothers today have the ability to support families and fathers are no longer narrowly defined by their ability to make money–they have the capacity to be caregivers as well.
Toolbox for New Dads offers fathers an education in everything from holding a baby to staying connected to your partner. In his aim to accept diverse parenting styles, Brott is somewhat watered-down in both the breastfeeding and cosleeping departments, at least from this reviewer’s attachment-parenting perspective. However, the rest of the video offers solid advice, especially about sex and relationships. In a market with little good fathering material, this intelligent DVD is a pretty good find. (www.MrDad.com, 2006) -Reviewed by Melissa Chianta. Buy It Now
The Benefits of Bedsharing by Dr. Helen Ball of the Durham University Parent-Infant Sleep Lab, midwife Sally Inch, and Marion Copeland, is a concise, easy-to-understand presentation on how to safely bedshare, and why the practice is good for mother, baby, and the breastfeeding relationship. (Mark-It-Television, 2005; www.platypusmedia.com) -Reviewed by Melissa Chianta
The Benefits of Bedsharing, by Dr. Helen Ball of the Durham University Parent-Infant Sleep Lab, midwife Sally Inch, and Marion Copeland, is a concise, easy-to-understand presentation on how to safely bedshare, and why the practice is good for mother, baby, and the breastfeeding relationship. (Mark-It-Television, 2005; www.platypusmedia.com)
by Philip Van Munching, is an astute, very funny, and, in most cases, on-target guide for teen girls on some important topics: body image and bullies, sex and romance, grief and letting go. (Simon and Schuster, 2005)