Parenting Media Reviews


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; —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;



Mothering‘s Top 25 Classic Books for Parents

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 

At Work in Life’s Garden: Growing the Soul Through Parenting

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 

Becoming Parents: How to Strengthen Your Marriage as Your Family Grows by Pamela L. Jordan, Scott M. Stanley and Howard J. Markman (Jossey-Bass,1999)

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)

Believing It All: Lessons Learned from My Children by Marc Parent (Little, Brown and Company, 2002)

The Four-Thirds Solution: Solving the Child-Care Crisis in America Today by Stanley Greenspan (Perseus Publishing, 2001)

The Financially Intelligent Parent: 8 Steps to Raising Successful, Generous, Responsible Children
In this book Eileen Gallo, PhD, and estate planner Jon Gallo, JD, give grounded suggestions for raising kids with healthy attitudes anout work and money. The authors discuss such issues as establishing an allowance, enforcing chores, instilling a work ethic, while encouraging parents to examine their own beliefs about financial matters. (New American Library, 2005)

Growing Seasons: Half-baked Garden Tips, Cheap Advice on Marriage, and Questionable Theories on Motherhood by Annie Spiegelman (Seal Press, 2003)

Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood by Sandra Steingraber (Perseus Publishing, 2001)

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)

The Lesbian Parenting Book: A Guide to Creating Families and Raising Children, second ed. byD. Merilee Clunis, PhD, and G. Dorsey Green, PhD (Seal Press, 2003)

Let the Baby Drive: Navigating the Road of New Motherhood by Lu Hanessian (St. Martin’s Press, 2004)

Lithgow Party Paloozas!: 52 Unexpected Ways to Make a Birthday, Holiday, or Any Day a Celebration for Kids
by the erudite actor John Lithgow, practically bursts with widly imaginative activities for children of all ages. Most projects are introduced by a lesson in history, art, or literature – or even the craft of ice sculpture. For kids 6 to 12. (Fireside, 2005)

Little Moments of Peace: Daily Reflections for Mothers by Andrea Albine Gosline (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putman, 2002)

Listening to Your Baby: A New Approach to Parenting Your Newborn by Jay Gordon (Pregree, 2002)

Loving Mama: Essays on Natural Parenting and Motherhood edited by Tiffany Palisi (Hats Off Books, 2004)

Magical Parent Magical Child: The Optimum Learning Relationship by Joseph Chilton Pearce and Michael Mendizza (Thouch the Future, 2001)

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!

Mother Shock: Loving Every (Other) Minute Of It by Andrea J. Buchanan (Seal Press, 2003)

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  

Natural Baby and Childcare: Practical Medical Advice and Holistic Wisdom for Raising Healthy Children
by Mothering contributor and homeopath Lauren Feder, MD, clearly addresses, in reassuring tones, an array of family health issues, including breastfeeding, cosleeping, and the controversy surrounding vaccinations. An A-to-Z guide to homeopathic treatments for common childhood ailments rounds out the compendium. (Hatherleigh Press, 2006) -Reviewed by Melissa Chianta. 

The Natural Child: Parenting From the Heart by Jan Hunt (New SocietyPublishers, 2001)

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion by Marshall Rosenberg, PhD (PuddleDancer Press, 1999)

Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.): The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children byDr. Thomas Gordon (Three Rivers Press, 2000)

Playful Parenting: A Bold New Way to Nurture Close Connections, Solve Behavior Problems and Envcourage Children’s Confidence by Lawrence J. Cohen (Ballantine, 2001)

The Preemie Parent’s Companion: The Essential Guide for Caring for Your Premature Baby in the Hospital, at Home and Through the First Years by Susan L. Madden MS (Harvard Common Press, 2000)

The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued by Ann Crittenden (Metropolitan Books, 2001)

Primal Health: Understanding the Critical Period between Conception and the First Birthday by Michel Odent (Clairview Books, 2002)

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 

Raising Faith-Filled Kids: Ordinary Opportunities to Nurture Spirituality at Home by Tom McGrath (Loyola Press, 2000)

The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease (Penguin Books, 2001)

Right From Wrong: Instilling a Sense of Integrity in Your Child by Michael Riera and Joseph Di Prisco (Perseus Publishing, 2002)

Sexy Mamas: Keeping Your Sex Life Alive While Raising Kids by Cathy Winks and Anne Semans (Inner Ocean Publishing, 2004)

Tomorrow’s Baby: The Art and Science of Parenting from Conception Through Infancy by Thomas Verny (Simon & Schuster, 2002)

A Quiet Place : Essays on Life and Family by Peggy O’Mara (Mothering magazine)

The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember by Fred Rogers (Hyperion, 2003)

You and Your Newborn Baby: A Guide to the First Month’s After Birth by Linda Todd (Harvard Common Press, 1993)

You Are Your Child’s First Teacher: What Parents Can Do with and for Their Children from Birth to Age Six By Rahima Baldwin Dancy (Celestial Arts, 2000)


Children With Special Needs

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  

Be Quiet, Marina! by Kristen DeBear (Star Bright Books, 2001) Ages 3 to 5.

The Boy Who Loved Windows: Opening the Heart and Mind of a Child Threatened with Autism by Patricia Stacey (Da Capo Press, 2003)

The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child by Lawrence M. Siegel (Nolo, 2001)

Conquering Autism: Reclaiming Your Childthrough Natural Therapies by Stephen B. Edelson, MD (Twin Stream Books, 2003;

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 

Getting Rid of Ritalin: How Neurofeedback Can Successfully Treat ADD Without Drugs by Robert W. Hill, Ph D, and Eduardo Castro, MD (Hampton Roads, 2002)

In Time and With Love: Caring for Infants and Toddlers with Special Needs by Marilyn Segal, Wendy Masi and Roni Leiderman (Newmarket Press, 2001)

Like Sound Through Water: A Mother’s Journey Through Auditory Processing Disorder by Karen J. Foli (Pocket Books, 2002)

Managing the Gift: Alternative Approaches for Attention Deficit Disorder by Dr. Kevin Ross Emery (Lightlines Publishing, 2000)

Nature’s Ritalin for the Marathon Mind: Nurturing Your ADHD Child with Exercise by Stephen C. Putnam (Upper Access Books, 2001)

Prozac Free: Homeopathic Medicine for Depression, Anxiety, and Other Mental and Emotional Problems by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman (Prima Publishing, 1999)

Rage Free Kids: Homeopathic Medicine for Defiant, Aggressive, and Violent Children by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman (Prima Publishing, 1999)

The Ritalin Fact Book: What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About ADHD and Stimulant Drugs by Peter R. Breggin, MD (Perseus Publishing, 2002)

Smiling at Shadows: A Mother’s Journey Raising and Autistic Child by Junee Waites and Helen Swinbourne (Ulysses Press, 2001)

Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder: A Mother’s Story of Research and Recovery by Karyn Seroussi (Broadway Books, 2000)

What’s Wrong With Timmy? by Maria Shriver (Warner Books and Little,Brown and Company, 2001) Ages 6 to 10.

When the Brain Can’t Hear: Unraveling the Mystery of Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) by Teri James Bellis, PhD. (Pocket Books, 2002)

Without Ritalin: A Natural Approach to ADD by Samuel A. Berne (Keats Publishing, 2002)

You Will Dream New Dreams: Inspiring Personal Stories by Parents of Children with Disabilities by Stanley D. Klein, PhD. and Kim Schive (Kensington Books, 2001) 



Books for Children

Dinosaurs Divorce by Laurene Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (Little, Brown & Company, 1988)

When Mom and Dad Separate by Marge Eaton Heegaard (Woodland Press, 1992)

Help for the Hard Times by Earl Hipp (Hazelden Press, 1995)

Divorce Is Not the End of the World by Zoe and Evan Stern (Tricycle Press, 1997)

When Your Parents Split Up . . . How to Keep Yourself Together by Alys Swan-Jackson (Price Stern Sloan, 1997)

Books for Parents

How to Say It to Your Kids by Paul Coleman (Prentice Hall Press, 2000)

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 

Vicki Lansky’s Divorce Book for Parents, 3rd edition byVicki Lansky (The Book Peddlers, 2003)

Healing a Child’s Grieving Heart by Alan Wolfelt (Companion Press, 2001)

Between Love and Hate: A Guide to Civilized Divorce by Lois Gold (Plume Publishing, 1996)

Still Friends: Living Happily Ever After… Even If Your Marriage Falls Apart by Barbara Quick (Wildcat Canyon Press, 2003)



Father Birth: A Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind by John B. Franklin (Fatherbirth, 2001)
Father for Life: A Journey of Joy, Challenge, and Change by Armin A. Brott (Abbeville Press, 2003)
Father’s Milk: Nourishment and Wisdom for the First-time Father by Andre Stein, PhD, with Peter Samu, MD (Capital Books, 2002)
Housebroken: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad by David Eddie (The Berkley Publishing Group, 1999)
Pregnant Man: How Nature Makes Fathers Out of Men by GordonChurchwell (Quill, 2001)
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. (, 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; -Reviewed by Melissa Chianta

Night-Night: Settle Down Activities for Easy Bedtimes by Cynthia MacGregor (Celestial Arts, 2001)
Sleeping With Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Cosleeping by James McKenna, PhD. This ground-breaking book by the world’s authority on cosleeping will revolutionize the conversations on bed sharing in this country.
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;
Reviewed by Melissa Chianta

Teens and Sexuality

And Words Can Hurt Forever: How To Protect Adolescents From Bullying, Harrassment, and Emotional Violence by James Garbarino, PhD, and Elle deLara, PhD (The Free Press, 2002)
Blue Jean: What Young Women Are Thinking, Saying and Doing by Sherry S. Handel (Blue Jean Press, 2001)
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)
Field Guide to the American Teenager: A Parent’s Companion by Micheal Riera, PhD, and Joseph Di Prsco, PhD (Perseus Publishing, 2000)
From Magical Child to Magical Teen: A Guide to Adolescent Development by Joseph Chilton Pearce (Park Street Press, 2003)
Girls to Women: Women to Girls by Bunny McCune and Deb Traunstein (Celestial Arts, 1998)
Girls Who Rocked the World 2: Heriones from Harriet Tubman to Mia Hamm by Michelle Roehm (Beyond Words Publishing, 2000)
In Your Face: Stories From the Lives of Queer Youth by Mary L. Gray (Harrington Park Press, 1999)
It’s Your Rite: Girls’ Coming-of-Age Stories compiled by Nora E. Coon (Beyond Words Publishing, 2003)
Moon Mother, Moon Daughter: Myths and Rituals that Celebrate a Girl’s Coming of Age by Janet Lucy and Terri Allison (Fair Winds Press, 2002)
Raising a Daughter: Parents and the Awakening of a Healthy Woman by Jeanne Elium and Don Elium (Celestial Arts, 2003)
The Real Boys Workbook by William S. Pollack, PhD and Kathleen Cushman (Villard, 2001)
Rites of Passage: A Celebration of Menarche by Linda M. La Flamme(Synchronicity Press, 2000)
Soul Searching: A Girls Guide to Finding Herself by Sarah Stillman (Beyond Words Publishing, 2001)
The Teenagers Guide to School Outside the Box by Rebecca Greene (Free Spirit Publishing, 2001)
Ten Talks Parents Must Have with Their Children About Sex and Character by Pepper Schwartz, PhD and Dominic Capello (Hyperion, 2000)
This Book Is About Sex by Tucker Shaw and Fiona Gibb (Penguin Putnam, 2000)
Throw Like A Girl: Discovering the Body, Mind and Spirit of the Athlete in You! by Shelley Frost and Ann Troussieux (Beyond Words Publishing, 2000)
The Thundering Years: Rituals and Sacred Wisdom for Teens by Julie Tallard Johnson (Bindu Books, 2001)
The Underground Guide to Teenage Sexuality, 2nd ed. by Michael J. Basso (Fairview Press, 2003)
The What’s Happening to My Body? Book For Boys by Lynda and Area Madaras (Book Peddlers, 2001)
The What’s Happening to My Body? Book For Girls by Lynda and Area Madaras (Book Peddlers, 2001)
When the Drama Club is Not Enough: Lessons from the Safe Schools Program for Gay and Lesbian Students by Jeff Perrotti and Kim Westheimer (Harrington Park Press, 1999)

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