Book study picks, a short list for those working with kids

Manon Gauthier, artist/illustrator, is one of my favorite artists. 
This image is a poster she created for Communication Jeunesse and their youngest readers club. She writes a blog, sells prints of her work on Etsy. Like her fan page on Facebook
Shop for her illustrated books here.  

Rather than reading to seek formulas, I read to examine experiences and open my mind and heart so I can better relate to and support children. I like to read books in community groups with others.

Below is a short list of books I've read out loud with parents. I've posted others on my Pinterest board.  

How to start a group? I wrote about it here

by Becky A. Bailey

Packed full of ways to think about behavior. I could have kissed Bailey when I read her teaching response to a tattler: So when Eddie says, "Davey pushed me" the first question she asks is, "Did you like it?" which might seem silly, but it's critical for three reasons. One, it helps assess a child's responsive energy. Two, saying no has a lot of energy that is instantly available and invites critical thinking, and most important, it helps the child focus on how to work with the difficulty. 

by Brené Brown

Totally in love with Brene Brown and her work. I've read her books, participated in her book podcasts, and listened to her DVDs. I took her Gifts of Imperfection e-course. Her TED talk is nearing 10 million hits. Don't miss it. More love for her Parenting Manifesto.

by Dorothy Briggs

I read this decades ago with a counselor and group of parents. It inspired and invited reflection about my upbringing as a way to identify my habits and patterns and the ways I might be projecting my own unexamined experiences onto others. Changing myself is an important step in improving my relating skills with my children. This inspires me to figure out how events from my childhood affect my reactions. Brene Brown suggests the same thing in her book, Daring Greatly.

by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Adele and Elaine were parents in Haim Ginott's parent group. Years later they started their own book study group. From that experience, they share the principles they learned and what happened when they tried to apply them. I like how honest they are about their practice, which is both messy and insightful. A classic.

by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

A how to talk and listen book for the teen years. Same philosophy with tweaked language more appropriate for tweens and teens. The cartoon drawings make me laugh at myself and practicing the principles easier to understand. 

by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Faber and Mazlish, in all their books, offer ideas about how to work with kid situations through the stories they tell from their parent study groups led by Haim Ginott. 

I have my own study group memories, like when a mom quietly cries when she reads out loud, this excerpt from a Faber/Mazlish book: "The question now, Dr. Ginott said, "is how can we help a child change from undependable to dependable, from a mediocre student to a capable student, from someone who won't amount to very much to someone who will count for something. The answer is both simple and complicated: We treat the child as if s/he already is what we would like her/him to become (69)."

by John Gottman

Gottman dedicated his book to Haim Ginott. I turned down the corner edge on page 124. I drew a star, then several circles with sunbeam-type lines to highlight this, "...the rewards of parenting come from being attentive to our children's feelings. It is impossible to accept and validate a child's emotion at the same time you wish it would just go away." What he's saying, and I believe this, is that acceptance and validation come from empathy. That is, being able to feel what your child is feeling in the moment.

by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

I remember a couple things about this book. When we finished reading it in an Ohio book study group, a parent asks, "Can we read it again?" I also remember not knowing whether I wanted to laugh or cry when I saw that Chapter 4 began with this parent quote, "I had this fantasy that my child and I would walk hand in hand across the park. Little did I know that when he got mad he would spit on me..." Things aren't always peachy.

Redirecting Children's Behavior
by Kathryn Kvols

An easy-to-read, brief, parenting tools book. The first chapter is Take Care of Yourself and talks about the challenge and strain in practicing self-care. The common behaviors listed by age in the back of the book help me see the ways kids aim to get their needs met, sometimes in annoying ways. Chapter 6, Why Do Children Misbehave (they are communicating an unmet need) reminds me to examine how I respond to a child, and that the examination process usually works best if I pause before responding. I'm certified as an RCB instructor (trained by Kvols) and have read this book with hundreds of parents. 

This is Lessner's memoir about raising her children during difficult times. Her toolbox at the end of the book begins with meditation, something I also begin with. Lessner is co-founder of Omega Institute. 

Positive Discipline
by Jane Nelsen

Jane Nelsen writes for toddlers, teens, teachers, and families. She's a mom of 7 kids, a psychologist, and teacher. You'll find a wealth of resources on her website. Or check out her Facebook page. I love when she leaves comments on my blog.