November 23, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Baby Talk, Physical Play, and More | Parenting Reviews

SEEKING MATERIALS TO BOLSTER PARENTING COLLECTIONS? Look no further. The following reviews, which originally ran in SLJ’s sister publication Library Journal, will be useful and edifying for parents. These titles range in subject matter, covering language development, physical play, and more and should appeal to patrons interested in quality selections on child-rearing.

1702-ParentingRev-CVsFaber, Joanna & Julie King. How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2–7. 448p. ebook available. Scribner. Jan. 2017. pap. $17. ISBN 9781501131639.

Parent and educator Faber, with educator King, picks up where esteemed mom Adele Faber (How To Talk So Kids Will Listen) left off with this updated “survival guide” for talking to little kids and gaining compliance. Her wisdom is in the same affectionate and funny style of mom: “Enough with all the talk about feelings. It’s lovely to know we’re enhancing our children’s confidence…but we still have to get our kids to do things.” Faber zeroes in on the most common (and irritating) things and tactics little ones employ, and provides caregivers with a clear and supportive path to holding their own. From tattling (“snitches and whistleblowers”) to runaways (“kids who take off in the parking lot and other public places”), the authors describe exactly what life with little kids is like and make neither excuses nor pedagogical pronouncements; their advice is always supportive, appropriate, and ultimately best for the parking lot escapee in question. VERDICT Parents should not be put off by this volume’s length. The “How To Talk” books are treasures to read. All libraries should acquire and recommend with gusto.–Julianne Smith, Ypsilanti District Library, MI

Green, Jarrod. I’m OK!: Building Resilience Through Physical Play. 160p. ebook available. Redleaf. Nov. 2016. pap. $24.95. ISBN 9781605544519;

Some kids seem to plow through injury and pain, while others weep at the merest affront. Here, early childhood educator Green, hoping to create a culture of resilience through play, recognizes that injuries associated with play often involve parental education. “Learning about physical experiences precedes more abstract learning in all domains,” he argues, citing that children must pick up and move blocks before they can count them. Issues of safety, parental overinvolvement, and fears of litigation have all tempered how parents perceive development through play, and the author warns that the joy, growth, and learning that come from physical activity are being lost in our current culture (e.g., “safety first” has become “safety should be maximized, no matter the cost”). He explains how early childhood play is the perfect time for risk-taking and supplies productive tools for discussing injuries and placing concerns into their appropriate context. Although slightly dry in presentation, Green’s teaching is spot on. His goal of giving children “the experiences of learning and joy, challenge and triumph, and the ability to enter the world, with all its challenges and obstacles and setbacks, in the most positive way possible” is holistically delivered. Here’s to horsing around. VERDICT Recommended for education collections.–Julianne Smith, Ypsilanti District Library, MI

Kobliner, Beth. Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even if You’re Not): A Parent’s Guide for Kids 3 to 23. 352p. ebook available. S. & S. Feb. 2017. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781476766812.

Best-selling financial author Kobliner (Get a Financial Life) here provides a step-by-step look at developing financial literacy skills throughout childhood. Concerned that we are avoiding teaching our kids the financial facts of life, she outlines specific dos and don’ts that parents can adopt, such as whether or not allowances should be tied to chores. She strongly suggests disclosing neither your salary nor the babysitter’s wage, and presents age-appropriate money skills for preschoolers through college grads (“Research shows that kids whose parents carry the full burden of college costs score lower GPAs than kids who chip in.”). Addressing everything from car loans to moving home after college, Kobliner’s recommendations are practical, thorough, and relevant (e.g., she explains why extended warranties are almost always unnecessary). VERDICT Considering the huge burden of debt that many young people carry today, wise is the parent who starts the youngster saving early. Warmly recommended.–Julianne Smith, Ypsilanti District Library, MI

redstarMaclagan, Margaret & Anne Buckley. Talking Baby: Helping Your Child Discover Language. 192p. Finch. Nov. 2016. pap. $18.95. ISBN 9781925048605.

In this puddle-jumper from down under, child language development lecturer ­Maclagan and speech-language therapist Buckley set forth a just-technical-enough look at how children acquire language and how to best support its development. Beginning with infancy, the authors encourage parents to talk, talk, talk about anything and to leave time for “response” (anything the baby does is her “turn” in the conversation). They do an excellent job of explaining why language and motor development often coincide (first sounds happen after six months when babies become vertical and the tongue is no longer “flopping against the back of the mouth”), and further details what language acquisition parents can best support at that time, such as “performatives,” which are words associated with gestures (e.g., “bye bye”). Librarians would do well to follow and suggest the authors’ reading recommendations, such as choosing books with rhythm and rhyme for infants so they can focus on voice, and then moving on to books that stimulate gleeful recognition of everyday life (bedtime, bathing, block play) for one- and two-year-olds. VERDICT This commendable title provides exactly what parents need without becoming bogged down in research and academics. For all libraries.–Julianne Smith, Ypsilanti District Library, MI

redstarOgden, Paul W. & David H. Smith. The Silent Garden: Raising Your Deaf Child. 3rd ed. 344p. ebook available. index. Gallaudet University. Nov. 2016. pap. $34.95. ISBN 9781563686764.

In this third edition of this esteemed text, coauthors Ogden (department of communicative disorders and deaf studies, California State University, Fresno) and Smith (director, Center on Deafness, University of Tennessee, Knoxville) deliver a foundational approach to raising deaf and hard-of-hearing children, emphasizing that “being deaf is not about hearing but about communication.” Starting with a description of diagnosis, they cover the entire span of childhood and young adulthood of individuals affected by hearing loss, guiding parents in finding the right professionals, how and when to begin communicating, which communication languages are available (and their very important differences), available schools (or considerations for mainstreaming), and transitioning to independent life. The advice includes both specific instructions (tap and signal with babies) and developmental overviews (why discussing deafness and “differentness” is important to convey around age four). Especially informative is the thorough coverage of visual languages, such as ASL, and their current controversies and implications. This timely update includes the growing research into surgical procedures, such as cochlear implants, and the many technologies available that support independence. VERDICT A ­required acquisition for all ­libraries.–Julianne Smith, Ypsilanti District Library, MI

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