Book Bonding: Building Connections Through Family Reading

Imagine. Apr. 2023. 176p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781623541514.
Lambert offers 21 essays, divided into four parts loosely arranged around themes of parenting, adoption, race, and healing conversations. These intimate essays celebrate the social and emotional impact of shared reading or “book bonding,” a phrase coined by Lambert when she was an educator at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. “Time and again, shared reading has forged a common ground for my children and me as we reach toward each other across the distances between us.” Lambert’s deeply personal writing reflects on the impact of books and reading on her relationships with her children in their transracial, blended family. (Unidentified Suburban Object helped Lambert’s children talk about their experiences as children of color; The Book of Mistakes spoke to a perfectionist daughter.) The author’s efforts toward inclusion and revelation highlight a wide variety of books, valuable as an introduction to inclusive reading. A booklist is included, as is an afterword from Lambert’s son. It is in Lambert’s reflections on her family’s own book bonding experiences that her essays become invitations to insight. Lambert states her position clearly: “Can storytime change the world? I think it can—by asserting messages of equity, inclusion, empathy, and pride, all while creating shared spaces in which to have brave conversations that envision a safer, more humane world for all.”
VERDICT Recommended. Sharing books can help make sense of an often-confusing world, and this title is a good place to begin.

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