Archive for Book Reviews
Book reviewed by Jane Balvanz, MSE, RPT
When I received my copy of Real Friends vs. The Other Kind from Annie Fox’s Middle School Confidential™ series, I knew I had my hands on a school counselor’s dream. There are BIG things in this small package! This is a book that would have had a place under my pillow during my junior high days. That’s where I would have kept it, so I could read and reread it – especially during those sleepless nights spent over friendship angst. This book speaks to kids.
Built around the interactions of six middle school friends, Real Friends vs. The Other Kind takes you through their daily interactions and the real life experiences ‘tweens and teens face. Kids will enjoy the comic book-like story and illustrations interwoven with advice following each segment. This is a sneaky-brilliant way to put together TONS of information for kids. A real bonus is that it’s “reluctant reader friendly.” It will appeal to bookworms as well as kids who blanch at the sight of a thick book.
Intermingled within 90 pages of a book one quarter of an inch thick and easily held in one hand, here’s a list of some of the rich content:
- Real input from real kids
- Six qualities of a real friend
- How to evaluate the friendship network you have
- Other helpful books to read.
- Identifying when you weren’t a good friend
- Avoiding Social Garbage
- Friendship Quizzes
- Tips for Getting the Treatment You Deserve
- Helpful websites
I’ve just revealed less than 10% of the contents packed into those 90 pages! Parents and teachers will also love Real Friends vs. The Other Kind. Use it in the classroom for whole group discussions or at home for parent and t(w)een talks. For kids who are not “into” parental discussions, just leave copy in their bedroom. A final note to school counselors – I find this book an excellent resource for running small groups for kids with friendship problems and assertiveness issues.
A Way Through, LLC gives our Must Read Seal of Excellence to Middle School Confidential™: Real Friends vs. The Other Kind by Annie Fox for it’s appeal to t(w)eens, multiple uses, and addressing friendship information kids really need to know and learn. Recommended for t(w)eens, school counselors, middle school teachers and principals, parents, therapists, social workers, and anyone who loves a t(w)een.
You can find this book and others by Annie Fox at Free Spirit Publishing http://freespirit.com/
The Birth to Five Book: Confident Childrearing Right from the Start
by Brenda Nixon Reviewed by Jane Balvanz, MSE, RPT
Imagine having the right baby gift for expectant parents every time. Imagine giving a gift so utterly useful, the newborn benefits immediately and forever. Imagine new parents having a such a life-changing, powerful experience from your gift, they share their knowledge with other parents. Imagine giving new parents or yourself The Birth to Five Book by Brenda Nixon.
Reading this book is somewhat like being guided through the first years of parenthood by a wise aunt or knowledgeable big sister. It feels as if Brenda is right there with you holding your hand and saying, “Now, now, dear. This is normal. You’re doing fine.” If The Birth to Five Book had been written when my own children were born, I would have felt much less parenting anxiety. That, in itself, is worth the price of gold! (See page 66 – Ten Tips for Stress-less Parenting)
The book is divided into four chapters: Parenting Your Infant, Parenting Your Toddler, Parenting Your Preschooler, and Parenting Anytime. Each section addresses basic issues parents have about childrearing in early childhood. Brenda’s answers are written straightforwardly in a conversational tone, so parents can get right to the nitty-gritty. After all, who has time to peruse medical books or thesauruses when your children are ages five and younger?
What is impressive about The Birth to Five Book is its range of childhood and parenting topics. One can read about the basics such as mother’s milk, starting solid foods, biting, toilet training, and bad dreams. Brenda goes much farther than this, though. She intermingles milestone markers, early education, and character education. One can learn about growing a reader, traits of toddlers, raising responsible kids, and kindergarten readiness.
Research informs us early childhood is vitally important to a child’s self-esteem, sense of well-being, and learning. The Birth to Five Book addresses the topics essential to giving a child good foundational footing. The bonus? All of this information comes in a book you can easily hold in one hand while holding a baby on your shoulder with a toddler seated in your lap!
Brenda Nixon is a well-known parenting expert and speaker. You can find out more about her at http://www.brendanixon.com/ or on Twitter via @BrendaNixon. Brenda is parent-friendly. She routinely shares her knowledge via her radio show, The Parent’s Plate.