The world is changing rapidly, with technology advancing at breakneck speed and the constant bombardment of social media. The changes in the world are difficult to navigate as it is without the struggle of parenting. Our featured parenting books are here to offer some help. Whether it is an insight into the brave new world of technology through the eyes of a teenager, or perhaps information on the latest trends to keep you in the know. This selection hopes to offer you the information you need to help you do the best you can.
A heart-warming and hilarious look at life in the classroom from the teachers who host the most popular UK education podcast, Two Mr Ps in a Pod(Cast). Have you ever wondered what really happens during the day when your precious little angels are at school? In this book, The Two Mr Ps will take you on a side-splittingly funny journey through the weird and wonderful world of primary schools. It will also explore the pressures of modern-day teaching, revealing exactly what it takes to wrangle a chaotic classroom (or seven) on a weekly basis. From the absolute characters found in the staffroom to school-trip mishaps and everything else inbetween, Put A Wet Paper Towel on It is a must-read for teachers and parents alike. So sit up straight, four legs on your chair, fingers on lips and get ready to take a trip down memory lane. And remember - when in doubt, just put a wet paper towel on it.
Written with real mothers, real partners, and real life in mind, How to Have a Mindful Pregnancy and Birth will help you develop a set of simple yet hugely powerful skills that can transform your emotional experience and wellbeing during pregnancy and birth. The 30 exercises include: mindful breathing, visualisations, journaling prompts, sensory awareness practices and lots of simple, easy-to-master tools to help you relax and connect with your baby while you are pregnant - and to help you prepare for the birth.
The book is split into five main sections: food, home, travel, body/beauty and life. The food section is particularly helpful, from meal planning and budgeting to delicious-sounding recipes and step-by-step cooking with kids (with full-colour photos). Inside, there are easy ways to make your home child-friendly, stylish and tidy(ish), followed by tips on travelling with kids (abroad, at home, camping etc), beauty and fashion tips (on a budget, with little time) and finally how to still have a life (friendships, sex life and work life). It’s written in a ‘best friend’ tone – easy to read with plenty of humour – and I found myself nodding along at the advice. You can’t get much more practical than this, with its tick-off checklists, space for meal plans and notes, and even a ‘working mum guilt’ word search. Mummin’ It is ideal for parents with children at nursery and/or primary school, and a book that you’re likely to return to again and again.
White Blood explores the history and benefits of human milk, a natural food source that most people take for granted. Human milk nourishes babies from the moment they are born, providing them with all the nutrients they need for growth and development in their early months. Yet the debate on ‘breast versus bottle’ continues, especially in countries where breastfeeding rates continue to decline. Written by a paediatrician, nutritional scientist and gastroenterologist with an interest in history, White Blood is far more than just a reference book looking at how milk is made in the human body. Using research and quotes from leading physicians, historians and social historians, this fascinating book shows how human milk has been crucial to infant health, growth and survival over the centuries. It’s beautifully illustrated with pictures – colour artifacts, paintings and photographs – from ancient civilisations to the present day. This book explores the vital question of ‘why breastfeeding matters?’ and taught me a lot!
Second Thoughts by Lynn Berger is a literary and scientific insight into having and being a second child. Translated from Dutch, it is part memoir and part discussion about birth order, sibling rivalry and sibling relationships. By the time the author wrote this book, she already had two children. But here she recaps on her decision-making process to have a second child after her daughter was born. Second Thoughts is a balanced look at second-time parenthood. There’s a lot packed into its 200 or so pages – it’s written in a balanced, non-judgemental way and isn’t intended to sway readers in one direction or another. Lynn Berger explores psychological research and speaks to experts to see whether (or how) birth order may influence personality and development. She brings the science to life with personal anecdotes about growing up with a young sister and the interactions between her son and daughter as they discover each other and the world around them. Having a second child tends to be a heart-led decision, rather than a scientific one. But this will be helpful background to anyone with an interest in psychology.
I was not too sure what to expect when picking up this book but having read the introduction and hearing the author speak on Woman’s Hour Radio 4, I was keen to start. It is an incredibly readable book. Not what I was expecting, a book to inspire teachers, but a book packed with the most fascinating, and often quite harrowing stories of her pupils at Alperton Community School. She talks about the children in such an insightful way, telling the reader not just about their time in the classroom, but about their background and their families and the huge impact this has on their abilities and successes in school. The difficulties and challenges some of her pupils’ face are both memorable and moving. She conveys to the reader so clearly the effect that lack of language, cultural differences, cramped conditions and poverty can have on a child’s ability to learn. She looks at the whole person, beyond the bluff and bravado to the real child beneath. Her empathy with her pupils and the obvious passion for her subject really do shine through. I liked her honesty. She believes that she is ‘almost an imposter’ and there are far more worthy winners of the Global Teachers Prize, but reading the many examples she writes about, I feel she is underselling herself. She intersperses her account with insights into her own life, her upbringing and her adult life with her family. The book teaches us all valuable life lessons: Never judging a child on first impression and the importance of mutual respect are two themes that run throughout the book. I thought initially, it was a book for teachers, but this is a book for anyone. I think on reading it, we will all wish that we had had a teacher such as her when we were at school.
Beautifully presented, packed with puns, and shot-through with an environmental ethos, Heather Buttivant’s Beach Explorer is the perfect companion for days at the beach, with fifty activities and oceans of facts that are sure to inspire and astound children and adults alike. Highlights of the practical projects include finding fossils, starfish bums and mermaid purses (yes, you read that right!), and the step-by-step instructions for pressing seaweed and making your own plankton net. What’s more, alongside all the “how to make and find” activities, Beach Explorer is packed with facts that are sure to enliven even the most dedicated of beach bums, from finding out about the world’s largest poo (which, by the way, is the “bright-orange rancid-smelling poo” of the mighty blue whale), to discovering how fish camouflage themselves. The book ends with an excellent chapter on how to “Be a Wildlife Champion” that highlights how “humans are creating environmental problems”. Importantly, the author shares lots of ways young eco-minded explorers can help combat these problems through the likes of picking litter and planning climate-friendly beach trips.
‘Noise: A Manifesto Modernising Motherhood’ is a fresh look at how mothers can raise children while still maintaining their own identity outside of this role. Informed and inspired by the author’s experiences of being a single parent, teenage mum, mum to triplets and a successful academic and working parent, ‘Noise’ has been created, not as a book that holds the answers, but as a book that asks pertinent questions so you can find your own answers. As stated constantly throughout, every mother experiences motherhood differently and the author is very clear in acknowledging this manifesto has grown from her experiences. I like the clear boundaries of how Danusia introduces a topic, an obstacle to maintaining a clear sense of identity and her own experience of the ‘caught between a rock and a hard place’ positioning of being a mother and expected by society to give everything to her children and a human, who need space time and their own desires met in order to flourish. Then the author steps back to ask more abstract questions, allowing any mother or mother-to-be reading this to work out how the “Mother Stoppers” and internalised idealised rigid structures and “noise” of motherhood has had an impact on them. I liked the concept of this book as an opportunity for discussion. This book is a chance, not to eradicate the “noise” of internalised societal roles and structures, but to alter the noise that exists in order to make it more realistic, supportive and beneficial for future generations of mothers. I think that this is an insightful and educational book for anyone who would like to be a mother. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReadng Ambassador
There are so many great things about this book, but perhaps the greatest is the way in which the authors have found the story in each walk. Kids love stories so what better way to get them into the car than with the promise of “The mystery of the four stones at Clent”, “Beaches and battles at Bamburgh” or “Giants and glaciers on Cadair Idris”? This collection of 100 walks is spread out across the country which make it the ideal staycation companion for families. Graded for difficulty, every page turned brings a new map, great photographs, a written overview and a new adventure! The secret to any good guide book is trust and having done quite a few of these walks I can vouch for their accuracy - but what surprised me is what I’d missed! Jen and Sim Benson know their walks but they also know kids. Brilliant! ~ Greg Hackett Find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.
In this empowering journal, Fearne Cotton, the bestselling author, broadcaster and founder of Happy Place, uses practical and engaging tools to guide children to a better understanding of themselves and their emotions. I've created this book to help show that it's ok to feel all emotions. Get a pen, pencil and colouring pens at the ready, and prepare to become great friends with your emotions. After all, they are great! In fact, they're AWESOME. They make life one big adventure as you try new things, learn, grow and discover who you are. Love, Fearne
Full of information and sensible advice, this is an excellent guidebook for any young person who is considering turning vegan, or who just wants to cut back on meat and dairy. For one thing, it is packed with delicious and faff-free vegan recipes, easy to follow, easy to make and certain to be a hit with everyone in the family, even dyed-in-the-wool carnivores; but it’s also full of equally useful and appealing information on the whys of being vegan. Niki Webster explains it all in a way that feels friendly and do-able, making sure to answer FAQs on getting enough protein and vitamins as well as on the best vegan substitutes, and laying out clearly, but with a sense of passion, why veganism is about more than just food and diet. The illustrations and design make this look good enough to eat, and it successfully provides lots of food for thought too.
Having reviewed and enjoyed Creative Writing Skills last year, I was excited at the thought of another book by Lexi Rees. Wicked Writing Skills, as with its predecessor, is a book packed with original ideas for busy teachers. It is clear and concise, and it is easy to dip in and out of the extremely creative chapters. As an English teacher, I am a firm believer in mixed ability classes and lessons that can be differentiated happily and successfully. This book achieves this so well as the ideas are varied, clearly laid out and interesting, with enough stimulus to appeal to the reluctant, and enough thought provoking phrases to appeal to the most eloquent and able. The layout is fun and eye-catching, with helpful hints from the author, dotted throughout. The author’s obvious enjoyment in writing this book, certainly shines through. I like the variety of ideas, from debates and newspaper articles, to instruction and diary writing. It is a book packed with ideas and inspiration and a brilliant ‘home schooling’ resource.