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Parenting 101

Page history last edited by brownk@... 14 years, 6 months ago

As the parent of two young children I am of course concerned about their health and well being.  I have done a lot of reading lately from some great books that I would like to share with other parents.  Many of these are concerned with diet and our food supply, toxins in the environment, and the importance of nature in a child's development.  The following is just a brief list of books that contain a wealth of information regarding the health of children (I do have these to loan, so just ask).  If you click on the picture of the book cover, you will be linked to more information about the book.  


Poisoned Profits:  The Toxic Assault on Our Children, by Philip and Alice Shabecoff

This is an amazing book that tells of the everyday toxins and chemicals your children are exposed to on a daily basis. As a parent it is a very frightening book to read, but it has definitely opened my eyes on how my children's health is being comprised. There are great resources in the book on things a parent can do to be more informed, and where to go for mor information.



 In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan

This book gives an interesting overview of where our food comes from and what food actually is and used to be (think about those long list of ingredients that you have no idea what they are).  A simple approach to what people should be eating is its main theme, along with explaining how our food system has become industrialized in its current form.  Another good Michael Pollan book is The Omnivore's Dilema which describes three different ways of getting our food through the discussion of corn, grass, and forest.  Its a big eye opener for those of us who enjoy eating meat.   





Eating Between the Lines, by Kimberly Lord Stewart

This is a great resource that is easy to understand and make sense of.  It does a great job of explaining all those labels in the grocery store.  Everything from fish, eggs, meat, oils, pasta, chicken, dairy, etc. and what do organic, natural, fat-free, low-carb mean.  There are even some handy and pocket size cut out reference guides for things such as which fruits and vegetables are highest in pesticide residue to which fish is highest in mercury.  Overall a great guide that is nicely organized by supermarket sections.  When you click on the book cover you can actually read the first 25 pages or so of this book.



                             The Body Toxic, by Nena Baker

An overall look at some of the most common toxic chemicals we and our children are exposed to on a daily basis in our very homes.  Items such as plastics, furnishings with flame retardants, and cosmetics are discussed to name a few.  A brief, not too overwhelming idea of the chemicals around us, our chemical body burden, as well as the convenience factor vs. health factor.  Also includes a list of some basic things you can do to reduce your exposure to toxins.





                                 Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver

A very different reading experience, this book traces a family's attempt at living one year by raising their own food or buying only local food in season.  Even the children in this family have written portions of the book, and it is great to see how the youngest daughter starts a business selling the eggs from her chickens.  An enjoyable read especially for those who have thought about or do a little gardening or raising of animals on their own. Again another book with some great resources for the reader and there are some great recipes throughout the various chapters in the book. 




                           Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

                           A great case for why children need to be outdoors and interacting with nature.  Effects on children not regularly exposed to nature can include childhood obseity, attention disorders, and depression.  Shows how this exposure is essential for healthy emotional and physical child development.  An important theme is that unstructured play in nature truly benefits children.








                             The New York Times Parent's Guide to the Best Books For Children, Eden Ross Lipson

                             This is a fantastic resource for children's books from picture and story books to early and middle reading and up to young adult books.  Books can be searched for in the indexes by subject, age level, author, and title.  Contains so many great classics that have been around for awhile, newer book you many not be familiar with, and wonderful books you have never heard of.  Each book listing gives a good brief summary about the story, tells when it was published, and also lists illustrators and publishers.    






                           Girls Will Be Girls, by JoAnn Deak

 For those of you raising girls this book is a very detailed resource explaining the challenges you face.  The book traces girls' development from the early years into adolescence.  Special attention is paid to the relationships between mothers and daughters and fathers and daughters.  Issues such as social development, peer pressure, physical changes, and parent to daughter communication are discussed in this book.  






                           Nature Walks in Central and Western Massachusetts, Michael Tougias & Rene Laubach

An easy to use guide to get those kids outdoors.  A nice locator map locates the hikes with listings by county and various characteristics such as length, scenic vistas, waterfalls, and difficulty level for children.  Each hike listing also gives an approximate lenght of time you would spend on the hike (which I have found to be reliable), a great overview of the hike, directions, a trail map, and the wonderful sights you can experience for each.  There are also other books in this series for the rest of Massachusetts and other nearby states.




                       Raising Boys, by Steve Biddulph

                       A great reference for parents.  The book is a very quick read which covers a lot of important topics and make some important statements such as the fact that because boys' brains develop slower than girls, they may be six months to a year behind girls developmentally.  Also discusses those important topics such as play, communication, relationships with mom and dad. 



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