Nonfiction: Toddler Sense of Self, Travel Rules, Gobal Child Care, Twins, Children's Choices | Xpress Reviews

Practical and new activities for parents and child-care workers; armchair travelers and their active counterparts and many more will enjoy this work; a mixed collection of essays; a fascinating perspective on parenting worldwide; a valuable read for the growing market of books for parents of multiples; may prove a valuable resource for Christian parents, teachers, and youth workers

Week ending February 23, 2018


Goble, Carla B. Infant-Toddler Social Studies: Activities To Develop a Sense of Self. Redleaf. 2017. 152p. ISBN 9781605545608. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781605545615. CHILD REARING

Child educator Goble, winner of ZERO TO THREE’s Leader for the 21st Century Fellowship, brings her expertise to this text with 160 developmentally appropriate social activities for infants and toddlers. Addressing issues often overlooked in school curriculum, Goble maintains that young children benefit from intentional interactions with adults to build a positive sense of self (the first skill needed for socialization) as well as relate and interact with others and their environment. These learning experiences are planned to facilitate “development of healthy relationships, prosocial skills, community connectedness, feelings of competence, and pride in their families and home cultures.” Using National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards for early childhood professional preparation, this volume walks caregivers through step-by-step instructions for each activity. Examples include looking at an image of oneself in a mirror to gain self-awareness, lining up chairs to go for a ride on the “bus” to enhance interaction with others, and planting vegetables to aid gross and fine motor skills.

Verdict Practical and new activities for parents and child-care workers hoping to provide a strong education to the babies and toddlers in their charge.—Julia M. Reffner, North Chesterfield, VA


Jensen, Mary K. Rudy’s Rules for Travel: Life Lessons from Around the Globe. She Writes. Apr. 2018. 256p. photos. ISBN 9781631523229. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781631523236. TRAV Jensen’s first book describes the often humorous, exasperating, and frustrating (though not in that order) travel adventures of the author and her husband, Rudy, recapping their many journeys taken from 1976 to 1994, in the days before cell phones and Internet maps. They are opposites in almost every aspect. Jensen is cautious and safety-loving, prepared to “expect the worst”; Rudy’s rules of the road are much more spontaneous and include advice to “ride with locals, not tourists” and “relax, some kind stranger will appear.” Their destinations include East Asia, Eastern Europe, Egypt, England, Mexico, New Zealand, and Russia. The author portrays the frustration, exasperation, and challenging emotions that accompany responses to what she sees as preventable situations, all without admonishing her husband with, “I told you so!”

Verdict In the vein of the blog Universal Man by young Turkish adventurer Yiğit Kurt, which describes the travel adventures of Kurt and his father, this humorous travelog is a delight. Armchair travelers and their active counterparts, spouses who have traveled or are thinking about traveling together, solo trekkers, women journeyers, and dysfunctional spouses will enjoy this work.—Cheryl Branche, Brooklyn


Launer, John. How Not To Be a Doctor: And Other Essays. Overlook. May 2018. 272p. ISBN 9781468316315. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781468316322. MED

Author Launer (Sex Versus Survival: The Life and Ideas of Sabina Spielrein) writes a mixed, scattered essay collection on the modern practice of medicine. His observations are drawn from his work as both a general practitioner and a medical educator and supervisor. Some of the essays are artful, while others will leave readers scratching their heads. There is no logical thread to this book’s order or any overarching logic to the placement of the pieces. Decidedly British, the essays describe situations arising from the author’s work in Britain’s National Health Service. Launer can be lauded for several of these writings, but on the whole this book is simply mediocre. Readers seeking powerful reflections on medicine will find it expressed better in such works as Richard Seltzer’s Letters to a Young Doctor or the output of author-physician Abraham Verghese.

Verdict A mixed collection of essays on the practice of medicine in a British context, but more entries fall flat than soar.—Aaron Klink, Duke Univ., Durham, NC


Lewis, Lisa. Feed the Baby Hummus: Pediatrician-Backed Secrets from Cultures Around the World. Familius. Mar. 2018. 302p. ISBN 9781945547799. pap. $16.99. CHILD REARING

Experienced pediatrician Lewis believes valuable insights about childhood needs can be gained by studying cultures worldwide. For example, Balinese babies’ feet don’t touch the ground for the first three months of their lives. In Switzerland, infants sleep in sturdy hammocks made of breathable fabrics that position babies on their backs, and Jamaican parents soothe feverish babies with rosewater baths. Divided into four main sections—“Behavior and Development,” “Decisions To Make (e.g., naming, circumcision, and child care),” “Diet and Nutrition (allergies, breastfeeding, etc.),” and “Building Immunity and Body Care”—this work will comfort readers to know that their child is not alone (35 percent of Britons still sleep with a teddy bear or other stuffed animal according to a 2010 Travelodge study) or provide fresh ideas (try pumpkin and papaya as your child’s first foods, as is common in rural Uganda). Each chapter contains pediatric advice and tips for implementing the wisdom of various cultures. The appendix includes a shopping list and international baby food recipes.

Verdict Since Lewis takes sides on some issues, such as cosleeping and the oft-used cry-it-out method, her guidance may not appeal to all readers; however, the glance at global customs presents a fascinating perspective on parenting worldwide.—Julia M. Reffner, North Chesterfield, VA


Lovitz, Dara. Twinsight: A Guide to Raising Emotionally Healthy Twins. Familius. Mar. 2018. 224p. ISBN 9781945547720. pap. $16.99. CHILD REARING

Mother of fraternal twin daughters, Lovitz (Muzzling a Movement: The Effects of Anti-Terrorism Laws, Money, and Politics on Animal Activism) conducted more than 80 interviews with adult twins (even some triplets) about the way they were raised. The author didn’t leave out the singleton siblings in the process and also consulted with educators and psychologists. Each informative chapter ends with tips on topics such as avoiding comparison, deciding whether to place twins in separate school classrooms, and helping them develop other healthy relationships. Lovitz unearths surprising facts about twins: statistically there is a lower rate of suicide among multiples, asserting this is because they have stronger family ties. High school was often devastatingly hard for multiples, who often struggled with maintaining friendships, and in contrast to the myth, 99 percent of twins do not have telepathic tendencies.

Verdict While not applicable to all, this offers a valuable read for the growing market of books for parents of multiples.—Julia M. Reffner, North Chesterfield, VA


McDowell, Josh. Set Free To Choose Right: Equipping Today’s Kids To Make Right Moral Choices for Life. Shiloh Run: Barbour. Feb. 2018. 224p. ISBN 9781634099745. pap. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781683226734. CHILD REARING

With more than five decades working with youth and nearly 150 books translated into as many languages, Christian ministry leader McDowell (More than a Carpenter) believes that children today are facing a quagmire of difficult choices and that to empower them to recognize the difference between right and wrong we need to address three key areas: culture, child development, and parental methodology. In a survey conducted for the author’s earlier book Right from Wrong, 71 percent of children understood moral truth to be subjective and individually determined. Developmentally, McDowell asserts teenagers are ill-equipped to make sound and rational choices since the prefrontal cortex is not fully formed until a person reaches their twenties. Modeling is the answer, says McDowell, who provides four steps for helping a child through the decision-making process.

Verdict McDowell is a popular voice in the faith community, and this latest volume may prove a valuable resource for Christian parents, teachers, and youth workers.—Julia M. Reffner, North Chesterfield, VA

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Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones


Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones


Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

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