May 9, 2022

This is a parenting book.

Yes, the details and particulars are about libraries serving homeless patrons, and for that it is great. I think all librarians and library employees should read it. Even if they have have no homeless patrons. Because the guidance in this book should be applied to all librarian-patron interactions.

And this book's guidance should be applied to all parent-child interactions. So it is a parenting book. And a teacher classroom-management book. It is a management and leadership book. It is a customer service book. I would daresay it is a policing book.

The core

Book cover

Troublemakers: Lessons in Freedom From Young Children at School

By Carla Shalaby
Star Rating

Rated by Chris K.
Sep 3, 2021

A fascinating and quietly powerful book.

I can't remember for sure, but I believe this was recommended to me by a high school teacher even though the four children at its center are first graders; its wisdom is that widely applicable. I even kept mentally applying its situations to my workplace manager-employee relationships. It's something I recommend for all educators, parents, and managers--to anyone with power over others.

Troublemakers struck me with particular relevance and immediacy because my two children are currently in kindergarten and first grade and have been known to cause

Kids Are Sources of Chaos and Disorder

Star Rating

Rated by Chris K.
May 11, 2020

All good children's stories are the same: young creature breaks rules, has incredible adventure, then returns home with the knowledge that aforementioned rules are there for a reason.

Of course, the actual message to the careful reader is: break rules as often as you can, because who the hell doesn't want to have an adventure?

― Brian K. Vaughan, Saga, Vol. 3

The largest population of orphans anywhere in the world is within the pages of children's books. This Barnes & Noble article gives a nice list of some of the most familiar: Little Orphan Annie, Anne (of Green Gables)


By Michelle Obama
Star Rating

Rated by Becky C.
Apr 29, 2020

Friends, I’m so excited! Michelle Obama’s documentary, based on the memoir Becoming, is coming soon to Netflix. Read more:

Netflix & Higher Ground Productions Announce Original Documentary "Becoming"

From the post, my emphasis in bold:


I’m excited to let you know that on May 6, Netflix will release BECOMING, a documentary film directed by Nadia Hallgren that looks at my life and the experiences I had while touring following the release of my memoir…

…Even as we can no longer safely gather or feed off the energy of groups, even as many of us are

Apr 16, 2020

Psst! Hey, parents! I know you’re at home right now. I know your kids are out of school. I know this because I’m at home right now, and my kid is out of school. I know this because WE’RE ALL #ATHOMETOGETHER RIGHT NOW.  

Ahem. Sorry for shouting. These are stressful times.

If it’s at all possible, I want you to find a private spot in your house—please stop laughing—away from your kids, so you can fully concentrate on a little parenting secret I’d like to share with you.

Who am I, you ask? Here are my qualifications:

I am a professional storytime leader at the Johnson County Library

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

By Matthew P. Walker
Star Rating

Rated by Dylan R
Jun 20, 2018

We've all heard the phrase, "I'll sleep when I'm dead," but Why We Sleep shines much-needed light on not only the benefits of slumber, but also the dire--and sometimes fatal--consequences of avoiding it.

As with many who have read this book, I first heard Dr. Walker on the wonderful, multi-faceted, Joe Rogan Experience podcast. If Walker's revelatory words in that interview were such to pique my curiosity, his book was enough to make me a determined, devoted acolyte. Why We Sleep contains information on scientific studies, personal experiences, and keen observation on our current society's

Feb 20, 2018

After writing about the struggles of Gen X and Millennials in 2006's Generation Me, and the rise of society-wide obsession with self in 2009's Narcissism Epidemic, Dr. Twenge then set her sights on a new, decidedly different, group of young people.

A fitting moniker for those born from the mid-1990s to 2000s, "iGen"-- a term coined by the author, herself -- refers to a generation which has never known a world without the personal technology that has rapidly become a large part of our lives. A researcher with over two decades of experience, Twenge's work in iGen seeks to not only examine and

He's Not Lazy: Empowering Your Son to Believe In Himself

By Adam Price
Star Rating

Rated by Colleen O.
Oct 13, 2017

Dr. Adam Price has twenty-five years of experience with children and adolescents, especially boys, and his experience shows. He's Not Lazy details how and why an adolescent boy’s brain is often behind, they fear of failure, often "opt out". They opt out by procrastinating, losing themselves in the world of video games, or appearing ambivalent towards everything.

Dr. Price concentrates mostly on high school teens, but I found a lot of it very useful for my twelve-year old, and plan to revisit this book often during his high school years. There are some great worksheets to be used by both

Aug 8, 2017

As I ponder what to say about this book, I'm reminded of two quotes I like from another; Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone:

People almost never change without first feeling understood.

The single most important thing [you can do] is to shift [your] internal stance from "I understand" to "Help me understand." Everything else follows from that.

Though stated differently, those ideas lie at the core of the parenting approach Greene describes in this book. Parents can best help their children learn, change, and grow--and deal with difficulties and misbehavior--by starting

Showtime at the Ministry of Lost Causes

By Cheryl Dumesnil
Star Rating

Rated by Hannah Jane W.
Mar 10, 2017

The title of Cheryl Dumesnil's latest collection, Showtime at the Ministry of Lost Causes, is like an irresistible flashing light, letting readers know that there's dark humor to be found inside. And yes, her poems twinkle with dark humor, but they are also candidly soulful, colorful and even sweetly sexy at times. Her poem, The Gospel According to Sky, explores cloud shapes, and how "the immutable blue holds those changing shapes, like a lover who's finally learned how to love her right." My heart soars at the idea of the sky holding the clouds like they are all the pieces of its cherished

Sep 28, 2016

Ah, if only I'd read this last summer or fall, sometime before my five-month-old was born, because I'm quite drawn to many of the ideas. Some I'd already claimed as my own, some were vague notions that have now been articulated and solidified for me, and some still feel rather surprising and foreign. I'm not one to unquestioningly adopt any model--parenting, leadership, eating, or what you will--without tweaking it and making it my own, but I believe considering and practicing these ideas will make me a more effective parent.

"Model" seems the best word I can think of to describe what

Axe Cop, Volume 1

By Malachai Nicolle
Star Rating

Rated by Chris K.
Sep 27, 2016

This concept is absolutely genius and the execution is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read.

A few years ago, Ethan Nicolle was playing with his five-year-old brother Malachai and decided it would be fun to take Malachai’s imagined play and illustrate it as a superhero comic. It all started when Malachai took a toy police officer and added a firefighter’s axe. They grabbed another figure and the nearest weapon-like implement at hand—a recorder, which led to Axe Cop’s first partner, Flute Cop—and went to chop off the heads of dinosaurs and other sundry bad guys.

In his book Killing

Sep 16, 2016

Christakis begins with a very simple premise: that, for preschoolers, schooling and learning are often two different things. That young children are much more powerful and capable than we often give them credit for, that they primarily learn through relationships and play, and that the educational push to make their school experience more focused on "academic readiness" runs counter to their natural inclinations for learning.

She then spends nearly 400 pages comprehensively exploring that idea across the many dimensions and aspects of early childhood education. She has been a child, parent

Last to Finish: A Story About the Smartest Boy in Math Class

By Barbara Esham
Star Rating

Rated by Becky C.
Sep 6, 2016

Slow and steady wins the race, right? Then what’s the deal with all the timed tests our kids have to suffer though in school? Last to Finish is a great book to help kids who experience anxiety over timed math tests understand that they are not alone, and, in fact, they just might be kinda special. As the mom of a kid who freaks out when the teacher whips out the timer, I recommend this book for kids and caregivers to read together to foster discussion about math anxiety.

I like this quote from the back of the book:

"Surprisingly, many of history's greatest mathematicians have been


By Jennifer Mathieu
Star Rating

Rated by Becky C.
Sep 2, 2016

As a children’s librarian, it’s uncommon that I recommend a book about a teenage runaway to parents looking for a book about relationship-building. But author Jennifer Mathieu has written an uncommon book. I just can’t recommend it highly enough. In this cautionary tale of what can go wrong when parents put too many restrictions on their teens, Rachel Walker is a seventeen-year-old girl who runs away from her strict, Quiverfull-adhering, fundamentalist Christian home in an effort to feed her curious mind and to build a life of her own. What I like most about this book is how complexly the

The Choices We Make

By Karma Brown
Star Rating

Rated by Colleen O.
Aug 26, 2016

The Choices We Make is a beautifully written, powerful, heart-shattering story about friendship and motherhood. Hannah and Kate have been as close as sisters since they met in fifth grade. Hannah cannot help but feel envious of Kate's family, complete with two little girls. Meanwhile, after six years of trying every method she and her husband can endure, Hannah has just found out that she is unable to get pregnant. Kate chooses to be Hannah’s surrogate, and this is where the journey begins. Everything goes according to plan until a shocking tragedy puts everything the two women have set out

A Girls Guide to Moving On

By Debbie Macomber
Star Rating

Rated by Lisa J.
Dec 22, 2015

Leanne and Nichole are unlikely friends and confidants. When Leanne learns that her son Jake is cheating on his wife Nichole, she is sorely disappointed to find her son following in his father's footsteps. Sean, Leanne's husband has been cheating on her for years and up to this point she has just accepted and ignored his infidelity. After telling Nichole of Jake's indiscretion she admires the way Nichole instantly refuses to accept Jake's behavior and immediately moves to dissolve their marriage. Leanne draws courage from Nichole and leaves her cheating husband of thirty years. The two women

We Never Asked for Wings

By Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Star Rating

Rated by Colleen O.
Sep 2, 2015

At sixteen, Letty Espinosa has everything going for her – she’s young, pretty and smart with a handsome boyfriend who loves her. Only the sky is the limit. When she discovers she is pregnant, all her hopes and dreams are suddenly dashed. Now a 33-year old single mother of two, working several menial jobs to bring in money for her family, she has been living somewhat irresponsibly while her mother has been raising her two children. When her mother decides to return to Mexico to join her husband in their country of origin, Letty is suddenly faced with the responsibility of being a mother – a

Aug 8, 2015

I listened to this audio book and knew I could relate to it when I found myself laughing out loud less than a minute into it. If you have a child who challenges your authority and thinks the world should revolve around them, this book will help save your sanity. It will show you how to reteach your child and yourself. I have skimmed through several books on this subject but never bothered to finish them. I would get annoyed when the book described situations (ones that were not as frustrating as the ones I was dealing with) and then give one simple answer on how to handle it. These books also

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

By Dave Eggers
Star Rating

Rated by Hope H.
Aug 3, 2015

I'll cut to the chase: Listen to this book. Narrator Dion Graham turns an already great memoir by Dave Eggers into an absolutely entertaining bundle of ah-mazing. The words burst with personality and energy thanks to his narration, perfectly capturing the author's tone. (No surprise, turns out there are multiple Eggers-Graham audiobooks out there.) You'll forget you're basically listening to a giant monologue. 

So what's it about? In A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Eggers shares a heartfelt account of his life after suddenly becoming the guardian of his young brother when both

Bird by Bird

By Anne Lamott
Star Rating

Rated by Melody K.
Jul 27, 2014

I'm not a writer but Anne Lamott makes me believe that I could be a great one.  Bird by Bird is a writing manual that reads like a memoir, a very funny, life affirming, let's get real memoir.  She reminds me a bit of Cheryl Strayed in her clarity and insight not only about writing but about relationships and priorities.  Lamott says, "if you want to know your characters, you have to hang out with them for awhile."   I highly recommend hanging out with Lamott.

Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

By Anne Lamott
Star Rating

Rated by Becky C.
Apr 28, 2014

I recently missed a carpool, and instead, drove alone. But I never felt alone. Plan B included listening to Anne Lamott's Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. And she is an excellent traveling companion. Lamott, full of faith and humor hooked me in with her crazy, grace-filled life and I couldn't stop listening. It's a bummer that I missed socializing with my group. But, driving with Anne Lamott narrating Plan B made the trip worthwhile.

Lamott is at her best when she weaves witty stories of her progressive Christian faith with her family dysfunction. Especially the stories focusing on the

The Asperkids Launch Pad

By Jennifer Cook O'Toole
Star Rating

Rated by Lisa J.
Apr 11, 2014

O’Toole, award winning author of Asperkids and The Asperkid’s (Secret) Book of Social Rules, a social worker, teacher, mother of three Asperkids and an Aspie herself, has developed a “how-to” guide for parents of children with Asperger Syndrome (AS) on how to best structure their home life to support their AS kids.  O’Toole’s instructional manual demonstrates the importance of structuring the home life and everyday tasks (or chores) around the house so that children with AS can feel confident, successful and comfortable thus reducing their stress and building self-esteem.  This visual

Dad is Fat

By Jim Gaffigan
Star Rating

Rated by Helen H.
Mar 18, 2014

I read Dad is Fat for my book club and, as a group, we reached several conclusions.

- If you have children, Gaffigan is really funny.

- If you don’t have children, he’s just “meh."

- While reading the book is okay, listening to Gaffigan read his work is much better. If you can, choose the audio.

-We all love how adoringly, respectfully, and admiringly Gaffigan speaks of his wife. I, personally, will be crushed if, five or ten years down the road, we find out they actually hate each other and are just pretending for the book.

My favorite two essays are “Dogfight," where Gaffigan

Dad Is Fat

By Jim Gaffigan
Star Rating

Rated by Hope H.
Dec 24, 2013

Kids really do say the darnedest things, but so do parents!  From the eye of the storm, comedian Jim Gaffigan reports on the trials of raising five young children and celebrates the absurdities, embarrassments, and joys.  He begins by reflecting on his early perceptions of being abducted by aliens (aka, babies) and then recounts his own recent adventures in sleep deprivation, family vacations, juggling schedules, and the power of ice cream.  Gaffigan pokes at his own fathering foibles and sings the praises of his wife’s mothering and family management, even if there is some comedic friction

Oct 3, 2013

These days, I read a lot of mom-oirs – enough to feel justified making up a word to describe the sub-genre clash of parenting book meets memoir.  My twins are fifteen months old.  They toddle and they’re fickle, irrational, urgent, tiny, and I love them.  Just like the subtitle says.

I enjoyed a lot about this book.  More daddies wrote for this compilation than I’ve yet seen.  This is representative of modern parenting: my own husband is a stay-at-home daddy while I work as a librarian.  The stories in this collection are short, so I was able to read several in a sitting or read something

Sep 17, 2010

up.jpgIt annoys me the way our culture deemphasizes the training it takes to parent well. Perhaps it’s because within a capitalistic society jobs for which we are not monetarily compensated are placed on the lowest echelon. But parenting is a big deal and we should prepare for it.

So where do you go for good training? I stopped reading parenting books a couple of years ago when I became annoyed with the conflicting advice they offer. But recently a friend of mine shared this article by Alfie Kohn, and it inspired me to end my boycott of

Aug 9, 2010

Even though my kids are well into their teenage years, I really enjoyed listening to this audio book that promotes a new less-stressed parenting style that may well lead to more confident and certainly happier children. Lenore Skenazy got alot of negative press a few years back for allowing her 10 year old son to use the NY subway to travel to a friends home alone. Now my first reaction was the same as most parents - "Is this lady crazy?" However, after listening to Free-range kids: giving our children the freedom we had without going nuts with worry on audio I am more inclined to believe I

Jun 11, 2010

NurtureShock by Po Bronson
A must read for parents, new or experienced! This title is full of parenting insights supported by many research studies. How much sleep does your kid/teen really need to function at his best? Why telling your child that he is smart can actually be detrimental to his learning. Why talking to your child about race, not just exposing him to divirsity, is so important. The book covers from birth through the teen years, touching on developing language skills to understanding why your teen seeks out dangerous situations. This book changed my way of thinking forever.