Reading Magic by Mem Fox
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008, 208 pages)
As a new mom I’ve wanted to make sure I raise my daughter to (hopefully) be a reader. For this reason I’ve been researching books on literacy and reading to children so I have an idea of how best to introduce my daughter to the amazing world of books and reading. Mem Fox is a well-known children’s book author. I’m not sure where I learned about her adult books on literacy and children, but I’m glad that I did.
In Reading Magic Fox explains the many benefits of reading out loud to your child. She highlights what to look for in books to make sure you keep your child’s interest and encourage them to love language. She also points out the three secrets of reading: the magic of print, the magic of language, and the magic of general knowledge. You want to put all three of these “secrets” together to successfully approach reading in a positive way with your little one.
Fox writes accessibly and regularly emphasizes the key points of reading aloud. She also provides great examples and really just makes you eager to go read with your child. A lot of the book will most likely seem like common sense, but one of the key things Fox talks about is that you can always find the time to read a book with your child. It will be beneficial to you and them.
Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food
by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett
(Vermilion, 2008, 256 pages)
This was a different type of food book from what I used to read, but with a baby in my life and starting to eat solids this was a book I was curious about. Essentially Rapley and Murkett make the case that you don’t need to go through the process of introducing your child to food by spoon-feeding them super-pureed baby food. They explain that once your child is old enough to start eating solids you can allow them to eat the foods you are eating. Obviously there are guidelines with what types of foods you should share and how they should be “prepared,” but the point is that babies will respond well to exposure to different tastes and textures.
The logic is pretty sound. Starting out babies don’t have a lot of dexterity so you’ll want to offer food that it will be easy for them to grab in their fists and eventually maneuver to their mouths. With that in mind, the idea of them choking on food isn’t really something you need to worry about. Also, the case has been made that this approach helps children to be more adventurous eaters while simultaneously encouraging the family to eat healthier as a whole (if you don’t want your baby to eat it, you shouldn’t eat it yourself). So less processed foods and encouraging the “family meal” dynamic from a young age are just a few of the perks from baby-led weaning.
I already started testing a few things out with my daughter this weekend. While I’m still going to use the baby food I have at home, I’m also going to feel more comfortable with the idea of exposing her to the food I’m eating and allowing her to explore her food however she wants. I’m already used to the extra cleaning that comes into play when a baby’s diet expands so we might as well all have fun with it. 😉
This is a book I’d recommend if you’re a parent who’s interested in learning more about different ways you can approach introducing new foods to your child.
Watch My Baby Grow by DK Publishing
(DK Publishing, 2014, 224 pages)
As a new parent I’ve recently started keeping more of an eye out for books that focus on child development and what to expect the first year. Watch My Baby Grow seemed like it could be beneficial because DK Publishing has a knack for publishing titles that present information in a clear, easy-to-digest way.
Watch My Baby Grow follows the progression of baby Melisa over the course of a year. Photographs are taken to show how she is changing and information is provided to explain what is going on developmentally and what sorts of things you can expect to see happen around the same time frame.
This isn’t an in-depth resource, but if you’re a visual learner and just want to supplement your other parenting resources you might pick this up from the library.
The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D.
(Bantam, 2003, 288 pages)
A friend gave me this book after I told her I was pregnant and she said it was really helpful and that it’s best to read it before the baby arrives so you have time to actually digest/remember the information. Essentially this book revolves around how to care for your newborn in the three months after birth. The focus is on calming crying and ensuring a good night’s sleep. Karp explains that those first three months of life should be considered the 4th trimester – your baby is still getting acclimated to this new world and the best way to keep them happy is by recreating the womb experience as closely as possible. This can be done by using the 5 S’s: Swaddling, Side/Stomach placement, Shushing, Swinging, Sucking. Doing a combination of some or all of these calms the baby (thereby calming the parents).
This was a quick and helpful read that I’ve since passed on to my husband so he can familiarize himself with the techniques. I’d definitely recommend it for parents-to-be.