End of Year Book Review:
I’ve been gifted dozens of books and offered the opportunity to review hundreds this year. I simply cannot and do not have the bandwidth to read, digest and thoroughly review them all.
However, as the year comes to a close in a few short days, I know that a lot of readers are looking for guidance and inspiration to carry them in the new year. So, I curated a sampling of some of the top parenting books are among those that I thought would be helpful to parents, new moms, expecting parents and others.
1. The High School Survival Guide: Your Roadmap to Studying, Socializing & Succeeding by Jessica Holsman
I have a child who entered high school this year who had to deal with the transitioning to more difficult classes, traveling from class to class, taking notes, meeting new friends, and navigating all the in between. I gave him this book to read which he managed to devour in a few short days. It offers a lot of common sense suggestions and inspiration, study tips and more.
The book is authored by Jessica Holsman, a popular YouTuber of “Study with Jess” and “Life of Jess” web series. It makes a good gift for a middle schooler or teen already in high school.
The only thing I would change is the cover which features a girl and gives the impression it is tailored to girls. It is not, but that could dissuade some readers or parents from picking it up.
Get it for $11.99!
2. The College Bound Organizer by Anna Costras and Gail Liss
This is part guide, part work book, part inspirational book and part organizer. It’s a book for a kid or parent who needs (or at least wants) to have a place to journal college visit tours, information researched on various colleges, and then the application process (recommendations, transcripts, test scores etc).
I like the organization, tips, blank pages and the way it is arranged. Some sections are too generic for me to tailor to suit my way or organizing information so I will just leave those blank or use them as inspiration to put my own checklist or form together. Overall, it’s a pretty decent handbook.
Get it for $12.89.
3. The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children by Ronald F. Ferguson
As a parenting expert, I am constantly looking for insights and perspectives on how to master this difficult task of raising good, conscientious, able-bodied and decent children. The authors of this book describe “Eight Roles of Parenting” which as one reviewer put it is a “framework is a really clean way of looking at the messy reality of parenting.” It basically refers to the roles a parent should have during different portions of their children’s’ development. I like it even though the author seems to establish the benchmark for success as acceptance into Harvard. That bar is a bit high and also, one can be successful without attending Harvard or a top college at all.
Nonetheless, I love how the book lays out the foundations though it doesn’t offer enough tips on how the average unlearned person could accomplish the steps other than by simply trying to figure out how to model success. It is pretty comprehensive and a very well researched and thorough read! I felt validated and challenged.
Get it for $18.49
4. Heart, Sass & Soul: Journal Your Way to Inspiration and Happiness by Greta Solomon
I think a lot of us get stuck in a rut and struggle to break free from it. During this time of self-doubt, unsurety, and relative darkness, we find ourselves procrastinating, stagnant, and simply not doing what we need to do to advance our lives or goals.
This book starts with prompts and inspirational passages to help us overcome these self-inflicted hurdles to define our path without judgment.
The back includes a journal with writing prompts that connects it all together. I’m still reading this one but so far, I’m enjoying it. It’s not rocket science but a lot of times, we simply need someone else to roadmap what we already know. The readers get to experience the examples of the author’s own path to journaling and learn a lot from the experience of a previously reluctant journaler to expert.
From the publishers, “Writing for yourself is an incredible way to heal your heart, find happiness, and reconnect with the things that matter most. Journaling and freewriting can bring you a deeper level of self-awareness, allowing you to truly know who you are. Heart, Sass & Soul will show you how to develop a writing practice that nurtures inner strength and promotes a rich, fulfilled life.”
Get it for $12.85
5. The Story Behind: The Extraordinary History Behind Ordinary Objects by Emily Prokop
This is a cool gift book to give that kid or older adult who loves trivia and loves wowing others with information. The only downsides is the lack of reference to the facts which may cause the detail-oriented person with a skeptical brain and fact-checker perspective to not trust some of the information. But beyond that, it’s a really cute and to-the-point and easy-to-read, skim and skip around book.
This is not an inspiration book, per se, but by learning about the quite mundane and ordinary start of some pretty fantastic inventions, the reader could draw motivation and encouragement on what they could achieve.
Get it for FREE on Kindle
6. Top Students, Top Parents: A Manual for Parents Who Want to Help Their Children Become All They Can Be by Kathleen Burns
This book is a collection of brief but cogent academic articles and essays by experts about children’s learning and how early environmental factors come into play. Many people assume that children inherit learning ability. Whilst this is true to some extent, the book discusses how critical environmental factors are in facilitating a child’s curiosity and desire to learn, one reviewer writes.
I’m still digging into this book, but so far, what I find most fascinating about it is that it shows you the way you should be speaking to, engaging, instructing and guiding your child to maximize his or her ability to absorb knowledge, be a better reader, have a stronger work ethic and patience. That fact sets this book apart from others, like some mentioned in this list, that simply outline and explain what makes a grade A student or a top parent.
Get it for $18.95
7. Your Complete Vegan Pregnancy by Reed Mangels
From the mind of an expert nutritionist with experience in veganism comes this book which provides useful tips, hints and suggestions on how to feed your body when a pregnant vegan.
For a long time, and I believe still today, a lot of doctors have NOT recommend vegans stick with their strict diets while pregnant. They argue that animal fat and proteins are needed to help a developing baby in utero.
In modern times, and with more recent studies, and experiences, and also with more options available in regular grocery stores, it is very possible to feed a vegan body and a baby.
This guide offers yummy recipes along with the guide that can be used all throughout a pregnancy and after. Even those who are not expecting can benefit.
Get it for $10.39
8. You Can Be a Winning Writer by Joan Gelfand
Is 2020 the year you finally get your book published, a literary agent or self-publish your first book?
There is a reason why there are millions of books and authors out there but only a fraction of successful published books and authors, comparatively. The reason for this paradox has to do with the fact that not all authors are able to connect with readers, deliver a compelling story or message, keep readers engaged and have them coming back for more.
In Joan Gelfand’s book, readers will learn of the 4 C’s (Craft, Commitment, Community & Confidence) and be inspired to get to work and to put in the effort to finally get their book written or published this coming year.
I gifted this one to my husband who is writing his first novel. I also plan to dig into the formula some more as I explore fiction writing in the coming year.
Get if for $15.99
9. Why Will No One Play With Me? The Play Better Plan by Caroline Maguire
Many children lack important social and executive functioning skills that allow them to navigate through the world with ease.
I got this book a little while ago and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Inside, parenting expert and former coach at the Hallowell center provides a very well-written and clear manual for helping parents who have children who struggle with social interactions and with connecting with others. She offers a step-by-step guide with examples and very relevant examples. She suggests using tools:
*Social Sleuthing: learn to pay attention to social cues
*Post-Play Date Huddles: help kids figure out what to look for in a friendship
*Reflective Listening: improve your child’s relationship with their peers
Every parent wants their child to be okay–to have friends, to be successful, to feel comfortable in his or her own skin and this guide book is meant to give them the tools to do that.
With compassion and ease, this program gives parents a tangible, easy-to-follow guide for helping kids develop the executive function and social skills they need to thrive.
This books has dozens of 5 star reviews and there is a reason for it.
Get it in Hardback for $18.59
10. The Multi-Cooker Baby Food Cookbook by Jenna Helwig
Jenna combines the Instapot/quick crock pot craze with the new trend of moms who prefer to cook and prepare their own baby food rather than rely on commercially prepared jars and pouches. In this book, moms can expect to find over 100 recipes made of whole foods including some the entire family can enjoy.
It’s well organized and could make a great gift book.
Get it for $12.99
11. Sailor to Student: How I Made a Quarter of a Million Dollars, and You Can Too by Tony Elion Jr
This former sailor offers tips and suggestions in lay terms on how he uses investments to earn big bucks. I was surprised when his publicist or publishers sent me a link to access. It was a quick read but the advice within it is succinct, helpful and memorable. It’s a great thing to read to start the year especially if one of your goals is to get financially independent.
Get it for $14.99
There you have it! A bunch of books to kickstart your new year!