My favorite books for new parents looking to prepare

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about working with families. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Child Development, I realized I wanted to work with the entire family system. I continued my education to receive a Master’s degree in Family Social Science and spent the next seventeen years directing and teaching in Minnesota’s Early Childhood Family Education programs. I founded the Spirited Child, and Power Struggles workshops and wrote Raising Your Spirited Child. It became a best seller. I then started my own company, ParentChildHelp offering workshops, classes, and private consultations to families. Mid-career, I returned to school to earn my doctorate degree. The result of my research is Raising Your Spirited Baby.


I wrote...

Book cover of Raising Your Spirited Baby: A Breakthrough Guide to Thriving When Your Baby Is More . . . Alert and Intense and Struggles to Sleep

What is my book about?

Does your baby burst into tears when another baby in the same situation sleeps soundly? Is it nearly impossible to lay your baby down? Do you feel like you are somehow "failing," when you are trying so hard?

Parents who answer “yes,” are the parents of a spirited infant. Spirited infants are the outliers—the exceptions to the “rules,” the normal, yet extraordinary ones. They are wired to be alert and intense and many of the strategies others swear by do not work with these babies. Yet, no one talks about it. As a licensed parent educator, author, and parent I knew it was time to create for these parents a guide. Fifteen years in the making Raising Your Spirited Baby is research-based and yet practical. It includes my 5-step Spirited Baby Methodology which provides the answers to help these babies and their parents not only survive but thrive.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka Why did I love this book?

The addition of a child to the family can test even the most ardent of love relationships. In turn, children synchronize to the stress level of their parents, which is why nurturing couple relationships in shared parenting families is so important. In this book Dr. John Gottman, psychologist and couple’s counselor, offers research-based, practical tools, to strengthen and restore couple relationships. Taking care of your child begins with taking care of YOU.

By John Gottman, Julie Schwartz Gottman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked And Baby Makes Three as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Congratulations! You have a new baby.
Don’t forget you also have a marriage.

Having a baby is a joyous experience, but even the best relationships are strained during the transition from duo to trio. In And Baby Makes Three, Love Lab™ experts John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman teach couples the skills needed to maintain healthy marriages, so partners can avoid the pitfalls of parenthood by:

• Focusing on intimacy and romance
• Replacing an atmosphere of criticism and irritability with one of appreciation
• Preventing postpartum depression
• Creating a home environment that nurtures physical, emotional, and mental health,…


Book cover of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka Why did I love this book?

What re-charges extroverts, drains introverts, and vice versa. Extroverts like to “talk” about problems – often over and over as they process their thoughts. Introverts like to “think” about problems and then talk about them – once. An understanding AND appreciation of individual differences are foundational to building a healthy family. In Quiet, Susan Cain provides readers with practical tools for negotiating differences and effective teaching strategies to empower introverted children to thrive in an extroverted world. I love her strength-based approach!

By Susan Cain,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Quiet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SUSAN CAIN'S NEW BOOK, BITTERSWEET, IS AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW

A SUNDAY TIMES AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, THIS BOOK WILL CHANGE HOW YOU SEE INTROVERTS - AND YOURSELF - FOREVER.

Our lives are driven by a fact that most of us can't name and don't understand. It defines who our friends and lovers are, which careers we choose, and whether we blush when we're embarrassed.

That fact is whether we're an introvert or an extrovert.

The most fundamental dimension of personality, at least a third of us are introverts, and yet shyness, sensitivity and seriousness are often seen as…


Book cover of Touchpoints-Birth to Three

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka Why did I love this book?

Understanding normal child development and what to expect at each stage and age is foundational to your work as a parent. The ability to recognize a growth spurt, or the knowledge that words alone will never stop a two-year-old who is learning about the rules of the world is essential for responding sensitively and appropriately to your child. In this classic book, predictable key developmental points are described allowing you to predict potentially challenging rough spots, understand what is happening when your child backslides, or reaches new developmental stages and why strategies that used to work are no longer effective.

By T. Berry Brazelton, Joshua D. Sparrow,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Touchpoints-Birth to Three as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All over the U.S. and in over twenty countries around the world, Touchpoints has become required reading for anxious parents of babies and small children. T. Berry Brazelton's great empathy for the universal concerns of parenthood, and honesty about the complex feelings it engenders, as well as his uncanny insight into the predictable leaps and regressions of early childhood, have comforted and supported families since its publication in 1992. In this completely revised edition Dr. Brazelton introduces new information on physical, emotional, and behavioural development. He also addresses the new stresses on families and fears of children, with a fresh…


Book cover of Try New Food: How to Help Picky Eaters Taste, Eat & Like New Foods

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka Why did I love this book?

Jill Castle is a childhood nutritionist who also understands child development AND temperament. Her whole-child approach to healthy eating is refreshingly positive, respectful, supportive, and practical. Jill uses a step-by-step system to help even the most sensitive child enjoy a wide variety of foods. She clearly demonstrates how to stop the mealtime battles and instead make meals a time for connection and calm.

By Jill Castle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Try New Food as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Your picky eater is not destined to be unhealthy! 

Are you living with a picky eater who won’t try new foods? Have you tried all the tricks and nothing is working?

Renowned childhood nutrition expert and author, Jill Castle, uses a strategic approach to help picky eaters taste, eat and learn to like new foods. Using a step-by-step system to help kids overcome their fussy eating tendencies, Castle employs scientific strategies, developmental insight, and food tips to help parents better understand and navigate the motivations of the picky toddler and child.

Typical advice directs parents to wait it out. To…


Book cover of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka Why did I love this book?

First published in 1980 – yes 1980 - this classic book REMAINS on the bestselling list today! That is because it is one of the best guides for effective parent-child communication methods ever written. Simply composed and illustrated, it makes it easy to understand what your child may be feeling or needing, (Your child is NOT out to “get you.”) and provides step-by-step guidance to work with your child to solve problems, express strong emotions, resolve conflicts and most importantly build a healthy, life-long relationship.

By Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

30th Anniversary Edition updated with new insights from the next generation. You can stop fighting with your children! Here is the bestselling book that will give you the know-how you need to be more effective with your children--and more supportive of yourself. Enthusiastically praised by parents and professionals around the world, the down-to-earth, respectful approach of Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish makes relationships with children of all ages less stressful and more rewarding. Now, in this thirtieth-anniversary edition, these award-winning experts share their latest insights and suggestions based on feedback they've received over the years. Their methods of communication--illustrated with…


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Creativity, Teaching, and Natural Inspiration

By Mark Doherty,

Book cover of Creativity, Teaching, and Natural Inspiration

Mark Doherty Author Of Creativity, Teaching, and Natural Inspiration

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a highly experienced outdoorsman, musician, songwriter, and backcountry guide who chose teaching as a day job. As a writer, however, I am a promoter of creative and literary nonfiction, especially nonfiction that features a thematic thread, whether it be philosophical, conservation, historical, or even unique experiential. The thread I used for thirty years of teaching high school and honors English was the thread of Conservation, as exemplified by authors like Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Edward O. Wilson, Al Gore, Henry David Thoreau, as well as many other more contemporary authors.

Mark's book list on creative nonfiction books that entertain and teach through threaded essays and stories

What is my book about?

I have woven numerous delightful and descriptive true life stories, many from my adventures as an outdoorsman and singer songwriter, into my life as a high school English teacher. I think you'll find this work both entertaining as well as informative, and I hope you enjoy the often lighthearted repartee and dialogue that enhances the stories and experiences.

When I started teaching in the early 1990s, I brought into the classroom with me my passions for nature, folk music, and creativity. This book holds something new and engaging with every chapter and can be enjoyed by all sorts of readers, particularly those who enjoy nonfiction that employs wit, wisdom, humor, and even some down-to-earth philosophy.

Creativity, Teaching, and Natural Inspiration

By Mark Doherty,

What is this book about?

Creativity, Teaching, and Natural Inspiration follows the evolution of a high school English teacher as he develops a creative and innovative teaching style despite being juxtaposed against a public education system bent on didactic, normalizing regulations and political demands. Doherty crafts an engaging nonfiction story that utilizes memoir, anecdote, poetry, and dialogue to explore how mixing creativity and pedagogy can change the way budding students visualize creative writing: A chunk of firewood plunked on a classroom table becomes part of a sawmill, a mine timber, an Anasazi artifact...it also becomes a poem, a song, an essay, and a memoir. The…


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