The best books for people who want to connect with their child

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by relationships since I was a kid. I grew up a keen observer of the relationships in my own family, mostly focused on the way in which the dynamics were difficult for me. This led me to develop a strong interest in psychology, a passion I pursued in my undergraduate education. I became acutely intrigued by an idea a professor exposed me to early on – that experiences of safety and security within attachment relationships are essential in order for children to thrive, and that without safety/security, they can experience chronic struggles. This early interest paved the way for what developed into my career as a psychology professor and therapist.


I wrote...

Nature Meets Nurture: Science-Based Strategies for Raising Resilient Kids

By Stacey N Doan, Jessica L. Borelli,

Book cover of Nature Meets Nurture: Science-Based Strategies for Raising Resilient Kids

What is my book about?

Most of what parents learn, they learn through experience. There are no books that can teach you how to be a parent, and as the authors of this book, we know that. However, when paired with the wisdom you bring to your own parenting, research can help fine-tune some of your skills or perspectives. It can also offer companionship or new ways to think about your child’s mind.

In our book we dissect the latest parenting research for the parent who wants to dig deep when it comes to understanding their child. We describe science-backed strategies for raising children who can grow up in today’s complex world, armed with the confidence that their parent loves and supports them, as well as confidence in themselves.

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The books I picked & why

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

Jessica L. Borelli Why did I love this book?

This book is the best, hands-on guide for how to talk to children that I have ever seen. It’s kind of like a how-to-talk to children for dummies.

It’s as though the authors spent years dissecting every aspect of what makes conversations between adults and kids go well and what makes them flop and then put that down in a book. And then the authors convey this information so clearly and concretely, including through the use of cartoons and worksheets.

The book also clearly exposes (in a humorous, light-hearted way) why certain ways of talking to kids fail. This is an old book but one I wish I had discovered before I had my own kids. I now intend to give it to all of my clients and friends when they become new parents. 

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…


Book cover of The Emotional Life of the Toddler

Jessica L. Borelli Why did I love this book?

In this book, Dr. Lieberman holds parents’ hands as she walks through toddlers’ emotional experiences.

She draws upon her work as both a clinician and a researcher in writing this book, leaving a narrative that is fresh and also well informed. As a long-time fan of Dr. Lieberman, I can feel her respect for young children emanating throughout this book.

By Alicia F Lieberman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Emotional Life of the Toddler as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Any parent who has tried to keep up with an active toddler for a whole day knows that a child of this age is a whirlwind of contradictory, explosive and ever-changing emotions. In this book, child psychologist Alicia Lieberman addresses common emotional issues and questions facing parents with children this age. Why, for example, is "no" often the favourite response of the toddler? How should parents deal with the anger they sometimes feel in the face of their toddler's unflagging obstinacy? Why does a crying toddler run to its mother for a hug, only to push himself away as soon…


Book cover of The Invisible String

Jessica L. Borelli Why did I love this book?

This is a touching children’s book that helps to teach young children about the connections they have with others in their lives.

The metaphor used in the book is about an invisible string that connects the child to other people they love. The book is so poignant in its simplicity – the message is concrete enough for a young child to understand, providing them with language they can use to describe their ongoing emotional connection to a caregiver during a time of separation, or why it hurts when someone they loved is no longer there.

I have found that reading this book to my own children or child clients creates opportunities for important conversations about the meaning of our connection. 

By Patrice Karst, Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Invisible String as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

With over 400,000 copies sold, this accessible, bestselling picture book phenomenon about the unbreakable connections between loved ones has healed a generation of readers--children and adults alike--and has been updated with new illustrations and an afterword from the author. Now available in paperback for the first time!

Parents, educators, therapists, and social workers alike have declared The Invisible String the perfect tool for coping with all kinds of separation anxiety, loss, and grief. In this relatable and reassuring contemporary classic, a mother tells her two children that they're all connected by an invisible string. "That's impossible!" the children insist, but…


Book cover of Hug

Jessica L. Borelli Why did I love this book?

This is a children’s book that tells the story about a sweet chimp who is looking for a hug from a variety of different animals and can’t seem to get one.

The story evokes strong feelings from young children about rejection, the need to be connected to other people, and the need to belong. I love this book because there are very few words in it, so it gives you and your child the opportunity to fill in the gaps with what you think is happening. 

Also, talking about experiences of rejection can be very difficult for children, and this experience can create opportunities for your child to speak with you about times when they have wanted comfort and haven’t received it.

By Jez Alborough,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Hug as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 2, 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

A tiny chimp invokes the universal language, uniting his friends in a group hug to end all group hugs. Just try to resist Jez Alborough's latest charmer!

Ever feel like you need a hug? A really big hug from someone who loves you? That's how Bobo, the little chimp in this book, feels. Walking through the jungle he passes lots of creatures enjoying a cuddle together: elephants, chameleons, lions, giraffes, hippos - even the snakes have got someone special to squeeze. But poor Bobo is alone. Will he ever find the hug he needs? Using only the single word "hug"…


Book cover of You Are Not a Sh*tty Parent: How to Practice Self-Compassion and Give Yourself a Break

Jessica L. Borelli Why did I love this book?

Dr. Naumburg’s books, including this one, offer a fresh perspective on parenting.

In this book, she compels parents to practice radical self-compassion. I find her message comforting and welcome, especially in an era when parents get messages from literally everywhere about all of the things they need to do better. Ironically, our feelings of guilt and anxiety about parenting can actually get in the way of good parenting, so finding a way to tune out these voices is important.

Dr. Naumburg is here to tell parents to accept that we are human, that parenting standards are impossibly hard, and that we should be more understanding of ourselves. This just feels really good to hear, especially on the heels of the pandemic, and I think we all need this message.

This is the kind of book I frequently recommend to friends and clients. 

By Carla Naumburg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Are Not a Sh*tty Parent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Life is chaotic, parenting is hard and many of us know that what we're currently doing just isn't working for anyone. Most of the time we just end up feeling like we're doing a sh*t job.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Social worker, parent coach and mum Carla Naumburg presents her own experience of self-compassion to show how this simple evidence-based practice can transform the way you parent. From navigating difficult emotions and dealing with everyday stresses, You Are Not a Sh*tty Parent shows how a bit of self-compassion can lead to a more engaged style of…


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American Daredevil: Comics, Communism, and the Battles of Lev Gleason

By Brett Dakin,

Book cover of American Daredevil: Comics, Communism, and the Battles of Lev Gleason

Brett Dakin Author Of Another Quiet American: Stories of Life in Laos

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Lawyer Traveler Dog lover Reader Swimmer

Brett's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Meet Lev Gleason, a real-life comics superhero! Gleason was a titan among Golden Age comics publishers who fought back against the censorship campaigns and paranoia of the Red Scare. After dropping out of Harvard to fight in World War I in France, Gleason moved to New York City and eventually made it big with groundbreaking titles like Daredevil and Crime Does Not Pay.

Brett Dakin, Gleason's great-nephew, opens up the family archives—and the files of the FBI—to take you on a journey through the publisher's life and career. In American Daredevil, you'll learn the truth about Gleason's rapid rise…

American Daredevil: Comics, Communism, and the Battles of Lev Gleason

By Brett Dakin,

What is this book about?

MEET LEV GLEASON, A REAL-LIFE COMICS SUPERHERO!

Gleason was a titan among Golden Age comics publishers who fought back against the censorship campaigns and paranoia of the Red Scare. After dropping out of Harvard to fight in France, Gleason moved to New York City and eventually made it big with groundbreaking titles like Daredevil and Crime Does Not Pay.

Brett Dakin, Gleason's great-nephew, opens up the family archives-and the files of the FBI-to take you on a journey through the publisher's life and career. In American Daredevil, you'll learn the truth about Gleason's rapid rise to the top of comics,…


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Interested in mothers, toddlers, and parenting?

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