The best books on parenting secrets from other cultures

The Books I Picked & Why

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (Now with Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting)

By Pamela Druckerman

Book cover of Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (Now with Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting)

Why this book?

Bringing up Bébe is the mother of all international parenting books and it’s easy to understand why it’s still a huge bestseller. Pamela Druckerman masterfully weaves anecdotes from her personal experience as an American living with a baby in Paris with insights from French parents, psychologists, and pediatricians. The result is an irreverent and witty guide on raising kids who sleep through the night, eat their food, and don’t behave like brats. 


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The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know about Raising Confident, Capable Kids

By Jessica Joelle Alexander, Iben Dissing Sandahl

Book cover of The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know about Raising Confident, Capable Kids

Why this book?

Danish parenting advice is the best thing to come out of Denmark since hygge and in this book, authors Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Sandahl explain why. Stressing emotional health, free play, and – of course – hygge, The Danish Way of Parenting makes a strong case for a more empathetic way of raising children than the old school authoritarian style and gives parents practical tools to avoid yelling and spanking. A modern parenting classic with a decidedly Scandinavian flavor.


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French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters

By Karen Le Billon

Book cover of French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters

Why this book?

The title alone of this book was enough to get me hooked since my experience with young children was that they typically don’t eat anything – and I know I’m not alone. Le Billon gives us a peek into the culinary lives of French parents and shares her best tips for getting kids to not only eat what the adults eat, which in France may involve both beef tongue and smelly blue cheese, but also enjoy it. 


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Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children

By Sara Zaske

Book cover of Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children

Why this book?

Preschoolers who wield knives and start fires? Kids riding by themselves on the subway? Welcome to Germany, where “free range parenting” is the norm and free play takes priority over academic learning in the early years. Zaske’s journey as an American mom in Berlin is a fascinating and thought-provoking read that turns many of our preconceived notions about German culture and parenting on their head. Parents looking to raise confident, self-reliant children will likely take Zaske’s book to heart. 


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Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

By Amy Chua

Book cover of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Why this book?

Chua set off an international firestorm with her memoir, a frank account of the trials and tribulations of raising her two daughters the Chinese way in the U.S. Her strict, achievement-oriented parenting tactics often run counter to mainstream Western ideals about raising children and have drawn harsh criticism from many readers. Whether you agree with her methods or not, it’s impossible not to be touched by Chua’s book. 


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