100 books like The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

By Philippa Perry,

Here are 100 books that The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read fans have personally recommended if you like The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us about the Relationship Between Parents and Children

Sophie Brickman Author Of Baby, Unplugged: One Mother's Search for Balance, Reason, and Sanity in the Digital Age

From my list on parenting that you actually want to read.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the mother of three children, ages 6, 3, and 1, and because I tend to write about what interests me, started to investigate the world of parenting when my eldest was born. (Prior to that, I was a food reporter and editor.) As my husband, a tech entrepreneur, kept bringing home pieces of technology that were supposed to make my life easier (spoiler alert: they rarely did), I found myself urgently trying to figure out what was best for my kids, and myself: the boring pile of blocks, or the flashy, sexy iPad? I spent years delving into the fields of neurobiology, psychology, philosophy, and pediatrics to get a better handle on these questions

Sophie's book list on parenting that you actually want to read

Sophie Brickman Why did Sophie love this book?

Alison Gopnik is a towering figure in the field of developmental psychology, and interviewing her at her Berkeley lab was one of the highlights of my reporting for my own book. She tackles parenting from a particularly erudite and academic angle, pulling on psychology, evolutionary biology, and more to persuade parents that parenting is, in fact—and in her words—“a mug’s game.” We may think we are carpenters, building a perfect specimen of child, but in fact the best way to raise resilient, successful kids is to act like a gardener, providing the right environment in which they can thrive. I found it to be a particularly calming message, and one that will resonate with anyone who agonizes over minute decisions. 

By Alison Gopnik,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Gardener and the Carpenter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Gardener and the Carpenter, Alison Gopnik, one of the world's leading child psychologists, illuminates the paradoxes of parenthood from a scientific perspective and shatters the myth of "good parenting".

Caring deeply about our children is part of what makes us human. Yet the thing we call “parenting” is a surprisingly new invention. In the past thirty years, the concept of parenting and the multibillion-dollar industry surrounding it have transformed child care into obsessive, controlling, and goal-oriented labor intended to create a particular kind of child and therefore a particular kind of adult.

In The Gardener and the Carpenter,…


Book cover of Motherhood: Facing and Finding Yourself

Andrew G. Marshall Author Of I Love You, But I'm Not in Love with You: Seven Steps to Putting the Passion Back Into Your Relationship

From my list on raising emotionally rounded children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a marital therapist with thirty-five years of experience helping couples fall back in love and deal with the fall out from infidelity. I trained with RELATE – the UK’s largest couple counselling charity – and have a private practice in Berlin and lead a team of therapists based in the UK. I have heard over a thousand couples argue – more often than not – about their children. So I am always looking for books that will give a wider perspective and practical advice on how to be a parent without exhausting your marriage and forgetting to still be lovers.

Andrew's book list on raising emotionally rounded children

Andrew G. Marshall Why did Andrew love this book?

There are plenty of ‘how to’ books on being a mother but this looks at how having children changes you and what you learn about yourself. What makes this book profoundly helpful is that Lisa in a Jungian Analyst and she is not afraid to look at the dark as well as the light side of mothering. In my podcast, The Meaningful Life with Andrew G Marshall she talked about the moments where she crossed a line with her son and daughter and how owning ALL parts of you helps you learn and grow.

By Lisa Marchiano,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Motherhood is the true hero's journey-which is to say that it can be as harrowing as it is joyful, and enlightening as it is exhausting. For Jungian psychoanalyst Lisa Marchiano, this journey is not just an adventure of diaper bags and parent-teacher conferences, but one of intense self-discovery.

In Motherhood, Marchiano draws from a deep well of Jungian analysis and symbolic research to present a collection of fairytales, myths, and fables that evoke the spiritual arc of raising a child from infancy through adulthood. After all, this kind of storytelling has always been one of the most important conduits of…


Book cover of It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle

Dr. Edrica D. Richardson Author Of This Isn't Working for Me: A Practical Guide for Making Every Relationship in Your Life More Fulfilling, Authentic, and Intentional

From my list on books for stellar mental growth.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, deeply committed to healing intergenerational trauma and fostering healthy relationships. My passion for this field stems from witnessing the transformational power of understanding and addressing the roots of personal and relational issues. Having navigated the complex dynamics of family systems both professionally and personally, I've seen firsthand how unearthing and healing old wounds can lead to profound growth and stronger bonds. This fuels my dedication to guiding others on their journeys toward self-discovery and improved mental health. The books I recommend are ones that have not only enriched my professional practice but have also offered me invaluable insights into the psychology of human connections.

Dr.'s book list on books for stellar mental growth

Dr. Edrica D. Richardson Why did Dr. love this book?

This is a groundbreaking book that reshaped my understanding of family trauma and its impact across generations. It introduced me to the concept of inherited family trauma and offered insightful methods to uncover and break these cycles. This book not only educated me but also provided a path toward healing and self-discovery.

Reading it was an educational experience, revealing how much of who we are is influenced by the stories of our ancestors. Wolynn’s compassionate approach made complex psychological theories accessible and applicable to my life. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in exploring their family history and healing from its unseen effects. 

By Mark Wolynn,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked It Didn't Start With You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inherited family trauma is currently an area of growing interest, as science increasingly explores what we know intuitively: that the effects of trauma can pass from one generation to the next, and that the answers to some of our greatest life problems often lie not within our own story, but in the experiences of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and extended family. Here, pioneer Mark Wolyn shows readers how they can overcome inherited trauma and reclaim their lives.


Book cover of The Work / Parent Switch: How to Parent Smarter Not Harder

Andrew G. Marshall Author Of I Love You, But I'm Not in Love with You: Seven Steps to Putting the Passion Back Into Your Relationship

From my list on raising emotionally rounded children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a marital therapist with thirty-five years of experience helping couples fall back in love and deal with the fall out from infidelity. I trained with RELATE – the UK’s largest couple counselling charity – and have a private practice in Berlin and lead a team of therapists based in the UK. I have heard over a thousand couples argue – more often than not – about their children. So I am always looking for books that will give a wider perspective and practical advice on how to be a parent without exhausting your marriage and forgetting to still be lovers.

Andrew's book list on raising emotionally rounded children

Andrew G. Marshall Why did Andrew love this book?

‘I can’t just flick a switch’. It’s something that I hear in my therapy office all the time but what if you could transition better from work to parenting – because they each require a different part of you. Anita Cleare was a great guest on my podcast: The Meaningful Life with Andrew G Marshall. She is good at explaining the different stages and challenges of child development and how stressed our parents often end up fighting with each other. Parenting as a team, rather than bickering with each other, is often one of the breakthrough moments for improving my clients' love lives.

By Anita Cleare,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Work / Parent Switch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You can still work and be a great parent!

Most modern parents work. And we have limited time, limited energy, limited patience and too much to do. We are seldom at our best at the end of a long working day when the parenting shift kicks in. We want to do the right thing but, in the thick of it, with no time to think and no energy to spare, it's easy to miss the small changes that could make a big difference to our child's (and our own) well-being.

The Work/Parent Switch is essential reading for every working parent.…


Book cover of Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting: Five Strategies That End the Daily Battles and Get Kids to Listen the First Time

Andrew G. Marshall Author Of I Love You, But I'm Not in Love with You: Seven Steps to Putting the Passion Back Into Your Relationship

From my list on raising emotionally rounded children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a marital therapist with thirty-five years of experience helping couples fall back in love and deal with the fall out from infidelity. I trained with RELATE – the UK’s largest couple counselling charity – and have a private practice in Berlin and lead a team of therapists based in the UK. I have heard over a thousand couples argue – more often than not – about their children. So I am always looking for books that will give a wider perspective and practical advice on how to be a parent without exhausting your marriage and forgetting to still be lovers.

Andrew's book list on raising emotionally rounded children

Andrew G. Marshall Why did Andrew love this book?

How do you get your children out of the door without stressing out them, yourself, and everybody else in the house. This book is full of strategies like not having to ask twice, preparing for success, starting new rules, and the joys of descriptive praise. I find that if parents argue better and communicate more effectively with each other that has a knock-on effect on the children but it works equally well the other way round. If you can communicate more calmly with your children, you can use the skills with your partner too.

By Noel Janis-Norton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING GUIDE TO THE 5 MUST-KNOW PARENTING STRATEGIES

Tired of nagging, pleading, negotiating, or yelling just to get your kids to do the simple things you ask? You don't need to be a Tiger Mom or a Helicopter Parent. There is a better way.

Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting brings the joy back into family life and helps parents to raise confident, responsible adults.

Based on her forty-plus years of experience, behavioral specialist Noel Janis-Norton outlines a clear, step-by-step plan that will help any parent raise a child to be cooperative and considerate, confident and self-reliant. Transform your family…


Book cover of The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind

Alyssa Campbell Author Of Tiny Humans, Big Emotions: How to Navigate Tantrums, Meltdowns, and Defiance to Raise Emotionally Intelligent Children

From my list on raising emotionally intelligent humans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been drawn to babies and toddlers and fascinated by the development that happens in the early years of life. This fascination led me to become a teacher, parent, and emotional development expert with a master's degree in early childhood education. Eventually, my passion for this field led me to co-create the Collaborative Emotion Processing method and research it nationwide. The research results were compelling, and so began my mission to share it with the world.

Alyssa's book list on raising emotionally intelligent humans

Alyssa Campbell Why did Alyssa love this book?

I love this book because it explains how a child’s brain works and what they need to access self-control. It gave me insight into why I saw challenging behaviors even when the child “knew better.”

I loved that when I finished reading it, I felt like I had actionable strategies for supporting my child’s mental well-being while navigating tantrums and meltdowns. 

By Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Whole-Brain Child as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this pioneering, practical book for parents, neuroscientist Daniel J. Siegel and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson explain the new science of how a child's brain is wired and how it matures. Different parts of a child's brain develop at different speeds and understanding these differences can help you turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child's brain and raise calmer, happier children.

Featuring clear explanations, age-appropriate strategies and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child will help your children to lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives using…


Book cover of Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

Kimberly Ells Author Of The Invincible Family: Why the Global Campaign to Crush Motherhood and Fatherhood Can't Win

From my list on smart moms.

Why am I passionate about this?

Throughout my teen years, I heard the narrative that mothers are powerless doormats who should be doing something better with their lives. But in time, I realized motherhood is a position of profound power. And I knew that the prevailing messaging on motherhood needed to change! As an author, speaker, and policy advisor for an NGO at the United Nations, I have spent the past 10 years inspiring women to embrace their potential—including their irreplaceable roles as mothers. I have a degree in English, but my finest education came from raising my four college-age daughters and my one young son. Mothers are miraculous!

Kimberly's book list on smart moms

Kimberly Ells Why did Kimberly love this book?

Reading this book made me a better mom almost overnight! It impacted me and changed the way I approach my relationship with my kids more than I thought was possible.

I’m a mom of five kids and a pretty darn good one, but this book took parenthood to the next level for me. I wish I had read it years ago! Now I can hardly imagine parenting without this insightful, informative, inspiring, book. 

By Gordon Neufeld, Gabor Maté,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hold on to Your Kids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Mate's book will make you examine your behaviour in a new light' Guardian

'bold, wise and deeply moral. [Mate] is a healer to be cherished' Naomi Klein, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine

Children take their lead from their friends: being 'cool' matters more than anything else. Shaping values, identity and codes of behaviour, peer groups are often far more influential than parents.

But this situation is far from natural, and it can be dangerous - it undermines family cohesion, interferes with healthy development, and fosters a hostile and sexualized youth culture. Children end up becoming conformist, anxious…


Book cover of French Children Don’t Throw Food

Nigel Reed Author Of The Dog Guardian: Your Guide to a Happy, Well-Behaved Dog

From my list on parenting from a dog behaviourist.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a dog behaviourist and parent, I realised there’s a huge crossover between raising dogs and children. We must alike create an environment they thrive and can learn in. We must fulfill their needs by nurturing, feeding & protecting them. We must listen to their concerns and build their confidence whilst simultaneously being an authority figure that sets boundaries. To do this I don’t believe there is one correct way for every dog or child. For that reason, I am very open-minded to each individual’s perspective as I believe you can learn something from everyone. From the research, I have done I present my 5 best books on parenting.

Nigel's book list on parenting from a dog behaviourist

Nigel Reed Why did Nigel love this book?

I found French Children Don’t Throw Food funny and inspiring in equal measures. The author humorously describes the differences in French and Anglophone parenting styles in a self-deprecating style. It’s not an overly prescriptive book, rather it is mainly the author detailing her own personal experiences, as an American mother living in Paris. The author highlights her pain and struggles of getting her child to eat, relax, and be on its own, compared to French children who seem to, in general, do it all with minimum effort from their parents. It’s a fun, easy to read book, which has many interesting observations and research. I found the style of French parenting and general attitude mirrored some of my approaches with dogs.

By Pamela Druckerman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked French Children Don’t Throw Food as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Fascinating...gripping...extremely funny...I loved it. It made me want to move to Paris' - India Knight, Sunday Times
_______

Do you want to learn the secrets of the parents of France's well-behaved children?

How come French babies sleep through the night?
Why do French children happily eat what is put in front of them?
How can French mothers chat to their friends while their children play quietly?
_______

Parents are saying MERCI to Pamela Druckerman!

***** 'Our parenting bible'
***** 'You are not alone! ... Brilliantly funny and really helpful.'
***** 'Eye opening ... it has changed the way I view…


Book cover of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit

Alice O'Keeffe Author Of On The Up

From my list on books for frazzled parents–and their children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began writing my book when my older son was two, and my youngest was less than six months. And if that sounds like a bad idea to you–it was! But despite the madness of trying to write a novel in 5-minute parcels of time, for me, it was a necessary way to reclaim some of my individuality at a time when I often felt I was losing it. I’m so glad I have my book to remind me of the very particular challenges of new parenthood. These are some books I found that helped me do just that.

Alice's book list on books for frazzled parents–and their children

Alice O'Keeffe Why did Alice love this book?

Fiction can help parents and children put our situations into perspective. During lockdown, my 10-year-old and I treasured some rare moments of calm reading Judith Kerr’s book.

This classic children’s book tells the story of a Jewish family’s escape from Nazi Germany and subsequent exile in Switzerland and France. It surveys some of the most dramatic events of the 20th century with a convincing child’s-eye view and reassures us that a loving family can survive and even thrive in the very worst of times.

By Judith Kerr,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

This semi-autobiographical classic, written by the beloved Judith Kerr, tells the story of a Jewish family escaping Germany in the days before the Second World War.

This beautiful new edition celebrates the fifty year anniversary of an adventure that Michael Morpurgo called "The most life-enhancing book you could ever wish to read."

Suppose your country began to change. Suppose that without your noticing, it became dangerous for some people to live in it any longer, and you found, to your surprise, that your own father was one of those people. This is what happened to Anna in 1933.

Anna is…


Book cover of Why Love Matters: How affection shapes a baby's brain

Alice O'Keeffe Author Of On The Up

From my list on books for frazzled parents–and their children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began writing my book when my older son was two, and my youngest was less than six months. And if that sounds like a bad idea to you–it was! But despite the madness of trying to write a novel in 5-minute parcels of time, for me, it was a necessary way to reclaim some of my individuality at a time when I often felt I was losing it. I’m so glad I have my book to remind me of the very particular challenges of new parenthood. These are some books I found that helped me do just that.

Alice's book list on books for frazzled parents–and their children

Alice O'Keeffe Why did Alice love this book?

When dealing with difficult behaviour, it can help to understand how your kids’ early experiences may have influenced their emotional landscape.

Sue Gerhardt's book draws on recent developments in neuroscience and developmental psychology to explain how babies’ brains are formed. She shows us that our early, fumbling parental mistakes can have consequences that play out over a lifetime.

As a working parent, I found it a sobering read–Gerhardt pulls no punches about the potentially damaging impact of putting your one-year-old in nursery, for example. But ultimately, the book is so persuasive that it feels worth facing up to these tough questions. She also constructs a compelling case about the long-term social impact of a government’s failure to support parents.

By Sue Gerhardt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why Love Matters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why Love Matters explains why loving relationships are essential to brain development in the early years, and how these early interactions can have lasting consequences for future emotional and physical health. This second edition follows on from the success of the first, updating the scientific research, covering recent findings in genetics and the mind/body connection, and including a new chapter highlighting our growing understanding of the part also played by pregnancy in shaping a baby's future emotional and physical well-being.

The author focuses in particular on the wide-ranging effects of early stress on a baby or toddler's developing nervous system.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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