The most recommended parenting books

Who picked these books? Meet our 276 experts.

276 authors created a book list connected to parenting, and here are their favorite parenting books.
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Book cover of The Science of Parenting: How Today S Brain Research Can Help You Raise Happy, Emotionally Balanced Childr

Darcia Narváez Author Of Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture, and Wisdom

From my list on neuroscientific parenting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about raising each human being for lifelong wellbeing and a full set of intelligences. High-income nations don’t do this so much anymore. I conduct empirical studies with children, parents, and other adults to examine how early experience affects capacities for getting along in life and with others. My book has won awards for its holistic view, integrating neuroscience, anthropology, and developmental science. This work led me to start the Evolved Nest website with lots of resources for parents and for all who care about human wellbeing. Humanity is facing many challenges and we need everyone’s gifts to be well grown to help us solve the problems we face.

Darcia's book list on neuroscientific parenting

Darcia Narváez Why did Darcia love this book?

I keep a pile of this book on my shelf to give away to new parents and grandparents. It is fun to flip through and see what catches your eye. It has lots of photos and diagrams that make it easy to understand. It has easy-to-read descriptions of young children’s needs in light of their brain development. It is the closest to outlining the evolved nest that young children need. And it is inexpensive!

By Margot Sunderland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It's time to re-write the rule book on raising a child. Based on over 700 scientific studies into children's development, BMA award-winning author and child psychotherapist Dr. Margot Sunderland explains how to develop your child's potential to the full. Find out the truth about popular childcare tactics, how touch, laughter and play build emotional wellbeing for life, and the strategies for effectively dealing with temper tantrums and tears. This is the first practical parenting book to give you the facts, not the fiction on the best way to bring up your child, essential for any parent.


Book cover of Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout: How the Timeless Wisdom of One Man Can Impact an Entire Generation

Jonathan T. Jefferson Author Of Mugamore: Succeeding without Labels - Lessons for Educators

From my list on Black-ish American memoirs and autobiographies.

Why am I passionate about this?

The first twenty-five years of my life appeared to be atypical for an inner-city African American boy from a large family. Only a small number of children were bused to more “academically advanced” schools. I earned that honor by frequently running away from the local school. Overcoming the challenges of being a minority in a demanding, predominantly Jewish, school district eventually benefited me greatly. In the early 1970s, my parents did something unprecedented for a working-class African American family from Queens: They bought an old, dilapidated farmhouse in Upstate New York's dairy country as a summer home. What other unusual life experiences that impact people of color have taken place on the American tapestry? 

Jonathan's book list on Black-ish American memoirs and autobiographies

Jonathan T. Jefferson Why did Jonathan love this book?

This beautiful homage to a father from “The Greatest Generation” reads like a sermon with several urgent messages: To be kind, timely, and disciplined. Make helping a regular part of life, do every job right, listen and learn. Be a person of impeccable character, and stand strong even when times are tough.

By Rick Rigsby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After his wife died, Rick Rigsby was ready to give up. The bare minimum was good enough. Rigsby was content to go through the motions, living out his life as a shell of himself. But then he remembered the lessons his father taught him years before- incredibly simple, yet incredibly profound.

These lessons weren't about advanced mathematics or the secrets of the stock market. They were quite straightforward, in fact, as Rigsby's father never made it through third grade. But if this man's instructions were powerful enough to inspire one of his children to earn a Ph.D. and another to…


Book cover of Go the F*ck to Sleep

Bethany Crandell Author Of See Jane Snap

From my list on for a hearty laugh.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to laugh. Quite often it’s at inappropriate times or at someone else’s expense, but either way, it’s a huge part of who I am. Second only to prayer, I find laughter to be the best remedy for a difficult situation. It’s hard to be sad when you’re laughing, and as a writer who puts characters into very challenging positions, that’s always at the forefront of my mind. While readers may not always relate to the exact circumstance my characters are in, they may very well find common ground in the levity they seek when trying to survive it.

Bethany's book list on for a hearty laugh

Bethany Crandell Why did Bethany love this book?

I was (thankfully) long past the “putting kids to bed” stage of life when I first read this book, but you don’t have to be in the depths of sleep-deprived hell to enjoy it! This book is 100% irreverent which makes it 100% perfect! It will provide just the right amount of levity to any frustrated parent/sitter who can’t understand why that beautiful, crying child in front of them won’t go to sleep already! Disclaimer: If you don’t appreciate a good F-bomb, don’t read this book. The title says it all.

By Adam Mansbach, Ricardo Cortés (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Go the F*ck to Sleep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Reader's Digest "25 Funniest Books of All Time"

"Nothing has driven home a certain truth about my generation, which is approaching the apex of its childbearing years, quite like this."
--The New Yorker

"A parenting zeitgeist"
--Washington Post

"A hilarious take on that age-old problem: getting the beloved child to go to sleep."
--National Public Radio

"A new Bible for weary parents"
--New York Times

"Resonates powerfully with almost everyone"
--Boston Globe

"This children's book parody earns its place on the list by being a much-needed bit of catharsis that every parent needs."
--Fatherly, one of the 10 Best…


Book cover of The End of American Childhood: A History of Parenting from Life on the Frontier to the Managed Child

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?

Fass is the professor emerita at the University of California, Berkeley, where she taught for thirty-six years, and the author of numerous books on children’s history. This one I found to be particularly illuminating, as she traces the history of American childhood and parenting from the 1700s to today, wrestling with how shifting American notions of independence and success in turn affected how children were viewed, and how parents parented. For any history buff. 

By Paula S. Fass,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The End of American Childhood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The End of American Childhood takes a sweeping look at the history of American childhood and parenting, from the nation's founding to the present day. Renowned historian Paula Fass shows how, since the beginning of the American republic, independence, self-definition, and individual success have informed Americans' attitudes toward children. But as parents today hover over every detail of their children's lives, are the qualities that once made American childhood special still desired or possible? Placing the experiences of children and parents against the backdrop of social, political, and cultural shifts, Fass challenges Americans to reconnect with the beliefs that set…


Book cover of Baby Bomb: A Relationship Survival Guide for New Parents

Stephanie Dueger Author Of Preparing for Parenthood: 55 Essential Conversations for Couples Becoming Families

From my list on to feel more prepared for parenthood.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a trained therapist, educator, and coach for expectant and new parents, I understand on a deep level the importance of creating a strong foundation in building a family. I also was personally humbled at how difficult the transition to parenthood was for me and the challenges it presented in my relationship with my husband. While we’ve grown exponentially, I wanted to make it a little easier for other expectant parents to avoid some of the pitfalls that aren’t spoken about as much in becoming parents. I also wanted to help the new little beings arriving in the world to have more resourced, present parents. It’s a win-win.

Stephanie's book list on to feel more prepared for parenthood

Stephanie Dueger Why did Stephanie love this book?

Attachment theory – the theory that humans need to form a close emotional bond with a caregiver early in life to survive and thrive – is near and dear to my heart as a therapist and coach for expectant and new parents. Tatkin is a master of human attachment in adult relationships, having created the PACT (psychobiological approach to couple therapy) training for therapists. The book, written with Hoppe, uses the science behind attachment theory to help couples strengthen their relationship and meet each other’s needs as a couple in order to be the best parents they can be. It offers tried and true ways to nurture your couple bond so you can not only be present for your baby, but also for each other.

By Kara Hoppe, Stan Tatkin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Baby Bomb as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Before you succeed at parenting, you need to succeed as a couple! Baby Bomb is the resource you need when a new baby turns your life-and your romantic relationship-upside down. A baby is a blessing-and also a completely life-altering event. If you're like many new parents, nothing could have fully prepared you for the exhaustion of late-night feedings, the explosive diapers, the evaporation of your free time, the pure joy, and the moments of pure terror. In the midst of these hazy, early months, it's normal to feel overwhelmed. And when you're overwhelmed, it's easy to put your romantic relationship…


Book cover of Never Let Go: How to Parent Your Child Through Mental Illness

Tanith Carey Author Of The Friendship Maze: How to Help Your Child Navigate Their Way to Positive and Happier Friendships

From my list on for really understanding children and teens.

Why am I passionate about this?

For the last 14 years, I've written books that aim to tackle the most pressing worries for parents and educators – and to understand and connect with kids better. It’s a sad fact that research continues to show that our kids are not as happy as they might be, often due to feeling overwhelmed by academic pressures at school, and growing up in a more ‘stressed’ society. So, as a parent and a parenting journalist, I believe it’s never been more important to understand how the world looks to them – and give both parents and kids evidence-based tools to help them navigate this. I aim to make my books enlightening, readable, and practical.

Tanith's book list on for really understanding children and teens

Tanith Carey Why did Tanith love this book?

This book was another total game-changer and I will never stop recommending it. It totally benefits from being written by a parent, rather than a clinician, but fearlessly tackles the terror faced by mothers and fathers when their child starts to struggle with a serious mental health crisis. It also offers a fearless road map out of this dark place. Suzanne writes beautifully too which makes the book easy to read despite its difficult subject matter. Suzanne now heads up the charity and Facebook support group, Parenting Mental Health, which is a safe haven for many parents where they can honestly express what it’s like to be in this very scary place.

By Suzanne Alderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Never Let Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How to help your child with mental illness through partnering, not parenting.

Never Let Go is a supportive and practical guide for parents looking after a child with a mental illness. Suzanne Alderson understands the agonising struggle of bringing a child back from the brink of suicide, having spent three years supporting her own daughter through recovery. Her method of 'partnering, not parenting' has now helped thousands of other parents through her charity, Parenting Mental Health.

Combining Suzanne's honest personal experience with expert input from psychologists, this book provides parents with the methods and knowledge they need to support, shield…


Book cover of Young Heroes of the Soviet Union: A Memoir and a Reckoning

Lisa Dickey Author Of Bears in the Streets: Three Journeys Across a Changing Russia

From my list on the Russian people.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lisa Dickey is an author and book collaborator who’s helped write 20+ nonfiction books, including 10 New York Times Best Sellers. She’s also a Russophile from way back:  her first post-college job was working as a nanny at the U.S. embassy in Moscow during the last days of the Soviet Union. Lisa began her writing career in St. Petersburg in the mid-1990s, writing for the Moscow Times and USA Today, and she’s the author of Bears in the Streets: Three Journeys Across a Changing Russia.

Lisa's book list on the Russian people

Lisa Dickey Why did Lisa love this book?

Alex Halberstadt’s paternal grandfather was the last living bodyguard for Josef Stalin. His maternal grandparents were Lithuanian Jews who watched firsthand as their world caught fire in the Holocaust. And Alex, who grew up in Moscow but moved to New York as a teenager, is now an out gay American man. From this mad tapestry of personal history, Halberstadt weaves an incredibly moving story of identity, family, and inherited trauma.

By Alex Halberstadt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Young Heroes of the Soviet Union as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this “urgent and enthralling reckoning with family and history” (Andrew Solomon), an American writer returns to Russia to face a past that still haunts him. 
 
NAMED ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES CRITICS’ TOP BOOKS OF THE YEAR

Alex Halberstadt’s quest takes him across the troubled, enigmatic land of his birth, where decades of Soviet totalitarianism shaped and fractured three generations of his family. In Ukraine, he tracks down his paternal grandfather—most likely the last living bodyguard of Joseph Stalin. He revisits Lithuania, his Jewish mother’s home, to examine the legacy of the Holocaust and the pernicious anti-Semitism that…


Book cover of Workparent: The Complete Guide to Succeeding on the Job, Staying True to Yourself, and Raising Happy Kids

Abby Davisson Author Of Money and Love: An Intelligent Roadmap for Life's Biggest Decisions

From my list on making big life decisions that involve money and love.

Why am I passionate about this?

My obsession with decision-making books began in elementary school, when I read tons of Choose Your Own Adventure books. When I realized they wouldn’t prepare me for life (turns out, dragons are rare), I began reading others. I got an MBA at Stanford, where I took a class taught by labor economist Myra Strober that changed my life by helping me navigate the money and love decisions I encountered while climbing the corporate ladder at Gap Inc. and raising two young kids with my husband. My former professor and I wrote Money and Love to empower more people to live more intentional lives and feel more confident about their big life decisions.

Abby's book list on making big life decisions that involve money and love

Abby Davisson Why did Abby love this book?

This is the handbook to working parenthood that I wish someone had handed me when I accepted a new job at 38 weeks pregnant with my first child. Dowling offers plenty of wisdom in this book – from how to manage the transitions that come with working parenthood (going on and returning from parental leave, changing jobs, welcoming a second child) to how to set up your daily routine for success. But what I really appreciate is how tactical this book is. Working parenthood – especially the early years – is a full-contact sport. You want someone to cut to the chase and just give you the user manual. This is it.

By Daisy Dowling,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An all-in-one resource for every working mother and father.

Sure, there are plenty of parenting books out there. But as working moms and dads, we've never had a trusted, go-to guide all our own-one that coaches us on how to do well at work, be the loving and engaged parents we want to be, and remain true to ourselves in the process.

Enter Workparent. Whether you're planning a family, pushing for promotion during your kids' teenage years, or at any phase in between, Workparent provides all the advice and assurance you'll need to combine children and career in your own,…


Book cover of Two Sisters' Secret

Joy Neal Kidney Author Of Leora's Early Years: Guthrie County Roots

From my list on family history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the fourth “oldest daughter” in my motherline, and my interest in genealogy and family history, my trajectory was set decades ago to become the keeper of the family letters, telegrams, photos, pilot logbooks, and stories. After researching what happened to the three brothers lost during WWII, I also have casualty, missions reports, and more. Before publishing the first book, I had bylines in newspapers and magazines, and I’ve blogged regularly for several years. Because of the wealth of historic photos and stories, I began history Facebook pages for three Iowa counties, as well as one for cousins to share memories and photos. If you enjoy family stories, you’ll enjoy the books on this list.

Joy's book list on family history

Joy Neal Kidney Why did Joy love this book?

I'm drawn to family stories and saw the author interviewed on a local TV station, so I knew I'd enjoy reading her book. It's a story that needed sharing, about sisters who immigrated from Germany. The much younger one (Bernadine) was so ambivalent about leaving Germany, about being left behind in Iowa when the older sister (Elizabeth) married and moved away. Even after marrying and having so many children of her own, then was widowed, Bernadine struggled.

Bernadine's life became even more fascinating after she married a man who wasn't really as she'd thought. And there were unpleasant surprises with two adult daughters. By then, I'd forgotten about the original secret, so when it was revealed, it came as a surprise.

By Diane T. Holmes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Two Sisters' Secret as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From author, Diane Holmes, comes a story inspired by the life of her grandmother, Bernadine. In this work of historical fiction, the relationship between Bernadine and her older sister Elizabeth is complicated. Bitterness between them develops when Elizabeth asks Bernadine to keep a deep dark secret about her past. The author shows throughout the novel how the impact of keeping that secret is far greater for the one sister than it is for the other. The bitterness is intensified when the younger sister must leave her home in Germany and say goodbye to her best friend, Judith.

Two Sisters’ Secret…


Book cover of Aura: A Memoir

Alex Difrancesco Author Of Breaking the Curse: A Memoir about Trauma, Healing, and Italian Witchcraft

From my list on needing magic in your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

It’s not an exaggeration to say that finding a path toward a spiritual belief that accepted me for who I am was a lifelong pursuit for me. As someone who felt pushed out by the Catholic Church for my transness, I wanted to find something that kept some of those traditions but built on them in a way that made sense to me and included me. Italian-American folk magic had room for people like me in a way that organized religion never did. The magical memoirs of contemporary writers inspired me to synthesize what I’d learned into my own grimoire/memoir. 

Alex's book list on needing magic in your life

Alex Difrancesco Why did Alex love this book?

I love this meditation on magic, parenting a child with a medical condition, and intimate partner violence for its honesty and bravery.

Hillary Leftwich doesn’t shy away from discussing traumatic events and her own decisions that left her life feeling unmoored and the magical pathways that helped her come back to herself. Fearless and insightful, this was one of my favorite memoirs in recent years. 

By Hillary Leftwich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

AURA is more than a memoir-- it's a spell book for survival, a powerful promise from mother to son, and an intimate examination of power, spirituality, and the abuse of both.

"AURA is more than a memoir-- it's a spell book for survival, a powerful promise from mother to son, and an intimate examination of power, spirituality, and the abuse of both. Hillary Leftwich weaves together the stories of her life to create startlingly raw memories that are both personal and profoundly universal. She explores the devastating impact of patriarchy in her own life while searching for answers in witchcraft,…