Category: Books for Adults

Read this, then go hug a teacher

My kids have had great teachers, and my kids have had terrible teachers. Reading 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny, I found myself loving the great ones even more, and even feeling a bit more tolerant towards the terrible ones. And then, of course, there was also the laughing. Phillip Done’s tales from the elementary trenches are both heartwarming and hilarious. Teachers will recognize the (sometimes rueful) truths about wrangling kids for a living, and parents will enjoy this candid glimpse into just what goes on when your kid’s answer to “What happened at school today?” is an...

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DAD IS SLEEPING AS HE ENJOYED THE WHISKEY AT THE PARTY and other hilarious emails from your mother

For years, I’ve saved the emails my mom has sent me. Some are funny, some are sweet, some are nothing anyone else would appreciate besides maybe my brother. I thought I was the only person nostalgic enough to do such a thing, until I discovered Love, Mom: Poignant, Brilliant, Goofy Messages From Home from the creators of the blog Postcards From Yo Momma. Dorrie Shafir and Jessica Grose have put together this wonderful compilation of all sorts of emails, IMs and social networking messages (eek, moms on Facebook!) that will have you in stitches with warnings of computer “STDs”,...

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When you need your own personal children’s librarian

What happens when you need to find a book on heroes the night before your kid needs it for kindergarten? After you’ve exhausted our favorite children’s books, you can do what I did and check out the selections in What to Read When, by LitLife founder Pam Allyn. This meta-book about books is divided into 50 themes, from bullying to spirituality to a bad day. Find your category, read the summaries and pick your winner. From Allyn’s words to my library hold — it sure beats prying the trashy cartoon books out of my daughter’s hands at 6 PM....

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Inhabitat opens their new online shop and you must go there immediately. (For more reasons than one.)

I think the final nail in the outmoded “eco=crunchy” coffin has been set firmly in place by our friends at the wonderful blog Inhabitat, who have just announced the opening of their brand new Inhabitat Shop. I want absolutely everything in there. And by everything I mean evvvvverything. There’s a dandy selection of kids and baby gifts (like the knit octopus at right), stylish home accessories, cool clothes, and the beginnings of an awesome furniture department. But we’re particularly excited for the jewelry category which doesn’t have a clunker in the bunch. Our pick – in time for Mother’s...

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One big happy family

I may have a family that looks like we come from a 1950s-era sitcom, complete with curly-haired children and a husband who carries a briefcase, but ours isn’t the only recipe for domestic bliss. Acclaimed writer and activist Rebecca Walker delves into the details of modern family units in her new anthology, One Big Happy Family. These eye-opening essays helped me more fully appreciate the commitment that every family makes to staying together.  In fact, I’d say that I’ve got it pretty easy by comparison. The book compiles essays from writers living in a variety of non-traditional situations, facing...

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Quick! Read this book!

When we enter this insane world of parenting, we become masters of multitasking. Personally, I’ll do anything to get more out of the limited hours in the day, so of course I’m drawn to books like The Experts’ Guide to Doing things Faster: 100 Ways to Make Life More Efficient in part because I can read the bite-size, magazine-y chapters while doing other things. The next in the excellent Experts’ Guide series by Samantha Etttus, quick chapters from interesting experts and A-listers range from how to make your computer run faster (thanks Geek squad) to how to stock your...

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The best little $10 shower gift that’s not a stuffed animal

Enough with those baby name books filled with what seem to be a lot of arbitrary meanings. I’m sorry, Madison does not mean “Son of Maud” – it means “I fell in love with Daryl Hannah in Splash when I was a kid too.” So as far as baby name books go, I’m totally digging the Fortune Telling Book of Names. This pocket sized, faux leather bound, canary-yellow (gender neutral!) tome is a fun little guide to thousands of names and the fortune each one holds. If you’ve got a Sadie at home, she’s destined for great love, and...

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Going green with baby – Don’t panic! You can do it.

When we first discovered Itsabelly (wayyy back before all the newspapers, magazines and tv news programs I might add), they were a mere baby concierge service, helping panicked expecting parents to get their lives in order before the new arrival. But what we really liked about them was their focus on greening up the nursery and starting a new family in an eco-responsible way. So it makes perfect sense that founders Melissa Moog and Jennifer Lo Prete have made their wealth of knowledge available to the masses with the wonderful Itsabelly’s Guide to Going Green With Baby: Mom-Tested Tips...

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Mamas of redheads, clear a space on your bookshelf

I grew up with a redheaded mother and sister, so I was already accustomed to the bizarre reactions of the general public to a redheaded child by the time my own coppertop daughter came along in 2004. Not so much for author Nicole Giladi, who was stunned by her boy, as well as the reaction of the outside world to his ginger locks. For those of you who think the where the heck did THAT come from? reaction to red hair can be a bit much (oh and trust me – I do not exaggerate), Nicole has come out...

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Shalom. Salaam. Pax. Pace. Peace. Or for geeks, &#x262E

Whatever you think of the peace symbol–inspiring, cheesy, ubiquitous–you have to admit the history is pretty incredible. Or if you’re not sure that it’s pretty incredible, check out Peace: The Biography of a Symbol, peace activist Ken Kolsbun’s brand new tome which is deserving of a nice spot right at the center of the coffee table. The book uses words, artwork and stunning photos to tell the story of the symbol that launched a movement, defined a generation, and now looks cute on pendants, baby hats and backpacks everywhere. Give it a chance. As a wise man once said....

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I always knew books could save the world

I suppose they could’ve come up with a different name for Better World Books, but when you’re really making a better world for everyone through a love of books, well, the name fits. Perfectly. Next time you shop for books, consider the option that is both saving books from the landfills–more than 13 million so far–and directly funding literacy efforts worldwide. Basically it’s like shopping one of those big sites but with way better karma. Shipping is always free in the United States ( just $3.97 for the rest of the world), with every book shipped carbon-neutral thanks to...

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Put some more money in the therapy fund

If How to Traumatize Your Children had been available when I remarried, I totally would’ve bought it as a wedding present for my husband. I think it would’ve been a fitting welcome to (step)parenthood for him, and I also plan to give it as a shower gift to every less-than-confident parent-to-be from now on. Sure, it’s just a little jokey gift book–it is from the Self-Hurt Series, after all. But it’s so much more; a great reminder that we survived all of our parents’ mistakes and our children will survive ours. Probably. With therapy. The 1950s-style illustrations of various...

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Now that we’ve named the baby, what do we name the grandparents?

You can’t imagine the debates that went on in our household when it came to naming the grandparents for the first time. If you start factoring in inlaws and the inlaws’ inlaws, and everyone’s different traditions and expectations, it’s amazing we came to any agreement at all. We certainly could have used You Can Call Me Hoppa: The Grandparents’ Guide to Choosing a Name That Fits by mom Lauren Charpio back in 2005. It’s one part thought starter, one part grandparent keepsake. And in fact it would be a great little grandparent gift as a way to announce a...

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White Trash Mom – Trailer Not Required

If you’re having trouble keeping up with the Joneses then you’ll want to snatch up a copy of White Trash Mom, a veritable guilt-free school mom’s tome from authors Michelle Lamar and Molly Wendland. Don’t let the title scare off you urban mamas – this hilarious book (based on Michelle’s popular blog) gives all kinds of moms tips on everything from how to get out of the PTA time suck to faking it for your kid’s school bake sale, all with the underlying theme that you should only do that which you are actually capable of taking on.  If...

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A is for awesome baby gift

I have been smitten with the beautiful cut-paper illustrations from Brooklyn artist Ida Pearle since I first discovered her custom artwork in a local boutique and nabbed a print for the new baby of my BFF. Her work has since become one of my go-to gifts for great friends, but there are plenty of new babies in my life who would also be happy with something, oh…in the $12.95 range. So I am so happy to see that Ida has turned her spectacular artwork into a brand new book, Child’s Day: An Alphabet of Play. Brand new illustrations describe...

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A is for Atticus, aka How to Sound Smarter Than You Actually Are

If you’re shopping baby names (or just browsing), you have to check out Lorilee Craker’s A is for Atticus: Baby Names from Great Books which give you far more erudite options than naming your child for the latest celeb du jour. Or worse, the latest celeb du jour’s kid. Do future teachers really need to have Zuma Nesta R and Zuma Nesta D in their classrooms? I love the concise descriptions of major works of literature interspersed with cheeky commentary from Craker on names from Atticus (Finch) to Zelda (Fitzgerald). You won’t find every name in between, but you...

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The Ultimate Keepsake Baby Book – Before You’ve Even Filled In a Line

If you’ve been pining for the kind of baby book you might still pull off your mom or grandmother’s shelves when you go for a visit, why I think we’ve actually found it. Mother Stork’s Baby Book: 100th Anniversary Edition is a beautiful volume, harkening back to the days of lace bonnets for boys and and wet nurses for all. Mom and Kistner Supply owner Elizabeth Brantley has recreated the 1904 baby book that her great-grandmother owned with absolutely exquisite detail from the heavy custom paper stock to the linen-bound, gold foil-embossed covers. If this is right up your...

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Crafty Mama Helps Make All Mamas a Little Craftier

When I see a beautiful, handmade creation, my first thought is: “Oh, how beautiful and creative!”  The second thought that crosses my mind is “how can I make that myself?” Occasionally the item is actually in the realm of possibility, even for sleep-deprived mamas with limited time, resources, and creativity. Just ask Abby Pecoriello – author of Crafty Mama and mother of two girls.  She’s collected 49 fast and fabulous projects for babies and toddlers and documented them in step-by-step detail, perfect even for those who wouldn’t know a glue gun from a squirt gun.  I’m impressed with everything...

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So We Hear That Babies Require A Few Items…

The Baby Gizmo Buying Guide was created around one very simple premise: Baby shopping makes ordinarily sane women absolutely out-of-their-heads crazy bonkers. I myself can recall spending at least two hours trying to decide on the right changing pad cover. To say nothing of the perfect bottle drying rack. The perfect bottle drying rack. Like I said. Bonkers. This very comprehensive resource comes courtesy of savvy sisters Heather McClean and Hollie Schultz, who edit the Baby Gizmo product review site that CMP has already raved about. Let’s just say they know a lot of stuff about a lot of...

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New Parenting Is Fun! (Didn’t You Know?)

Now that we’re on baby #3, my husband and I don’t bat an eye at the 2 AM. wake-up calls, and spit up is funny, even when it hits the oriental rug. But we weren’t always so laid back.  The first few months with our oldest was the greatest strain our marriage has ever endured, with not nearly enough laughter.  If ever a couple of parents could have used Wry Baby’s latest book – The New Parents’ Fun Book – it was us. This book is a riot, as would be expected from Wry Baby. It turns every point...

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The Best Old Movies for Families: Because Sometimes Plopping Your Kid In Front of a Screen With You is Awesome

I feel so lucky to have grown up a dad with a passion for old movies. He took me to Audrey Hepburn double features at the Film Forum, entertained me on rainy days with Danny Kaye, and taught me it was okay to know all the words to  every song in South Pacific. So I was so excited to get a chance to check out The Best Old Movies for Families: A Guide to Watching Together with the hopes of indoctrinating my daughters into Hollywood’s Golden Age before Noggin owns their entire media consciousness. Compiled by esteemed film critic...

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The Politics of Motherhood, Beyond the “Mommywars”

Becoming a mother gave me a new awareness of all sorts of things in life from the rate at which a baby’s nails grow to why feeding strained prunes while wearing linen is a bad idea. Soon my enlightenment extended to the political arena too, got me engaged in issues like paid maternity leave and  environmental issues that affect children in particular. I guess I’ve got a lot to say to those grand poobahs up on Capitol Hill. The Maternal is Political: Women at the Intersection of Motherhood and Social Change is a collection of essays edited by Shari...

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42 Rules for Working Moms. Culled Down from 8 Million, Perhaps.

It’s challenging enough trying to figure out what to do with a screaming baby who requires your undivided attention 24-hours a day, but add a job (and blog reading and spousal attention and Project Runway) into the mix and you’ve got a whole other ballgame. If you’re a working mama, either by choice or by necessity, you’ll want to check out 42 Rules for Working Moms, editor Laura Lowell’s smart new resource that offers tips and support in, you guessed it, 42 quick and easy-to-read chapters all written by working moms in the trenches. Of course, we can’t help...

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Dad, You’re the Best. Can I Have Five Dollars?

We’re a book family for sure. If I’m ever short on a gift idea, a book is always a home run provided it’s suited to the recipient (i.e. I’m not getting my sigOth the new Sex and the City book). With Father’s Day fast approaching (T minus 6 and counting mamas, get on it!) one of the options on my radar is Michael Heatley’s The Dads’ Book for the Dad Who’s Best at Everything. It’s basically a fun little bathroom book filled with anecdotes, tips and tricks, humorous quotations, and engaging top-ten-style lists (Twenty Ways to Get Some Peace...

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Mommybloggers Take Over the World. Or at Least the Bookshelves.

There is one book that the editors of CMP have been waiting for more eagerly than any other: Sleep is For the Weak: The Best of the Mommybloggers. Because it will be awesome. Because you won’t be able to put it down. Because you will laugh your arse off then cry, shaking your fist at the world’s injustices, and then laugh again, and then generally feel delighted that you are not alone in all the parenting mayhem. Also because we’re in it. But no, really. We’re totally objective when we say this a wonderfully curated anthology of spectacularly good...

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If Your Breastfeeding Boobs Wrote a Book

There’s not a lot of fun involved in breastfeeding in the beginning, as I can attest as a two-time, soon to be three-time nurser. Unless you enjoy the feeling of your boobs about to explode. But moms Shannon Payette Seip and Adrienne Hedger certainly found the humor in it all in their new book If These Boobs Could Talk… Truly, they had me laughing at page one. There’s everything from a comic strip called "Bad Times to Breastfeed" to hilarious lists like The Top-10 Things You Can Do When You’re Up for a 2:15am Feeding and Can’t Fall Back...

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The Baby is Here. Now What Do I Do With Him?

It seemed like the great anticipation of meeting your baby was quickly dashed by the fact that he really doesn’t do anything but sleep, eat, and poop. Or, if you’re my babies, just eat and poop — apparently sleep was optional. While I was sobbing over my breast pump, I wish someone had given me a copy of The Rookie Moms Handbook. Authors, bloggers, and CMP friends Heather Gibbs Flett and Whitney Moss have taken their popular website and turned it into a fantastic gift book full of 250 activities to pass the time and get you and your...

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Rockabye by Rebecca Woolf: A Shining (Yet Tatooed) Beacon in a Sea of Mom-oir Sameness

When former CMP contributor Rebecca Woolf left us to pursue other writing opportunities, we were terribly disappointed but hugely anxious to see what brilliance she was brewing up. The result: The must-read Rockabye: From Wild to Child We knew it would be funny and insightful because everything this popular blogger, author, and now memorist writes simply is. What we didn’t expect was just how touching, beautifully uncomplicated, and accessible it is too. The can’t-put-it-down memoir describes the author’s journey from twenty-something LA party girl to doting mom with poignancy, style and especially humor – let’s say this is not...

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Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad (Bad, Bad) Baby Names. And We Don’t Mean “Krystynne.”

When a newly-pregnant woman asks me for advice (okay, it’s not like it happens all the time, but it does happen), I have but one gem to share: Don’t tell anyone what you’re thinking of naming the baby. It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking of Joe or Jehosephat, people will feel compelled to tell you that it’s too plain, too weird, too hard to spell, and by the way — they knew someone with that name once who used to pick his nose. But that’s not to say that baby-naming can’t be a little bit fun. In fact, there’s...

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Gift Baskets Without That One Sucky Item In Them

The problem with most gift baskets is you don’t always like everything inside. (Unless it happens to be the chocolate assortment that my sister-in-law sent us this Christmas, in which case my thighs will tell you that I did, in fact, like everything inside.) Red Wagon Presents, on the other hand, gets it right. The mom/pop team behind the company puts together fun, themed book baskets for kids and adults. I particularly love the new parent set in a wicker baby bassinet, or the new mom set which forgos the tired old ass-vice books in favor of lighter titles...

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