Childrearing

Five Kids’ Books That Will Fix Adult Problems

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  • Parenting Low Point #4: A person or animal your kid loves has died. I know. It’s not funny at all. It’s sad and awful, and chances are you feel sad and awful about it, too.
  • Read this: City Dog, Country Frog, by Mo Willems, illustrated by Jon J Muth

This is the story of a city dog who visits the country and has glorious adventures with a frog he meets there. Every time the dog visits, he looks for the frog, and then in the winter, he doesn’t find him. Between Muth’s beautifully expressive watercolor illustrations and Willems’s deceptively simple words, you’re in masterful hands. The story is sad, but hopeful, too. Your entire family might sob, but maybe that’s exactly what you need. (But it on Amazon for $22.25)

  • Parenting Low Point #5: Sometimes it feels as if you’re running and running and everything is exhausting and you got through a whole day in which everyone pretty much had what he or she needed and there were no disasters, but somehow it was just kind of blah and now it is bedtime and you forgot to have a joyful family moment.
  • Read this: This Land Is Your Land, by Woody Guthrie, illustrated by Kathy Jakobsen

Don’t read this. Sing it. Maybe you have a guitar kicking around and know three chords. Maybe you don’t. Who cares? Sing it anyway. If you don’t have the book, just look up the words! At first you might be afraid the neighbors will overhear the hokiness, but then the kids’ little mouths start moving and that chorus really is catchy and empowering, and then, oh, look at that, Woody Guthrie wasn’t pulling any punches. He was talking about responsibility and actually improving things, and the kids are singing their guts out. Soon enough the very idea of singing along with their parents will mortify them, but for now they dig it and something is welling up in your chest. It is feelings! You are feeling feelings, and they are the warm, happy kind! (Buy it on Amazon for $18.00)

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