My 2016 Reading List

Sunshine Parenting 2016 Reading List

If you read my post last week, you know that I’m planning to refill my parenting “toolbox” this year (especially my teen boy parenting skills). In addition to listening to podcasts and attending speaking events, I plan to do some reading. I’ve spent time researching books that interest me and have received good reviews. I’m excited to share my 2016 parenting book reading list with you. Maybe some of you would like to join me in reading one or more of these books?

Here are my 2016 reading choices (and reasons for choosing each):

How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success, Julie Lythcott-Haims
Just about every day, I see something about Lythcott-Haims come through my feed. As the former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford, I think she’s got some credible information about what we parents need to do to raise up some adults! I’m thrilled that I’ll be hearing Lythcott-Haims speak at the American Camp Association National Conference in Atlanta in February. I know what I’ll be reading on the airplane on that trip!

How to Raise an Adult – Trailer:

Social Intelligence: The New Science of Social Relationships, Daniel Goleman
In my research on social skills, Daniel Goleman and his work on Emotional Intelligence came up often. I think this book will be right up my alley, because I’m convinced that it’s the social and emotional skills that we parents need to focus on most with our kids. Plus, the book has a 3.94 rating on Goodreads, with close to 8,000 ratings, so it must have some good information!

The Gift of Imperfect Parenting, Brene Brown (audio)
Well, I just love all of Brene Brown’s work, and this is a two-hour audio book that has great reviews. Easy. I’ll listen while I drive somewhere and become inspired, I’m sure! If you want to hear the first 10 minutes (Session 1), you can do so here. You can download the entire thing at audible or on iTunes.

Update: I listened to this twice and took copious notes. Highly recommend!



The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, Jessica Lahey
Again, Lahey’s title alone caught me on this one. Plus, my own anecdotal experience is that we’re rescuing our kids too much and I want to get tips on how to gracefully let kids fail.
Update: I really liked this book. Read my review here.

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, Sherry Turkle
“Renowned media scholar Sherry Turkle investigates how a flight from conversation undermines our relationships, creativity, and productivity—and why reclaiming face-to-face conversation can help us regain lost ground.”

This book came highly recommended from a fellow camp director. We camp people LOVE promoting conversation and connection and believe in the value of getting unplugged. I want to know more about the research behind how we relate to one another and what I can do to make sure my kids become adults who are great communicators.

Sherry Turkle’s TED Talk:

Building Moral Intelligence, Michele Borba
This is a book I’ve had on my bookshelf for over a decade. It was a gift from a friend who is a fellow student in all things related to parenting and youth-development. I’ve enjoyed Dr. Borba’s blog posts, and I did a quick browse through the book before I added it to this list. Moral intelligence is something I want for my kids.

The next three books are specifically related to raising boys:

Raising Cain, Dan Kindlon & Michael Thompson

This is another book I’ve had on my shelf since I first heard Thompson speak at a camp industry conference many years ago. I’m dusting it off and reading it now after reading through the first several pages. Here’s a description of the book from Thompson’s website:
“Drs. Thompson and Kindlon set out to answer this basic, crucial question: What do boys need that they’re not getting? They illuminate the forces that threaten our boys, teaching them to believe that ‘cool’ equals macho strength and stoicism. Cutting through outdated theories of ‘mother blame,’ ‘boy biology,’ and ‘testosterone,’ the authors shed light on the destructive emotional training our boys receive – the emotional mis-education of boys.”

The Wonder of Boys: What Parents, Mentors, and Educators Can Do to Shape Boys into Exceptional Men, Michael Gurian
Again, I’ve had this one on my shelf for many years and I’m going to read it before I delve into Gurian’s more recent book, The Purpose of Boys: Helping Our Sons Find Meaning, Significance, and Direction in Their Lives, which also has a very compelling title and a similar Goodreads rating.

Building Men Who Matter: On the Marvel and Mystery of Raising Teenage Boys, James M. Kelly
A friend told me about this one last year, and I’ve been meaning to read it. This is the year, since by the end of 2016 I’ll have not one, but two, teenage boys!

I confess that I’m not great at staying “on track” with my reading and usually have a big stack of partially read books going. I found several more books that nearly made the list, but I was trying to be realistic in what I can actually read this year. I did, however, add several more books to my ever-growing “To Read” shelf on Goodreads! I will TRY to be more linear in my reading of these books so that I can get some key points, review them here, and move on to the next one, but I confess that even while creating this list I found myself starting a few at the same time.

If you have feedback about any of these books, or if you know of other great books that have positively influenced your parenting, let me know by sending me an email or commenting here. I’m always updating my parenting resource list, so I appreciate any input you have.

If you plan on reading any of these books, please let me know. Maybe we can have an online “book club” to discuss one or more of them?

Happy Reading!

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Picking my Parental Battles
15 Books that Inspire my Parenting
10 Life-Changing Books

Author Websites:

Julie Lythcott-Haims

Daniel Goleman

Brene Brown

Jessica Lahey

Sherry Turkle

Michele Borba

Michael Thompson, Ph.D.

Michael Gurian

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