Interesting Books on Parenting and Growing Up

Growing Up with Two Languages (4*) by Una Cunningham-Andersson and Staffan Andersson (this book was the guide for how my husband and I raised our daughter bi-lingual.  I found it very helpful in both selecting the method we would use (One Parent, One Language), as well as understanding the challenges that come with children that are language but not culturally fluent.  Particularly as we moved from Sweden to the US, this was a very relevant issue, but I could handle it proactively both with my daughter, her school, and her teachers.  I would strongly recommend this book to anyone raising children across multiple languages)

The Price of Privilege (4*) by Madeline Levine (while this book is primarily geared towards US families, I found some of this was also applicable of our situation in southwestern Gothenburg.  I think the major difference is that most Swedish women work, so the point of a mother’s more obsessive involvement and/or low self-esteem is less relevant, but the pressure of being a “duktig flicka” does have impacts.  Some good things to think about at any rate about the impacts of privilege on children)

They Wish They Were Us (3*) by Jessica Goodman (a fictional account of a time in the life of privileged young women in the US, especially the drive for perfection.  Could be insightful into the life of young women and (US) societal pressures)

The Diaper Diaries by Cynthia Copeland (if you need a chuckle while coping with the first year, this might help you)

The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy (4*) by Vicki Iovine (I am not sure I would be here today if it weren’t for this book, as well as her follow-up book.  I found that Swedish culture in particular created a very romantic fantasy about pregnancy, childbirth, breast feeding, and motherhood in general.  I was definitely convinced there was something wrong with me, because I struggled, I had doubts, I was worried, I just wasn’t a glowing earth mother.  This book helped me not feel so alone, as well as a good friend who was also very real about the whole experience.  If you are struggling with your pregnancy (even if you really really wanted it), you are not alone.  Read this book and you’ll see the author’s challenges, and know that I had mine too)

The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood (3*) by Vicki Iovine (I’m not sure I need to say much more here, except this one does for the first year what the previous one did for the pre-birth period.  I won’t say I entirely agree with the author on all things, but I at least like the lack of romanticism)

The New Mom’s Survival Guide (not rated) by Jennifer Wider (a more medical how-to guide of what is happening physically and mentally, and what to do about it)

Sleep is for the Weak (not rated) by Rita Arens (another tell-it-like-it-is book with a compilation of blogs from various mothers.  If you need a dose of reality, or to feel you aren’t the biggest loser mother out there, this might be a read for you)

Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities (unrated) by Alexandra Robbins (I bought this book as I was a sorority member in college. My own experience was quite different than what the book depicts, but I know from stories that this exposes an unfortunate reality of sorority life for many women, and why they are now facing extinction.)

Please Stop Laughing at Me (5*) by Jodee Blanco (this was a book that both helped me feel I wasn’t alone in the bullying I went through but also developed empathy and compassion for someone who had it much worse. This is a book parents and teens alike should read.)

Starfish (5*) by Lisa Fipps (I love this book. Partly because I know the author, but mostly because this is a book that everyone should read to realise the impact of commenting about eating and body size. While the book is written for the junior high age, I enjoyed it and cried as an adult, both out of compassion for Ellie, but also for myself and the pain that body shaming still causes. The most important thing is that Ellie learns that she is more than her body and how to accept herself. The book is written in prose, which I thought I wouldn’t like, but it worked well.)