Reviews of parenting books we love.

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eleanor wyatt princess pirate

Rachael MacFarlane: First Picture Book Urges Kids to Play Freely

Rachael MacFarlane is best known as a voiceover actress. She currently voices Hayley on “American Dad,” created by her brother, animator Seth MacFarlane, who is also the creator of “Family Guy.” In fact, her partnership with her brother on “Family Guy” launched her voiceover career.  MacFarlane’s latest project is a different kind of family collaboration. She teamed up with her husband, animator Spencer Laudiero, to write a picture book called...

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Truman's Los Angeles Adventure

Truman’s Adventure: A Parakeet, a Dog and a Family Explore L.A.

As a resident of the city that everyone loves to hate (including many of those who live here), it’s refreshing to see works that encourage us to embrace L.A. In her new children’s book, “Truman’s Los Angeles Adventure,” Barbara Dourmashkin, originally from New York but now living in L.A. with her husband and their two daughters, creates a hilarious and moving journey across L.A. through the eyes of a family’s...

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‘From Me to You’ – Letters from a Dad’s Heart

Norman Aladjem made it through a good-size chunk of his adulthood working as an entertainment industry executive and living it up as a child-free bachelor – you know, one of those “commitment-phobic L.A. men.” Hey, those are his words, not mine. When he was a teen in Cleveland, a cheerleader named Laura had been his deepest crush, but there was just one teeny problem: the feeling wasn’t mutual. That all...

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seth fishman

Seth Fishman: A Book for Your Kids’ Million-and-One Questions

You’ve been there – stuck in rush-hour traffic, your teeth clenching, your fingers gripping the wheel – while your precious little one pings you with a million questions from the car seat. “Mommy, why is the sky blue? How many stars are there in the whole wide world? How many people? How many suns? How many cars?” Disgusted with my terse “I-don’t-know” answers once, my son expelled an exaggerated sigh...

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Book Illuminates Undocumented Family’s Quest for the ‘American Dream’

When people read headlines about undocumented students or the Dream Act, they generally have a vague concept of what the ideas mean and how they affect the people involved. It’s easy to generalize with a 24-hour news cycle. It is even easier to think you understand some of the complex and challenging reasons people come to the U.S. and remain undocumented. Fortunately, authors and activists with unique voices have helped...

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school safety in Los Angeles

New YA Press Portrays Teens’ Real Stories and Voices

With everything our kids have to face these days, from the threat of school shootings and cyberbullying to coping with divorce and body dysmorphia, there are not a lot of places for them to go to be heard and understood on their terms. Anthony Zuiker is hoping to change that with the creation of a new publishing imprint, Zuiker Press. Zuiker is the creator and former executive producer of “CSI:...

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Author Joey Green Partners with James Patterson for Funny Kids’ Book

Joey Green, co-author of the new middle-grade sci-fi fantasy, “Not So Normal Norbert,” is one funny guy.   His resume includes working as a “National Lampoon” writer and as a copywriter at the New York advertising agency J. Walter Thompson. His boss at the agency was a guy named Jim who occasionally wrote murder mystery books. “Jim became James Patterson. I became the author of more than 60 books, mostly humor,”...

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Rainbow Edwards-Barris: The Real Bow Tackles Parenting in New Book

If you’ve ever watched ABC’s “Black-ish,” you know that though Rainbow Johnson’s character (played by Tracee Ellis Ross) is a medical professional and mom of five, she is far from a parenting expert. Creator Kenya Barris uses irreverent humor to tackle family matters and societal issues on the show, and Rainbow, despite her best intentions, often finds herself in the midst of a parenting dilemma. While “Black-ish” is a work...

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about los angeles

A City of Many Layers

Los Angeles is as layered as the Earth’s core, and nothing gets a diehard Angeleno’s goat more than hearing outsiders reduce this city to tired and boring clichés. “Most longtime Angelenos will tell you that there are many Los Angeleses – both physical and locations of the mind,” writes journalist Lynell George in her new book, “After/Image: Los Angeles Outside the Frame.”  If you, too, are exhausted by the tropes...

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Chris Erskine: On ‘Daditude,’ Humor and Dealing with Grief

My eyes were a faucet, leaking tears that dropped onto the newsprint and merged with the ink that made up Los Angeles Times writer Chris Erskine’s first column about the death of his oldest son, Christopher, in March. I tried to imagine the columnist at his writing desk, crafting raw grief into words as clear and beautiful as crystal, yet warm and relatable to the readers peering into his shock...

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sibling rivalry

A Book that Celebrates Sibling Rivalry

“Frenemies in the Family,” the latest volume of historical and contemporary biographies by Kathleen Krull, is a wonderful read for people of all ages. I left it on my coffee table and came home to find my 80-year-old father-in-law and 6-year-old daughter equally excited to talk about the Bunker Brothers (go look them up!).   Krull has spent a lifetime as a biographer for children, and “Frenemies in the Family” is...

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summertime with kids

Local Author’s Memoir Chronicles Summertime Joys and Woes

Summertime. Your kids love it, but do you? You don’t have to answer that. Instead, sit back and live vicariously through Kristen Hansen Brakeman, a La Cañada mom of three daughters and author of “Is That the Shirt You’re Wearing???,” a humorous book that chronicles her family’s shenanigans over two summers. “Normally, I would write when the kids were at school because my job was a freelance job, and my...

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toddler survival guide

Mike and Heather Spohr: Survival of the Fittest for Parents of Toddlers

If you love “The Walking Dead” but have young children at home, you’ve probably fallen behind in your consumption of the zombie show – or anything like it. Next time you tuck your tot in, get your fix via a hilarious parody of zombie survival guides: “The Toddler Survival Guide.” Written by husband and wife Mike and Heather Spohr, the book will get you cackling out loud and might give...

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mean girls

New Book Addresses ‘Mean Girl’ Effect in Early Years

As a child and adolescent psychotherapist, parenting expert and writer Katie Hurley, LCSW, argues that the “mean girl” syndrome is not reserved for high school. In fact, Hurley wrote her book, “No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls,” with younger girls in mind. “You’ll find information and strategies to help your girls from preschool through middle school with developing friendships, dealing with relational aggression...

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home organization for moms

The Art of Organization for Busy Moms

When it comes to life and all its chaos, the thing that can help or hinder busy moms the most is organization – or the lack of it. Efficiency and time management are key to making it through those busy days filled with soccer practice, kid’s birthday parties and parent-teacher conferences – all before it’s time to come home and put dinner on the table. In Barbara Reich’s new self-help...

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Everything You Need to Know About Life in College

Whether your student is heading off to a big university or staying local and attending your city’s community college, starting at a new college can be a fun and exciting time filled with self-exploration, new friends and tons of memorable moments. In “UChic—The College Girl’s Guide to Everything,” author Christie Garton seeks advice from more than 50 girls who attended colleges all over the nation and draws from her own...

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A Straightforward Approach to Parenting Teen Girls 

Wondering why your sweet girl is starting to push you away? Psychologist Lisa Damour, Ph.D., is an expert in parenting teen girls and she has some good news. The teen years, she assures parents wondering why we have suddenly become “inexplicably annoying and totally irrelevant,” are “the psychological equivalent of putting training wheels on a bike.” In her book “Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood,” Damour...

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children's books

L.A. Dad Adds Gift to Princess Heroes Book Series

As the father of 9-year-old twin daughters, L.A. author Sanjay Nambiar is keen on writing stories that broaden the scope of how girls see themselves. “The Gift of Gift,” the second book in his Super Amazing Princess Heroes (SAPH) series, was released in November. “Girls need role models that are just as powerful as boy role models,” says Nambiar, who says the book aims to marry the feminine side of...

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parenting book

Book Review: “Girls & Sex, Navigating the Complicated New Landscape”

Peggy Orenstein, a New York Times best-selling author, covers it all – sexual myths our teens believe, the effects of social media, the hookup culture, the role of drugs and alcohol and the realities of sexual assault – in this book that every parent should read. Orenstein is a journalist and a mom who shares her own concerns as a parent and tells us early on that the in-depth reporting...

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positive parenting

A Family with Unreasonable Hope

The doctor said it again and again: “She will never ….” And for Chad Veach, hearing this about his 4-month-old daughter, Georgia, was too much. “My heart sank into my socks,” says Veach, pastor of Zoe Church in Los Angeles and author of the new book “Unreasonable Hope.”   The doctor was explaining to Veach and his wife, Julia, that their daughter has lissencephaly, which literally means “smooth brain” and is...

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