1. Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis – I have been reading Katie’s blog for over a year now, and I was glad to read the book and get more of the back story of how she got to Uganda. Katie is a modern day Amy Charmichael, one of my heroes of the faith, and their similarities are striking. Katie moved to Uganda right out of high school, and in the few years she has been there, she has adopted 14 girls, started a huge ministry to feed, educate, clothe and provide medical care to over 400 children in her village, along with providing care to the poor and other outcasts in her community. This is one of the best books I have read in some time, and I highly recommend it.
2. Nutureshock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman – This book is the Freakonomics of parenting. Each chapter examines current research and studies relating to children. Topics such as sleep, lying, how we teach kids about race, speech development, and aggression are just a few that were covered. My favorite chapter was about the inverse power of praise. Many of us fall into the trap of praising our children for every little thing. “Wow, you are so smart!” “That is amazing!” fall off our tongues so easily, but the authors argue (quite well) that this is setting them up for failure and poor performance. Instead, we should praise them for their effort. I have started doing this since I read this chapter earlier this month, and I have seen changes in the ways my kids act in school, housework, and play. I highly recommend this book, just since it makes you rethink a lot of things.
3. Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me? And Other Concerns by Mindy Kaling – Mindy Kaling is a writer and actor on the show, The Office, (Kelly Kapoor, come on!), and just plain hilarious. Her book is a collection of essays about her life. It was very lighthearted and hilarious. I laughed out loud so many times. It also answered the question of her last name being decidedly not-South-Asian.
4. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua – one of our Chinese-student-friends recommended this book to me. At first, I thought she recommended it out of a desire to see me buckle down in my parenting, and I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to read it, however, I am glad I did. This book is the author’s memoir on her parenting styles: Chinese Mother vs. Typical Western Parenting. Why are Asian kids always the ones winning national spelling bees, musical prodigies, and so driven? She answers this by showing how she parented her daughters as a “Chinese Mother”. I appreciated the author’s honesty and realize that she is not telling the world that this is how it should be done. It was also a really funny book, if you don’t take her too seriously. I took away some things from this book, mainly not praising our kids for doing nothing (like in NutureShock) and setting high standards for them.