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MORE THAN MANNERS! Raising Today's Kids to Have Kind Manners and Good Hearts, by Letitia Baldrige.

I guess I though this book was going to tell me how to teach my kids to use the correct fork or something. But it is more than manners; teaching children to be kind, developing courage, good character, and so forth. The author goes into such neglected topics as when to be polite to strangers and when to walk - or run - away; how to set ground rules for a blended family; what to say to someone who has suffered a loss. What I liked best about this book was that it gave not just the why of civilized behavior, but the how of teaching these character traits to children.

Dreamer of Dune: The Biography of Frank Herbert, by Brian Herbert

There are obvious advantages and disadvantages to a biography written by a close family member. On the one hand, Brian Herbert has detailed, personal knowledge of Frank Herbert's life. On the other hand, Brian Herbert has detailed, personal knowledge of Frank Herbert's life. Sometimes way, way too much detail. It's interesting, but not terribly objective.

Bright From the Start: The Simple, Science-Backed Way to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind fromBirth to Age 3, by Jill Stamm, Ph.D.

I really didn't read this book, just skimmed it, but saw enough to recommend it. Stamm writes in the introduction:

What the science tells us is this:

1. What babies need is simpler than you might think.
2. But they need it more consistently and earlier than we often provide it.
3. My recommendations for early care are within every parent's ability to provide, regardless of your resources.
4. In face, they're as easy to learn as ABC. The cornerstones of what a bright, happy baby or toddler needs are Attention, Bonding, and Communication.
And moreover:
The data does not support the idea of brainy videos at six months, baby software at twelve months, and Chinese lessons at age two. Far from it. It turns out, a very young child's future success depends less on "academics" . . . than on such critical factors as whether your baby loves her babysitter, how often she hears bedtime stories, and how much time you spend on the cell phone or in front of the TV yourself.
A great book for new or expectant parents who may be confused by all the products and information out there on brain development. She discusses both the "why-to" as well as the "how-to".

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