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RAISING GLOBAL TEENS

A PRACTICAL HANDBOOK FOR PARENTING IN THE 21ST CENTURY

A valuable primer for helping teens cope with adolescence.

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A pediatrician offers advice on raising teens in the 21st century.

In this debut parenting book, Abraham focuses on the experiences of children with varied cultural experiences. She addresses the particular needs of expatriates, immigrants, and those with blended cultural backgrounds while also covering the fundamentals of stress, puberty, brain development, and education that apply to all teens. The author—an American born to South Asian parents, married to a German, and based in the Netherlands—draws on a combination of personal experiences, stories of her patients, the results of a survey she conducted, and existing research on child development. The manual is organized thematically, and each chapter opens with representative questions from parents and teens that are answered at the end. Abraham’s topics include devising communication strategies, establishing self-esteem and resilience, dealing with substance abuse and risky behavior, and managing learning disabilities and other neurological conditions. The author is a strong and fluent writer and does an excellent job of using anecdotes to personalize the big-picture subjects explored in the text. The chapter on brain development is particularly well done, combining scientific information about the physiological factors that often lead teens to make poor decisions with strategies for mitigating the effects of impulsiveness and immaturity in real-world situations (“Provide information on issues before they occur. Consider role play to help young people address peer pressure and make smart choices”). An appendix contains the results of Abraham’s survey of parents and teens, and resources for additional reading are provided in each chapter and in the book’s endnotes. Although the work’s title spotlights teens in cross-cultural contexts, much of the volume is more generally applicable to the age group as a whole. The author occasionally mentions issues that are more particular to children who cross between cultures (different definitions of adulthood in home and local cultures; how to maintain strong connections when moving internationally). Readers who are already well versed in the literature of parenting teens will find little new information here, but those looking for an introduction to the genre will find the book a solid guide.

A valuable primer for helping teens cope with adolescence.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9998808-4-2

Page Count: 424

Publisher: Summertime Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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THE BACKYARD BIRD CHRONICLES

An ebullient nature lover’s paean to birds.

A charming bird journey with the bestselling author.

In his introduction to Tan’s “nature journal,” David Allen Sibley, the acclaimed ornithologist, nails the spirit of this book: a “collection of delightfully quirky, thoughtful, and personal observations of birds in sketches and words.” For years, Tan has looked out on her California backyard “paradise”—oaks, periwinkle vines, birch, Japanese maple, fuchsia shrubs—observing more than 60 species of birds, and she fashions her findings into delightful and approachable journal excerpts, accompanied by her gorgeous color sketches. As the entries—“a record of my life”—move along, the author becomes more adept at identifying and capturing them with words and pencils. Her first entry is September 16, 2017: Shortly after putting up hummingbird feeders, one of the tiny, delicate creatures landed on her hand and fed. “We have a relationship,” she writes. “I am in love.” By August 2018, her backyard “has become a menagerie of fledglings…all learning to fly.” Day by day, she has continued to learn more about the birds, their activities, and how she should relate to them; she also admits mistakes when they occur. In December 2018, she was excited to observe a Townsend’s Warbler—“Omigod! It’s looking at me. Displeased expression.” Battling pesky squirrels, Tan deployed Hot Pepper Suet to keep them away, and she deterred crows by hanging a fake one upside down. The author also declared war on outdoor cats when she learned they kill more than 1 billion birds per year. In May 2019, she notes that she spends $250 per month on beetle larvae. In June 2019, she confesses “spending more hours a day staring at birds than writing. How can I not?” Her last entry, on December 15, 2022, celebrates when an eating bird pauses, “looks and acknowledges I am there.”

An ebullient nature lover’s paean to birds.

Pub Date: April 23, 2024

ISBN: 9780593536131

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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I'M GLAD MY MOM DIED

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

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The former iCarly star reflects on her difficult childhood.

In her debut memoir, titled after her 2020 one-woman show, singer and actor McCurdy (b. 1992) reveals the raw details of what she describes as years of emotional abuse at the hands of her demanding, emotionally unstable stage mom, Debra. Born in Los Angeles, the author, along with three older brothers, grew up in a home controlled by her mother. When McCurdy was 3, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though she initially survived, the disease’s recurrence would ultimately take her life when the author was 21. McCurdy candidly reconstructs those in-between years, showing how “my mom emotionally, mentally, and physically abused me in ways that will forever impact me.” Insistent on molding her only daughter into “Mommy’s little actress,” Debra shuffled her to auditions beginning at age 6. As she matured and starting booking acting gigs, McCurdy remained “desperate to impress Mom,” while Debra became increasingly obsessive about her daughter’s physical appearance. She tinted her daughter’s eyelashes, whitened her teeth, enforced a tightly monitored regimen of “calorie restriction,” and performed regular genital exams on her as a teenager. Eventually, the author grew understandably resentful and tried to distance herself from her mother. As a young celebrity, however, McCurdy became vulnerable to eating disorders, alcohol addiction, self-loathing, and unstable relationships. Throughout the book, she honestly portrays Debra’s cruel perfectionist personality and abusive behavior patterns, showing a woman who could get enraged by everything from crooked eyeliner to spilled milk. At the same time, McCurdy exhibits compassion for her deeply flawed mother. Late in the book, she shares a crushing secret her father revealed to her as an adult. While McCurdy didn’t emerge from her childhood unscathed, she’s managed to spin her harrowing experience into a sold-out stage act and achieve a form of catharsis that puts her mind, body, and acting career at peace.

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982185-82-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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