Solid, easily assimilated evidence showing how microbes are an integral part of a child’s healthy life.

LET THEM EAT DIRT

SAVING OUR CHILDREN FROM AN OVERSANITIZED WORLD

Why dirt and microbes are good for your child.

With the development of antibiotics, vaccines, and sterilization techniques, the world has seen a sharp decline in the spread of infectious diseases. However, Finlay (Microbiology/Univ. of British Columbia) and Arrieta provide ample evidence showing that our world of prescription antibiotics, antibacterial soaps, and hand sanitizers—all used to combat disease and encourage hypercleanliness—are also contributing to a steady increase in “diabetes, allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), autoimmune diseases, autism, certain types of cancer, and even obesity.” Beginning with pregnancy, the authors discuss the pros and cons of antibiotic use by mothers and how they change their microbial environment and can cause asthma, eczema, and hay fever in infants. Vaginal births deliver a multitude of beneficial microbes to the infant, and the authors suggest those who need caesarean sections consider a technique called “seeding,” wherein the mother’s vagina is swabbed to collect secretions that are wiped on the baby, the mother’s chest, and nipples. This provides the infant with important beneficial microbes necessary for development after the near-sterile environment of the womb. Breast milk comes with its own set of microbes beneficial to the infant, helping the intestines mature sufficiently to handle the next stage of development: the introduction of solid foods. The authors discuss the advantages of having pets and the need for exposure to the wild outdoors. They give special attention to the links between antibiotics and the increase in obesity, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel diseases—in children and in adults. Short do's and don’ts lists help solidify the information. Overall, claim the authors, parents must be less hypervigilant about fighting bacteria, as many types of them are actually necessary for our children to be vigorous and strong.

Solid, easily assimilated evidence showing how microbes are an integral part of a child’s healthy life.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61620-649-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A highly readable account of how solid research and personal testing of self-help techniques saved a couple's marriage after...

HOW NOT TO HATE YOUR HUSBAND AFTER KIDS

Self-help advice and personal reflections on avoiding spousal fights while raising children.

Before her daughter was born, bestselling author Dunn (Why Is My Mother Getting a Tattoo?: And Other Questions I Wish I Never Had to Ask, 2009, etc.) enjoyed steady work and a happy marriage. However, once she became a mother, there never seemed to be enough time, sleep, and especially help from her husband. Little irritations became monumental obstacles between them, which led to major battles. Consequently, they turned to expensive couples' therapy to help them regain some peace in life. In a combination of memoir and advice that can be found in most couples' therapy self-help books, Dunn provides an inside look at her own vexing issues and the solutions she and her husband used to prevent them from appearing in divorce court. They struggled with age-old battles fought between men and women—e.g., frequency of sex, who does more housework, who should get up with the child in the middle of the night, why women need to have a clean house, why men need more alone time, and many more. What Dunn learned via therapy, talks with other parents, and research was that there is no perfect solution to the many dynamics that surface once couples become parents. But by using time-tested techniques, she and her husband learned to listen, show empathy, and adjust so that their former status as a happy couple could safely and peacefully morph into a happy family. Readers familiar with Dunn's honest and humorous writing will appreciate the behind-the-scenes look at her own semi-messy family life, and those who need guidance through the rough spots can glean advice while being entertained—all without spending lots of money on couples’ therapy.

A highly readable account of how solid research and personal testing of self-help techniques saved a couple's marriage after the birth of their child.

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-26710-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

WHY WE SWIM

A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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