A useful guide for parents who should read this all the way through once and then keep it close for reference.
Teacher Walther’s real, poignant anecdotes about her preschool students illustrate and support her advice on interacting with young children.
As the title suggests, Walther advocates the benefits of respectfully interacting with children at their level, both physically, by adjusting to face them at their eye line, and emotionally, by viewing situations in terms of their young perceptions. With testimonials included to support her methods, Walther focuses on the consistent practice of providing constant love, respect, honor and encouragement. Parents can refer to the book for guidance to constructively modify immediate behavior problems, but the lessons are designed to additionally develop lifelong social and academic behaviors. Because of the effective narrative structure, the reader typically has a decent understanding of the concepts and techniques even before getting to Walther’s research-based explanation. She first illustrates her methods by sharing actual stories from her preschool work that successfully (and often humorously) convey the undesirable behavior or emotional struggles of the child, the methodical response from the adult and the thought process that leads the children to improved behavior. The methods encourage the children to come to their own conclusions by understanding the consequences of their behaviors, both positive and negative, as opposed to simply being told to follow rules. The lessons illustrated in the stories are then concisely supported by research and science. The reference-style format of the book, with its detailed topic index and a table of contents that provides a synopsis for each chapter, allows readers to quickly flip to sections that might relate to their child’s particular behavior. Parents reading the book will spend a great deal of time reflecting on their own behavior, even beyond the parent-child dynamic, because Walther’s approaches can also be interpreted as simply a proper, caring, kind way for people to treat each other in general.A useful guide for parents who should read this all the way through once and then keep it close for reference.
Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2010
Page Count: 214
Review Posted Online: Dec. 20, 2010
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Helen Fremont ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 11, 2020
A vivid sequel that strains credulity.
Fremont (After Long Silence, 1999) continues—and alters—her story of how memories of the Holocaust affected her family.
At the age of 44, the author learned that her father had disowned her, declaring her “predeceased”—or dead in his eyes—in his will. It was his final insult: Her parents had stopped speaking to her after she’d published After Long Silence, which exposed them as Jewish Holocaust survivors who had posed as Catholics in Europe and America in order to hide multilayered secrets. Here, Fremont delves further into her tortured family dynamics and shows how the rift developed. One thread centers on her life after her harrowing childhood: her education at Wellesley and Boston University, the loss of her virginity to a college boyfriend before accepting her lesbianism, her stint with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, and her decades of work as a lawyer in Boston. Another strand involves her fraught relationship with her sister, Lara, and how their difficulties relate to their father, a doctor embittered after years in the Siberian gulag; and their mother, deeply enmeshed with her own sister, Zosia, who had married an Italian count and stayed in Rome to raise a child. Fremont tells these stories with novelistic flair, ending with a surprising theory about why her parents hid their Judaism. Yet she often appears insensitive to the serious problems she says Lara once faced, including suicidal depression. “The whole point of suicide, I thought, was to succeed at it,” she writes. “My sister’s completion rate was pathetic.” Key facts also differ from those in her earlier work. After Long Silence says, for example, that the author grew up “in a small city in the Midwest” while she writes here that she grew up in “upstate New York,” changes Fremont says she made for “consistency” in the new book but that muddy its narrative waters. The discrepancies may not bother readers seeking psychological insights rather than factual accuracy, but others will wonder if this book should have been labeled a fictionalized autobiography rather than a memoir.A vivid sequel that strains credulity.
Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019
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A straightforward tale of kindness and paying it forward in 1980s New York.
When advertising executive Schroff answered a child’s request for spare change by inviting him for lunch, she did not expect the encounter to grow into a friendship that would endure into his adulthood. The author recounts how she and Maurice, a promising boy from a drug-addicted family, learned to trust each other. Schroff acknowledges risks—including the possibility of her actions being misconstrued and the tension of crossing socio-economic divides—but does not dwell on the complexities of homelessness or the philosophical problems of altruism. She does not question whether public recognition is beneficial, or whether it is sufficient for the recipient to realize the extent of what has been done. With the assistance of People human-interest writer Tresniowski (Tiger Virtues, 2005, etc.), Schroff adheres to a personal narrative that traces her troubled relationship with her father, her meetings with Maurice and his background, all while avoiding direct parallels, noting that their childhoods differed in severity even if they shared similar emotional voids. With feel-good dramatizations, the story seldom transcends the message that reaching out makes a difference. It is framed in simple terms, from attributing the first meeting to “two people with complicated pasts and fragile dreams” that were “somehow meant to be friends” to the conclusion that love is a driving force. Admirably, Schroff notes that she did not seek a role as a “substitute parent,” and she does not judge Maurice’s mother for her lifestyle. That both main figures experience a few setbacks yet eventually survive is never in question; the story fittingly concludes with an epilogue by Maurice. For readers seeking an uplifting reminder that small gestures matter.
Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011
Page Count: 288
Publisher: Howard Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: July 26, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011
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