An entertaining, practical, and illuminating manual for enjoying the outdoors with kids.



A wide-ranging guide explores outdoor adventures with children.

Fresco, a mother of twin girls, opens with the question, “Can parents still be adventurous?” Her answer is an unequivocal and enthusiastic “Yes!” The author’s stories of hitting the trails with children—whether hiking with 2-week-old twins in 40-degree weather; multiday biking, skiing, and rafting excursions; or 13-year-olds completing a lengthy day trek—will convince readers that plenty of time outdoors is the best gift they can give their kids. Clear and pragmatic advice explains how to bring children along safely, be prepared, and have fun. Each of the seven chapters covers a different age—ending with middle schoolers—weaving tips and lessons learned throughout the trip descriptions. Appealing contributions from Fresco’s daughters highlight the kids’ perspectives, while sidebars offer details such as location, distance, weather, and terrain for 22 excursions. More than 60 photographs illustrate the family’s expeditions, and key information is set off in “Tip” boxes. Most of the book takes place in and around the author’s hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska, where temperatures are below-zero Fahrenheit throughout the winter months. Vacations hiking the Grand Canyon and biking around Iceland provide variety and show the joys of being off the tourist-beaten path. (All of the lessons are equally applicable to places with less extreme climates.) The writing is outstanding, with a humorous, down-to-earth vibe. Fresco’s insights about child development and honesty about her own foibles are highly relatable. She doesn’t sugarcoat inconveniences, unpleasantness, parental worries, and the ubiquitous dirt. At the same time, the tales powerfully convey nature’s beauty, family togetherness, delightful moments, and all the ways getting outdoors and meeting challenges help build kids’ determination, confidence, independence, and resilience. The book examines everything the average family might need to know: going on potty breaks in the woods; dealing with bugs and wildlife; planning a trip; selecting gear (new, secondhand, and DIY); packing light; layering clothing; keeping kids warm, dry, fed, and amused; and bringing friends along. Whether readers are planning an ambitious escapade or a simple, local day hike with children, they will find engaging storytelling, ample food for thought, and a wealth of useful information.

An entertaining, practical, and illuminating manual for enjoying the outdoors with kids.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-60223-439-0

Page Count: 210

Publisher: University of Alaska Press

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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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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A heartwarming and inspiring story for animal lovers.


The third volume in the Elephant Whisperer series.

In this follow-up to An Elephant in My Kitchen, Malby-Anthony continues her loving portrait of the Thula Thula wildlife reserve, which she co-founded in 1998 with her late husband, South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony, who published the first book in the series, The Elephant Whisperer, in 2009. Following his death in 2012, Malby-Anthony sought to honor his legacy by continuing his vision “to create a massive conservancy in Zululand, incorporating our land and other small farms and community land into one great big game park.” At the same time, the elephants gave her “a sense of purpose and direction.” In the Zulu language, thula means quiet, and though the author consistently seeks to provide that calm to her charges, peace and tranquility are not always easy to come by at Thula Thula. In this installment, Malby-Anthony discusses many of the challenges faced by her and her staff, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. These included an aggressive, 2-ton rhino named Thabo; the profound loss felt by all upon the death of their elephant matriarch, Frankie; difficulty obtaining permits and the related risk of having to relocate or cull some of their animals; the fear of looting and fire due to civil unrest in the region; and the ongoing and potentially deadly struggles with poachers. Throughout, the author also shares many warm, lighthearted moments, demonstrating the deep bond felt among the humans and animals at the reserve and the powerful effects of the kindness of strangers. “We are all working in unity for the greater good, for the betterment of Thula Thula and all our wildlife….We are humbled by the generosity and love, both from our guests and friends, and from strangers all around the world,” writes the author. “People’s open-hearted support kept us alive in the darkest times.”

A heartwarming and inspiring story for animal lovers.

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 9781250284259

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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