Easily assimilated, useful guidance for parents seeking to create a more harmonious home environment.

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NEGOTIATING AT HOME

ESSENTIAL STEPS FOR REACHING AGREEMENT WITH YOUR KIDS

Advice for balancing the juggling act of collaborative parenting.

On any given day, parents face countless moments when they must negotiate with their children. These can include a vast array of choices and determinations: what to eat, when to go to bed, amount of screen time, getting a ride to a friend’s house. Seeking to help readers avoid standoffs, Kurtzberg and Kern, both professors of management, offer numerous ways in which parents can apply workplace skills to the home setting. Although many of the practices they recommend are straightforward and “commonsense,” it is helpful to have reminders of how to use these skills gathered in one place. “Even if we have a sense of the right path forward,” write the authors, “understanding more about why and how certain tactics and techniques work can allow us to make better choices about which tools to use when….We do forget a lot of what we learn.” Kurtzberg and Kern interweave research from a variety of disciplines, including “leadership, psychology, education…[and] communications,” highlighting respectful and fair concepts to assist parents in understanding the interactions between their ideas and those of their children. Though often appropriate, “the ‘because I said so’ logic” is not applicable to all situations. The authors use multiple scenarios (“Stories From Home”) to illustrate their techniques, and they summarize key points at the end of each chapter, making it easy for readers to find the relevant information quickly. For parents who feel overwhelmed, this book offers a concise presentation of successful cooperation tactics. The authors also provide an appendix to help children develop their own negotiation skills. The second and third rules are especially pertinent in today’s society: “Before you even open your mouth, spend a minute thinking,” and “Ask a lot of questions (before your start talking about your own ideas).”

Easily assimilated, useful guidance for parents seeking to create a more harmonious home environment.

Pub Date: May 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4408-6810-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2020

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This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK MAN

A former NFL player casts his gimlet eye on American race relations.

In his first book, Acho, an analyst for Fox Sports who grew up in Dallas as the son of Nigerian immigrants, addresses White readers who have sent him questions about Black history and culture. “My childhood,” he writes, “was one big study abroad in white culture—followed by studying abroad in black culture during college and then during my years in the NFL, which I spent on teams with 80-90 percent black players, each of whom had his own experience of being a person of color in America. Now, I’m fluent in both cultures: black and white.” While the author avoids condescending to readers who already acknowledge their White privilege or understand why it’s unacceptable to use the N-word, he’s also attuned to the sensitive nature of the topic. As such, he has created “a place where questions you may have been afraid to ask get answered.” Acho has a deft touch and a historian’s knack for marshaling facts. He packs a lot into his concise narrative, from an incisive historical breakdown of American racial unrest and violence to the ways of cultural appropriation: Your friend respecting and appreciating Black arts and culture? OK. Kim Kardashian showing off her braids and attributing her sense of style to Bo Derek? Not so much. Within larger chapters, the text, which originated with the author’s online video series with the same title, is neatly organized under helpful headings: “Let’s rewind,” “Let’s get uncomfortable,” “Talk it, walk it.” Acho can be funny, but that’s not his goal—nor is he pedaling gotcha zingers or pleas for headlines. The author delivers exactly what he promises in the title, tackling difficult topics with the depth of an engaged cultural thinker and the style of an experienced wordsmith. Throughout, Acho is a friendly guide, seeking to sow understanding even if it means risking just a little discord.

This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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One of the funniest—and truest—books in recent memory and a must-have for fans of the poet laureate of human foibles.

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THE BEST OF ME

A welcome greatest-hits package from Sedaris.

It’s not easy to pick out fact from fiction in the author’s sidelong takes on family, travel, relationships, and other topics. He tends toward the archly droll in either genre, both well represented in this gathering, always with a perfectly formed crystallization of our various embarrassments and discomforts. An example is a set piece that comes fairly early in the anthology: the achingly funny “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” with its spot-on reminiscence of taking a French class with a disdainful instructor, a roomful of clueless but cheerful students, and Sedaris himself, who mangles the language gloriously, finally coming to understand his teacher’s baleful utterances (“Every day spent with you is like having a cesarean section”) without being able to reply in any way that does not destroy the language of Voltaire and Proust. Sedaris’ register ranges from doggerel to deeply soulful, as when he reflects on the death of a beloved sibling and its effects on a family that has been too often portrayed as dysfunctional when it’s really just odd: “The word,” he writes, “is overused….My father hoarding food inside my sister’s vagina would be dysfunctional. His hoarding it beneath the bathroom sink, as he is wont to do, is, at best, quirky and at worst unsanitary.” There’s not a dud in the mix, though Sedaris is always at his best when he’s both making fun of himself and satirizing some larger social trend (of dog-crazy people, for instance: “They’re the ones who, when asked if they have children, are likely to answer, ‘A black Lab and a sheltie-beagle mix named Tuckahoe’ ”). It’s a lovely mélange by a modern Mark Twain who is always willing to set himself up as a shlemiel in the interest of a good yarn.

One of the funniest—and truest—books in recent memory and a must-have for fans of the poet laureate of human foibles.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-62824-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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