New babies need all sorts of paraphernalia—but don’t forget that new parents need prezzies, too. When it comes to books, these three may prove essential.
Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts by Karen Kleiman
Twenty-six years after I first became a mother, I’m still the queen of disaster, always asking, “What’s wrong?”—because I’m always sure something is. Oh, how I could have used Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts: A Healing Guide to the Secret Fears of New Mothers, a brilliant guide for new moms by Karen Kleiman, founder of the Postpartum Stress Center.
Because new moms have neither time nor energy to read, these relatable truths are presented succinctly in accessible, reassuring and often humorous cartoons, wonderfully illustrated by Molly McIntyre. Whether it’s improving negative body image, bonding with your screaming bundle of joy, resuming sex or dealing with in-laws, depression, anxiety or feelings of exhaustion and inadequacy, Good Moms offers expert advice in a helpful, healing way. It’s my new go-to gift.
How to Raise a Reader by Pamela Paul & Maria Russo
During my son’s first long car trip, I sat in the back seat and tried to force-feed him board books. If only I could have consulted How to Raise a Reader, we would have read something much more interesting than Pat the Bunny—perhaps a cookbook, a novel or a parenting manual. According to authors Pamela Paul and Maria Russo, it doesn’t really matter what you read to an infant. It’s more about the sound of a parent’s voice and the experience of being exposed to language.
Paul and Russo, both editors at The New York Times Book Review, have a storehouse of wisdom to share, with advice for every stage from infancy to adolescence. They offer stellar lists of specific reading suggestions, all with the goal of raising “a reader for life.” Colorful illustrations from four children’s illustrators add to the fun, making this a book that’s easy for literature-loving parents to enjoy and get lost in.
How to Save Your Child From Ostrich Attacks, Accidental Time Travel, and Anything Else That Might Happen on an Average Tuesday by James Breakwell
Finally, every nervous new parent desperately needs a few laughs, so help them start smiling with James Breakwell’s How to Save Your Child From Ostrich Attacks, Accidental Time Travel, and Anything Else That Might Happen on an Average Tuesday. Breakwell is a comedy writer and father of four girls, and his latest book is filled with cartoons, charts (“The Most Evil Gifts to Buy for Someone Else’s Kid”) and lines like “Beds are just trampolines with different marketing” and “What goes up must get a concussion.” Breakwell is not only funny; sometimes he’s all too right.