I won’t lie; parenting is terrifying even to those of us who are not parents. Case in point, researching for this article, I misread the word, “channeling” as “changeling.” The mind just sees what it wants to see. I mean, there’s a reason I can name so many horror movies offhand that have to do with parenthood (Rosemary’s Baby. The Omen. Mother.) But parenting doesn’t have to be scary. Plenty of people have gone before us and raised children who became fine adults! Learn from the experiences of these authors of books on parenting.
Foreword by Malala Yousafzai
With Louise Carpenter
This biography is from the father of feminist activist, Malala Yousafzai. Ziauddin Yousafzai tells his story of living during the Talibanization of their town and the harrowing story of Malala being shot by the Taliban. He tells of how they were uprooted from their home and moved to the United Kingdom, and he illustrates what he "has learned from his children and what he wants to teach the world." It should resonate with any reader looking for books on parenting.
by Dan Kois
In this journalistic memoir, Dan Kois takes his family (his wife and two daughters) on the road. In what reads like a year-long road trip, we get to follow the Kois family around the world, see how the customs in different cities affect the family as a whole and as individuals, and to learn about different cultural practices through the interviews Dan conducts. It's a funny, heartwarming memoir about one family coming together.
This is one of the books about parenting that anyone who knows a high school junior should read. Its author, Jill Margaret Shulman, is a college admissions coach, application evaluator, and college writing instructor, and for that reason, this book reads like a how-to guide for college applications. It's a great way to keep the anxiety at bay.
The imposter syndrome is real when it comes to unplanned (or maybe even planned) pregnancy–and this author addresses that reality in addition to the post-partum body and sex issues. The thing about parenting is that you're not just molding the next generation, you're changing yourself (or not) in order to be able to do that. O'Connell pulls no punches in this book, and she writes every word with an edge of dark humor.
If you're feeling salty about the impossibility of rearing the perfect child–and who doesn't, honestly?–it's time to read this history compiled by scholar, Therese Oneill, about the parenting in the Victorian era. As you may know, medicine in that time period was more like "medicine," and she chronicles their recommendations as such. For example, she lists how much wine, cyanide, and heroin is safe to consume while pregnant, as well as how to arrange the bedroom if you'd prefer to conceive a boy. Therese Oneill is an excellent writer–she somehow manages to bring all of the stuffiest period in history's dirty laundry to light. If you read this book on parenting and you love it, you should check out her book on Victorian propriety, Unmentionable, too.
This book of nonfiction shows how the digital connectedness of our world will help to raise a new generation with more empathy, diversity, and progression. He details examples of technology that renovated the experience of childhood as well as how to incorporate the newest technology into raising today's children.
by Scott Mactavish
This book reads exactly as it sounds: it's a straightforward, military-style manual for new fathers. It's a super-practical guide among the memoirs and theories of books on parenting that is also wry and helpful.
by Jancee Dunn
One aspect of parenthood we have only touched on so far in this list is marital relationship. In this book that is part memoir and part self-help book, Jancee Dunn provides her readers with "actionable and achievable advice" on how to look at your spouse as the ally they want to be.
This book is often referenced as "the baby Bible" because it is so comprehensive. Its authors draw both on their experience as parents and as medical professionals to guide parents through the first two years of their child's life. It tells how to get the most out of parenting, and how to do it safely–plus this edition is revised to include new developments in child medicine.
I hope that you find some new knowledge and perspectives among these great books on parenting!
What to Read Next
Mary Kay McBrayer is a horror enthusiast, sideshow lover, and prose writer from south of Atlanta. Her true crime novel, America’s First Female Serial Killer: Jane Toppan and the Making of a Monster is available for pre-order, and you can hear her analysis (and jokes) about scary movies on the podcast, Everything Trying to Kill You. You can read her tweets @mkmcbrayer.