Book Reviews September 2015

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All books purchased by clicking the link in our review will give AFTH a small donation from Amazon.com.  If you are interested in purchasing one of the books in our review please consider buying it through our link to amazon.com.

Growing up SocialGrowing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane -While I am not a huge fan of most Christian lit this book peaked my interest and honestly it wasn’t until I was about half way through that I realized it was a Christian book.  Not overly preachy of any type of religion it gives some startling statistics about what screen time is doing to our children. “The average american child and teenager spends fifty-three hours a week with media and technology.”

This statistic is alarming to me because it also coincides with research that shows that “before mobile phones and computer apps were popular, the average person’s attention span was 12 seconds. Since then, our attention span has dropped by 40 percent.” Read that line again, our attention spans have dropped by 40%!!! That’s crazy.  And we wonder why the rate of ADHD is increasing in children.

By setting limits on electronics and teaching our children to interact in the real world instead of just the virtual world we will actually raise more empathetic, social children with decreased anxiety and depression. Social interaction in the real world has been shown to decrease feelings of isolation and depression but so many children are relying on virtual interaction and are losing the skills of being able to relate to people in the real world.

Limiting children’s screen time isn’t enough though we also have to limit our own since we as adults need to practice what we preach and lead by example.  This book shows different ways we can encourage our children to limit their screen time and how to be consistent.  What they find is that when we as parents put down our phones and tablets and interact with our children we not only have increased patience we  have better relationships with them as they grow.  Imagine how much we miss while staring at our screens.

I freely admit I am addicted to my phone and feel lost if I forget it and will actually go back for it…it takes a concious effort on my part to keep my phone in my bag during dinners out etc…and I didn’t grow up with this technology, imagine if this was the world we grew up in? It would be normal, I actually pity so many of today’s children for not playing outside, riding bikes and wading through creeks. This interaction with our world is so important to our well being – getting our hands dirty, making mud pies, using our imaginations, instead of blankly staring and being entertained.  Playdates shouldn’t consist of ipads, they should consist of making forts and baking cookies, playing tag, or visiting museums and parks.

The authors have great ideas for how to talk to kids about technology and how to not get mad at them or “punish” them for using it but setting limits and talking about how it affects us as people.  This book IS NOT anti-technology its about using technology wisely.

This book is filled with some great ideas and some wake up calls to help our future generations.  Me and the authors may not agree on religion but we agree that we are harming our children with all of this technology and putting them at a disadvantage in the world instead of what tech companies are trying to push us to believe.  You don’t need tech to learn you just need someone to teach you. Amazon.com price $9.89 (kindle) $13.06 (pb) $11.61 (Audio)

WantedWanted: A Journey to Surrogacy / Un viaje hacia la subrogación by Carolina Robbiano – This is beautifully written book about surrogacy and different types of families.  First this book explores different types of families, where they may live, and how they are made up then it gets into how this family came to be with the help of a surrogate.  While some of the words may be a bit big for young children it is a book that you could come back to again and again and it gives you things to explore.  You can look up how they live in the different parts of the world that are mentioned in the book and take your own journey.  This book is also written in spanish and english so it can help support your child learning a 2nd language. There are very few books out there dealing with surrogacy and most are one size fits all this book is really well done as it really explores that families aren’t always the same.

I read this book on my Kindle Fire and I think if I were going to add it to my library I would splurge on the paperback.  The kindle just doesn’t do justice to the illustrations.  Amazon.com prices $3.99 (kindle) $17.45 (paperback)

Gal and NoaGal and Noa’s Daddies by Shosh Pinkas – This is another surrogacy story, but this one is a bit different.   This story tells the story of two little girls born in India to a surrogate there, to two daddies.  The little girls try to explain how their family is made up to their friends at school and while trying to explain they realize they don’t know their birth story so their daddies tell them how they came to be.  This book tackles surrogacy and gay parents with grace, ease and beautiful illustrations.  Written by the grandmother of two girls born through surrogacy this is the story of her family.  Well done with adorable picture that work well on both the kindle and the paperback formats.  Amazon.com price $9.13 (pb) $2.99 (kindle)

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