Book Reviewing in Action: Friedman Fellows Brothers Celebration

I get to read and think about a lot of great (parenting) books. That also means I often get a lot of ideas about what to do-- or not do, as the case may be!-- with my boys.  When I reviewed Laura Markham's latest, Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings, for Brain, Child in the winter I knew that doing a sibling celebration was something we would try to implement. Markham is a Clinical Psychologist who previously wrote Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids. Because she saw so much sibling conflict she decided it needed its own book. In Chapter 8, "Tools to Prevent Rivalry and and Nurture Bonding," she urges parents to consider an annual sibling celebration. I loved the idea and thought focusing on the boys and their relationship would help them feel special (especially because I am their only-child mother!).

Given that both of my boys have January birthdays I decided the summer would be a good time to add an annual celebration, especially before the hectic school year began. So in August we devoted a whole Saturday to what we called "Brothers Day." They got to set the tone of the day-- in a way that reminded me of Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Yes Day!, though with more restrictions given their ages (1.5 and 3.5). In the week before our day each "selected" a present for the other and we began the day by exchanging those gifts.


Q gifted Carston an Iron Man action figure


Carston gifted Quenton more bristle blocks


Both were thrilled with their special treats

After that we focused on activities and meals they like. We went swimming, had KFC (one of their favorites), went to a trampoline park, and then I made one of our favorite family meals (lamb and orzo with feta cheese and spinach-- super easy in the crockpot!) and capped it off with their own cupcakes.


It was definitely a big success and next year Quenton will be able to understand it all a bit more. We won't set the same date, but rather do it at the same time of year next August. I am guessing interests will have changed a bit since this and this also gives us a chance to celebrate that!


This is one tip from a book I definitely recommend.

A Bookworm's Dream Position: New Book Review Editor at Brain, Child Magazine!

When my name first appeared in Brain, Child Magazine in the Summer of 2013, I felt I had finally arrived as a writer. With the tagline "A Magazine for Thinking Mothers," I had long admired the publication, and dreamt of the day when hopefully something I wrote would appear on its glossy pages. I've been lucky enough to write other pieces for them and to get to know the amazing Editor-in-Chief, Marcelle (in real life) and many other team members virtually. So, to know that in the next issue my name will appear on the masthead is mind-boggling! That's because I am the new Book Review Editor for Brain, Child. I'll be writing book reviews and editing them monthly for the blog Brain, Mother. I will also be writing a book reflections column each month,  doing six different "Top Ten" book lists, and writing and editing book review essays for the Magazine's five print issues. As I wrote when I posted the news on Facebook the day the press release went out, "To say this is a dream job for me is a massive understatement. So excited to combine three of my favorite things in the world: parenting, reading, and writing (listed in alphabetical order to conceal my true preferences...)."

As I wrote in my bio, "Hilary is a true bookworm, who happened to be raised by a Miss America. This means that when she wore glasses in grade school she had fancy pairs (fuchsia polka dot, Scottish plaid, purple flowered), and that she still loves to read and write about glitz and glamour as much as she loves to read serious works of fiction and non-fiction." Here's some photographic proof for you:

Beautiful mother, gawky meThe fuchsia polka dot frames perhaps look more glamorous standing next to mom (see, we really look nothing alike!), Miss America 1970. Oh, and yes, that was an old school Pleasant & Company (now known as American Girl!) over-sized Samantha hair bow.

Fifth Grade School Picture- at my worstLest the Scottish plaid glasses, or my general fifth grade geekiness, feel neglected. Also, thank goodness for orthodontia!

As I write in my first talking about books column this month, Raising Readers, I have always read books like it was my job. It is rare to find me without a book (now digitally more often than not, but still).

new_002(A pre-glasses pic, and what I now look like since having LASIK while in grad school- one of the best decisions I ever made, despite the lost opportunity to rock crazy specs).

I hope to instill that same love in my sons, especially by implementing some of the suggestions written about in my column from  I'm Ready! How to Prepare Your Child for Reading Success by Janice Greenberg and Elaine Weitzman.

I also hope that they will appreciate all different types of reading materials, including poetry. Here is the first review I edited, written by Beth Eakman on Carrie Fountain's new poetry collection (about motherhood), Instant Winner.

Hope you enjoy and join me on the journey to look for meaning in books, together.