Below is where I will highlight what is currently at the top of my list for books and resources I want to shout about from the mountaintops.
For Parents: Parenting
The Gift of Failure
by Jessica Lahey (non-fiction)
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If you want your child/teen to develop into a self-confident, self-reliant, and anxious-free human, this is your guide. I see lots of children and teens who experience high anxiety and low self-efficacy as a result of having not had experiences in their life where they learned it is okay to fail and they are able to rebound from it. Lahey does a fantastic job of blending research and narrative to offer practical parenting decision-making and strategies that you can employ to support your children in feeling the important senses of competence, resiliency, and autonomy.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish (non-fiction)
This book - plus the version for parenting teens (How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk) - is what I call the Parent Bible. The way of talking and responding to your children that these two authors guide you through is, in my clinical opinion, the foundation of developing emotionally healthy and intelligent children, and loving relationships between parent and child. This book offers tons of practical examples and tips for how to navigate most every communication situation with your child. Go get it if you haven’t yet.
Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood
by Lisa Damour, Ph.D. (non-fiction)
First, despite it’s title I found this book to be applicable to all genders of adolescents. Damour utilizes her experience as a psychotherapist who specializes in adolescents to guide parents inside the minds, needs, and experiences of their adolescent and the result is an incredibly helpful how-to book. Adolescence is a time marked by a complicated relationship with parents - we need them and also need to push away a bit so that we can develop our independent identity. Damour offers great tips to parents on how to know where to hold firm to limits, let go for their exploration, and how to continue to show up in the way adolescents need you to.
For Parents OF WHITE CHILDREN: PARENTING AND RACIAL JUSTICE
Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America
by Jennifer Harvey, Ph.D. (non-fiction)
I highly recommend this book for any parent of white children or teens who are interested in equipping their children to be active and able participants in a society that is becoming one of the most racially diverse in the world while remaining full of racial tensions. While a great deal of public discussion exists in regard to the impact of race and racism on children of color, meaningful dialogue about and resources for understanding the impact of race on white children are more absent. Raising White Kids steps into that void. This book offers practical guidelines for what you can do within your home and community, how to adopt race-conscious parenting practices, how to equip children in addressing racism when they encounter it, how to function well in a diverse nation, how to help our children understand their whiteness and its impact, and more.
For Gender & Sexual Diversity
The ABC’s of LGBT+
by Ashley Mardell (non-fiction)
For anyone looking to learn more about gender and sexual diversity, this is a fantastic first place to start. Whether you yourself are exploring your own identity, have a parent or child or friend exploring theirs, or simply want to better understand the differences amongst people - this is your book. Mardell blends personal anecdotes and those of other people with lots of informational text and the result is a very easy-to-read textbook of sorts around all things LGBT+.
Families in Transition: Parenting Gender Diverse Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults
by Arlene I. Lev & Andrew R. Gottlieb & (non-fiction)
This is a comprehensive and digestible resource for parents with gender diverse children that I highly recommend. It features a compilation of information from mental health and medical experts, as well as first-person narratives written by parents and families. The professional articles are positioned side by side with the voices of the parents themselves―each complementing the other―which I found to be incredibly useful and illuminating.
The Gender Quest Workbook: a Guide for Teens & Young Adults Exploring Gender Identity
by Rylan Jay Tiesta, Ph.D & Deborah Coolhart, Ph.D., LMFT (non-fiction)
If you are or care about a teen or young adult exploring gender identity, this is a fantastic resource. It provides a great combination of information and personal exercises and activities to engage to further understand one’s gender identity.
Symptoms of Being Human
by Jeff Garvin (fiction)
This novel is told from the perspective of a teenage main character whom we do not know their sex assigned at birth and is gender fluid. The story travels with the main character through a process of self-discovery and coming into their authentic self. Besides being an engaging and entertaining read, this novel offers the reader great insight into the internal world of someone who has gone through the often confusing and difficult process of understanding their gender identity. This book is great for teens and adults.