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  • Great Reads for Mom & Baby

    It’s never too early to start reading with your baby. Reading aloud to your infant is an important way to teach communication, introduce beginning concepts, and lay the foundation for learning vocabulary. Reading together builds the bond between you and baby and sets the stage for a lifetime of sharing stories. When you cuddle with your little one and read together, over time your baby will associate books with love and closeness. Here are 7 great reads for you and your baby to share.

    Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Jayne Church is a playful rhyming story that begs you to cuddle your baby closer. A play on the song “Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes,” the book can be sung to the familiar tune or melodically read. Each page mentions a different part, like ears that wiggle and bellies that giggle, which can be pointed out on your baby as you read along. Build body awareness concepts as you hold your baby close and point out her own tiny toes.

    Hello Ocean Friends by Violet Lemay is a stunning high-contrast book to share with your baby. The simple language leaves plenty of room for your own storytelling, if you’re up for improvising, or simply a pause for baby to absorb the black-and-white contrast of the pictures. Let your baby linger over the shapes, designs, and animal illustrations as you hug him close.

    If Animals Kissed Goodnight by Ann Whitford Paul is a new bedtime classic. It’s gentle rhyming prose is certain to lull your baby while also telling a sweet story about animals saying goodnight to their family. Point to the illustrations as you say the animal names to develop her vocabulary, and give your baby a kiss every time the animals say goodnight in the book.

    My World My Words: A Toddler’s First Words Board Book by Marie Fordacq introduces babies to beginner vocabulary words without forfeiting a cute story. While this book reinforces the language you use all day with your baby, its story will keep you both engaged. The book follows Bobby through his entire day, from waking to nighttime kisses and the retro illustrations are lovely to linger over while your baby nestles in your lap.

    How Does Baby Feel? by Karen Katz is a lift-the-flap book that introduces your baby to emotions. Discussing emotions is beneficial for your baby, even when they’re at their tiniest. As your infant grows, conversations around feelings can expand and you’ll have the building blocks in place with a book like this. The bright illustrations are simple enough for small babies to examine and playful enough for older babies to enjoy, as well.

    Peek a Who? by Nina Laden is the perfect book to read to share a giggle with your baby. It’s rhyming text will keep an infant engrossed, but the book holds a surprise ending that will still delight your baby after repeat readings. Each page holds a die-cut window which gives a peek at the next beautifully illustrated rhyme, building anticipation to see what comes next.

    The Opposite Zoo by Il Sung Na is a gorgeous book to share when your baby is alert and absorbed in the world. The delightful story follows a monkey whose cage is open when the zoo is closed and explores the opposites of the zoo: big and small, noisy and quiet, fast and slow. Point out the different animals and colors in the lovely illustrations as a way to “converse” with your baby and stay snuggled together a bit longer.

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  • 6 Pregnancy Books You Need To Read

    Walk into any bookstore, scour the shelves in the prenatal/childbirth section, and be both amazed and terrified at the magnitude of books offered for expectant parents to consume. To save you time and money, we’ve hand-selected our six favorite books to read during pregnancy, which cover everything from getting pregnant to soothing a fussy baby. Upon completion of each book, you’ll close the back cover feeling informed, empowered and prepared for motherhood.

    Mayo Clinic Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy

    This 500+ page guide book of the pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and newborn stages, expertly written by a team of medical experts from the renowned Mayo Clinic, offers non-biased advice on everything from spotting and pre-natal sex to preparing for labor and post-partum work decisions. Written in the voice of a wise friend, this book contains many valuable features, including: a 40-week pregnancy calendar, week-by-week updates on baby’s growth, month-by-month physical changes for mom, colored pictures, a decision making chart, and a symptoms guide. Although recommended for all moms, first-time moms will especially appreciate this comprehensive pregnancy and parenting handbook.

    The Expectant Father

    Armin Brott—parenting expert, author and talk show host—presents an honest look at pregnancy from the perspective of an expectant father. He touches on everything from overcoming infertility and taking childbirth classes, to adopting a baby and becoming the father that you want to be, while being both reassuring and funny. The 350+ pages of this modern man’s guide to pregnancy feature expert advice from obstetricians, childbirth instructors, psychologists and sociologists, which leaves expectant fathers feeling more knowledgeable about, and more prepared for, the emotional, financial and physical changes that will occur during their partner’s pregnancy.

    The Best Birth

    A 20-year veteran of the labor and delivery ward, Sarah McMoyler, RN, has crafted an easy-to-follow guide for expectant parents, especially first timers, who are having a planned hospital delivery. Within the pages of this modern book, McMoyler offers practical, realistic advice for moms, including the importance of labor position changes, vocalization and partner support (both during and after childbirth). Her goal is to prepare readers for their upcoming, unpredictable labor and delivery experience, while encouraging them to be flexible with their birth plans and open-minded with their health care providers. The Best Birth takes you through various delivery scenarios, while reiterating the fact that “any birth after which the mother and child are healthy is a success.”

    The Happiest Baby on the Block

    Harvey Karp, MD., a successful California pediatrician and assistant professor at the School of Medicine, UCLA, has combined research, ancient wisdom and experience to craft this easy-to-read guide on remedying colic. Dubbed “perhaps the most important parenting book of the decade,” The Happiest Baby on the Block delves deep into the following four principles that Dr. Karp developed to soothe baby’s senses and improve sleep: the missing fourth trimester, the calming reflex, the 5 “S’s” (swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking), and the cuddle cure. While infant colic syndrome typically presents itself during the first three months of baby’s life, these tactics can be applied past the “fourth trimester” to aid in calming baby. The Happiest Toddler on the Block, also by Dr. Karp, is a great follow-up book for parents of children ages one- to four-years-old.

    Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating A Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home

    Christopher Gavigan, Former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, which is the leading national non-profit devoted to protecting children from dangerous environmental exposures, has written a book that empowers readers to “clean up” their daily lives, starting with the smallest of changes. Gavigan consulted over 40 experts, including doctors, environmental scientists, public-health experts like Dr. Harvey Karp, and even celebrity parents like Sheryl Crow and Tom Hanks, to offer a comprehensive approach on greening the home, greening your nutrition, and most importantly greening your pregnancy by switching to natural beauty products and setting up a nontoxic nursery. Readers will also get a 27-page buyers guide, packed with resources to aid in the “going green” process.

    Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

    Ina May Gaskin, a founding member and former president of the Midwives’ Alliance of North America, gives a comprehensive overview of the practice of natural childbirth in this guide book. Focusing on the midwifery model of care, Gaskin discusses the importance of the mind-body connection of childbirth to empower women in their natural abilities to give birth. The first half of the book is filled with personal narratives shared by former clients, whose stories Gaskin hopes will ease the worries and fears will-be expectant mothers may have. In the second half, Gaskin delivers practical advice on topics such as avoiding medical intervention that may be unnecessary. In this combination, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth offers an alternative view to childbirth practices and is a good read for both expectant moms and expectant dads.

    Take your time getting through this list of must read books, so that the information doesn’t overwhelm you, and consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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  • Summer Must Reads For Your Beach Bag

    Nothing completes a summer getaway like a good book. Whether you are headed to the beach, the pool, the lake (really anywhere!) or enjoying staycation in your own back yard, we’ve got your must-read, most talked-about books for the summer! From your typical resort read to crime thriller and compelling non-fiction, we have something for everyone:

    The Vacationer (Emma Straub)
    As you might guess from the title, Straub’s latest has all the hallmarks of a typical family vacation romp: marital strife, a sunny locale (Mallorca), long-held secrets exposed. But what sets it apart is the fine observation and poignant humor. An entirely guilt-free resort read.

    Toxin Toxout (Bruce Lourie & Rick Smith)

    There are over 80,000 synthetic chemicals in commerce today, and authors Lourie and Smith use their trademark humor to give us the good news about what is in our control, the steps we can take to help our bodies remove our toxic burden — and what we can do to avoid it in the first place.

    The Maze Runner (James Dashner) 

    A NYT bestseller and soon to be major motion picture, The Maze Runner is perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent. Set in post-apocalyptic universe, Thomas finds himself in a lift with no memory of how he got there or who he is. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone, and a maze that no one seem to figure out.

    Flying Shoes (Lisa Hayworth)

    This touching and disturbing novel about a horrific crime gone unsolved for 30 years is based on the murder of the author’s step-brother. But Flying Shoes isn’t exactly a crime novel; it’s a beautiful portrait of the South, complete with rich characters and humor.

    No More Dirty Looks: The Truth about Your Beauty Products (Siobhan O’Connor & Alexandra Spunt)

    This book is a wake-up call for all women who love to use beauty products but have no idea what’s in them.The book takes an in-depth glimpse into the dangers lurking within the beauty industry, gives consumers knowledge, and opens their eyes to products they should avoid and safer, healthier alternatives.

    Friendship (Emily Gould)

    Bev and Amy have been best friends for years but suddenly find themselves 30 and at cross roads. Bev is a Midwestern striver still mourning a years-old romantic catastrophe. Amy is an East Coast princess whose luck and charm have too long allowed her to cruise through life. A perfect beach read, Friendship is a novel about two best friends friends learning the difference between getting older and growing up

    Hard Choices (Hilary Rodham Clinton)

    In the aftermath of her 2008 presidential run, Hilary Rodham Clinton was asked her to serve in newly elected Barack Obama’s administration as Secretary of State. This memoir is the story of the four extraordinary and historic years that followed, and the hard choices that Clinton and her colleagues confronted.

    The Invention Of Exile (Vanessa Manko)

    Receiving praise from everyone from Salman Rushdie to the NYT, Vanessa Manko’s beautifully written and deeply affecting first novel is the story of a man stranded by history in a strange land, torn away by politics and paranoia from the people he loves, exiled and trapped behind an invisible frontier he dares not cross.

    One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories (Deckle Edge)

    B.J. Novak, The co-star, writer and co-executive producer of NBC’s “The Office,” has captured a lot of media attention with this collection of 63 fictional narratives and comedic vignettes. Using his experience as a tv writer, Novak knows how to deliver a funny line and will actually make you laugh out loud.

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  • The Reluctant Father by Phillip Toledano

    We didn’t know of Phillip Toledano before this week but what little we now know we like very much. He is an artist and author whose latest book, The Reluctant Father, will be released early next year.

    Checkout his site for the book. What a funny, honest, touching and beautifully portrayed story of one man’s experience with becoming a father. It is also a warm portrayal of the awkwardness and hesitation that many of us experience as we become parents for the first time.

    We look forward to the book!

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