Resources: Books

Free Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry

In 2008, when Lenore Skenazy wrote a newspaper column about letting her nine-year-old ride the subway alone in New York City, it touched off a media firestorm and critics dubbed her "America's Worst Mom." Surprised at the reaction, Skenazy began to ask how fear has reshaped parenthood and childhood alike. The result is a provocative and often hilarious book that asks and answers important questions like why are we so quick to judge other parents, do children really need to be supervised by adults every second of every day, and why isn't Halloween fun anymore?

Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce, and Childhood in the Age of the Internet

Media expert and activist Kathryn C. Montgomery examines how contemporary media changes the nature of
childhood. She charts the historical trends that made children a target group during the early
commercialization of the Internet; she describes what lead to a law to protect children's privacy on the
Internet, and examines how digital marketing taps into teenagers' developmental needs. Generation Digital
offers help for creating a safe, equitable digital culture for young people.

Her Next Chapter: How Mother-Daughter Book Clubs Can Help Girls Navigate Malicious Media, Risky Relationships, Girl Gossip, and So Much More

Much has been written about how difficult commercialized culture is on girls growing up today. Sexualization and impossible body aspirations are just a few of the destructive values and behaviors marketed to young girls on a daily basis. Her Next Chapter suggests parent-child book clubs as a unique tool for moms trying to help their daughters navigate the difficult transition from little girl to young woman. Such book clubs are a great way to encourage bonding but they also provide a springboard for talking freely about issues and concerns facing girls today.

Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture

Despite the economic downturn, adults continue to spend billions of dollars annually on children. After
three years of observing and interviewing children, Allison J. Pugh discovered a major factor that
contributes to why we continue to buy. It is children’s desire to belong. Even under great financial
constraints, families prioritize children “feeling normal,” and continue to purchase because of it.

Packaging Boyhood: Saving Our Sons from Superheroes, Slackers, and Other Media Stereotypes

Boys are overwhelmed with media images that encourage slacking over studying, competition over teamwork,
power over empowerment, and being cool over being yourself. Packaging Boyhood presents a survey of over
600 American boys, who offer their insights into boy stereotypes. It also provides advice for parents
about how to talk to boys about boyhood in media.

Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers' Schemes

Girls are overwhelmed with media images that encourage them buy beauty products, to shop, and to pay
attention to fashion. Packaging Girlhood explores how media cheapens relationships; it explores the
absence of good women role models in popular culture, and the sexualization of girls. It offers ways to
help girls navigate through these images, so they can make positive choices.

Playborhood: Turn Your Neighborhood into a Place for Play

We all know how important it is for children to play outdoors. And we also know that huge numbers of children are deprived of that experience. That’s why Mike Lanza’s new book Playborhood: Turn Your Neighborhood into a Place for Play is so important. It provides blueprints for neighborhoods working together to encourage children’s outdoor play and to create safe spaces to enable it.