Living Faith's Top 20 Reading List

Principals Pen Thursday, 04 Jun 2020

Increasingly, we are asked for recommendations for go-to books in relation to parenting and education.

And so, here it is: Living Faith’s Top 20 Reading List! (We couldn’t stop at 10, but we managed to reduce it from 50!).

This list combines books that offer helpful parenting strategies, as well as resources that provide greater insight into contemporary educational research and philosophy. We are working to ensure each of these resources will be available in our Parent Library.

1. Jesus Calling | Sarah Young

God breathes gentle words of peace, joy and stillness into the heart of the busiest parent. One page of reading per day is all it takes to be impacted by the blessings of Young’s writings.

2. Crazy Busy | Kevin DeYoung

In this very short read, DeYoung addresses our busyness problem head-on – not with the typical arsenal of time management tips, but with the biblical tools we need to get to the source of the issue and pull the problem out by the roots.

3. You, Your Child, and School | Ken Robinson

As a parent, what should you look for in your children’s education? How can you tell if their school is right for them and what can you do if it isn’t? Dispelling many myths and tackling critical schooling options and controversies, Robinson guides parents to learn about the kind of education their children really need and what they can do to make sure they get it.

4. Empower | John Spencer and A J Juliani

Kids begin their learning journey as curious problem-solvers who ask questions and create solutions. As they go through school, they begin to play the game of school, eager to be compliant and follow a path instead of making their own. As teachers and parents, our job is not to prepare students for something; our role is to help students prepare themselves for anything.

5. Future Driven | David Geurin

Geurin offers a passionate, compelling forecast that urges all educators to engage smartly with what is coming. Teaching learners in this era of knowledge abundance requires teachers to take risks and for leaders to embrace change. A future focus will ensure students are prepared for whatever they face. We need to have a long-term perspective and so do our students.

6. The Innovator’s Mindset | George Couros

The traditional system of education requires students to hold their questions and compliantly stick to the scheduled curriculum. But the job of educators is to provide new and better opportunities for students. It's time to recognise that compliance doesn't foster innovation, encourage critical thinking, or inspire creativity – and those are the skills our students need to succeed.

7. Mindset | Carol Dweck

Dweck shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavour can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset. Mindset reveals how parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.

8. Limitless Mind | Jo Boaler

From the moment we enter school, we are made to believe our brains are capable of only learning certain things. This follows us into adulthood, where we tend to simply accept these established beliefs, eg we don’t have ‘a maths brain’ or we aren’t ‘the creative type’. These damaging – and as new science has revealed, false – assumptions have influenced all of us at some time, affecting our futures.

9. Let the Children Play | Pasi Sahlberg and William Doyle

Play is how children explore, discover, fail, succeed, socialise, and flourish. It is a fundamental element of the human condition. Sahlberg and Doyle make the case for helping schools and children thrive by unleashing the power of play and giving more physical and intellectual play to all schoolchildren.

10. Free to Learn | Peter Gray

A brave, counterintuitive proposal for freeing our children from the shackles of the curiosity-killing institution we call ‘school’, Gray suggests that it's time to stop asking what's wrong with our children and start asking what's wrong with the system. Gray shows how we can act to improve children's lives and to promote their happiness and learning.

11. What Works May Hurt | Yong Zhao

Medical products are required to disclose both their intended outcomes and known side effects. Educational practice carries no such labels. Thus, the public are not told, for example, that ‘this program helps improve your students’ reading scores, but it may make them hate reading forever’. Zhao shines a light on the side effects of education, bringing a fresh and surprising perspective.

12. The Art of Growing Up | John Marsden

Marsden pulls together all he has learned from over 40years' experience working with and writing for young people and shares insights into everything from the role of schools and the importance of education, to the conundrum of what it means to grow up and be 'happy' in the 21st century. [Language warning.]

13. 9 Things | Maggie Dent

This common-sense guide to parenting children under eight reminds us that a child’s development cannot be rushed, or crudely measured against milestones. It takes an entire childhood to grow and there is no perfect when it comes to parenting.

14. Unconditional Parenting | Alfie Kohn

Kohn addresses the ways parents think about, feel about, and act with their children. He invites them to question their most basic assumptions about raising kids while offering a wealth of practical strategies. This is an eye-opening, paradigm-shattering book that will reconnect readers to their own best instincts and inspire them to become better parents.

15. Parenting Without Power Struggles | Susan Stiffelman

While most parenting programs are designed to coerce kids to change, Parenting Without Power Struggles shows you how to come alongside your children to awaken their natural instincts to cooperate, rather than at them with threats or bribes, which inevitably fuels their resistance.

16. The Yes Brain | Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

When facing contentious issues such as screen time, food choices and bedtime, children often act out or shut down. This is a No Brain response. When kids work from a Yes Brain, they’re more willing to take chances and explore. They’re better at relationships and handling adversity. The Yes Brain is an essential tool for keeping your child’s inner spark glowing and growing strong.

17. The Self-Driven Child | William Stixrud and Ned Johnson

The best antidote to stress is to give kids more of a sense of control over their lives. But this doesn't mean giving up your authority as a parent. Stixrud and Johnson reveal how you can actively help your child to sculpt a brain that is resilient, and ready to take on new challenges.

18. The Gift of Failure | Jessica Lahey

Modern parenting is defined by an unprecedented level of overprotectiveness: parents who rush to school at the whim of a phone call to deliver forgotten assignments, who challenge teachers on report card disappointments, mastermind children’s friendships, and interfere on the playing field. Lahey explains these parents aren’t giving their children the opportunity to learn to solve their own problems.

19. How to Raise an Adult | Julie Lythcott-Haims

Lythcott-Haims highlights the ways overparenting harms children, their stressed-out parents, and society at large. While empathising with parental hopes and, especially, fears that lead to overhelping, Lythcott-Haims offers practical alternative strategies that underline the importance of allowing children to develop resilience, resourcefulness, and inner determination.

20. The Coddling of the American Mind | Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt

What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker; always trust your feelings; life is a battle between good people and evil people. These three Great Untruths contradict basic psychological principles about well-being. Embracing these untruths interferes with young people’s social, emotional, and intellectual development. Additionally, Lukianoff and Haidt explore the new world of social media.

20+. The 5 Love Languages of Children | Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell

You love your child, but does your child feel loved? Every child has a unique way of feeling loved. The #1 New York Times bestselling The 5 Love Languages® has helped millions of couples learn the secret to building a love that lasts. Now discover how to speak your child’s love language in a way that he or she understands. Dr Gary Chapman and Dr Ross Campbell help you discover your child’s love language, assist your child in successful learning, use the love languages to correct and discipline more effectively and build a foundation of unconditional love for your child.

Jane Mueller, Principal