Joan Cassel Memorial Library Book Reviews!

by | Sep 13, 2017 | Uncategorized

News and Reviews from the Joan Cassel Memorial Library, by Elaine Butler, Librarian

For more information about our library, check out our Library Page, call us at 415-920-5040, email [email protected], or stop by during our open hours!  
MWF 9:30am – 4:30pm, T/TH 12:30pm – 8:30pm


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A Shelter in Our Car, by Monica Gunning
This is a picture book based on a social issue found in San Francisco and most major cities in the world, homelessness. More than ever today, families find themselves without a home. This mom and daughter find themselves living in their car after the father dies. The family is also an immigrant family. I think this richly illustrated story lends itself to be read aloud to any child or group of children old enough to be aware of this social issue. It lends itself to discussion. The self-reading level is second grade and up.

The Simple Guide to Child Trauma: What It Is and How to Help, by Betsy de Thierry
Here is a purse sized book that defines trauma and gives techniques on how to help children cope with and recover from trauma. Problems of self-regulation is one of the signs as are lying, terror and fear. I found that this little resource just gets you thinking about the signs that may represent trauma and possible treatment and how to find help. It is a quick read and the facts are easy to remember.

I Wish….Dreams and Realities of Parenting a Special Needs Child, by Kate Divine McAnaney
I was so happy to receive this book for the library. It is a classic and especially good for the busy parent, who has 5 minutes to read before he/she is needed. The book is tiny and can be carried in a small purse. If offers inspiration and wisdom in one page bites. Each piece begins with “I wish….” And ends with a helpful tip and an appropriate quote to carry with you for the rest of the day. The second part of the book is looking back and the pieces are written by adults with disabilities. These words of encouragement are good for everyone.

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Going Solo While Raising Children with Disabilities,  Laura Marshak
It has taken a long time for someone to write a book like this for families and the professionals who work with them. It is based on her own and the experiences of 31 people raising children with disabilities alone. She has picked very diverse family situations. They include people losing a spouse, those divorced, grandparents, moms conceiving without a partner, spouses deployed for long periods in the military, fathers alone and adoptions of children with special needs. The author is a familiar writer, thoughtful, a researcher and very easy to read and understand. You will feel you know these 31 people and their families. Each story has an added genius moments and areas to go for support. The words from the parents are in italics. I like the comprehensive Table of Contents, The Conclusion, the References and the Subject Index. It is easy to read the chapter that seems to match the readers’ circumstances or concerns. Note this is equally good for the professional involved with the family.

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The Encyclopedia of Infant and Toddler Activities For Children Birth to Three: Written by Teachers for Teachers, by Kathy Charner, Maureen Murphy and Charlie Clark, Editors
First of all, the book, though organized as a curriculum, is not limited to teachers and other professionals. Each activity stands on its own and is listed by developmental age and the  skill addressed. Parents might want to work on Fine and Gross Motor Skills for an infant. They would find this information in the Table of Contents. The skills are listed by the following ages Infants, Infants and Toddlers, Younger Toddlers and Older Toddlers. Listed under each skill is the activity and the page number with the instructions. Once you locate an activity to try, you will find a materials list, instructions for doing the activity and further activities or more information. A helpful Index is included at the end. The print is easy to read and illustrated when needed. I found it very user friendly so parents and professionals give it a try.

S.E.T. Social Emotional Tools for Life: An Early Childhood Teacher’s Guide to Supporting Strong Emotional Foundations and Successful Social Relationships, by Michelle Forrester and Kay Albrecht
Early childhood development and intervention are addressed here. I would recommend this book to the professionals working with the children. Today’s world often necessitates the young child spending more time with professionals than he does with his parents. The authors are giving guidance for the development of listening skills, self-regulation, language and communication and relating to others behaviors. It is very helpful in understanding social development, the importance of play, child development, language and how to use the classroom as a supportive environment. The Table of Contents is very comprehensive and the Appendices add important additional material.  Though they say it is written for parents too, I think the format and language level puts the book on a professional level as there is much assumed education and experience in the classroom.