I interviewed two very informed, thoughtful and articulate authors this weekend at the Texas Book Festival, but before I get to them let me say that I was very proud of my native state this weekend. And I don’t have a lot of cause to say that in my day-to-day. But the Texas Book Festival is a literary gem, thought provoking, and a damn good time.
On Sunday, while I was taking care of business, I cut Bubba loose with a bit of change in his pocket, found him and hour and a half later with his nose in a novel freshly signed by the author, sitting in the front row of the cook book tent waiting for a demo on “Cooking from the Heart of Italy.” Awesome.
Of course, there was tons of more traditional “kid” fare. There were probably as many children’s authors present as any other genre. A great activity tent. We saw the Biscuit Brothers and Sara Hickman rocking the kids’ music tent. Families, mark your calendars for 2010. Clay Smith puts on a hell of a festival.
The Authors I Met
The last thing I need is about eight more things to be really worried about when it comes to my kids’ health and nutrition. You might expect a book like “Dangerous or Safe” to fan the flames of parental angst, but Cara Natterson sets out to do the exact opposite. She has read the research with trained eyes, and reports back that there may be less to worry about than you think.
Overall, a conversation with Cara is a very reassuring thing. The only things that I could find that rattled her: cell phone radiation and contact sports. Helmets when talking on the phone may be in order. You’ll be able to check out our interview in just a couple of weeks.
Po Bronson “Nurtureshock: New Thinking About Children”
If you ever have a chance to hear Po Bronson and/or his co-author Ashley Merryman speak, get a sitter. Go. You will be challenged, informed, engaged and even entertained. The book takes 10 major social science findings that pertain to raising kids and presents each in an comprehensible and palatable form. Great storytelling. And plenty of actionable information. I can’t imagine anyone reading this book, or hearing these guys speak and not changing at least one thing about the way they parent.
Po and I had a great conversation about teaching kids about race, giving praise the right way, and consistent discipline on the steps of the State Capitol. That video will be up soon, as well.
In all, both of these books bring lots of useful information without veering over into “how-to” smarminess. These are both about interpreting the science in a way that parents can understand and utilize in the real world.
I’m adding both to Jeremy Adam Smith’s “Daddy Shift” and Tina Cassidy’s “Birth” on my Must Read Parenting Books list.
Keep an eye out for these videos.