New and popular titles at Juniata County Library

BOOK REPORT

With so many good books being released all the time, it can be hard to determine what to check out next. Every week, I offer a run-down of significant releases available here at the library.

Visit our online card catalog at juniata.sparkpa.org to search today or call (717) 436-6378 to have a helpful library staff member assist you.

“Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fea” by Kim Brooks

Show of hands: who as a child went out to play for hours with their friends with no parental supervision? Whether these memories of ours are revisionist or actual, it is fair to say that society today has become heated when discussing delinquency of a minor by their parent. It could be leaving a child alone in a car, letting them go down the street and play with a friend, or walking alone to the school bus stop. I’m not so sure behavior by parents in this regard has changed a whole lot; technology seems to have amplified any and all conversations and made them more dramatic than they actually are and need to be.

Kim Brooks made a quick trip into a store and was only gone for five minutes, leaving her 4-year-old son in his car seat inside the locked car, with the windows ajar. Yet those moments transformed her life in more ways than she could have imagined. The author skillfully interlinks her personal story with interviews of other mothers who have done similar things–e.g., letting their children play at a local park alone or going to get coffee while leaving a child in a car. She also provides a well-researched look at the American parenting system; she discovered that not only are Americans highly competitive in the parenting realm, they are extremely judgmental as well. More often than not, her experience brought her shame and made her question the extreme role that parents, particularly mothers, play in child-rearing. The intense scrutiny by others and the pervasive fear that surrounds American parenting are contributing to a generation of children lacking independence and autonomy. Brooks also shares insights into European methods of parenting, which are far more permissive for the children and more relaxed for the parents. This is a surprisingly moving account of what is a fairly common experience, delivering readers much food for thought on the multilayered issues of how much control parents should have over their children’s lives and how much input parents should offer other parents. “Fear is neither wrong nor right. It is what it is,” writes Brooks. “But in the end, it can’t give us the thing we most desire … control.” You can find this book in the New Adult Nonfiction section.

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Vince Giordano has been the director of the Juniata County Library since 2015.

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