All Posts Tagged With: "children"

Change of Heart, Jodi Picoult


Synopsis of CHANGE OF HEART from Jodi’s website:
When Charlotte and Sean O’Keefe’s daughter, Willow, is born with severe osteogenesis imperfecta, they are devastated – she will suffer hundreds of broken bones as she grows, a lifetime of pain. As the family struggles to make ends meet to cover Willow’s medical expenses, Charlotte thinks she has found an answer. If she files a wrongful birth lawsuit against her ob/gyn for not telling her in advance that her child would be born severely disabled, the monetary payouts might ensure a lifetime of care for Willow. But it means that Charlotte has to get up in a court of law and say in public that she would have terminated the pregnancy if she’d known about the disability in advance – words that her husband can’t abide, that Willow will hear, and that Charlotte cannot reconcile. And the ob/gyn she’s suing isn’t just her physician – it’s her best friend.

HANDLE WITH CARE explores the knotty tangle of medical ethics and personal morality. When faced with the reality of a fetus who will be disabled, at which point should an OB counsel termination? Should a parent have the right to make that choice? How disabled is TOO disabled? And as a parent, how far would you go to take care of someone you love? Would you alienate the rest of your family? Would you be willing to lie to your friends, to your spouse, to a court? And perhaps most difficult of all – would you admit to yourself that you might not actually be lying?

Part of a Conversation with Jodi Picoult from Jodi’s website:

The characters in your books are always layered and complex, as are the issues that plague them. How do you create a character like Charlotte that readers can love and hate at the same time?
Well, for me, it’s a lot harder to create a flat character who’s either all villain or all hero. Most of us are a combination, aren’t we? Charlotte’s the best kind of character – one who is doing something that looks unpalatable, but for all the right reasons. In this way she reminds me a bit of Nina Frost from PERFECT MATCH. You want to hate her – but can you really say that if it were you, you wouldn’t at least think about doing the same thing she does? Charlotte’s tragic flaw, in my opinion, is that she is so single-minded in her pursuit of making Willow’s life easier that she neglects the rest of her support system – her friends, and her family.

How did you choose the recipes that appear throughout the book? Do you believe in the significance they hold for Charlotte? Are you a baker yourself?Jodi
Before I got married, I was lucky enough to have a roommate who became one of my best friends. Now, Katie works at the Smithsonian organizing special events – but prior to that, she went to culinary school. When I knew that I wanted Charlotte to be a baker, I turned to her and asked for help. Charlotte, as a baker, would believe that the sum of the ingredients is so much more than its parts – this is true for her when it comes to Willow, too, who is so much more than a litany of moments where she broke a bone or had a surgery or was sidelined to recuperate. I do bake (too much, if you ask my husband, who is constantly cursing me for a pan of brownies cooling on the stove that he is compelled to eat) – and often I have been struck by the metaphorical language of baking. I wanted Charlotte’s cookbook to be a collection of these terms, with accompanying recipes. So one day I emailed Katie a list – words like weeping, hardball, blind baking – and asked her to create recipes that might involve each term. I have to admit, that rarely is my fact checking process so delicious…I got to bake, and road test, every recipe in the book.

During the course of the trial, Amelia develops an eating disorder and starts cutting herself. Did you see this as the natural progression for her character? Were these types of behavior in siblings of disabled children something you found to be common while conducting your research?
While doing research with a child psychiatrist about adolescent bulimics I learned that cutting is very common for those girls. Apparently, bulimia involves a lot of self-hatred…and cutting figures into that. Siblings of disabled children aren’t always like Amelia, thank goodness – I’d hope that their families do a better job of including them than the O’Keefes do. For Amelia, having a sibling with a disability is compounded by the fact that she feels she’s failed her sister (in Disneyworld, for example) and that there are very high stakes in that household for being a child who isn’t perfect (which would be Amelia’s interpretation of her mother’s lawsuit).

You’ve said before that you know how a book will end before you write the first word. Was this also true for Handle with Care? Do you ever change your mind about an ending as you get deeper into the story?
I do know the ending before I write a single word, and I did here too. I will tell you that I think Handle With Care is the saddest book I’ve written – and coming from me, that’s pretty dire! I never wavered on the ending, however, because there’s a bit of a morality lesson in there as well – it’s a real “Be careful what you wish for” moment.

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Out of the Mouths of Babes~Parenting from a Child’s Perspective, Dyan Eybergen RN (Author Showcase)



Out of the Mouths of Babes
Parenting from a Child’s Perspective

Out of the Mouths of Babes offers a unique parenting approach tailored to working with the personalities of individual children, ultimately educating parents on how to observe and appreciate every experience through the eyes of their child. Eybergen’s book highlights eight main areas:

  • Bedtime and Sleeping through the Night

  • Toilet Training

  • Fears

  • Eating

  • Sibling Rivalry and Conflict Resolution

  • Sexuality

  • Discipline

  • Self-esteem

Through each chapter, Eybergen uses her background as a nurse as well as a parent, and shares stories of her own misadventures and triumphs. Eybergen cleverly uses humorous quotations from children and situations of her own that parallel her children’s experiences to help parents develop an understanding from their child’s perspective. Once parents have this understanding, they are able to provide more effective parenting techniques for any behavioral challenge.

Out of the Mouths of Babes ~ Parenting from a Child’s Perspective (Chapter 7, Discipline) Excerpt:

On Christmas Eve day, when our two older children were six and four years of age, I ran upstairs to answer the door, leaving the two of them alone in the basement. It was my best friend, dropping off some gifts. About five minutes after letting her into the house, we heard the sound of breaking glass coming from downstairs. I quickly responded to the noise and found my two boys standing near the TV entertainment unit with golf clubs in their hands. A golf ball had gone through the glass of the cabinet, and it had shattered beneath their feet. Thinking they were in big trouble, they instantly began blaming each other for what had happened, and it was obvious that I was not going to get to the truth of the matter. Frazzled, I couldn’t think fast enough to do anything, except remove the boys from harm’s way and tell them I would need time to think about what I was going to do. They retreated to their rooms, indubitably shaking in their boots, and I continued to visit with my friend.

Chat with Dyan and Carrie

For many parents, following text book strategies for childrearing can often lead to frustration or feelings of failure. Bringing over a decade of experience handling behavioral problems in kids—as well as raising her own three boys—pediatric psychiatric nurse, Dyan Eybergen, provides the roadmap to parenting children according to their unique personality in her book, Out of the Mouths of Babes. Based on attachment theory, Eybergen shows parents how to trust their intuition and eliminate the one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, providing clarity and humor to the journey of parenting.

Carrie:  What inspired you to write Out of the Mouths of Babes?
I worked as a child and adolescent psychiatric nurse for more than eight years–there wasn’t a behavioral situation that I wasn’t trained to handle. When I began having my own children I thought I was more than adequately prepared for motherhood. I learned very quickly that all my education and clinical experience taught me nothing about being a mother and the emotional ties that bind. Children are unique and cannot be parented from a one-size-fits-all paradigm.

Carrie:  Tell us a bit about Out of the Mouths of Babes.
Out of the Mouths of Babes is a collection of stories and anecdotes based on the lives of my three boys and the experiences my husband and I have had raising them. It is a humorous and candid look at parenting from the child’s perspective.  I do not promise any quick fix solutions to any parenting dilemma; Out of the Mouths of Babes offers guidance to parents who may feel they have been undermined somehow by contemporary approaches and are wanting to relate to their children in a more instinctive way. It encourages parents to work within the context of relationship and parent their children in a way that compliments their individual child’s needs and personality.

Bittersweet: Confessions of a Twice-Married Man, by Philip Lee (Another FREE Book)

The winners of spotlighted Words To Mouth authors have been randomly chosen and I’m working on getting the announcement posted. Meanwhile, I found another freebie for you to tide you over:


You can download Bittersweet: Confessions of a Twice-Married Man by award-winning investigative journalist Philip Lee between 12:00 midnight September 19th and 12:00 midnight September 21st, 2008.

So, mark your calendar for your free copy of this author’s male perspective on love, parenting, and relationships.

The site provides an excerpt for you to whet your appetite (look over to the righthand column). 

I Brake for Meltdowns: How to Handle the Most Exasperating Behavior of Your 2-to 5-Year-Old, Michelle Nicholasen, (Barbara O’Neal, co-author) Audio Interview

**Scroll down and click on the gray arrow to listen to the interview

I was referred to Michelle Nicholasen from Erin of Manic Mommies. Initially, Erin had asked me to read and review I Brake for Meltdowns: How to Handle the Most Exasperating Behavior of Your 2–to 5–Year-Old and once I started reading, I realized the incredible resource the book is for parents of young children. So, I decided to ask Michelle to be a guest on the show ~ Lucky for you, she agreed.

I Brake for Meltdowns is like the What to Expect When You’re Expecting for the toddler years, because you can look up specific behavior and find strategies and suggestions for how to handle them–practical advice you can use right in those moments when your kids are driving you CRAZY.

Michelle’s 75–year old co-author, Barbara O’Neal, has had decades of experience tending to children as a Pre-school Executive Director ~ Barbara’s wisdom inspired Michelle to chronicle her countless parenting suggestions and they collaborated to write I Brake for Meltdowns—a reference guide for 2–5 year olds, organized by behavior rather than the “usual” developmental milestones.


We chat about:

  • *Different kids = different personalities = different parenting styles/strategies
  • *Developing a Boundary Hierarchy
  • *Kids with poop problems? “Glycolax to the rescue

The book also covers:

  • *Social graces (or lack thereof)
  •  *Sleep Issues
  • *Eating (or refusing to)
  • *Potty Training Woes

Jenifer Fox, M. Ed., author of Your Child’s Strengths

Carrie:  What is the premise of YOUR CHILD’S STRENGTHS?

Jenifer:  The premise of YOUR CHILD’S STRENGTHS is that when you focus on developing and utilizing children’s strengths rather than spending all your time trying to fix, or remediate weaknesses, they grow up to be happier, healthier and more productive citizens.  Additionally, the book is a call to action, claiming that the single biggest issue facing America’s future is the education of our young people. The time for change in our educational system is now, and every day more and people see that is the case. I believe the Strengths Movement will play a very important role in the new system that emerges. YOUR CHILD’S STRENGTHS provides parents, teachers and schools clear and practical direction to take in building upon children’s strengths.

Carrie:  How did you come about creating this program? Jenifer Fox

Jenifer:  I have spent twenty-five years as an educator and throughout that time, I have always been a champion for the underdog. This means that where others saw weaknesses in people, I sought out the strengths and was able to find them. When I arrived at Purnell School, the school was failing as a business and I was determined to make it successful, I built a program that turned away from trying to fix what was wrong and sought, instead, to build on the inherent strengths that were in place. This began to work, and because it worked so well, and the school began to thrive, I developed a program that would also work on the students. So, I started to develop it from the outside in. I began by creating a strengths program for the school culture and then wrote the actual four-year curriculum for all of the students to take.

Carrie:  What kind of student were you?

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    Carrie created Words-to-Mouth—a blog & companion Internet talk show introducing new book releases and their authors to a community interested in excellent writing that may not  necessarily top the New York Times Bestseller List—Yet! To learn more about Carrie, click here