• Crossroads

Recommended Reading

This page is intended to provide recommended reading resources for parents. The titles included in the following reading lists have been carefully selected by the School's division directors.

List of 4 items.

  • Parenting: Grades K-12

    Bronson, Po. Nurture Shock: New Thinking about Children, 2011.
    Modern society's most popular strategies for raising children are backfiring because key points in the science of child development and behavior have been overlooked. Two errant assumptions are responsible for current distorted child-rearing habits, dysfunctional school programs and wrongheaded social policies: 1) things work in children the same way they work in adults, 2) positive traits necessarily oppose and ward off negative behavior. These myths, and others, are addressed in 10 chapters that cover such issues as the inverse power of praise (effort counts more than results); why insufficient sleep adversely affects kids' capacity to learn; why white parents don't talk about race; why kids lie; that evaluation methods for giftedness and accompanying programs don't work; why siblings really fight (to get closer).

    Brown, Brene. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead, 2012.
    Brown argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. She encourages us to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly and courageously. Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly. Whether the arena is a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation, we must find the courage to walk into vulnerability and engage with our whole hearts.

    Edelman, Marian Wright. The Measure of Our Success, 1993.
    Edelman passes on the values of hard work, service, responsibility, and faith that her parents not only preached, but also lived. Edelman grew up in the segregated South and was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi bar. Her 25 lessons for life eloquently distill the essence of her rich heritage. In the introduction, her son Jonah examines the value and pressure of being raised by an African American mother and a Jewish father. Intended for her sons as they approach adulthood, the book is uniquely applicable to all races and creeds. The book has several uses: for personal searching for answers, guidance, or reassurance; for curriculum on child-care.

    Evans, Robert. Family Matters: How Schools Can Help With the Crisis in Childrearing, 2004.
    Evans makes a forthright, powerful case for renewed and respectful school-family collaboration on behalf of children. At the policy level, we must rethink our notions of accountability, accepting the reality that schools cannot overcome all the forces that affect children’s lives and learning. At the schoolhouse, educators can improve their impact by clarifying and asserting purpose (core values) and conduct (norms for behavior), and by becoming more appropriately parental vis-a-vis students and parents. Evans outlines concrete ways to implement these measures, and closes with a reflection on ways to sustain hope and commitment in the face of unprecedented challenge.

    Guthrie, Elizabeth. The Trouble With Perfect: How Parents Can Avoid the Over-Achievement Trap and Still Raise Successful Children, 2002.
    Guthrie explores our confounding culture of overachievement and takes a sympathetic look at the pervasive guilt that accompanies raising children today. She outlines why the very intentions behind competitive parenting actually produce the opposite of the desired effect, and presents evidence that placing unreasonable expectations on children can actually deter their chances for success later in life. Such pressure can snuff out crucial qualities such as curiosity, spontaneity, and resourcefulness. When children are pushed, the message parents send to them on a daily basis is that they are not capable of making responsible choices by themselves, that appearances are more important than authenticity, that it is less important for them to own their experiences than to hold a significant title. Helping parents discover the fine line between good parenting and pressure parenting, Dr. Guthrie also cites clear ways to address the guilt and societal issues that define the average child as "less-than-perfect." Includes tips for enhancing the development of every child’s unique set of talents.

    Kindlon, Dan and Michael Thompson. Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, 2000.
    Kindlon and Thompson, two of the country's leading child psychologists, share what they have learned in more than 35 years of combined experience working with boys and their families. They reveal a nation of boys who are hurting--sad, afraid, angry, and silent. They illuminate the forces that threaten our boys, teaching them to believe that "cool" equals macho strength and stoicism. They make a compelling case that emotional literacy is the most valuable gift we can offer our sons, urging parents to recognize the price boys pay when we hold them to an impossible standard of manhood. They identify the social and emotional challenges that boys encounter in school and show how parents can help boys cultivate emotional awareness and empathy – giving them the vital connections and support they need to navigate the social pressures of youth.

    Levine, Madeline. Teach Your Children Well: Why Values and Coping Skills Matter More Than Grades, Trophies, or "Fat Envelopes", 2013.
    Levine brings together research and 30 years of clinical experience to explode the myth that good grades, high test scores, and college acceptances should define the parenting endgame. Confronting the real issues behind why we push some of our kids to the breaking point while dismissing the talents and interests of many others, Levine shows us how to shift our focus from the excesses of hyperparenting and the unhealthy reliance on our children for status and meaning to a parenting style that concentrates on both enabling academic success and developing a sense of purpose, well-being, and connection in our children's lives.

    Levine, Madeline. The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids, 2008.
    In recent years, numerous studies have shown that bright, charming, seemingly confident and socially skilled teenagers from affluent, loving families are experiencing epidemic rates of depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders rates higher than in any other socioeconomic group of American adolescents. Materialism, pressure to achieve, perfectionism, and disconnection are combining to create a perfect storm that is devastating children of privilege and their parents alike. Levine identifies toxic cultural influences and well-intentioned, but misguided, parenting practices that are detrimental to a child's healthy self-development. Her thoughtful, practical advice provides solutions that will enable parents to help their emotionally troubled "star" child cultivate an authentic sense of self.

    Louv, Richard. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, 2008.
    Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation-he calls it nature deficit-to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder, and depression. Last Child in the Woods brings together research showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development-physical, emotional, and spiritual, and that it is a potent therapy for depression, obesity, and ADD. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature.

    Mogel, Wendy. The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children, 2008.
    Frustrated with a therapeutic practice that "shifted too frequently to be an anchor" for parents struggling with issues like overindulgence and overscheduling, clinical psychologist Mogel turned to her religious heritage for ways to help her clients and her own family find grace and security in an increasingly complex world. Digging into the rich traditions of the Torah, the Talmud and other Jewish teachings, Mogel builds a parenting blueprint that draws on core spiritual values relevant to families of all faiths. With warmth and humor, she offers strategies for encouraging respect and gratitude in children, and cautions against overprotection and the pressure of "Lake Wobegon parenting" (a reference to Garrison Keillor's fictional town where "all the children are above average").

    Mogel, Wendy. The Blessing of a B Minus: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Resilient Teenagers, 2011.
    Mogel concentrates on the hidden blessings of raising teenagers in this engaging follow-up to her book The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. Intermingling wisdom and guidelines from Judaism and adolescent psychology, Mogel compares the teen years to the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. As kids wander in the "desert" of adolescence, she advises parents to offer counsel and guidance, demonstrate empathy without entanglement, and resist the urge to intervene or rescue. Mogel examines the blessings of a B minus, staying up late, hangovers, breaking the rules, and a variety of other teen topics, urging parents not just to look on the bright side, but to help kids benefit from the learning opportunities inherent in difficult situations.

    Roffman, Deborah. Sex and Sensibility: The Thinking Parent’s Guide to Talking Sense about Sex, 2001.
    With a rare directness and clarity about sex and reproduction, sexual values, and cultural influences on sexuality, Roffman challenges and teaches readers how to develop a blueprint for opening the lines of communication with children of all ages. The book introduces the five core parenting skills that parents need to confidently interpret and comfortably respond to virtually any question a child might pose or any situation that arises. Roffman addresses definitions of sex and discusses age appropriateness and values, "doing" vs. "being," gender, and family/school partnerships, relating them to young people's needs for affirmation, information, values, limits, and guidance.

    Thompson, Michael. The Pressured Child: Freeing Our Kids from Performance Overdrive and Helping Them Find Success in School and Life, 2004.
    Thompson offers advice to parents and educators on how to help children cope with the ever-increasing pressures of school and life. Based on interviews with children, parents, and teachers and shadowing students at school, the authors present a portrait of children facing the usual pressures of growing up with the added pressures of a fast-paced modern American culture. The authors lament that so much emphasis is placed on academic performance that parents and educators too often ignore the psychological aspects. On the surface, students present the usual preoccupations with friends and grades. But, there is a lot going on beneath the surface as students scratch good-bye messages into the locker of a boy who was killed in a car accident and students express cynicism about whether their teachers really care about them. In this absorbing look at modern childhood, the authors advise parents to get beyond their romantic and selective memories of school years to understand the pressures facing their children.
  • Parenting: Grades 6-12

    Faber, Adele and Elaine Mazlish. How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk, 2006.
    The ultimate “parenting bible” (The Boston Globe) with a new foreword on how to effectively communicate with your child. The bestselling classic tackles the tough issues teens and parents face today including how to: cope with your child's negative feelings, such as frustration, anger, and disappointment; express your strong feelings without being hurtful; engage your child's willing cooperation; set firm limits and maintain goodwill; use alternatives to punishment that promote self-discipline; understand the difference between helpful and unhelpful praise; and resolve family conflicts peacefully.

    Pipher, Mary. Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, 2005.
    Pipher proposes that today's teenaged girls are coming of age in "a girl-poisoning culture." Backed by anecdotal evidence and research findings, she suggests that, despite the advances of feminism, young women continue to be victims of abuse, self-mutilation (e.g., anorexia), consumerism, and media pressure to conform to others' ideals. With sympathy and focus she cites case histories to illustrate the struggles required of adolescent girls to maintain a sense of themselves among the mixed messages they receive from society, their schools and, often, their families. Pipher offers concrete suggestions for ways by which girls can build and maintain a strong sense of self, e.g., keeping a diary, observing their social context as an anthropologist might, distinguishing between thoughts and feelings.
    Wiseman, Rosalind.  Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and Other Realities of Adolescence, 2009.
    In this revised and updated version of her groundbreaking book for a new generation of girls, Wiseman explores: How girls’ experiences before adolescence impact their teen years, future relationships, and overall success; The different roles girls play in and outside of cliques as Queen Bees, Targets, and Bystanders, and how this defines how they and others are treated; Girls’ power plays–from fake apologies to fights over IM and text messages; Where boys fit into the equation of girl conflicts and how you can help your daughter better hold her own with the opposite sex; and Checking your baggage – recognizing how your experiences impact the way you parent, and how to be sanely involved in your daughter’s difficult, yet common social conflicts. Packed with insights about technology’s impact on Girl World and enlivened with the experiences of girls, boys, and parents, the book that inspired the hit movie Mean Girls offers concrete strategies to help you empower your daughter to be socially competent and treat herself with dignity.
    Wiseman, Rosalind. Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker Room Tests, Girlfriends, and New Rules of the Boy World, 2013.
    Boy World is governed by social hierarchies and a powerful set of unwritten rules that have huge implications for your boy’s relationships, his interactions with you, and the man he’ll become. If you want what’s best for him, you need to know what these rules are and how to work with them effectively. Collaborating with a large team of middle- and high-school-age editors Wiseman has created an unprecedented guide to the life your boy is actually experiencing – his on-the-ground reality.  Wiseman challenges you to examine your assumptions and offers innovative coping strategies aimed at helping your boy develop a positive, authentic, and strong sense of self.

    Riera, Michael.  Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers, 3rd edition, 2012.
    Since its initial publication in 1995, Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers has ushered countless families through the trying years of adolescence. In this fully revised and updated edition, Riera tackles some of the newest issues facing parents and teens, and gives a second look to the old standbys—alcohol and drugs, academics, sex and dating, sports and extracurriculars, eating disorders, making friends, single parenting, divorce, and more. Riera channels his unpatronizing approach and two decades of experience working with teens into this optimistic and indispensable book.

    Wolf, Anthony.  Get Out of my Life, but First Can You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall: A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager, 2002.
    When Anthony E. Wolf's witty and compassionate guide to raising adolescents was first published, its amusing title and fresh approach won it widespread admiration. Beleaguered parents breathed sighs of relief and gratitude. Now Dr. Wolf has revised and updated his bestseller to tackle the changes of the past decade. He points out that while the basic issues of adolescence and the relationships between parents and their children remain much the same, today's teenagers navigate a faster, less clearly anchored world. Wolf's revisions include a new chapter on the Internet, a significantly modified section on drugs and drinking, and an added piece on gay teenagers. Although the rocky and ever-changing terrain of contemporary adolescence may bewilder parents, Get Out of My Life gives them a great road map.
  • Learning/Emotional Issues

    Barkley, Russell A. Taking Charge of ADHD, 3rd edition, 2013.
    From distinguished researcher/clinician Russell A. Barkley, this treasured parent resource gives you the science-based information you need about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and its treatment. It also presents a proven eight-step behavior management plan specifically designed for 6- to 18-year-olds with ADHD. Offering encouragement, guidance, and loads of practical tips, Dr. Barkley helps you: 1) Make sense of your child's symptoms, 2) Get an accurate diagnosis, 3) Work with school and health care professionals to get needed support, 4) Learn parenting techniques that promote better behavior, 5) Strengthen your child's academic and social skills, 6) Use rewards and incentives effectively, 7) Restore harmony at home.  Updated throughout with current research and resources, the third edition includes the latest facts about medications and about what causes (and doesn't cause) ADHD.
    Dawson, Peg and Richard Guare. Smart but Scattered, 2009.
    If you're the parent of a "smart but scattered" teen, trying to help him or her grow into a self-sufficient, responsible adult may feel like a never-ending battle. Now you have an alternative to micromanaging, cajoling, or ineffective punishments. This positive guide provides a science-based program for promoting teens' independence by building their executive skills--the fundamental brain-based abilities needed to get organized, stay focused, and control impulses and emotions. Executive skills experts Drs. Richard Guare and Peg Dawson are joined by Colin Guare, a young adult who has successfully faced these issues himself. Learn step-by-step strategies to help your teen live up to his or her potential now and in the future--while making your relationship stronger.
    Greene, Ross W. The Explosive Child, 2010.
    What′s an explosive child? A child who responds to routine problems with extreme frustration-crying, screaming, swearing, kicking, hitting, biting, spitting, destroying property, and worse. Dr. Ross Greene, a distinguished clinician and pioneer in the treatment of kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, has worked with thousands of explosive children, and he has good news: these kids aren′t attention-seeking, manipulative, or unmotivated, and their parents aren′t passive, permissive pushovers. Rather, explosive kids are lacking some crucial skills in the domains of flexibility/adaptability, frustration tolerance, and problem solving, and they require a different approach to parenting. Throughout this compassionate, insightful, and practical book, Dr. Greene provides a new conceptual framework for understanding their difficulties, based on research in the neurosciences.
    Hallowell, Edward, and John J. Ratey.  Driven to Distraction, 2011.
    Groundbreaking and comprehensive, Driven to Distraction has been a lifeline to the approximately 18 million Americans who are thought to have ADHD. Now the bestselling book is revised and updated with current medical information for a new generation searching for answers. Through vivid stories and case histories of patients—both adults and children—Hallowell and Ratey explore the varied forms ADHD takes, from hyperactivity to daydreaming. They dispel common myths, offer helpful coping tools, and give a thorough accounting of all treatment options as well as tips for dealing with a diagnosed child, partner, or family member. But most importantly, they focus on the positives that can come with this “disorder”—including high energy, intuitiveness, creativity, and enthusiasm.
    Healy, Jane. Different Learners: Identifying, Preventing, and Treating Your Child’s Problems, 2011.
    The terminology of learning disorders is confusing: dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADD, ADHD, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, NVLD, executive function disorder—what are all these conditions, how do they differ from one another and, most important, what practical steps should parents and teachers take to remedy the situation? This comprehensive, practical guide to children’s learning problems should be the first resource parents and teachers reach for when a child shows signs of difficulty in academic, social, or behavioral learning. Drawing on her decades of experience, educator Jane Healy offers understandable explanations of the various types of learning disorders. She distills the latest scientific research on brains, genes, and learning as she explains how to identify problems—even before they are diagnosed—and how to take appropriate remedial action at home, at school, and in the community.
    Shaywitz, Sally. Overcoming Dyslexia, 2005.
    One in five American children has trouble reading. But they are not stupid or lazy. In Overcoming Dyslexia, Dr. Sally Shaywitz, codirector of the Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention and a leader in the new research into how the brain works, offers the latest information about reading problems and proven, practical techniques that, along with hard work and the right help, can enable anyone to overcome them. Here are the tools that parents and teachers need to help the dyslexic child, age by age, grade by grade, step by step, with clear, practical, science-based information and advice for successful results.

    Turecki, Stanley. The Difficult Child, 2000.
    How to help--and cope with--the difficult child. Expanded and completely revised, the classic and definitive work on parenting hard-to-raise children with new sections on ADHD and the latest medications for childhood disorders. Temperamentally difficult children can confuse and upset even experienced parents and teachers. They often act defiant, stubborn, loud, aggressive, or hyperactive. They can also be clingy, shy, whiny, picky, and impossible at bedtime, mealtimes, and in public places. This landmark book has been completely revised to include the latest information on ADHD, medications, and a reassuring approach  to all aspects of childhood behavioral disorders. Dr. Stanley Turecki, one of the nation's most respected experts on children and discipline--and himself the father of a once difficult child--offers compassionate and practical advice to parents of hard-to-raise children.
  • Education

    Colvin, Geoff.  Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, 2010.
    Asked to explain why a few people truly excel, most people offer one of two answers. The first is hard work. The other possibility is that the elite possess an innate talent for excelling in their field. The trouble is, scientific evidence doesn't support the notion that specific natural talents make great performers. According to distinguished journalist Geoff Colvin, both the hard work and natural talent camps are wrong. What really makes the difference is a highly specific kind of effort-"deliberate practice"-that few of us pursue when we're practicing golf or piano or stockpicking. Based on scientific research, Talent is Overrated shares the secrets of extraordinary performance and shows how to apply these principles. It features the stories of people who achieved world-class greatness through deliberate practice-including Benjamin Franklin, comedian Chris Rock, football star Jerry Rice, and top CEOs Jeffrey Immelt and Steven Ballmer.

    Dweck, Carol. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, 2007.
    World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, in decades of research on achievement and success, has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea–the power of our mindset. Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success–but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals–personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.

    Kohn, Alfie.  The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing, 2007.
    So why do we continue to administer this modern cod liver oil-or even demand a larger dose? Kohn’s incisive analysis reveals how a set of misconceptions about learning and a misguided focus on competitiveness has left our kids with less free time, and our families with more conflict. Pointing to stories of parents who have fought back-and schools that have proved educational excellence is possible without homework-Kohn demonstrates how we can rethink what happens during and after school in order to rescue our families and our children’s love of learning.

    Medina, John. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, 2009.
    How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? Why is it so easy to forget - and so important to repeat new information? Is it true that men and women have different brains? In Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work. In each chapter, he describes a brain rule - what scientists know for sure about how our brains work - and then offers transformative ideas for our daily lives. Medina's fascinating stories and sense of humor breathe life into brain science.
    Owen, David. None of the Above: The Truth Behind the SATs, 1999.
    Each year high school students across the country, armed with No. 2 pencils and in various states of battle-readiness, face one of life's most gut-wrenching rites of passage: the SAT. Part devastating expos-, part savvy test guide, None of the Above demystifies the development of the SAT and offers practical strategies on how to beat the test. Fifteen years after its original publication, Owen's updated book is more relevant than ever for students, their parents, and those who believe in the importance of educational opportunity for all.

    Pink, Daniel. A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future, 2006.
    The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: artists, inventors, storytellers-creative and holistic "right-brain" thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn't. Drawing on research from around the world, Pink outlines the six fundamentally human abilities that are absolute essentials for professional success and personal fulfillment--and reveals how to master them. A Whole New Mind takes readers to a daring new place, and a provocative and necessary new way of thinking about a future that's already here.

    Robinson, Sir Ken.  Out of our Minds: Learning to Be Creative, 2011.
    There is a paradox. As children, most of us think we are highly creative; as adults many of us think we are not. What changes as children grow up? In this extensively revised and updated version of his bestselling classic, Out of Our Minds, Ken Robinson offers a groundbreaking approach to understanding creativity in education and in business. He argues that people and organizations everywhere are dealing with problems that originate in schools and universities and that many people leave education with no idea at all of their real creative abilities. Out of Our Minds is a passionate and powerful call for radically different approaches to leadership, teaching and professional development to help us all to meet the extraordinary challenges of living and working in the 21st century. 
Middle and Upper School: 21st Street Campus | 1714 21st St., Santa Monica, CA 90404 | Phone: (310) 829-7391
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Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences provides a unique K-12 program built on a progressive, developmental model of education.