Don’t buy my book…

This blog post is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. This post suggests a must read book for your festive stocking. For more info about my book Homemade Kids, with lots of ideas about parenting, click here.

If you only buy one book this festive season, then make it Sandra Steingraber’s Raising Elijah. It’s a clever, informative book that helps make sense of the way we help our children grow up.

In it find out how copper chromium arsenic (CCA) isn’t the best choice for preserving outdoor play equipment; or learn how a scientist can still make the obvious mistake of not quite secondguessing what’s under the floor during house renovations.

If you are a questioning person about science and child rearing then Raising Elijah will give you a huge amount of pleasure, information, ideas, solutions (and worry). The world and us mums and dads are lucky to have Steingraber working on our side rather than, say, the fossil fuel industry…

Reading for fun
When my girls have gone to bed then I read a lot of novelsMr Pip and One Day remain favourites, but I’m currently laughing over Submarine writer Joe Dunthorne’s fabulous Wild Abandon (life in a Welsh commune which features homeschooled kids), alternating it with Jane Eyre.  So, if you’re not tempted by my Homemade Kids, then please consider reading my enovel Coconut Wireless – a story of life, love and gossip in the Solomon Islands town of Honiara.

Pete and I have run two book stalls over the past two weekends and it’s been ego-shocking – between us we sold four books, for less than they cost to buy. And the stalls cost a bit too, definitely not an option to be tried again (hence the begging above for you to buy Coconut Wireless)! Still, at least it made it clear why it is so hard to get new publishing projects going.

I was recently sent a book to review too – also all about kids. It’s a A Place to Play by Natasha Mile (Vanguard Press, £7.99). This morality tale dressed up as a crime story sees three teenagers work out how to save childhood. Action takes place in the late 21st century, mostly in a chillier Newcastle. England is an altered world – so urban that it’s turned into four main city federations seemingly at loggerheads. Borders are closed (the best mini break you can hope for is on the sky train to Wales) and all schools permanently shut down. Only the elite’s children get fabulous homeschooling so they are ready to step into their parents’ roles. The futuristic setting stamped on to a UK that readers know is a lot of fun – lots of clever weaving of old time Northerners in football strip or micro tops, whatever the weather, (ie, us lot now) allows author Natasha Miles to make her teen heroes seem naieve.  Nevertheless they manage to stumble on to two good secrets, work out a connection and set about restoring order. A book to enjoy if you are worried about the restrictions children now seem to face – lots of car travel, long study hours and a growing tendancy to lock themselves into Facebook friendships. GET IT With the questions A Place to Play throws up about the value of childhood plus corrupting power, climate change and genetics, it would certainly work well as a book club choice. And it’s guaranteed to make you want a cup of steaming hot chocolate the way Martha likes it best – with a bar of chocolate on the side.

Over to you
What’s your favourite book? For you, or for the kids…

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2 Comments on “Don’t buy my book…”

  1. Tim Sander Says:

    Thanks Nicola. Nice prose – hot chocolate drinkers unite! Very very few make money on books. I learnt that from my dad who wrote academic books way back when. However, its as much to do with the ‘self’ – so long as you make ends meet.

    • homemadekids Says:

      Thanks for words of encouragement Tim. Ebooks can satisfy the writing gene, but it’s hard being forced to have to have another career as well. Maybe my girls will learn, like you did, from their dad and mum’s experience… Nicola

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