Tuesday, September 20, 2016

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

All is not as it seems in the upscale town of Fairview, Connecticut. After being violently attacked at a party, Jenny Kramer, is given a drug cocktail to erase her memory. The hope is that this will allow Jenny, her father, Tom, and her mother, Charlotte, to go on about their lives. But Jenny is left reeling as she struggles with her inability to remember the facts surrounding the attack that left her physically and mentally injured. Jenny isn’t the only one suffering. Her father, Tom, has devoted his life to finding her attacker, but keeps coming up empty-handed. Her mother, Charlotte, is trying to pretend everything is perfect. When Jenny tries to commit suicide psychiatrist Dr. Alan Forrester, who treats Jenny and her family, enters the picture. But will Dr. Forrester help or hurt the situation? This psychological thriller seems to gain strength from the fracturing of Jenny’s family and community leading to a surprising conclusion.

Reviewed by Jennifer Harden
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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in our All-About-Me World by Michele Borba

Borba is a world famous educational psychologist and the author of twenty-two books that have been translated into 14 languages.  She appears regularly on the Today show, and has also been featured on The View, Dr. Oz, and the NBC Nightly News among other programs.  She is an expert on parenting, bullying, and character development.

Borba’s studies have proven one thing to be clear.  Children who are raised to value understanding and respecting other viewpoints and the feelings of others end up with what she calls the Empathy Advantage.  Empathy fosters kindness, prosocial behaviors, and moral courage, and is an antidote to bullying, aggression and prejudice.  As evidence of the advantages empathetic people have, she notes that the Harvard Business Review named it as one of the “essential ingredients for leadership success and excellent performance.”

Part 1 of this book shows the reader how to help children develop the first four fundamentals of empathy:  emotional literacy, moral identity, perspective taking, and moral imagination.
Part 2 is about helping children practice the habits of empathy through the use of self-regulation, practicing kindness, and collaborating with others.
Part 3 provides ways to help children live empathically through the use of moral courage and altruistic leadership abilities.

Borba’s approach can be summed up beautifully by this quote from Henry David Thoreau, which appears in the introduction:
Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?

It is a lesson sorely needed in the world today.

Reviewed by Kate Tesdell
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Monday, August 22, 2016

The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer

Beth Wakeford is a nervous, overprotective mother, recently divorced after her husband’s affair. She is beset by a constant fear of losing her precious 8 year-old daughter, Carmel. Carmel is a day-dreamy child who has nearly been lost before.  She is at an age where she wants to be more independent, so she takes advantage of a moment of separation in a crowded, foggy festival to snatch a moment to herself.  Beth’s worst fear is realized when Carmel cannot be found.  This story follows Beth trying to live her life without her beloved child who seemed to simply vanish, while Carmel tries to hang on to the life she knew with her loving mother while surviving the new life far from home with her captor.

Reviewed by Kim White
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