This week’s Book a Week was an important one for me.

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I read How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.  I actually started this book last year but only got through two chapters before I set it aside.  The introduction recommends reading it sloooowly so you have time to learn and integrate the principles, but I think I was reading it TOO slowly before. 


When it comes to parenting, I really want to THINK about why I do certain things and try to improve on the way I interact with my kids.  I’m sure I have a million bad communication habits that I don’t want to pass down to Henry and Claire.  And this book is not just a good book about communicating with children, it’s a great book about communicating with PEOPLE.  How to Talk So Kids Will Listen really challenges you to think about the offhand comments you make and how those remarks either build someone up or tear them down. I loved how this book is formatted, too – there’s a discussion of the technique, little cartoons showing you how to implement them with your kids (and this applies to kids of all ages, from toddlerhood to teenager), and then real-life stories from parents who tried the method on their children.


And the techniques actually work – and fast.  I love the idea of not peppering kids with questions.  I’ve noticed that when I ask Henry, “How was school? Did you play with Ben? Was your teacher nice? Did you go outside?” he shuts down. But if I just say, “Hello! I missed you!” he tends to start talking.  The book talks about how children – of all ages – have a private life and that’s okay.  Makes sense to me – I don’t want to tell everyone everything all the time, either.  There’s also something really belittling about forcing children to talk. 


The book has made me say “Mmm?” and “I see” a lot, lot more. It’s amazing what kids tell you when you shut up and stop asking!  Another big takeaway for me has been the recommendation to “describe problems” instead of directing orders. I do a lot of “I see a boy with no jacket on! I see snow outside the window! Brrr!” now.  You end up saying more words sometimes, but this technique really encourages cooperation.  I’ve also been doing a lot of, “Now that’s what I call being responsible!” v.  “I’m so proud of you for picking up your toys.”  Not only am I putting the focus back on him (v. me for being so proud) but he’s learning new vocabulary words!


The other day, Henry was throwing a tantrum because I wouldn’t buy him a new toy, so I excitingly whipped out a paper and a pen and made a list of all the toys he could think of that he wanted (there was a lot – hah!), and then I made a big show of folding the note up and putting in my purse, with the explanation that the next time I had money for a new toy, I would refer to his list.  The tears IMMEDIATELY went away – all he wanted was to be heard.  It didn’t matter that I didn’t buy him any new toys – he just wanted his wants to be acknowledge.  It was great!  I talked about another “Write it down” experience with Henry on this post.


My Review: 5 out of 5 stars. I think they should hand this book out at the maternity ward of hospitals.  I’m going to keep this book on hand and refer to it over and over again.


Everything Else in My Kindle…


Part of my Book a Week challenge is to rent more books from the library – but I’ve been lazy about that and keep buying them on my Kindle. It’s just so much easier to download a book than drive to the library!  But not cheaper…


Anyway – I thought it’d be fun to list everything in my Kindle.  The good, the bad, and the totally embarrassing.  I BOLDED the books that I thought were really good!


Operation Beautiful by Caitlin Boyle (yeah, that’s me – I bought the book, which is really picture-heavy, to see how it looks on Kindle – buy the hard copy; it’s no good in Kindle)

How to Exercise When You’re Expecting: For the 9 Months of Pregnancy and the 5 Months It Takes to Get Your Best Body Back by Lindsay Brin

NutureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers Schemes Lyn Mikel Brown

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

The Death Cure by James Dashner

The Kill Order by James Dashner

Room by Emma Donoghue

The Circle by Dave Eggers

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin

Something Blue by Emily Griffin

Love the One You’re With by Emily Griffin

Baby Proof by Emily Griffin

A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Unbroken: A World War II Story by Laura Hillenbrand

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout

Legend by Marie Lu

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

One Day by David Nicholls

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Four by Veronica Roth

All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting by Jennifer Senior

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Hobbit by JRR Rolkien

The Uglies by Scot Westerfeld

The Pretties by Scot Westerfeld

The Specials by Scot Westerfeld

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf


What’s in your e-reader?



  • Kim L. February 20, 2015, 7:58 am

    You should see if your library has an eCollection. I ‘borrow’ books electronically from my local library and it’s awesome.

  • stacy February 20, 2015, 8:29 am

    Your library probably has a collection of downloadable books for your kindle on their website. If they don’t, you should let them know you want this service. And as a librarian, I’m going to make sure we own this book in ours 😀

  • Ali February 20, 2015, 8:43 am

    Our library has e-book downloads – you should check if yours does. A woman in my community also started a Facebook group for buying/selling/swapping books so that’s another place to get them cheap or free…or solicit your friends for books they’re holding onto that they would loan you. I’m loving hearing ahoy the books you’re reading and it’s definitely inspiring me to read more!

  • Irene February 20, 2015, 8:44 am

    I am so impressed you are reading so much with 2 little ones. I am in such a reading rut.Just haven’t been able to get through a book for a very long time. Your blog post makes me want to try again.As for the library,can you not borrow ebooks for your kindle right from home? Pretty common practice I think.

  • Sara February 20, 2015, 8:45 am

    Have you tried borrowing books from your library on your kindle, many libraries have an electronic lending library. It’s so much easier than driving to the library, especially with a baby.

  • Mabel @ Ma Bella Vita February 20, 2015, 8:52 am

    What a cool post. I have so much stuff in my kindle, some books I have even gotten to yet.
    …the children’s book sounds like a great resource for mothers. Hopefully I’ll remember this post when my future baby comes along 🙂 Happy Friday!

  • Samantha D February 20, 2015, 9:21 am

    I am also trying to get more books in the library and buy fewer on my kindle… I read A LOT! It’s so hard because amazon saves your credit card number, so you basically just push a button and get a book, it doesn’t even feel like you’re spending money! The real eye opener came when I imported my books onto Goodreads from my amazon account. There are over 1000 books on there. I can’t even think about how much money that is over the past 7 years. A lot of them were so worth the money, but others just weren’t.

  • Elise @ Expeditions of Elise February 20, 2015, 9:28 am

    I’ve been working my way through more books this year and I’ve been taking advantage of my local library to save some money. Our library has an e-media library that allows you to request Kindle books! Unfortunately the queue on most of those books is super long (I requested a book and it took maybe 2 months to get it?) so I supplement with hard copies of other books I want to read in the meantime. There is a branch close to my house, so I request books to be picked up there and they are usually available in 2 days! It’s super easy and I actually get excited when I think about all the money I’ve saved.

  • Kathrin February 20, 2015, 9:30 am

    You can rent e-books from your library and read them on your Kindle.

    Research the “overdrive” app. It’s a real cash saver. At least if they have the book that you want in an e-book format. You can also rent audiobooks over this app.

    • Liz A. February 20, 2015, 11:03 am

      Yes this! I was hoping someone would give you the overdrive recommendation. I borrow the book on my phone, and then have it sent to my kindle. It is sooooo easy! And my small town library has a fantastic selection – I’m sure Charlotte’s library has even more ebooks! Here’s the website for Overdrive so you can check – Basically, just download the app to your phone or tablet, browse on there, choose your book, and click borrow and send to kindle. They also have audiobooks you can listen to in the car or on runs! 🙂

      • Grace February 20, 2015, 4:09 pm

        I’ll third this! I can’t imagine spending all that money on e-books when they are available for free via the library. Overdrive is great for both e-books and audiobooks; I listen to a lot of audiobooks at work and while working out, and I always have a few e-books downloaded on my phone to read in the evenings after my daughter’s bedtime. I read probably 2-3 books a week, and I can’t imagine how much money I would waste if I bought everything I read!

  • Nicole N. February 20, 2015, 9:51 am

    I am looking forward to reading this one, I really appreciate when books give concrete tips as opposed to just theory. Was this one OK on the Kindle with the cartoons?

    Thanks for the other book ideas, I am going to grab a few of them!

  • KIm February 20, 2015, 10:15 am

    In my state, Ohio, we can borrow books from the library on our Kindle. Maybe you could check out your local library to see if they have ebooks.

  • Jenny O. February 20, 2015, 10:22 am

    I loved The Circle, too. The few people I know who read it didn’t love it, which surprised me. I thought it was thought provoking and interesting. Not the most well written book ever, but a great concept and a good read.

    • Liz A. February 20, 2015, 11:05 am

      I was one of those who read it and didn’t like it! The book was great and thought provoking and interesting, just like you said. But it terrified me in a really unsettling, “This could happen,” sort of way. I wanted to like it, but it just made me so uncomfortable. Plus, I so wanted the ending to be different!

      • Jenny O. February 20, 2015, 3:40 pm

        Totally understand what you mean. I was pretty surprised by the ending, but I think any other ending would have been too neat 🙂 🙂

  • Kacey February 20, 2015, 10:26 am

    You can connect to your public library with your kindle! You check the books out just like you would if you were at the library and they are free although sometime you do have to waitlist if you want a popular book.

  • Katie February 20, 2015, 11:01 am

    LOVING your book-a-week project. It’s inspired me to read more! In the past 5 days, my Amazon wishlist has grown by 60 books. I just added this book to the list… I’m not a parent, but I’m in grad school for social work and i’m sure learning how to communicate with my little clients will be helpful!

  • Katie February 20, 2015, 11:09 am

    Most libraries have ebooks, and once you do it once it’s incredibly easy to use. I highly recommend it. Its so fast and easy, no trip to the library required.

  • Courtney! @ Redefining Athlete February 20, 2015, 11:11 am

    My Kindle account is basically all guilty pleasure reading. I only use the Kindle App on my phone and just bust it out when I’m in line or something.. so light hearted reading is easier to jump in and out of. Lots of John Green and Rainbow Rowell.

  • Nicole February 20, 2015, 11:13 am

    The Art of Racing in the Rain! *smile heart explodes sob sob sob*

  • Beth February 20, 2015, 11:16 am

    Since you like post-apocalyptic, you should read Station Eleven. So good, I read most of it in one sitting!

    • Caitlin February 20, 2015, 12:21 pm

      Ok! I’ll read that next!

  • April February 20, 2015, 11:28 am

    I love your book posts! I’m a reader too and always looking for good book recommendations. 🙂

  • laura February 20, 2015, 11:44 am

    I’ve been following your book list for suggestions for my next one to read. I can’t wait to read this parenting one. I just finished “House in the Sky” and I’m starting “Big Little Lies.” Also, I LOVE LOVE everything that Emily Giffin has written. Jane Green, too. I’ve got a 3 year old and 1 year old, so I’m in the weeds, too. Love reading your blog!

  • Amanda February 20, 2015, 12:00 pm

    This book sounds amazing! I don’t have kids right now (one in next few years, hopefully), but I have young nieces and nephews around. Also, my step sister is 8 years old and her personality is nothing like mine so I can see how it could help my relationship and communication with her as well. I very often think about how my interactions with my parents and family made me feel at the time (often times, not great) and I try to keep that in mind, but it’s difficult when you get frustrated. Having a “how-to” and putting structure to not only sorting out those thoughts, but how to take action in those situations is wonderful. I can’t wait to read it!

  • Janelle February 20, 2015, 12:11 pm

    Sounds like a worthwhile parenting book! Maybe you’ve already covered this somewhere, but I’m pregnant with my first child, and I’d love to hear what baby books you’d most recommend (not so much pregnancy books, as early parenting books… sleep training… baby led weaning… those kinds of things). Thanks!

    • Caitlin February 20, 2015, 12:21 pm

      I liked Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, the Baby Whisperer, and Happiest Baby on the Block!

  • Lissy February 20, 2015, 12:26 pm

    Does your husband read the parenting books too or do you just summarize the principals and hope he follows along? I read nuture shock and baby brain rules and I try real hard to communicate to my husband the suggestions from the books, but it’s so hard to to describe some of the concepts without the whole context and the studies to explain why, ya know? I was just wondering how you deal with that.
    My husband must tell our baby he’s so smart like 50x a day and I keep telling him to praise effort, though it’s a little hard right now since the LO is only four months old, lol. “Wow, you worked so hard at getting that giraffe in your mouth…”

    • Caitlin February 20, 2015, 2:00 pm

      i usually read and summarize because he reads a lot of work-related books. but he’s reading this one because i think its so important and needs more attention than a quick summary!

  • Erin @ Her Heartland Soul February 20, 2015, 12:30 pm

    I need to remember to read that book when I have kids!

  • Jessica February 20, 2015, 12:37 pm

    I live in Charlotte and our library does use Overdrive! You just have to remember that they don’t have everything in the ebook format and they have a limited number of licenses per title so you may still have to get on a waitlist.

  • Jenn February 20, 2015, 1:39 pm

    That book on how to talk to kids sounds incredible! I don’t have kids (yet) but think I’ll read it anyway! Just in case I do get blessed one day.

    My e-reader is full of stuff I haven’t gotten to yet, and I’ve just added The Husband’s Secret 🙂 My new years resolution was to read at least a book a month but I started a masters and that’s kind of taken over! My goal between here and easter is to try to make more time for myself so reading more seems like it will fit into that. Thanks for some great book suggestions! 🙂

  • Brooke February 20, 2015, 2:50 pm

    Have you read the latest book in the Uglies series? It’s called “Extras.”

  • Jennifer M February 20, 2015, 4:35 pm

    Check to see if your library offers Overdrive…. you can rent books on your e-reader this way. Sometimes there is a decent wait for popular books but still beats having to keep making the purchases and avoids the trip to the library.

  • Allison February 20, 2015, 4:40 pm

    What a great list! I have similar taste in books… lots of YA! Have you tried either of Gillian Flynn’s other books? I liked them both even better than Gone Girl! Would definitely recommend.

  • Johanna B February 20, 2015, 4:42 pm

    Our public library is great. You go to their online book selection from any device and select the book you want. When you click on download it takes you to Kindle where it downloads onto your device for free. No going to the library. No leaving your cozy nest. It’s all done online. I love it.

  • Betsy February 20, 2015, 5:45 pm

    I just ordered How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and I can’t wait to read it. I’ve bought a few books that you have suggested and really enjoyed all of them.

  • Hillary February 20, 2015, 8:39 pm

    Does your library have a digital lending library like Overdrive? Then you can rent kindle books on your kindle!!!

  • Breanne February 20, 2015, 10:02 pm

    I loved this review and shared it with a bunch of friends. One of them responded immediately that she’d read it in grad school and loved it. She said she uses a lot of the principles in her classroom regularly.

    Also, your comment about vocabulary made me think might love the Cookies books by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. They are great.

  • Jameil February 21, 2015, 5:42 am

    charlotte’s library definitely has e books. I’m reading one now.

  • Sagan February 21, 2015, 10:09 am

    Thanks for sharing your book list! Always neat to see what other people are reading.

    Also that How to Talk book sounds AMAZING. That’s great that it has had such a positive impact on your life and relationship with Henry!

  • Michelle February 21, 2015, 2:19 pm

    That parenting book sounds great! I’m not a parent yet but hope to be in the next few years 🙂

    I can’t decide whether or not to commit and buy a kindle. I just love the feeling of regular books so much!

  • Katie February 21, 2015, 4:56 pm

    Hey! There is an app (for your tablet) called ‘Overdrive’, it links up with your public library and you can download books to your tablet for free and rent them! Might be something to consider instead of buying them all especially with reading a book a week lol ! This book sounds really interesting – I’ll have to remember it for when I have a kid!

  • Liz@NovelRunner February 21, 2015, 8:45 pm

    Lauren Grodstein was my thesis adviser in graduate school. 🙂 She is such a lovely person and a beautiful writer. I would highly recommend her latest novel “The Explanation for Everything” if you haven’t read it yet!

  • Silvia @skinny jeans food February 22, 2015, 6:44 pm

    My local library has an online library section so I can browse and checkout books online on my laptop and download them directly to my kindle. So, it can be as fast as buying them 😉

  • Molly February 23, 2015, 8:51 am

    I live in Charlotte too and the library has an AWESOME amount of kindle books for free. All you have to do is go on the website and punch your library number in and then you “check out” the books on amazon and they are wirelessly delivered to your kindle. They have all of the NYT bestsellers and plenty of other popular books.

  • Meaghan February 23, 2015, 9:44 am

    I am 32 years old, and the youngest of 3. My family is EXTREMELY close. We more than get along, we do not argue and for the most part see no need for other friends because we have everything we need in each other. *Introverts much?!* My parents SWEAR by this book. We didn’t have rebellious teen years, I don’t remember being in trouble a lot as a kid. But I do remember when my siblings and I would fight, or one of us was being bratty, we were calmly told to go to our room and come back down when we were ready to be a contributing member of the family. No little people for me yet, but this book is definitely going to be on my list.

  • Jen February 23, 2015, 1:16 pm

    Ha, I don’t have a kindle, but I did buy “Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child” and “The No Cry Sleep Solution” for kindle and read them on my iPhone when I was incredibly desperate for sleep help a few months back. These days I mostly read library books, and I just started reading this parenting book a few days ago. My daughter is only nine months old, though, and so I see how important the concepts are, I’m kind of thinking I won’t remember it and I should return it and read it later. Or maybe I’ll read it through and get it out again in a year? I’m not really sure when it will start to be really applicable to her.

    • Caitlin February 23, 2015, 1:55 pm

      I would buy a hard copy, truthfully!! I think we’ll be able to use this book for the next 18 years.

  • Gauri February 24, 2015, 9:57 am

    book i think you will enjoy – but very sad – half the sky

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