Taking Back Childhood (Book Review)

Taking Back Childhood:  Helping your kids thrive in a fast-paced, media-saturated, violence-filled world.

(April 2008) by Nancy Carlsson-Paige. Hudson Street Press.


Nancy’s book addresses my deepest concerns for my grandchildren and their mom and dad who face unprecedented challenges as parents.  Nancy, a CEASE member and Lesley professor of early childhood education and conflict resolution, offers a practical and inspiring guide for parents on how to provide a safe, caring and nonviolent childhood within the context of this complex and challenging, and sometimes harmful world of ours.  Nancy’s book not only acknowledges the many social forces and unhealthy trends in our modern world, she also provides insights into what is critical to healthy growth and development.  What makes this book valuable to me is that Nancy not only writes with the authority of her extensive research and understanding of child development theory, but she also writes from her lived experience as a mother and grandmother long devoted to compassionate parenting.  Nancy advises parents on how to resist marketing directed toward children that undermines their parental values; how to challenge the violence and racial and ethnic stereotyping depicted in the myriad forms of media; and how to be cognizant of and resistant to the current trend to over structure children’s time.  Most importantly, in Taking Back Childhood, Nancy  provides encouragement and practical guidelines on how to afford children the essentials for healthy growth and development –reclaim and promote creative play, foster a sense of security and competence in today’s often frightening world, and form loving and meaningful relationships with both adults and other children.  Chapter 11, “Small Acts, Big Changes” offers a wide range of ways that we can join together to advocate for change on a larger scale than our own families.  I encourage readers to join others on children’s behalf and, as the author states, “. . . bring into being a society and world that truly does nurture and nourish the young.”

Both books can be purchased at www.amazon.com.

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