May Book Reviews: Achtung Baby, The Beauty of Dirty Skin, and More

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Post contains affiliate linksI find few things as exciting as perusing the shelves for my new favorite book...and my children feel the same way.

Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children

I loved this book just as much as I hoped he would. I am a huge fan of “a year of” books (A Year of No Sugar, A Year of Living Biblically, etc). I am also a huge fan of books describing different parenting styles. Some of my favorites are French Kids Eat Anything, Bringing Up Bebe’, and Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

Because of my love for both “a year of” and parenting memoirs, it came as no surprise to me that I loved this book. It is written by Sara Zaske, an American woman who moves to Germany with her husband and toddler. This is an eye-opening experience as she sees the remarkable differences in parenting in Berlin vs the US. The author does point out that she is writing about Berlin specifically not about Germany or German parenting as a whole.

The big difference between parenting in Berlin and the US? Parents in Berlin highly value independence. The local parks are set up to encourage independence. Kids are sent there to play, alone, at six and seven. The author even describes parks with firepits set up so kids can start a fire and cook their own meals. As a huge advocate of teaching our kids to be independent, I loved this book and recommend it to any parent.

Mickey and Me: Life with My Exception Sister

I grabbed this book off the shelf because I saw the author was writing about the challenges of growing up with a sister with special needs. Mickey is blind and has an intellectual disability. She is prone to rages and, eventually at the age of 12, is institutionalized. The author, Teresa Sullivan, writes and the challenges of living with her sister and her family’s eventual unraveling. This is all woven into a well-written memoir about her own growing up and coming of age.

Ready Player One

The book, Ready Player One, is a far cry from my normal book choices of non-fiction and memoirs. I have seen the trailers to this but didn’t realize it was based on a book until my son’s ABA therapist mentioned it. We were discussing our mutual love of Ender’s Game when he asked if I had read this. I downloaded the preview from Amazon and then bought the book as soon as I finished the preview.

This book is based in the year 2045. The earth is fading and most people spend their time online in a world of virtual reality. When the founder of OASIS, the virtual utopia, dies he sets up the challenge of a lifetime. Find the hidden easter egg and inherit all of OASIS. The book is full of references to 1980’s video games, movies, and books. Teenager Wade Watts is the very relatable protagonist in this story of non-stop suspense. I rarely read fiction, but this one was worth the few hours invested in reading it. I convinced Judah to read it and he is now enjoying it as well.

The Beauty of Dirty Skin: The Surprising Science of Looking and Feeling Radiant from the Inside Out

Now come on, you must know that I am going to love any book that promotes “dirty skin” as healthy. The author, Dr. Whitney Bowe is a dermatologist who loves to spread the word about healthy skin. She talks about your skin as an organ and how taking care of your body on the inside reflects on the outside. I loved reading about the effects of diet on our skin and how we don’t need expensive soaps and moisturizers to look vibrant and healthy. She has several chapters on diet and weight loss, inflammation, gut health, and bacteria (both good and bad). This is not a book just about skin but a book about overall health and wellness.

In short, it is a  well-balanced look at our health, our skin, our guts, and how they all work together.

What is the last book you read? Did you love it or just slog your way through? 

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  1. I just read the Swedish equivalent to the German parenting book: “There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather,” by Linda Akeson McGurk. Though the cocky American in me thinks that we place too much importance on what other countries do and that there are plenty of good parents right here to learn from. 🙂

    Also, for kids but I enjoyed it as much as my sons: “Heart of a Samurai,” by Margi Preus.

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