Last year I wrote about how I feel more human again, more whole, since finding ways to read more as a mom. I also included a list of books that changed my life, and it was one of the most popular posts as people added their own favorite books and discussed reading. I loved that book conversation, so I’m making a list again for this year. Here is the 2016 edition of books that changed my life. Enjoy, and add a few picks of your own! This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.
The Top Life Changing Books Overall:
Mindset – This book discusses the work of Carol Dweck who describes the growth mindset. This important way of thinking helps you grow, learn and stretch towards your potential – not just in academics, but also in your relationships, in your work and in your creative growth. I’m excited to have a name to put with this phenomenon of believing everyone can learn and grow. I’ve realized what it is I teach here at Bounceback Parenting – the growth mindset in parenting. Our capabilities are not fixed, and our mistakes are not indicators that were failures as parents, they’re indicators that we’re learning. I highly recommend this book – it’s readable and applicable to all areas of your life.
Sketchnotes – If you are even remotely a visual thinker, you’ll love this. This book got me to embrace the fact that, truly, I remember things best if there are pictures to go with the text. It has revolutionized how I take notes and improved it so much for the better. Now I actually go back and use my notes again, and can quickly recall what I was writing about in them. Not only that, I’m having so much fun making visual notes about helpful parenting concepts for my League members. Sketchnotes has increased the fun and knowledge in my life.
Life Changing in the Parenting Realm:
Smart but Scattered – Blew my scattered mind 😉 This book is all about executive function (how we plan/organize/manage emotions and more). It gave me insight into how my kids’ brains work and how that relates to the way they learn and behave. I was also able to find out about my own executive function strengths and weaknesses. It increased my understanding and compassion for myself and my family. It’s such a practical book and gives plans for how to improve various organizational, self control, or focus based skills. Highly recommended for…basically everyone.
The Five Love Languages of Children – I’ve skim-read this before, but this year I took the time to delve into each of the five love languages as they pertain to my kids, and it’s been so helpful to me in getting better at recognizing when my kids are asking for love. Learning more about these concepts has allowed me to be more aware of how I can show them love in the way they really will FEEL loved.
Kid Books I’ve Adored:
Rosie Revere, Engineer – This book has been a favorite with my 6 year old this past year. The message is so wonderful about experimenting, making mistakes and courageously continuing to try, try again. I’m looking forward to reading her other books: Izzy Peck Architect and Ada Twist Scientist.
Bedtime Math – This series of books has especially captured the attention of my 9 year old. These short-story math challenges (math bedtime stories, really) are truly fun. They have multiple levels of difficulty for each question and they get him thinking in creative problem solving ways. I love that this book brings math into this regular routine of our day – great way to make it approachable and interesting.
Ranger’s Apprentice – This series is one I’ve read with my middle schooler. Not only is it a fun read, having a book series that he and I can discuss and enjoy together has been a new and delightful way for us to connect.
Fantastic Fiction I Read This Year
Freshwater Road – In a year when I heard and saw so much about racism and racial injustice, I wanted to gain context and learn more about the history of the civil rights movement in the U.S. This book is an enthralling (and chilling) account of Freedom Summer, which has begun broadening my education in a much needed way, and got me wanting to read more about this and the relationship to today’s ongoing struggles.
Cutting for Stone – I did not think I would so love a book about a surgeon. I am not one who loves reading detailed descriptions of medical procedures – and there were those in this book written by a renowned surgeon, but this book was far more than a story about doctors. It drew me in to life in Ethiopia, living in a country undergoing revolution, the complex interweaving of father and son, the ties that bind brothers, love and redemption. Very, very good.
The Ian Rutledge books by Charles Todd. This series of mystery novels is written about an inspector for Scotland Yard who is back on the job after returning from World War I battling shell-shock and trying to reclaim his prewar life. The mysteries are intriguing, and the flashbacks to World War I evoke thought about how our current service men and women are coping with the devastation of war. The best part of these is that there are now over 20 of them, so if you like the series you can keep reading and reading…which is why there is so little other fiction on my list this year 😉
Your turn – I’m always looking for my next great book – what have you read and loved recently? Leave a comment with your favorites! Last year I discovered so many wonderful books from your comments – including one of my favorites (Cutting for Stone), and I discovered Georgette Heyer and Kate Morton. Thank you!