Combat Bullying – Learn How To Teach Your Children Empathy and Acceptance…The Kindness Advantage by Dr. Dale Atkins and Amanda Salzhauer

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My Review:

The world can often be harsh, and lucky for us, authors Dale Atkins PhD and Amanda Salzhauer, MSW are giving all families a leg up with tips and ideas for how to be kind in their new book, The Kindness Advantage, Cultivating Compassionate and Connected Children.  Based on research, this guide provides ways for adults to nurture kindness in our children, teaching them from a young age to be empathetic, compassionate fulfilled people.

According to authors Atkins and Salzhauer, The 10 Fundamentals of Kindness are:

Acceptance – Commitment – Connection – Empathy – Giving – Interest – Nurturing – Observing – Questioning – (be) Yourself

Each one is described and explained in the book, and applied to real life situations.  Asking our children how they want to be treated leads to a discussion of how to treat others and in the book there are lots of examples and ideas on how to cultivate kinder children.

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I was lucky enough to hear Dr. Dale Atkins speak, and she said, based on research, whether we do an act of kindness, are on the receiving end of an act of kindness, or we merely witness an act of kindness, there are real mental, physical, emotional and spiritual benefits as a result of the increased flow of endorphins.  That is great news because collectively we have the opportunity to make the world a kinder place if we all incorporate more kindness into our family life.

Also included in the book are incredibly helpful tools for breathing, visualization, and meditation for children. Recommended books and apps are listed at the back, as well as journal questions and space for answers and personal notes.   Charity is good and conversation makes the difference so pick up a copy of The Kindness Advantage to help guide you and your family.  It is a perfect gift for everyone in contact with young children… grandparents and teachers too!

Goodreads Summary

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About the Authors:

Dale Atkins, Ph.D.

Dale Atkins is a licensed psychologist with more than forty years of experience as a relationship expert focusing on families, wellness, managing stress, and living a balanced, meaningful life.

Author of seven books and many chapters, articles, and journals for popular and professional audiences, Dale is a featured speaker who lectures and leads seminars worldwide, often about raising financially responsible, charitable children.  Dale is a frequent guest expert in the media and appears regularly on NBC’s TODAYand CNN. Dale has a private psychology practice in New York City and has been a member of and advisor to several nonprofit boards, including Jumpstart for Young Children, from which she recently retired after serving twenty-two years, since its founding. She has two children and six grandchildren, and lives in Connecticut. She can be found on Twitter (@DrDaleAtkins), Facebook, and at drdaleatkins.com.

Amanda Salzhauer, MSW

Amanda Salzhauer has a Master’s degree in social work and has worked as a social worker in clinics and private practice.

She currently serves as secretary of the Horace Mann School board, president of the board of Riverdale Neighborhood House, and sits on the Advisory Council of Child Help Partnership at St John’s University. At Dartmouth College Hillel she helped raise funds for the construction and endowment of the Roth Center for Jewish Life, which is now in its twentieth year. Amanda is an active member of her synagogue, where she developed and instituted the Sharing the Spirit of Shabbat program to give families the opportunity to participate in a community service project. She has three children and lives in Bronx, New York.

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An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

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My Review:

In An American Marriage, circumstances put loyalty to the test.  After just a year of marriage, Celestial and Roy find themselves in an undesirable situation and Roy is sent to jail for a crime he didn’t commit. How does a new relationship endure such a setback? During Roy’s incarceration, the couple grows apart; they exchange letters about their feelings and family, but is it enough to keep them together?  Ultimately Celestial’s prison visits dwindle to nothing and Celestial turns to her old friend Andre for support.  Roy is continually hopeful he and his wife will pick up where they left off when he is released but is naive when it comes to her true feelings.

This uniquely written character driven novel let’s us in on the struggles of an incarcerated man, an independent woman and their marriage during a 12 year sentence.  Through the exchange of letters we learn of their past, their families and their desires, yet their communications are cause for misunderstandings.  Celestial’s family hires a lawyer to fight for justice and after a long time working on the case and five years served, Roy is set free.  He hopes to return to his previous live, but time has moved on and even though Celestial has stood by him in his innocence, she has mixed feelings about his release as she has changed direction in her personal life.

I enjoyed this book although the consensus of my bookclub was that even though it was well written and worthwhile to read, the characters were not likable.  Celestial and Roy’s choices and behaviors are fodder for good discussion:  Should she visit Roy in jail?  Divorce Roy?  Should Roy give Celestial permission to leave him?  Should he act upon his jealousy?  Are they clear with each other about their desires regarding a family?  Did their role models in life effect the way they behave and think?

Race and the justice system are undercurrent themes in this story of love, marriage, commitment and the pursuit of the American Dream, and I recommend it, especially for book groups.

Goodreads summary

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About the Author:

Tayari Jones is the author of the novels Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, Silver Sparrow, and An American Marriage (Algonquin Books, February 2018). Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, The New York Times, and Callaloo. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Silver Sparrow was named a #1 Indie Next Pick by booksellers in 2011, and the NEA added it to its Big Read Library of classics in 2016. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She is currently an Associate Professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University.

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner

 

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As stated in Goodreads:

The discovery of long-buried secrets brings three generations of women together to Cape Cod for the summer homecoming of a lifetime.

Marin Bishop has always played by the rules, and it’s paid off: on the cusp of thirty she has a handsome fiancé, a prestigious Manhattan legal career, and her father’s hard-won admiration. But with one careless mistake at work, Marin suddenly finds herself unemployed and alone. Before she can summon the courage to tell her parents, a young woman appears, claiming to be Marin’s half-sister. Seeking answers, Marin agrees to join her on a soul-searching journey to Cape Cod, to meet the family she didn’t even know she had.

As the summer unfolds at her grandmother’s beachside B&B, it becomes clear that her half-sister’s existence is just the first in a series of truths that will shake Marin’s beliefs–in love, and in her own identity–to the core. Filled with shocking revelations, heartfelt romance, and resilient women banding together against the most unexpected twists of fate, THE FOREVER SUMMER is an emotionally resonant page-turner, and a delicious escape for any season.

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Jamie Brenner is the author of THE FOREVER SUMMER coming in April from Little, Brown. Her previous novels include THE WEDDING SISTERS (St. Martin’s Press). She lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

 

My thoughts:

I literally could not put this book down – The Forever Summer was about so many things…love, loss, infidelity, illness, secrets, romance, commitment, revelations and personal truths. Each character has their own story, as in real life, and Jamie Brenner does a wonderful job showing the incredible strength in women and the undeniable power of family. Joining talented authors like Jane Green and Elin Hilderbrand, Jamie Brenner has written the next must read for your beach bag.  The New England Coast setting is my favorite for a juicy summer book – don’t miss this one!

Order The Forever Summer HERE