Field Guide to Families

Nurturing strong relationships—one issue at a time

Learning From Our Children

Poignant memoirs show us what our children can teach us

I'm a reader, a writer, and a teacher. There is no subject I'll shy away from. While others might urge you to pick up the latest beach read, I invite you to dig deep emotionally and read this selection of memoirs written by parents of exceptional children. Each story will change the way you think about parenting and teach you something wonderful about wholehearted living

The Shape of the Eye by George Estreich. Winner of the Oregon Book Award, this memoir highlights Estreich's journey as a father of a daughter with Down Syndrome. From birth through Laura's first years, readers learn about the challenges one parent faces when navigating family relationships and marriage, interacting with the medical community and schools. You'll reconsider the way you think and talk about children with Down Syndrome.

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The Still Point of the Turning World by Emily Rapp. Certainly a tender portrait of Rapp's relationship with her son who was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease as an infant and who died weeks before the memoir's publication, yet this book is also a meditation on all kinds of grief. Lyrical and thoughtful, it will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

The Anti-Romantic Child by Priscilla Gilman. I had the pleasure of interviewing Gilman for this blog after I assigned her memoir to my Singaporean early childhood education students. It is a spectacular story aimed at parents to be sure, yet her messages will powerfully resonate with educators, therapists, and medical professionals. 

Jesse by Marianne Leone. Subtitled, A Mother’s Memoir of Grief, Grace and everyday Bliss, Jesse will steal your heart. You will know and love Leone's son after just a few pages. And you will cheer for Leone and her husband as they advocate for their bright son's access to an individualized and appropriate education. 

These selections are well-written, thoughtful narratives about the power of parental love. I strongly urge you to read them all. Consider them as book club choices too as there is much to discuss.

 

 

Lynne Griffin, R.N., M.Ed.researches family life and is a novelist.

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