Dr. Toughlove’s Book Club


I’ve decided that if Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and Jenna Bush Hager can have book club selections, so can Dr. Toughlove!


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Dr. Toughlove recommends a wonderful book written by Sharon Robinson entitled Child of the Dream: A Memoir of 1963. Sharon Robinson is the daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson and relates a series of historical events that occurred that year that include but are not limited to the March on Washington and the Birmingham, Alabama church bombing that killed three innocent girls.

Ms. Robinson’s book reveals her family’s influence with respect to the Civil Rights Movement as well as her personal struggles as a young black teenager living in a predominantly white neighborhood.

I found out about this book from my oldest granddaughter Zoe who had read it and shared it with me. As is often the case, my children and grandchildren inspire me. Zoe and I had an interesting discussion about the book and the significance of 1963 in American history.

Amazon.com suggests that Child of the Dream: A Memoir of 1963 is appropriate for ages 8 and up. It is a book I believe will have the greatest impact when it is read by a young person and a discussion takes place with someone who lived through that tumultuous period. If possible, a cross-generational exchange would be ideal. Enjoy!


Dr. Toughlove loves a relatively new book entitled The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson. It is a touching story about how children feel different from their peers for a variety of reasons and encourages children to be brave enough to share their stories even when they feel like an outsider. The Day You Begin imparts many of the same themes that are expressed in Talking Buddies, Jamal and Me and Playground Heroes. A great book for kids aged 5-8.


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Dr. Toughlove just loves the book entitled Dreamers by Yuyi Morales. It is a touching story about a woman from Mexico who immigrates to the United States with her two-month old baby. The language and customs are scary and she is struggling……..until she discovers the public library and begins to read, speak and write in English. The book is auto-biographical and imparts many of the same themes that are expressed in Talking Buddies. A great book for kids aged 4-8.


i walk with vanessa

Dr. Toughlove recommends a book she has discovered entitled I Walk with Vanessa – A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët. This book is unique for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is a wordless book.  Language can be easily adapted to match the developmental level of the audience. It depicts what happens when a courageous young lady stands up for a new classmate who is being bullied.  I Walk with Vanessa incorporates a little bit of Jamal and Me (new kid at school) and a great deal of Playground Heroes (anti-bullying techniques). The illustrations are delightful and there are standing up to bullies tips for kids and vocabulary for adults to use with children in the back of the book. It is beautifully done. Recommended for grades Pre-K- 3.


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Dr. Toughlove has recently discovered a lovely book entitled Pie is for Sharing by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard. It is a wonderful book about sharing at a Fourth of July picnic, so it is definitely timely. It describes things that are easy to share like a hug or sticks, and things that aren’t so easy to share like your best friend. This book is eloquently written and can be used to discuss sharing in a child-friendly, non-threatening way.  Pie is for Sharing also reinforces the theme of using picture books to promote pro-social skills, which has been an idea that Dr. Toughlove endorses. Amazon.com recommends it for children in grades Pre-K- 2. Dr. Toughlove concurs.