My Bookshelf

Sarah's Key
Dragonfly in Amber
A Dance With Dragons
Drums of Autumn
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences
The Three Miss Margarets
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer
Little Earthquakes
Moneyball : The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Single in Suburbia
Goodnight Nobody
Ten Girls to Watch
Best Friends Forever
Well Bred and Dead
A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings

Mrs. E’s favorite books »


I love to read all kinds of books so if you are looking for a good book to read, I recommend checking out one of the books above. But here on this page I really just wanted to focus on books about parenting and/or education. I tried to divide them up to save time so you can jump to what you’re looking for. And if you are looking for some good children’s books beyond the reviews I’ve posted, check out the bottom of the About Me section.

Twins & Pregnancy


Bright From the Start by Jill Stamm, PhD

If I could only recommend one book to a new parent it would be Bright From the Start.  Dr. Jill Stamm takes the latest information on brain development and not only explains it to parents but tells you what to do about it.  While a scientist herself, Dr. Stamm also speaks from experience.  She was blessed with two daughters–one of whom suffered a severe brain trauma as a newborn.  Dr. Stamm was able to watch the brain in slow motion and see just what helped development.  She offers very practical tips and easy activities that you can do with your own babies and little ones to improve their development and increase IQ.  While a lot of it seems very common sense, it’s easy to forget all the good ideas when you are running on little sleep taking care of a little baby.

Mommy, Teach Me! by Barbara Curtis

When I first started planning on not sending the girls to a traditional preschool I came across this book and really enjoyed it.  A mother of 12, Barbara Curtis has actually had preschoolers in her home for the last 30 years thereabouts.  She was trained to be a Montessori teacher when she later felt God calling her to keep her children home and teach them herself.  She speaks openly about her faith and believes that parents can teach their preschoolers well in the home.  She offers many activities, mostly based on Montessori foundations, to do at home to promote early skills including concentration and fine motor skills.   While I don’t do everything she suggests exactly how she says, I do really respect Curtis and found that her values and attitudes were very similar to our family’s.

Lighting Their Fires by Rafe Esquith

This is definitely a book for those with school-age children, but my dad shared it with me because it’s never too early to be thinking about what you want to expose your children to. I had mixed feelings about this book. I liked the ideas behind it–setting high expectations for children, introducing them to culture, art, music, etc., making them well-rounded individuals, moving away from TV and other brain drainers. But I also got really annoyed with the narrator sometimes. I started to feel like he was the only one who believed this way and the rest of us are mindless drones, not true. He used a baseball game to introduce different ideas which was a good set-up, but sometimes I was annoyed with how far it was taken. But one thing I did like was the inclusion of board games, movies, and other activities to expand learning. So while the other really irritated me at times, I definitely think that the ideas are worth remembering and reinforcing.

1,444 Fun Things to Do with Kids by Caryl Krueger

Really the name says it all. This is a huge book filled with all kinds of fun activities. The only problem is that a lot of the activities are for older kids. And the ones for toddlers are not always the most exciting. But I really like the family activities and suggestions for when the girls get bigger.

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If you jumped straight to the Preschool section, I really recommend you check out  Mommy, Teach Me! under the Parenting section.  🙂

The Complete Daily Curriculum by Pam Schiller and Pat Phipps

If you are looking to teach your child at home, whether in place of an outside preschool or in addition to, you can’t do better than this book.  While it was written for preschool teachers, this is one book that is very easy to adapt to the family environment.  Bright and colorful with a very accessible layout, it is easy to use.  The division of “learning centers” help you easily know just what skills you are working on and how to layout the day.  There are tons of lessons, over 1,200, with a lot of diversity so there is something for everyone and you won’t get bored.  The lessons are meant to be just a day long and are placed with similar plans to create larger theme.  And there are many additional resources included in the back and through a special website.  One of the authors, Pam Schiller, also wrote Rhymes, Songs, Poems, Fingerplays, and Chants, which we have really enjoyed.

Science is Simple, Over 250 Activities for Preschoolers by Peggy Ashbrook

While this book might be meant more for preschool teachers, it works very easily in the home too and has all kinds of science experiments and activities. While we are just getting started with it, one of the things I really like is how the book includes big concepts/experiments with supporting activities and age-appropriate discussions. She even includes book lists and where to look for supplies. This is a great way to bring science into the home, especially if you are a non-scientist. 🙂

Alphabet Stories, Puppets and Picture Stories that Teach Letter Recognition by Jill M. Coudron

This whole series is great!  This book includes the templates for the puppets, story cards, and the written story.  They love doing the story cards and then retelling the story later.  We use the whole set of books and they have loved everything we’ve done from them–the puppets, the songs, the games.  I’ve gotten great ideas for activities for us to do both about the letters and for different themes.  It’s been a lot of fun.

Math Play by Diane McGowan and Mark Schrooten

I wish I had gotten this book sooner since it starts with very simple activities for those just learning numbers.  It’s full of fun activities for counting and other math concepts such as shape recognition, identifying patterns, size comparison.  In addition to the math, it also includes related art projects and outdoor activities as well as how to make the activity more difficult for extended learning.  But it’s definitely for very little ones, such as starting when they are toddlers.

First & Favorite Bible Lessons for Preschoolers by Beth Rowland Wolf and Bonnie Temple

This book is great starting point for those putting together Bible lessons for their little ones.  The lessons are very clearly laid out with snacks, crafts, activities.  It even has the dialogue written down for you to say with questions to ask and everything.  I picked out this book because in planning religious lessons for my daughters I felt like I really needed to see some laid out since I wanted to do more than just tell them a Bible story and maybe make a craft (nothing wrong with that, I just wanted to be sure the message was really there).  The only downside to the book is that there are only 13 lessons, but it did serve the purpose of laying out lessons for me so that I will be able to generate more after I finish the book.  And lessons included are very relevant and practical.

The Complete Book and CD Set of Rhymes, Songs, Poems, Fingerplays, and Chants by Jackie Silberg and Pam Schiller

This is an awesome book!  It has over 700 selections listed alphabetically but also indexed according to subject and theme suggestions.  If you need any sort of song or poem about anything, you can find it here.  We’ve done quite a few from the book that the girls have loved.  And it comes with two CDs filled with songs for the kids to learn.

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Twins & Pregnancy

Twins! Expert Advice from two practicing physicians on pregnancy, birth and the first year of life by Connie Agnew, et al

For our first doctor’s appointment after finding out it was twins (rather late in the pregnancy too), our doctor couldn’t make it and we met with not the nicest nurse practitioner.  We were filled with questions and when we tried to talk to her, she just told us to “buy a book” and that was it.  So we did and this is the one we got.  I found it really answered a lot of questions about the pregnancy and about making life easier with newborn twins at home.  It was quick and easy with lots of good advice.

The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine

This book is a classic!  It’s the only pregnancy book I read (well, until I found out it was twins and then I read the book above too).  I had actually been looking forward to getting to read it once I was pregnant because I had heard how funny it was.  It told the nitty-gritty stuff and it was really funny and quick.  I figured anything else I needed to know I would pick up from my doctor or when the big day arrived.  Surprisingly for such a book worm, I really wasn’t that into reading about being pregnant.  Also surprising, as much as I loved this book, I haven’t actually read any of the others by her.

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