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Barbara F. Meltz writes the Globe's Child Caring column. She is author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes, Understanding How Your Children See the World," and a frequent speaker to parent groups. Join her chat on the first and third Monday of the month at noon.
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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Who remembers Linda Weltner?

Many books cross my desk in the course of a week (six today, four yesterday). Not suprisingly, most of them will never make it onto your radar screen, and frankly, it's for good reason. But every once in a while, a book comes along that deserves some attention. "The Challenge of Childhood Diabetes, Family Strategies for Raising a Healthy Child" is one of them. Even if you don't have a child with diabetes, chances are you know someone who does.

Laura Plunkett is the author, with her mom, Linda Weltner. Some readers will remember her as the writer of "Ever So Humble," a popular weekly column that appeared for years in the Globe's At Home section. (Full disclosure: For some of those years, I was her editor.) The book is about three years in the life of the Plunkett/Weltner family, after Plunkett's then 7-year-old son, Danny, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. I heard Linda, Laura and Jessie Plunkett, Danny's older sister, speak at the Newton Public Library not long ago. Not only does Laura look like her mom, but she also clearly inherited some writing genes. The book is terrific.

While I'm on the subject of books: I'm going to make a habit in this blog of flagging you about new parenting books that look good to me. Many of the best books aren't the new ones, though, so I'm also going to take time now and then to tell you about some of my favorites.

So here's my first favorite. In my column, I've called this the parent's bible. I really believe this is the single most important book a parent can buy: "How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk" by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish was first published in 1980. It is still, hands-down, the most important book any parent can read because it sets the foundation for a solid, caring parent-child relationship. If you have that, everything else comes easier. A new edition came out in 2004 by Perennial Currents. Plus -- good news for parents of teens -- the same authors also have a book titled, "How to talk so teens will listen & listen so teens will talk." Trust me, I can vouch for it personally.

Posted by Barbara Meltz at 11:27 AM
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