The Family Care Office Resource & Lending Library is consistently updating our resources to better serve the U of T community. Over the summer, we added a number of new titles to our collection. Visit our LibGuide online to view the 500+ books available for checkout at the FCO. Below are a few of the new releases that have hit the shelves!
Spawning Generations: Rants and Reflections on Growing Up with LGBTQ+ Parents by Sadie Epstein-Fine and Makeda Zook
Spawning Generations is a 2018 anthology that features a diverse collection of stories written and curated by queerspawn (people with LGBTQ+ parents) – providing a space for queerspawn to tell their own stories. Each piece provides a different perspective, and the book follows no set themes; the stories are “airbrushed for no one, and told on their own terms.” Now Toronto magazine named Spawning Generations one of the 10 best books of 2018.
The editors, Epstein-Fine and Zook, both grew up in the Toronto area, and brought together a group of authors from a wide range of backgrounds. The book opens with an essay by 9-year-old Liam Sky, and is then followed by more inspiring stories told by individuals living across North America and Europe.
“Something that still inspires me about this book is how deep our contributors were willing to go,” said Epstein-Fine on The New Family Podcast. “I’ve never heard as imperfect queerspawn families as I’ve read in our book. Even though I’ve talked to so many queerspawn with a diversity of experience, there’s always a leaning toward the positive, toward the ‘shame-to-triumph,’ toward the ‘I turned out okay.’ And these stories? Some do not say ‘I turned out okay.’ And I was blown away by that willingness to share that story, and despite our continued fight to have queer parents legitimized in society. As much as I’m blown away, I want others to be blown away by narratives that perhaps they may have never heard.”
Happy Parents, Happy Kids by Ann Douglas
Acclaimed local author Ann Douglas’ latest book is the ninth of hers in our library, and is yet another valuable parenting resource. She sets out to answer the question “What is it about this movement in parenting that has this generation of parents feeling so anxious, so guilty, and so overwhelmed?”
Douglas has noticed a shift over her 30 years of writing on parenting, saying in an interview with CBC Radio’s Tapesty that parents get harsh and judgemental messages from the broader society, leading parents to feel under-qualified. Instead, parents should embrace the aspects that make it so rewarding, and recognize that parenting isn’t always perfect. “When we give our kids the gift of a gloriously imperfect parent, we give our kids permission to be gloriously imperfect too,” she said. “I think we can let go of that fake pressure to be perfect.”
Balancing Work & Family
Mindlift: Mental Fitness for the Modern Mind by Kasper van der Meulen
This 2016 book bills itself as “your no-nonsense guide to increased focused awareness, enhanced mental fitness and limitless personal freedom.” In this era of abundance, high-speed information and hyper-connection, there are challenges of mass-distraction and stress, but Mindlift sets out to provide a skill-based approach to personal development and habit creation.
The book is meant to be easily digestible: no paragraph has more than 300 words, the formatting is simple and spacious, and each chapter discloses a page-count and estimated reading time. Numerous illustrations and quotes are also interspersed throughout the book’s 195 pages.
As a test of his focus, and to practice what he preaches, van der Meulen wrote this book within a month. He is an author and lifestyle adventurer who “went from being overweight, burnt out and unhappy, to developing superhuman focus, fitness and personal freedom.”
My Parent’s Keeper: The Guilt, Grief, Guesswork, and Unexpected Gifts of Caregiving by Jody Gastfriend
Using the latest research and drawing on case histories and interviews, My Parent’s Keeper provides practical suggestions for caring for the elderly – including both resources and practical tips. In a review by author Patrick O’Malley, he writes that “[Gastfriend] has masterfully blended essential facts with exceptional psychological insight to create an indispensable resource for family caregivers.”
An honourable mention for the 2019 Educators Book Award and a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the Health/Wellness category, the book provides resources and tips on topics such as parents who need but refuse help, siblings who don’t get along, juggling work and caregiving, and realizing the benefits amongst the burdens of caregiving. Gastfriend has been a social worker for more than 30 years, and is the vice president of senior care for Care.com.