Thursday, 14 March 2019

Recently Read Nonfiction Reviews | The Happiest Kids in the World + The Enchanted Hour



- source: library borrow - 
Following on from a 2013 study in which Dutch children proved to be the happiest in the world, writers Rina & Michele decided to take a look at exactly why that is. Both authors of this book married Dutch men, and moved to The Netherlands - Rina from the US & Michele from the UK - and are now themselves raising families the Dutch way.

Through the thirteen chapters in this book, we're enlightened on various topics and the in way in which Dutch parents approach them, in contrast to how Americans or the British do. Subjects touched upon include the birth of a child and those first few months as parents, the school system used in The Netherlands, work-life balance as parents, letting go and the freedom given to children as they get older, the simple fundamentals of being a family, how sex education is taught, and much more.

As you can see, The Happiest Kids in the World encompasses quite a lot really, and I think having the perspective of not one, but two authors, really gave the book an extra depth. As well as their own experience, the book includes snippets from friends & family of both Rina & Michele, meaning you were able to learn & understand how the Dutch parent their children from various age points also.

I'm always interested in learning about different parenting methods, especially with regards to different cultures, and whilst I may not agree with all that the Dutch do, I definitely think there are some elements of their parenting that lead to such well balanced children - family meals, a good balance with work & home life, large amounts of time spent outdoors, less pressure with schooling etc.

I found value in this book, but I would also say it was written from a place of praise - with everything the Dutch do being amazing & positive, and the American & Brits not so much; through rose tinted glasses almost. Nonetheless, The Happiest Kids in the World proved to be a good base point for learning more about the Dutch method of parenting, and definitely made for fascinating reading.

- source: for review -
I was gifted my copy of The Enchanted Hour for free via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review -
Going into The Enchanted Hour, I anticipated the book to be all about the benefits of reading aloud to children, and perhaps a couple of snippets of bookish joys the author has experienced with her own children - and whilst both of those things can be found within The Enchanted Hour, it is also so much more than that. The writer of this book, Meghan Cox Gurdon, talks about the history of reading aloud, helps the reader to understand the developmental importance of reading aloud, highlights case studies & personal experiences of reading aloud and also promotes the importance of coming together as a family gathered round a good book - reading aloud isn't just for the young, a misconception held by many.

As I've expressed many times here on my blog, reading with my son is one of my absolute favourite things to do as a parent, so even though books hold a dear place in our household, I feel like The Enchanted Hour opened my eyes a little. I bookmarked a lot throughout my reading experience of this nonfiction title, these marked pages including insightful facts as well as wonderful quotes.

Something I found particularly interesting in The Enchanted Hour is the way in which the author talks about books - you can feel her passion and enthusiasm for the magic of books & reading, and I love how that came across in the writing. Although a nonfiction title, at times I found myself wrapped up in a cocoon whilst reading this, something I often only find in fiction reads; Meghan Box Gurdon has perfectly captured the beauty of oral storytelling in The Enchanted Hour.
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