I was blessed to receive a review copy of Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up, Muddled-up, Shook-up World by Rafe Esquith.
The title alone is a pretty awesome thing to unpack. We do live in a pretty crazy world these days, and every parent I know is trying to make it work for them. But something that I seem to notice a lot is a lack of "fire" in kids - there is a lack of passion and a loss of the sense of wonder that I would wish for my children. So the very title got me excited to read this book.
I have not read Esquith's first book, Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire (the guy has a penchant for well-titled books!), so I was unfamiliar with his classroom and his unique teaching methods. But that didn't really matter, even though I now would like to go and read his first book.
Using a class trip to a baseball game to frame his story is an excellent technique. As the innings pass by, the readers are drawn into the real-life weaving of Esquith's teaching, parenting, and enriching tools. He doesn't hesitate to use examples from movies and books to illustrate his point, and he's not afraid to say that he thinks television is a real danger to young minds. I love the way he focuses his goals on things like punctuality, focus, confidence, selflessness, humility - beautiful values that create little human beings, rather than little robots or college applicants.
It's not preachy, and I want to go back and re-read this book. I actually took a really long time to write this review because I wanted my husband to read this book too, but he's been busy so I finally gave up and decided to write it - and also give it away to one of you, my lucky readers!
By the way, may I also recommend Mitten Strings for God and The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison. I just finished reading the second (the first I read many years ago) and in some ways it was a beautiful coda to Rafe Esquith's book, her writing is lyric and calm even as it seems that her world is being turned upside down as her sons grow and change (and apply to college).
But I digress.
One lucky commenter will win a copy of this book. And if you don't win it, you must go and get it and read it.
Leave a comment telling me your favorite parenting book.
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I'll pick a winner on Wednesday.
Disclosure: In case you haven't figure it out, I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.