A witty handbook of life skills that actually imparts practical knowledge? Yes indeed. The “hugely useful” subtitle is an understatement. Catherine Newman tackles empathetic behaviors on spreads for “How to Cheer Up Sick People” or “How to Include Someone,” as well as nonessentials like “How to Tie a Necktie” or “How to Make Spaghetti.” Seven sections cover caring for others, how to say things well, home care, making food, money skills, clothing and some MacGyver-style skills that could be handy – you never know! This is information to help younger people to human well without delivering a series of dry lectures about it.
Not only are Debbie Fong’s illustrations perfectly in line with the content, they’re adorable! The graphics cheer up every page, even when the content covers toilet cleaning. If you can prettily portray an author’s sarcasm, you’ve nailed it. Between the information covered and the enticing graphics, parents will be buying this book for their progeny for decades to come.
Who is this book written for?
Boy oh boy, is this book ever written for YOUR KID aged 12 to 16 AND YOU! An easy way to answer a lot of life questions and as helpful as those puberty books they pretend not to read (but you find under their pillow). I have one shy child, so books like this one are how I impart crucial information without holding a conversation. This is smart, well executed content, delivered in a funny way.
As homeschoolers, we added this one to our morning book basket, and I read a page (or spread, depending on the idea’s length) each day. I’m excited for my two kids, ages 10 and 12, to accrue the rest of this critical info! Highly, highly recommend this book. It’s spawned conversations about when, precisely, people should be responsible for items on this list. (My kids feel strongly about the 16-18 range for toilet cleaning.) One of my friends suggested this book be handed to kids on their way to college. Which is great, if they haven’t been exposed to this information before, but I’d argue for much sooner. Middle school feels right to me. Honestly, it’s never too early to learn “How to Be a Welcome Guest” or too late to figure out “How to Get Out a Stain.”