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Child Care Today: Getting It Right for Everyone Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 20, 2009
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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*Starred Review* Leach, author of the wildly popular Your Baby and Child, which has sold more than two million copies since first being published in 1978 (revised in 1997), delivers another parenting tome that will likely become the standard by which all other child-care books are measured. This thoroughly researched, heavily footnoted compendium evaluates the state of child care in the Western world in the context of caring for children (as opposed to rearing children). The rapidly changing makeup of the postindustrial world means the needs of families are changing rapidly, too, and Leach covers the topic in four parts: “Child Care Today,” which defines the term and puts it into a cultural context; “Types of Child Care,” which breaks down into two general types: “Family Care” (parents, grandparents, or live-in help) and “Formal Care” (day cares, before and after school, etc.); “Quality of Care,” which looks at the issue from various viewpoints and helps outline how to choose child care; and “Moving On,” which examines the politics and future of child care. Though Leach’s writing is precise and scientific, reflecting her training at Cambridge and the London School of Economics, she somehow keeps the narrative approachable and interesting. Her plea for looking at child care as an investment rather than an expense (well-raised children make well-adjusted adults, after all) comes through loud and clear and makes perfect sense no matter your political persuasion. There’s no doubt Child Care Today will become the bible on the subject. Stock up. --Mary Frances Wilkens
“A new study on the best way to take care of kids and how parents in Western nations are currently doing it [from] Penelope Leach, the British psychologist and author of Your Baby and Child, the one book that’s always on my bedside table . . . Leach offers counsel for all of us . . . She gives us a better way to think about the [child care] decision . . . Above all, we do best by our children when we think deeply about our choices from their point of view . . . I’ve stuck with Leach’s earlier book through my first 3-1/2 years as a mother because it’s both child-centric and sensible. Child Care Today [has] the same combination of kindness and rigor.”
–Sara Sklaroff, The Washington Post
“A masterful work by a luminary in the world of child development. If implemented, Leach’s findings would revolutionize the way America cares for its young children and bring about a radical improvement in the lives of children and their parents—and in the economic, social, and intellectual well-being of our country.”
—Virginia A. Smith, The Boston Globe
“Leach argues that asking whether child care is bad for children is asking the wrong question altogether and that we are guilty of assuming that the answer to bad child care is no child care. . . . Unparalleled in its comprehensiveness, this is highly recommended for academic libraries and should be required reading for those involved in policymaking regarding children and families.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
“Will likely become the standard by which all other child-care books are measured. This thoroughly researched, heavily footnoted compendium evaluates the state of child care in the Western world in the context of caring for children (as opposed to rearing children). Though Leach’s writing is precise and scientific, she somehow keeps the narrative approachable and interesting. Her plea for looking at child care as an investment rather than an expense (well-raised children make well-adjusted adults, after all) comes through loud and clear and makes perfect sense no matter your political persuasion. There’s no doubt Child Care Today will become the bible on the subject. Stock up.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“Urging the abandonment of outdated 1950s standards–when most mothers cared for their children at home–Leach blames attitude even more than scanty financial resources for lack of progress. She examines numerous child care options, from au pairs to day care centers, probing the difficult, exhausting decisions that parents face. She also compares and contrasts the child care practices of various countries, noting, for instance, that the U.S. has no mandatory paid maternity leave while in Sweden mothers are offered 480 days with 80% of their monthly wage. Until we embrace children as everyone’s responsibility, Leach insists, the ‘working/caring conundrum’ will continue to plague parents, and society will forgo the high dividends that result when an investment is made in quality child care.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Child Care Today is an update on the state of child care in the 21st century. In addressing ‘the real issues in combining the human essentials of earning and caregiving,’ Leach looks at the things that matter. For any mother or father interested in examining their own choices in a global context, this book looks like a must-read.”
–Mackenzie Carpenter, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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This book can also get spectacularly boring and dry as it delves into the minutiae of every type of care imaginable. Great for people who have the patience for an enormous amount of facts and who plan to put their child in childcare after a short maternity leave, not so great and even demoralizing for everyone else.