…your toddler is obsessed with trains. Your kindergartener will eat nothing but macaroni. Your preteen wants to read a popular title that’s a little too scary. Tips for connecting with kids at various stages through books. Need advice? Email your situation to meredith[at]clifonline.org with “If you’re a parent and…” in the subject line.

If You’re a Parent and…Sportsmanship v Friendship?

Posted by on May 11, 2017.

I love that my daughter enjoys team sports – from kick ball at recess to organized youth soccer, it gives us tons to discuss. There are all the traditional benefits of team sports – learning to win and lose gracefully, to understand how the individuals work within a team, to interact with coach/another adult, to balance confidence and humility, and to have fun running around and being with other kids.

If You’re a Parent and…You Remember “We Are the World”

Posted by on April 13, 2017.

Is there anything funnier than the third grade recorder concert? My daughter’s third grade recorder concert came the day after the CLiF Community Literacy Conference – a full day for our small staff running a conference for 130 Year of the Book teachers, librarians, and school staff.

If You’re a Parent and…You Make a Bad Decision

Posted by on March 16, 2017.

As a parent, I am always struggling to keep the “balances” (I make it plural because there are so many!) for myself and for my daughter. For me, this has gotten more complicated in a world where it has again become legitimate to judge people based on their gender, race, or orientation.

If You’re a Parent and…You Need a Baby Shower Gift

Posted by on February 9, 2017.

We recently celebrated the arrival of my niece – the only other child on my side of our family! This lucky baby girl has a fabulous library, given to her by friends of my brother and his wife, a group of writers, publishers, teachers, and book lovers.

If You’re a Parent and…You Miss Letters

Posted by on January 12, 2017.

I received a letter – a handwritten card with the inside and back filled with news. It is a bit sad that this is such a remarkable event. We received lots of holiday cards, but they were either picture cards or typed and copied updates.

If You’re a Parent and…You Wish You Had Time to Volunteer

Posted by on November 3, 2016.

My brother James Scott, author of The Kept and creator of TK Podcast, wrote the most lovely piece about our mom as part of the Dedicate Your No-Trump Vote. From the Dedicate Your No-Trump Vote website: “Acclaimed novelist, Julianna Baggott, wrote a simple Facebook post, dedicating her No Trump Vote…Within days, it had been shared over 1100 times… The act of writing the dedication felt hopeful, and it seemed to have struck a chord.

If You’re A Parent And…You Need Graphic Novel Recommendations

Posted by on October 13, 2016.

My 8-year-old has discovered graphic novels. This format makes me feel old – I know my mom read comic books as a kid, but I could not understand the appeal of the graphic novel. I remember a conversation with a school librarian who said she needed to take a class to learn to read them.

If You’re a Parent and…Your Child Wants a New Pet

Posted by on September 8, 2016.

My daughter lobbied hard for a fish. I put it off until after summer travels, but I had to make good on my promise after Labor Day.

I got a book about caring for fish out of the library; I wanted us prepared for the cleaning, feeding, and choosing the correct fish for our environment (our environment calls for the most low-maintenance fish possible).

If You’re a Parent and…Harry Potter is an Obsession

Posted by on August 4, 2016.

I missed the original Harry Potter buzz – I’m not sure how as I worked in a bookstore off and on from 1996-2002, during which the first four books were released. I made up for this last week, when I got swept up in my eight-year-old’s excitement over Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

If You’re a Parent and…You Aim for a Less-Screen-Summer

Posted by on June 29, 2016.

In most of my life roles, I can feel overwhelmed by the information on how to be or do them better, how we can achieve that ideal balance where all parties (kids, friends, coworkers, and family members) feel heard, valued, and bolstered as individuals and also “team” members.