…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…You’re Finding a Voice

Posted by on August 9, 2018.

When my fourth grade daughter started thinking about her informational writing piece, a culminating writing project of sorts, she initially focused on topics about which she was knowledgeable – myths (thank you Rick Riordan), dogs, skiing. I asked her what she wanted to learn more about, and her answer was the Taliban.

If You’re a Parent And…You Have A Special Summer Place

Posted by on July 19, 2018.

My family has been spending summers in the 1000 Islands in the St. Lawrence River since I was a child. As I have aged and introduced my own daughter to island living, it has become clearer to me how this place has influenced my life decisions, sense of friendship, love of the outdoors, and appreciation of hard work and inventive problem solving.

If You’re a Parent…With an Aspiring Reporter

Posted by on March 29, 2018.

Good news for my fourth grade daughter – for the latest semester of school, she has been appointed a member of the school’s “Awesome Reporters.” This group of students picks topics of interest to them and the student body and puts together articles with photos that are posted in school and sent to the local paper.

If You’re A Parent And…Books Play a Part in Your Holiday Celebration

Posted by on December 14, 2017.

There is nothing like the holiday season for connecting and reconnecting us to all kinds of traditions. Everywhere I look there are reminders of past holidays and evolving seasonal activities.

These are two of my most favorite Christmas tree ornaments. When my best friend from high school and I moved to Washington, DC, after college, we bought these ornaments for the first tree we set up as adults in our own space.

If You’re a Parent and…Captain Underpants Happens

Posted by on June 29, 2017.

Vermont has suffered through a rainy early summer. One rainy Saturday, I had a perfectly planned visit to the paint-your-own-pottery studio. My daughter and her friend had exchanged gift certificates for birthday presents; we spent the car ride analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of painting one big thing versus painting a few small items.

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.