Summer Reading for Parents: 15 Books for Raising Stronger Kids | Deborah Farmer Kris | 6 Min Read

Want to know one of the best parts of working as a parenting journalist? I get to read a lot of books. 

I read pen-in-hand. If, after finishing, a book is so dog-eared, post-it-noted, and marked up that it looks like a Velveteen Rabbit in print form, I put it on a special bookshelf — for sharing, referencing, and rereading. 

Here are 15 books that sit on that shelf (when I haven’t lent them out to a friend).

  1. Thrivers: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine, by Michelle Borba

Michelle Borba, an educational psychologist and character development expert, identifies seven character strengths that help humans flourish across their lifespan: self-confidence, empathy, self-control, integrity, curiosity, perseverance, and optimism. Not only does Borba knit together the research and tell engaging stories, she also offers really practical advice on how to help children develop each of these strengths. You can read my interview with Michelle Borba here. 

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Deborah Farmer Kris

A writer, teacher, parent, and child development expert, Deborah Farmer Kris writes regularly for PBS KIDS for Parents and NPR’s MindShift; her work has been featured several times in The Washington Post; and she is the author of the All the Time picture book series (coming out in 2022) focused on social-emotional growth. A popular speaker, Deborah has a B.A. in English, a B.S. in Education, and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology. Mostly, she loves finding and sharing nuggets of practical wisdom that can help kids and families thrive — including her own. You can follow her on Twitter @dfkris, contact her at [email protected], or visit her website: Parenthood365 (