5 Books You Must Read This Summer

School’s out for the summer, it’s a holiday weekend, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite books with you. Each one of these has changed the way I look at the world and has impacted how I understand myself and my family. In short, each of these books has changed the way I relate to people and how I parent my kids. If you’re looking for some must-read book this summer, I highly recommend these books.

The Connected Child (Purvis, Cross, Sunshine)

No surprise here. Most of you have probably read this book, but if you’re like me you should read it every summer. The Connected Child introduced us to connected parenting and was the on ramp for us getting involved with Tapestry and Empowered to Connect. The Connected Child opened my eyes to many things by offering me some context in ways that other resources had not. I learned that trust is built through healthy relationships, that I need to connect before I correct, and that I need to see my children with eyes of compassion. I learned that nutrition, hydration, and sleep play an important part in setting my child up for success, I learned that I need to understand and meet their sensory needs. The Connected Child helped me understand that my kids can heal.

The Whole-Brain Child (Siegel, Bryson)

Siegel and Bryson have an ability to translate complex scientific things into words that the rest of us can understand. This is an easy read, especially considering that it is a book about neuroscience. Almost all of us can explain the difference between the left brain and right brain, but fewer can explain the differences between the downstairs brain and upstairs brain; the emotional brain and the logical brain. This book helped me learn about the upstairs brain and downstairs brain. A game changer at our house. In my opinion, there are only three types of people who should read this book; people who have kids, people who work with others who were once kids, and people who were once kids themselves.

Anatomy of the Soul (Thompson)

Anatomy of the Soul is a deep book. I remember the first time I read it…I had to read it twice. I would read a page and then have to re-read it immediately just to understand the content. But, don’t be intimidated this is an amazing book. Curt Thompson weaves science and faith together in a way that helps us practice mindfulness, understand attachment, and make sense of our past. Dan Siegel says that Anatomy of the Soul “offers an illuminating journey through the Bible and the brain that has profoundly practical implications for how to live our lives more fully.”

Daring Greatly (Brown)

Kayla and I listened to Daring Greatly together on a road trip last year, and I highly recommend that you read it with your spouse if you are married. Brene Brown communicates things that we all feel and experience, but find difficult to communicate. This book allowed us to have empathy on a level that we hadn’t previously had for each other. Being vulnerable allows us to experience intimacy in relationships the way we need to. Unfortunately for most of us, we have learned to build walls and how to be defensive instead of being vulnerable. We spend our time avoiding being hurt when we should spend our time being completely available to each other. The key to life-transforming relationships is deciding to be vulnerable with those you love. Daring Greatly is a must read.

The Body Keeps The Score (Van Der Kolk)

This is a foundational book for those who what to understand trauma and how it impacts people. Everyone parenting or working with kids should read this book. Everyone trying to understand their own histories and the impact of those histories should read this book. Understanding that the body remembers what the mind forgets was transformative for me. Watch me telling a story about it HERE. Resolving trauma requires us to understand it and experience it emotionally. The Body Keeps Score sends phrases like “you’ve got to just get past this and move on” and “time heals all wounds” to their rightful place of superficial advice. This book may help you understand why trips to Chuck-e-Cheese don’t go well and the good thing you planned wasn’t.

I hope that you enjoy reading and learning from these books. Each one of them has been transformative for us in understanding our kids and ourselves better.

Ryan North
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Ryan North

Ryan North is the Executive Director of Tapestry, the Adoption & Foster Care Ministry of Irving Bible Church in Dallas, Texas. As Executive Director of Tapestry, Ryan also leads Empowered to Connect. He frequently writes and speaks on connected parenting and ministry leadership.
Ryan North
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