As baby boomers, we came into the world after the WWII global battle for peace. But many of us are profoundly curious about it because it shaped who our parents became. For her novel, Even in Darkness, a fictionalized account based on true events in her German-Jewish family’s lives during the Holocaust and beyond, author Barbara Stark-Nemon has done a prodigious job of research over 15 years to put together a story that overcomes the many challenges inherent in writing about family history. She even brings the story into the present to show how those horrendous experiences continued to influence second and third generations of survivors’ families.
Throughout the book she demonstrates the beauty and the treasure inherent in good storytelling, both by the stories told by characters in the book and by her own skill at weaving events into a coherent storyline that honors love in all its forms—even love between a Catholic priest and a German hausfrau—and respects courage in the many manifestations called forth by the Holocaust. The lead character, Kläre Kohler, seems almost too good to be true, but who knows what positive karma the author imagined in her background to make her the trusting, giving, healing person she is to all those whose lives she touches throughout the book. Inspiring in its frank but restrained portrayal of the hell of surviving the insanity of Nazi Germany. Visit www.barbarastarknemon.com for more information.
Know anyone who’s divorced or getting divorced? When you realize that 40 to 50 percent of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, and as a baby boomer you’ve been around for a while, you’re almost guaranteed to know someone. How are their kids doing? Sadly, kids’ psyches often suffer the worst collateral damage when parents split. A new book, Family Changes: Explaining Divorce to Children by Azmaira H. Maker, PhD, offers parents some guidelines on how to talk to their four- to eight-year-old kids about divorce. In language and pictures and with stories and imaginary play geared to young kids, she touches on how to create and foster an appropriate dialogue and process based on the child’s needs.
Maker, who specializes in child development, parenting and psychotherapy, saw the need for such a book during her years of family practice. The books about divorce that were available tended to be aimed at older kids or were out of date. She developed this book with an interactive template to help adults know what to expect, how to understand children’s needs and how to respond to their kids.
The book is very useful for adults—a great many of us—who don’t intuitively know how to talk about difficult subjects with kids. One caveat, though. This book is good for parents who are both actively interested in helping their kids get through the process as pain-free as possible. It won’t be as helpful if parents are antagonistic or even hostile to each other, and especially if one or both are inclined to use the children as weapons against the other…sadly, a situation that happens all too often. Visit http://aspiringfamilies.com/family-changes-book for more information.