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Heather Stevenson, M.A.

Recommended Resources

There are many, many books and websites about parenting, and it can be hard to discern which ones are a fit with your principles. If Open Heart Parenting resonates with you, many of these recommended books and websites will as well.

Parenting Resources

Books by Aletha Solter, Ph.D.

  • The Aware Baby
  • Tears and Tantrums: What to Do When Babies and Children Cry
  • Helping Young Children Flourish
  • Raising Drug-Free Kids
  • Attachment Play: How to solve children's behavior problems with play, laughter, and connection

Books by Alfie Kohn

  • Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason
  • Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Prise, and Other Bribes
  • The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and "Tougher Standards"

Books by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

  • How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
  • Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too

Other Recommended Books and Websites

  • Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen, Ph.D.
  • Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children by Thomas Gordon, Ph.D.
  • Are You Hungry? by Jane R. Hirschmann and Lela Zaphiropoulos
  • Raising Children Compassionately: Parenting the Nonviolent Communication Way by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.
  • Parenting From Your Heart: Sharing the Gifts of Compassion, Connection, and Choice by Inbal Kashtan (also about nonviolent communication with children)
  • Hand in Hand Parenting:

Fertility, Pregnancy, and Childbirth

Local Resources for Parents

  • Seasons Preschool has a philosophy that includes the use of compassionate communication and acceptance of children's feelings, and is a perfect fit with Open Heart Parenting. They currently have openings for new students. You can contact Seasons and learn more by visiting
  • Happy Little Hippo, Children's Resale Boutique, is an affordable source for stylish used clothes for children. They buy and sell baby equipment, parenting and children's books, and toys. Located at 2919 de la Vina St., Santa Barbara. 805-845-5179. Visit their website at
  • Mamatoto Mothers Circle, an attachment parenting support group.
  •, a comprehensive resource directory for Santa Barbara parents.

Books for Same-Sex Families

Kids books

  • Bryan- The Different Dragon: This bedtime story about bedtime stories shows how the care and curiosity of a little boy, with some help from his willing moms, can lead to magical and unexpected places.
  • Considine- Emma and Meesha My Boy: A Two Mom Story: A story of a girl with two moms who learns how to be nice to her cat.
  • Coombs- ABC, A Family Alphabet Book: It's family fun from A to Z in this alphabet book that shows kids and their parents laughing, playing and enjoying family life. All of the brilliant watercolors depict families headed by gay parents.
  • Garden- Molly’s Family: While preparing decorations for Open School Night, Molly and several of her classmates draw pictures of their families and discover that family means something different to each of them.
  • Greenberg- Zack's Story: Growing Up with Same-Sex Parents : An eleven-year-old boy describes life as part of a family made up of himself, his mother and her lesbian partner.
  • Haan- King & King: When the queen insists that the prince get married and take over as king, the search for a suitable mate does not turn out as expected.
  • Haan- King & King and Family: King and King go off of a trip and come back with an unexpected something, or someone, in a suitcase.
  • Newman/Thompson- Mommy, Mama, and Me: A board book that depicts the nurturing relationship between a lesbian couple and their little boy.
  • Newman- Daddy, Papa, and Me: This board book is a story of a toddler spending the day with his dads.
  • Parnell- And Tango Makes Three: At New York City's Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches.
  • Parr- The Family Book: Represents a variety of families, some big and some small, some with only one parent and some with two moms or dads, some quiet and some noisy, but all alike in some ways and special no matter what.
  • Polacco- In Our Mothers’ House: Three young children experience the joys and challenges of being raised by two mothers.
  • Setterington- Mom and Mum Are Getting Married: Rosie's Mom is getting married and Rosie is excited about all of the plans. At this party family and friends come together for a celebration of love in a changing world.
  • Snow- How it Feels to Have a Gay or Lesbian Parent: A Book By Kids for Kids of All Ages
  • Valentine- The Duke Who Outlawed Jelly Beans: and Other Stories: A collection of five fairy tales about children with gay parents.

Books for Adults

  • Garner- Families Like Mine, Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is: The author interviewed 50 children on gay/lesbian parents and shares their experiences in this book.
  • Kaeser- Love Makes a Family: Portraits of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Parents and Their Families: photographs by Gigi Kaeser; edited by Peggy Gillespie.

Games to Play With Children

Here are some ideas for games to play with children that address power struggles and sibling rivalry, as well as promote connection between children and parents:

Power Reversal Games

Games for Sibling Rivalry

Games for Connection