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How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting (from Argentina to Tanzania and everywhere in between)
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How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting (from Argentina to Tanzania and everywhere in between)

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  1,255 ratings  ·  229 reviews
For any parent weary of the so-called 'expert advice' peddled in books and on TV, this refreshing read lifts the lid on how other cultures parent their children, with some interesting, and surprising, insights. Mei-Ling Hopgood explores how parents in other countries approach such issues as bedtime, potty training and playtime squabbles and offers new perspectives on how t ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Algonquin Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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The Milk of Female Kindness by Kasia JamesCall Me Okaasan by Suzanne KamataThe Blue Jay's Dance by Louise ErdrichHow Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm by Mei-Ling HopgoodBattle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
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4th out of 15 books — 13 voters
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Relocation
42nd out of 57 books — 23 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,783)
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Sarah
Let me get this off my chest. She doesn't talk about Eskimos keeping anything warm. Everything else, maybe, but not Eskimos keeping babies warm.

The first couple of chapters were interesting, but she kind of lost me there once she started talking about Lebanese besties families, Tibetan spiritual pregnancies, Japanese fighting children, and Asian super students. It wasn't that I found the premises repellant so much as that I didn't see any compelling reason to care.

Potty training. THAT's a topic
...more
Jaclyn Day
When I first brought Isobel home, I was Googling or researching the answers to tons of questions I had. From the mundane to the POTENTIALLY LIFE-ALTERING, I was fearful that one wrong move would forever ruin my child in some way. Why was I so panicked? Other than the obvious (it’s natural and I think most women go through some anxiety at first), there has never been more scrutiny on parenthood—and mothers—in particular than there is right now. Part of the reason for this is that more women are m ...more
Rebecca
This is another book that could have been a lot shorter. It was sort of a pseudo-scientific piece on parenting practices around the world. It was interesting in that the author talked about her own experiences with different parenting practices in different countries, but then there was a lot of her looking at data that existed on whether these practices were beneficial or not and guess what, there hasn't been a lot of cross-cultural parenting research. I'm not
really sure how you would even desi
...more
David Crumm
You'll Have Fun with Mei-Ling Hopgood as Your Global Guide to Parenting

Mei-Ling Hopgood is a top journalist who now teaches at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. For her readers, that means she's a lifelong storyteller, which you'll discover immediately when you dip into this wonderful book of real-life stories that circle the globe.

She is famous in her own right. Born in Taiwan and adopted by an American family at an early age, the bittersweet story of her r
...more
Kristen
This might be my favorite parenting book because it's *not* really a parenting book. There's no "approach," no failsafe method, no guarantee that if you do X,Y,Z your problems will be solved. Instead, it's a reality check that parents need to do what works best for them, their family, and their place in their community/society. And that sometimes what works best for one family won't be what works best for others -- and that's OK. Because there are lots of good paths to successful parenting and r ...more
Elaine
Great overview of many child-rearing customs from around the world, some of which on first reading, I thought 'wow, how strange!'. I read 'Bringing up Bebe' a while back, and before that I never thought of how I parent as particularly 'American', I thought it was just 'parenting', but after reading that one, it was clear how 'American' some of my ideas on parenting are. This book gives examples of many of parenting styles, which differ greatly from what we see here often. I agree with the author ...more
Helena
Overall this book was interesting for the information on parenting in other cultures. Some of it consists of new information (Ake fathers who allow their babies to "nurse" on them for comfort when mom's not around) and some explains familiar stereotypes (why so many Asians do well academically). I did have a few quibbles, however, one of which was sloppy proofreading (lots of small errors like "settling" when the word should have been "setting," etc).

Another is that the author seemed, in some ca
...more
Shirin
Did you know babies don't have to wear diapers until they are 3?? Or that you can carry them in a sling instead of lugging around a giant stroller?? Besides reading like a book report on Anthropology of Childhood, and the fact that it is chock-full of typos and other mistakes, this book might interest current or potential parents who have never read anything about different cultures or children ever. Hopgood tries to make the book more interesting by integrating different ideas and practices she ...more
Bobbie Greene
While I did find the rest of this book interesting, I mostly picked it up for Chapter 3: How Kenyans Live without Strollers. After watching the documentary film entitled "Babies" a couple of years ago, I started wondering: "Do we REALLY need all of this STUFF when we have babies? It seems so much of the world does just fine without it." Yes, a stroller makes it easy for us to, say, go to the mall with our little ones (an example the author uses), but do we really need to put baby in a stroller t ...more
Jill
I loved this book. I loved reading about the parenting practices in various cultures. It made me think about the reasoning behind some of the choices my husband and I have made in our parenting as well as bring up discussion points of possible ideas to implement.

I am so grateful that the author's tone is one of sharing information and not telling you you are going to forever scar your child if you choose to feed them or diaper them or send them to bed one way or another. So many parenting books
...more
Lavinia
By all means, this is not your regular parenting book. There's no advice on how to, but there are tons of examples, as the title states, from all over the world, about how people raise their kids. Why Argentinian babies stay late and there's no problem whatsoever, how come the French kids eat their Brussels sprouts and their artichokes (wait! what?), how the Chinese potty train their infants from a very early age, oh, and yeah, how the Eskimos keep their babies warm. It is more of a cultural/ant ...more
anaïs
really interesting, funny, enlightening book for western parents who may be stuck in one mindset about their little ones. no, i'm not pregnant.
Chrissy
Super interesting. It's almost comforting to know that different cultures raise children in so many different ways. So often in the US culture, it's easy for parents to feel as though they are doing something "wrong" if they deviate from the standard. However, when looking at a global perspective, there seems to be no "standard", and to say that something is "wrong" might be violating a cultural tradition. Even though my children are growing older, I still feel pressure to do the "right thing" a ...more
Orhedeia
This is a fascinating read as the author takes us on a journey around the world to explore how various societies care for their young. She is objective in her description and does not pass judgement on the various techniques, but does present interesting options and alternatives in child raising beyond the widely accepted American standards. I believe this is a gem as it makes you realize that child rearing along with many other things is a social construct and what is practiced now and here is ...more
Esther
I confess I am getting a little tired of the never-ending stream of cultural parenting books, many of which try to take the position that they are doing this research in part to combat the ever growing competitiveness of middle class American parenting. I find, though, that they are simply more bait in the game, just in a subtler way. Now instead of camping out for weeks in advance to get your kid the best spot in the best preschool, it's all about whether you do food like the French, party like ...more
Hitin
A very good book especially for folks trying to raise their children in countries that have cultures that are different than the one they were raised in. It will let them keep things in perspective and not stress out if you are deviating from the norm. Possibly the best "parenting" book i have read so far - this does not have any suggestions or what to do, but provides you experiences of how children are raised in other cultures -

Best regards,
Angela Coan
This is my kind of parenting book, i.e. one that does not dole out advice or techniques, but leads me to question whether or not the "way" everyone does things HAS to be the way things are done. This is a very well researched open-minded book about different aspects of parenting in different cultures around the world, specifically how they are so different from a Westernized way, or modernized way of parenting, and why they may not be wrong. The author doesn't set out trying to prove anything or ...more
Courtney
While I certainly found this book interesting, I did not find it compelling. Every chapter focuses on a different aspect of parenting and then discusses how other cultures do things differently than Western parents. For parents who have never considered that children around the world are not all treated the same, this book may come as a relief that there is no on "right" way to rear a child. On the flip side, Hopgood does not look very deep into parenting cultures and why they differ. She does n ...more
Carmine
The collection of anecdotes about 'how parents do it elsewhere' was very interesting, if not very deep or contextualized. All the same, it was nice to see snapshots of how other cultures handle parenting issues like bedtimes and potty training. Not so compelling was the author's tying everything back to 'this is what I am doing with my child.'

Over all, an enjoyable read that leaves you with some fodder for thought. It is a reminder that it is ok not to jump into every friendship squabble between
...more
Kirei
Hopgood covers a variety of topics, including babywearing/strollers, potty training, bedtime/sleep, Asians excelling at schoolwork, Tibetan viewpoints of childbirth, family bonds among Arab Americans, how Japanese view squabbling among preschoolers. It wasn't really that scientific, but it was fun.
Ly-ann Low
This book is not very different from the premise set out in Gross-Loh's book, "Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us". Hopgood paints a picture of all the diverse voices in the debate of good parenting and identifies what the values in each of those practices are about, focusing on the customary and indigenous practices rather than the modern ways we are more used to.

Certainly, it has made it think (again!) about some of the stereotypes of parenting
...more
Kristan
This is one of my favorite parenting books. The book serves as a great reminder that there is no one right way to raise a child. Highly enjoyable and entertaining!
Bridget Flanagan jones
Interesting read. Good reminder to relax a little when raising children. There is no one way to do it. Interesting to see how other cultures teach their children.
Samantha
This book is about the author's personal experiences with parenting attitudes across different cultures. Supplemented with data from various research and literature, she shares some specific practices of different cultures and brings to attention that "while there are some universal standards of how a child should be treated, there are many ways to be a good parent in the world".

I think she presented some interesting perspectives to me as a fellow parent of very young children; How we can relax
...more
Sandra
A first-time mom from suburban Michigan-now living in Buenos Aires embarks on a journey to explore how other cultures raise their children. By observing parents, reading research, interviewing anthropologists, educators, and child-care experts, Hopgood uncovers some enlightening practices in potty training, feeding, bedtimes, etc.

A very entertaining and informative read that has given me many ideas. my only critique is the author's overuse of indigenous cultures and groups as extreme examples to
...more
Katie
I quite enjoyed this one. It's a less-academic intro into some of the cultural anthropology of parenting in other cultures, and as such a pretty quick and fun read. It also had lot of good references to follow up on for more information about particular cultures. The cross cultural perspectives are giving me a few things: (1) alternatives to pick, to figure out what kind of parent I want to be if I want to parent as optimally as possible (2) confidence that not following the Western norm in a pa ...more
Kara Larson
A fascinatingly unorthodox parenting book highlighting parenting differences in various cultures.

How Buenos Aires Children Go to Bed Late
How French Teach Their Children to Love Healthy Food
How Kenyans Live without Strollers
How the Chinese Potty Train Early
How Aka Pygmies Are the Best Fathers
How Lebanese Americans Keep Their Families Close
How Tibetans Cherish Pregnancy
How the Japanese Let Their Children Fight
How Polynesians Play without Parents
How Mayan Villagers Put Their Kids to Work
How Asians
...more
Jennifer
No, this is not a parenting guide. Anyone with an ounce of curiosity about other cultures will enjoy How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm, and Other Adventures in Parenting (from Argentina to Tanzania and Everywhere in Between) (Algonquin Books, 2012). Approaching with a hint of naïveté and a bit humor, journalist Mei-Ling Hopgood investigates the ways mothers and fathers around the world rear their children, and reports on her misadventures in actually trying to apply some of these ideas to her o ...more
Lenore Webb
On the ride home I started telling Dear Hubby about a book that had some neat tidbits in it. "How Eskimos Keep their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting around the World" was great in showing all the different ways we parent. And raised questions I had just not thought of too. Seeing where so many children around here feel they are the center of the world (and of course we want to let them know they are loved), it was refreshing to know that many cultures still have their children lea ...more
Jessica
I cannot recommend this book highly enough . . .to the right reader. What Mei-Ling Hopgood has written is not a prescriptive parenting book. There is no formula, no "If you do X and Y you will get brilliant child Z." If you want a step by step guide on how to raise a child, this is not for you.

Each chapter focuses on a different culture's approach to a certain aspect of parenting, and contrasts that approach with American style parenting. Her range of topics is eclectic, how the French teach the
...more
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Mei-Ling Hopgood is an award-winning journalist who has written for the Detroit Free Press, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, National Geographic Traveler, and the Miami Herald, and has worked in the Cox Newspapers Washington bureau. She lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with her husband and their daughter. A newspaper feature she wrote for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the reunion with her birth f ...more
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Lucky Girl How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: Parenting wisdom from around the world Comment Les Eskimos Gardent Les Bebes Au Chaud

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