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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)

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,680 Ratings  ·  275 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 JamesThe Blue Jay's Dance by Louise ErdrichCall Me Okaasan by Suzanne KamataHow Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm by Mei-Ling HopgoodBringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman
Multicultural Motherhood
4th out of 21 books — 18 voters
Nap-A-Roo by Kristy KurjanLamaze by Paula A.  MichaelsThe Gentle Art of Newborn Family Care by Salle WebberOur Babies, Ourselves by Meredith SmallMaking Babies by Anne Enright
Books for New Mothers
7th out of 11 books — 6 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
Jaclyn Day
Jan 02, 2013 Jaclyn Day rated it really liked it
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
May 17, 2015 Helena rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, parenting
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
Jun 19, 2012 Rebecca rated it it was ok
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
David Crumm
Mar 04, 2012 David Crumm rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 04, 2012 Kristen rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 29, 2016 Abby rated it really liked it
I live for the kinds of cultural anthropology nuggets that fill this book. Learning about how other people live is fascinating and satisfying. And inspiring when they are little global parenting nuggets that make me rethink my mothering routine. (This book is in desperate need of a good copy editor though.)
Razvan Zamfirescu
Sep 22, 2015 Razvan Zamfirescu rated it did not like it
Spicuiri din recenzia finala care se gaseste pe blogul meu

Cartea de faţă este arhicunoscuta How Eskimos keep their Babies Warm: and other Adventures in Parenting. O grozavă mişcare de marketing a făcut titlul de nerecunocut în limba română, lucru care putea să îmi spună încă de la început (dar nu a făcut-o) că editura Philobia a dat iarăşi cu bâta în baltă.

Ce-i drept este că habar nu am How Eskimos keep their Babies Warm pentru că nu am apucat să termin
Apr 09, 2013 Elaine rated it really liked it
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
Jan 26, 2015 Little rated it liked it
In the click-through world of online marketing, sensationalist headlines and fueling the "mommy wars" are the order of the day. I for one am sick of, "You'll never believe what these moms do to their babies!" Especially because 1) Nobody's getting hurt, 2) It's usually normal and understandable in their cultural context, and 3) Someone else can make different decisions from me without them being an indictment of my parenting.

Hopgood says there are many right ways to parent. AMEN. This book is a
Sep 15, 2012 Shirin rated it it was ok
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
Jan 03, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
As a first-time mom, you're constantly bombarded with the best way to parent (attachment parenting, breastfeeding, cosleeping, babywearing, baby led weaning, elimination communication, etc). One good thing you can say about this book is that the author avoids making pronouncements about the best way to parent. However, most chapters romanticize other cultures' child-rearing styles, which had me rolling my eyes at a few points, and the author often sounds pretty self-satisfied when she goes again ...more
Jun 09, 2014 Esther rated it liked it
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
Jan 04, 2013 Ashley rated it liked it
Shelves: zz-113-in-2013
The book's epigraph -- a quotation from Miriam Beard about traveling being "more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living" -- sets How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm off as a parenting-focused travelogue of sorts. And for the first few chapters of the text, that's exactly what the book is, and why I enjoyed it. Who doesn't love reading short, fun essays about the practices of various cultures?

But ultimately, as Hopgood continues debating
Angela Coan
Oct 29, 2014 Angela Coan rated it really liked it
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
Bobbie Greene
Jun 22, 2012 Bobbie Greene rated it really liked it
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
Jun 05, 2013 Jill rated it really liked it
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
Aug 29, 2014 Lavinia rated it really liked it
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
Jul 31, 2014 anaïs rated it really liked it
really interesting, funny, enlightening book for western parents who may be stuck in one mindset about their little ones. no, i'm not pregnant.
Apr 04, 2013 Chrissy rated it really liked it
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
Lucie Lacoste
Ce livre est très très très intéressant. Il traite de différences culturelles en terme d'éducation des enfants. Les comparaisons culturelles sont toujours très enrichissantes. Voir ce qui se fait ailleurs permet de faire des choix personnels construits et non dictés par sa propre société.

J'ai particulièrement adoré les modes de résolution des conflits dans les écoles asiatiques et l'apprentissage précoce de la propreté chez les bébés chez les Chinois.

A lire pour les jeunes parents, les futurs pa
Jason Strayer
Feb 15, 2016 Jason Strayer rated it liked it
If you really want to know how Eskimos keep their babies warm, you will be disappointed with this book. Strangely, if you blink you’ll miss the reference hidden in the middle of one of the book’s eleven chapters, each of which reads like an extended blog article that combines a glance at a child-rearing practice that would be thought unusual in the West with some personal experiences from the author. More thoroughly covered topics span from the late hours kept by children in South America to the ...more
Gwendoline Van
Jul 25, 2015 Gwendoline Van rated it really liked it
"Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living." - Miriam Beard

Americans prefer minimal sensory load for sleep, but cultures elsewhere have kids sleeping at parties, in shared rooms, etc.: "Sleep can be considered a biologically driven behavior of the child that is strongly shaped and interpreted by cultural values and beliefs of the parents ... many 'problems' ... are based on culturally constructed definitions and expectations
Sep 29, 2014 Orhedeia rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 02, 2013 Hitin rated it it was amazing
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,
Feb 09, 2015 Jerzy rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
(Note to other reviewers: Yes, she *does* actually mention how Eskimos keep babies warm, though it's just a short section of the stroller chapter: two paragraphs on p.66 in my book.)

Refreshing! A parenting book whose goal is not to tell you what you're doing wrong or how to guarantee you'll raise your kids "correctly." Rather, the author wants to show us that, around the world, different cultures raise kids VERY differently and they still tend to turn out OK. This helped put me at ease about whe
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
Apr 03, 2014 Carmine rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult, parenting
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
Feb 03, 2013 ABC rated it really liked it
Shelves: teens-and-adults
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.
Mar 08, 2015 Jade rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, non-fiction
I'm a novice when it comes to the world of parenting books, in fact I purposefully avoided them during my pregnancy and the subsequent time after. When I stumbled across How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm, I was intrigued. Not your typical parenting book, this one shares a wealth of knowledge procured from parents and specialists all around the world; it isn't a manual, more an insight.

Alongside well researched words, the author shares her own experiences of parenthood with those of various oth
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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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