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Learning to Listen: A Life Caring for Children

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Overview


From his childhood in Waco, Texas, where he took expert care of nine small cousins while the adults ate Sunday lunch, to Princeton and an offer from Broadway, to medical and psychoanalytic training, to the exquisite observations into newborn behavior that led babies to be seen in an entirely new light, Dr. T. Berry Brazelton’s life has been one of innovation and caring. Known internationally for the Touchpoints theory of regression and growth in infants and young children, Brazelton is also credited for bringing...
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Overview


From his childhood in Waco, Texas, where he took expert care of nine small cousins while the adults ate Sunday lunch, to Princeton and an offer from Broadway, to medical and psychoanalytic training, to the exquisite observations into newborn behavior that led babies to be seen in an entirely new light, Dr. T. Berry Brazelton’s life has been one of innovation and caring. Known internationally for the Touchpoints theory of regression and growth in infants and young children, Brazelton is also credited for bringing the insights of child development into pediatrics, and for his powerful advocacy in Congress.

In Learning to Listen, fans of Brazelton and professionals in his field can follow both the roots of a brilliant career and the evolution of child-rearing into the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In the past forty years, perhaps no one has raised the quality of children's medicine more than T. Berry Brazelton. Now, in a release that coincides with his 95th birthday, Dr. Brazelton uses his own experiences to illuminate what doctors, nurses, and other professionals need to know about newborns and toddlers. (P.S. Learning to Listen possesses distinct crossover appeal because its insights can help parents too.)

Publishers Weekly
Influential pediatrician Brazelton (To Listen to a Child) shares his personal history and professional insights in this engaging memoir. Born in Waco, Tex., in l9l8, Brazelton had an affinity for little ones from early on: he cared for nine cousins at the age of 10 while the grownups prepared dinner, and as a teen mended the broken leg of a chicken with a Popsicle stick. Intrigued by family relationships, he pondered his jealousy of his younger brother, and was concerned about his father’s emotional distance (the senior Brazelton, who owned a lumber company, died at 49). Brazelton takes us through his early years of study, his interest in combining the fields of pediatrics and psychiatry, and his development of the NBAS (Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale, now the “gold standard of infant assessment”), noting the many changes that have transpired since he first began practicing. He was among the first to question medicating mothers during childbirth, and significantly influenced the natural childbirth movement. Although many may know Brazelton from his books and TV show (What Every Baby Knows), here, he also chronicles his years of researching infants and families in such places as Kenya, Greece, Mexico, Guatemala, and Japan, with characteristic warmth and humor. (May)
From the Publisher

Kirkus Reviews, 4/1

“The most fascinating parts of the memoir are most likely to be [Brazelton’s] accounts of his experiences studying newborns in other cultures: Mayans in southern Mexico, Guatemalans, Kenyans, urban and rural Japanese, Chinese, Navajos in Arizona and Greeks on the island of Thera…Readers familiar with Brazelton’s books and articles on babies and children may relish this close-up look at the man who guided them through the vicissitudes of parenthood.”

Booklist, 5/1/13

“[An] affable memoir…It takes a special person to be a pediatrician, and Dr. Brazelton’s remarkable life stamps him as a truly exceptional one.”

Boston Globe, 4/26/13

“Colorful stories.”

InfoDad.com, 4/25/13

“Very well written in a very New York if not quite New Yorker style, elevated and erudite and seeming to stand back from and examine experience even while experiencing it…[Gross] is certainly well-traveled and has met and written about some very interesting people.”

Publishers Weekly, 5/6/13

“[An] engaging memoir…Although many may know Brazelton from his books and TV show (What Every Baby Knows), here, he also chronicles his years of researching infants and families in such places as Kenya, Greece, Mexico, Guatemala, and Japan, with characteristic warmth and humor.”

New York Journal of Books, 4/30/13

“[A] sensitive memoir [that] fills a gap as to the theoretical and practical roots of contemporary child raising practice. Learning to Listen is a timely reminder (on Brazelton’s 95th birthday) of his huge contribution to child rearing…A compassionate glimpse at the young boy and man who became such an internationally trusted pediatrician…Learning to Listen is a must-read for professionals and lay people alike—anyone interested in babies and in parenting.”

Wall Street Journal, 5/15/13

“At 95, pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton ranks as the éminence grise of infant and child development…a celebrity long before Dr. Oz or Dr. Phil…Many of his ideas about caring for sick children—such as letting parents be at the hospital 24/7—are now standards of care…The general tone of Learning to Listen is one of gratitude and joy at being able to help facilitate the parent-child relationship.”

Boston Globe, 5/12/13

“Having tended to the needs of countless families for a half-century, the Cambridge resident and Harvard Medical School professor emeritus has turned his attention to his own upbringing.”

InfoDad.com, 5/16/13
“An autobiography, and a suitably modest and outwardly focused one, at that. Brazelton’s plainspoken style is as much a part of this book as it is of all his others…By the end of Learning to Listen, readers will realize that there are two equally valid ways to read the book’s subtitle: A Life Caring for Children as in ‘a life taking care of children’ and, equally correctly, as in ‘a life caring about children.’ The two ways together sum up a great deal of what is special about T. Berry Brazelton.”

Library Journal, 6/01/13

“A fascinating account of a long and distinguished career in medicine and an education in child-care techniques.”

Boston Parents Paper, June 2013

“Memoir readers will be surprised by what they learn about America’s beloved doctor, who’s done much to improve how we perceive and treat children.”

Bookviews, June 2013
“This is a most interesting memoir to read.”

Spirituality & Practice, 7/10/13

“[An] accessible and sprightly memoir.”

San Francisco Book Review, 8/14/2013

“Dr. Brazelton is the pediatrician that every parent would like to have for their child. He is compassionate, empathetic, and informed.”

Myrtle Beach Sun News, 11/3/13

“This is the story of Brazelton’s life, his findings, his work and his outlook on today’s families.”

Barnstable Patriot, 11/22/13

“Pick up A Life Caring for Children the way Brazelton picks up baby after baby in this book. You’ll be rewarded immediately with a smile (yours).”

Acadiana LifeStyle, February 2014
“While nobody knows just how many babies will be born in this New Year, it’s a sure bet many new mothers will be reading Dr. Brazelton, who’s spent his life caring for children…Excellent.”

Kirkus Reviews
Memoir of the much-admired pediatrician and prolific author. Brazelton (Emeritus, Pediatrics/Harvard Medical School) opens with frank comments about his own unhappy childhood, his distant relationship with his parents and his early talent for taking care of small children. He skims through his medical education and naval service and hits his stride when he turns to the years when he began to combine the practice of pediatrics and psychiatry. A more accurate title for this book would be Learning to Observe, for Brazelton became a keen observer of newborns and from these observations developed with his colleagues the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale, a comprehensive scale for understanding the temperament of newborns that is still taught and used today. He also explains Touchpoints, a theory of the forces that drive child development that is taught to professionals at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center at Boston Children's Hospital and to parents in a series of popular books. For general readers—i.e., those who are not new parents—the most fascinating parts of the memoir are most likely to be his accounts of his experiences studying newborns in other cultures: Mayans in southern Mexico, Guatemalans, Kenyans, urban and rural Japanese, Chinese, Navajos in Arizona and Greeks on the island of Thera. The author is not shy about his accomplishments, and he appears to take special delight in telling of encounters with vocal admirers, of his put-downs of those less respectful, and of his brushes with the famous. Readers familiar with Brazelton's books and articles on babies and children may relish this close-up look at the man who guided them through the vicissitudes of parenthood; others, not so much.
Library Journal
One of Brazelton's (pediatrics, emeritus, Harvard Medical Sch.; coauthor, Touchpoints: Birth to Three) contributions over a long and significant medical career is the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment scale, or Brazelton scale, which is used all over the world to assess newborns. In this memoir, Brazelton discusses how the scale was developed and some of the places it has been used. He also writes about his childhood, family life, and education. Most interesting is his experience teaching mothers worldwide how to care for their newborns and communicate with them. His observations on newborn behavior are also significant. In particular, Brazelton features a set of quintuplets whose stories and ability to survive are a highlight of the book. VERDICT This autobiography is a fascinating account of a long and distinguished career in medicine and an education in child-care techniques.—Karen Sutherland, White Oak Lib. Dist., Romeoville, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738216676
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2013
  • Series: A Merloyd Lawrence Book
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 686,146
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


T. Berry Brazelton, MD, is professor emeritus of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and adjunct professor of psychiatry, human behavior, and pediatrics at Brown University. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Customer Reviews

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