License to Parent: How My Career as a Spy Helped Me Raise Resourceful, Self-Sufficient Kids

Christina Hillsberg, with Ryan Hillsberg. Putnam, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-0-593-19111-8
Christina and Ryan Hillsberg, married former CIA spies, turn their espionage training into helpful parenting advice in this one-of-a-kind guide on raising self-sufficient kids. Their focus is on empowering children with real-world skills and countering helicopter parenting: “I didn’t want to parent from a place of fear,” Christina writes, but “from a place of knowledge and strength.” The lessons that follow cover skills often left off parenting checklists, as the authors encourage teaching children how to read a map, tout the importance of learning to understand one’s body’s limits, and cover how to visualize success. Some of the Hillsberg family’s plans can strike as far-fetched (they keep a box stocked with such items as cigarettes that might come in handy for trading in case a cash economy crumbles), but Christina is an accomplished storyteller, combining examples from her life with insightful parenting tips (she describes the role-play used in her training at the CIA’s covert training center, and encourages parents to use the technique with children, for example). At times the guide reads like a thriller, as when their daughters suspect they’re being tailed on their way home, but things never get gimmicky. Insightful and entertaining, this is a winning spin on the usual parenting fare. Agent: Howard Yoon, Ross Yoon Agency. (June)
Reviewed on : 04/13/2021
Release date: 06/08/2021
Genre: Lifestyle
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-593-19112-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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