15 best parenting books for 2024

Worried about weaning, or too much screen time? We survey the best parenting books to help you get it right, whatever the issue.

Whether you’re a new parent, or one facing the complications of guiding older children through life, there’s no shortage of books to help you navigate the complexities of parenting. Here, we cast an eye over the best parenting books on the market, written from a rich range of perspectives. With advice on nutrition, joyful play, instilling resilience – and making sure your own relationships stay on track – here is our pick of the very best parenting books out there in 2024. 

How to Raise a Healthy Gamer

by Dr Alok Kanojia

How much should I let them play? How do I get them to be interested in anything else?! Video games and managing screen time are a modern parenting problem with no blueprint and a rapidly changing landscape. Here, Harvard-trained psychiatrist and former gaming addict Dr Alok Kanojia offers a proven and tested eight-week, step-by-step program to help parents define, set and reinforce healthy boundaries around screens and video games.

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Happy Families

by Dr Beth Mosley MBE

Dr Beth Mosley MBE is one of the UK’s most experienced and respected consultant clinical psychologists, and she works with children, young people and their families every day. In this groundbreaking guide, she shares the answers to difficult topics such as anxiety, broaching difficult conversations, approaching mental health ups and downs, and many more. Happy Families takes an honest and accessible approach to children’s mental health, covering ages four to twenty-one, arming parents and carers with the tools they need to tackle problems, as well as the hope and reassurance to actively make a change. 

The Queer Parent

by Lotte Jeffs and Stu Oakley

This informative, funny and empowering book from the hosts of the award-winning podcast Some Families is the must-have parenting toolkit for the LGTBQ+ community, their friends, family and allies. 90% of queer parenting is just . . . parenting, but being LGBTQ+ when you’re a parent does bring with it a host of conundrums that mainstream guides – which tend to assume heterosexuality – do not address. Authors Lotte Jeffs and Stu Oakley spoke to dozens of experts and queer families, and this hugely-needed book is the product of those conversations and their own experiences of becoming parents through IUI and adoption respectively.

Your Child is Not Broken

by Heidi Mavir

An unapologetic and deeply moving manual for parents of neurodivergent children from Heidi Mavir, a late-identified, neurodivergent adult and parent to an autistic/ADHD teenager. Follow Heidi's irreverent and brutally honest story of her fight to be seen, heard and supported, while swimming against a tide of parent blame, ableist stereotypes and the weight of other people’s opinions. Your Child Is Not Broken is a call to arms for parents and carers of autistic, ADHD, or otherwise neurodivergent children. It is the book that no one has dared to write but every parent needs to read; it is permission to do things differently.

Nobody Tells You

by Becca Maberly

Adding context to the weight of random things you hear about parenthood is paramount, and that’s where Becca Maberly’s Nobody Tells You comes in. As a pregnancy and postnatal expert, Maberly and her father (eminent obstetrician and gynaecologist Roger Marwood) have assembled and curated 100 stories that are counterweighted with reassuring advice from experts. They cover a wide range of areas like postnatal recovery, C-sections and feeling out of step with breastfeeding, delivered without shock or sugar-coating and are informed by Maberly’s own frustration with not having access to honest information.

Where's My Happy Ending?

by Anna Whitehouse

Few authors give it to readers rawer than writer Anna Whitehouse and journalist Matt Farquharson. They’re a couple, they’re parents and they’re a pair of powerhouse thinkers. Their parent-focused approaches on modern love and relationships include everything from whether phones kill romance, to salary imbalance and even porn, and take in delicately woven-in viewpoints garnered from interviews with a huge range of people. Spilt between their two distinct voices – to give a playful duality to the subjects under discussion – the project comes together as a whole remarkably and entertainingly well. 

Great Family Days In

by Claire Balkind

After the intensity of lockdowns and school closures during the Covid pandemic, surely no parent will want to ever be unprepared for a day inside again. Even the most energetic and imaginative parent imaginable can still find it hard to lead their kids into constructive play. But help is at hand. This excellent book by Claire Balkind will help any parent harness their restless charges that next day in. All 75 of the activities are quick to follow and don’t require a trip to a craft megastore to get underway. And rest assured that Balkind also flags up when a project is going to be particularly messy (oh hello melted crayons!). 

Wean in 15

by Joe Wicks

Few things are more joyful to parents than seeing their offspring grappling with food for the first few times. Spoiler alert to newbies: it’s far from guaranteed that all babies will instantly take to all foods, so be prepared to try a wide variety before your future chomper gives you a big wet chef’s kiss. Helping you be a weaner and a winner is Joe Wicks, whose Wean in 15 book offers 100 tasty recipes for a range of different ages. There are also tips on prep, storage, when and how to start weaning, plus accompanying expert advice on nutrients and allergies. 

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Real Food Kids Will Love

by Annabel Karmel

In a career spanning four decades, Annabel Karmen has inspired parents to make delicious hot dinners. Cooking healthy meals that work for the whole family – low in salts and sugars yet still with enough adult tastes and flavours – is both really hard to get right and so vital. Nothing quite deflates like spending 45 minutes on a meal that only gets 45 seconds of interest from your kids. Thankfully Karmel is a master at both imaginative cuisine that works for toddlers and beyond, and at breaking down a meal with easy-to-follow recipes and inspirational photography that will make kids’ tummies rumble with every page. 

Inside Out Parenting

by Dr Holan Liang

Dr Holan Liang is a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at Great Ormond Street Hospital. She’s also a mother of two, which is what makes Inside Out Parenting an empowering and holistic resource for parents. It’s a funny, wry, straight-forward and very relatable memoir-cum-manual, which draws as much on Liang’s own experience as a parent as it does on her medical expertise. Knowingly turning the idea of tiger mothering on its head, Liang’s key thesis is rooted in the importance of building up your child’s self-esteem – to raise robust and resilient children and help guard against mental health issues down the line. 

The Joy Journal for Magical Everyday Play

by Laura Brand

Resisting the omnipresence of screens in a child’s life is a driving force behind The Joy Journal, written and illustrated by Laura Brand. In the foreword, Fearne Cotton describes craft and creativity as ‘our 6 am go-to when I can’t take another episode of Paw Patrol.’ It’s a sentiment most parents can appreciate. Using a strictly accessible selection of household and everyday items, Brand’s imaginative yet achievable ideas for her young family are relayed with tons of fun, inspiration, clarity and honesty. 

The First Breath

by Olivia Gordon

For the vast majority of women, exposure to the workings of fetal and neonatal intensive care units and resuscitation rooms are mercifully rare. Few experience what happens when a pregnancy, or the first few weeks of a baby’s life, don’t go to plan. But in this moving, often very personal book, Olivia Gordon details how babies are saved by medicine. Modern science saved Gordon’s son’s life. The love and fear engendered by such an experience is relayed in a unique and eye-opening way in The First Breath

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Brown Baby

by Nikesh Shukla

In the slightly elusive field of great modern books about fatherhood, Nikesh Shulka’s Brown Baby truly demands your time and attention. The author of previous bestseller The Good Immigrant has crafted a memoir that takes in some of the biggest, darkest issues in the minds of parents today – like how to find joy and optimism in a world beset by racism and sexism, a world facing climate crisis. Shulka’s honest ruminations on this, his family, plus his relationship with the UK, food and his young daughters fill those outside of the South Asian experience with plenty of insights on allyship. 

Weaning Made Simple

by Annabel Karmel

Another valuable resource in the field of children’s nutrition from Annabel Karmel MBE, this time focused on weaning babies onto solid foods. Weaning is one of the biggest leaps in a kid’s life, one that can cause stress in a parent’s life too. Luckily, Karmel reassures from every conceivable angle – advising when a baby is ready, what to try and eventually how to judge when the time is right to begin reducing milk feeding. And as with any Annabel Karmel book, there are also 100 different recipe ideas, from purées to casseroles to finger-food for your tiny-fingered friends. 

The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6 Year Olds

by Teresa Watkins

In this official companion to the award-winning Channel 4 show, written by Executive Producer, Teresa Watkins and neuroscientist Paul Howard-Jones, we relive some of its funniest, most touching moments and explore what's going on in the heads of little people when big people aren't around. It turns out that we can learn a huge amount from them. Full of amazing moments, sharp insights and fascinating science and full of beautiful photography, this is a celebration of the extraordinary lives of children and a reminder that we are all closely connected to our four-year-old selves.

I Am Not Your Baby Mother

by Candice Braithwaite

Book cover for I Am Not Your Baby Mother

Looking through the piles of prenatal paraphernalia she received when pregnant, Candice Braithwaite found herself asking, "Where are all the black mothers?" She started blogging, chipping away at the lack of diversity on display in British portrayals of motherhood, and discovering that the problem goes much deeper than media representation, with black British mothers at significantly greater risk of death as a result of complications in pregnancy than white women. This book is part memoir, part manifesto: an honest look at black British motherhood and a rallying cry for change.