Unlocking Every Child's Potential, Fulfilling Society's Promise
***INSTANT New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestseller***
2023 Gold Winner — Nautilus Book Award
World-class pediatric surgeon, social scientist, and best-selling author of Thirty Million Words Dr. Dana Suskind returns with a revelatory new look at the neuroscience of early childhood development—and how it can guide us toward a future in which every child has the opportunity to fulfill their potential.
Her prescription for this more prosperous and equitable future, as clear as it is powerful, is more robust support for parents during the most critical years of their children’s development. In her poignant new book, Parent Nation, written with award-winning science writer Lydia Denworth, Dr. Suskind helps parents recognize both their collective identity and their formidable power as custodians of our next generation.
Weaving together the latest science on the developing brain with heart-breaking and relatable stories of families from all walks of life, Dr. Suskind shows that the status quo—scores of parents convinced they should be able to shoulder the enormous responsibility of early childhood care and education on their own—is not only unsustainable, but deeply detrimental to the wellbeing of children, families, and society.
Anyone looking for a blueprint for how to build a brighter future for our children will find one in Parent Nation. Informed by the science of foundational brain development as well as history, political science, and the lived experiences of families around the country, this book clearly outlines how society can and should help families meet the developmental needs of their children. Only then can we ensure that all children are able to enjoy the promise of their potential.
Suskind (Thirty Million Words), a professor of surgery and pediatrics, makes an impassioned case for family-focused policy to support brain development in young children. "We are suffering from an invisible epidemic in the form of unequal opportunities for the early brain development that all children need to achieve their innate promise," writes Suskind, who draws on academic studies and interviews with families to explore the neuroscience of infants and toddlers and to explain how the U.S. can better support parents. According to Suskind, the ages of zero to three are when "the brain's incredible ability to organize itself by forming new neural connections is at its peak." As such, she argues, the U.S. should provide parents with support to capitalize on this potential in the form of paid family leave, child tax credits, and universal childcare. She highlights the stories of parents like Sabrina, who had to quit her job to care for her sick husband and young son after her employer denied her family medical leave, forcing them to move into a shelter. These wrenching stories of parents driven to the brink by a broken system make policy issues feel powerfully personal. This is an incisive and persuasive call to action.