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Books to Inspire Your Life

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During these challenging times, we can make a better world for children one positive relationship at a time. Children are eager to learn and thrive, as families and teachers together encourage their development and boost their learning. The following books are written just for you - to inspire your teaching, your nurturing, your growing, and your learning. They promote child-centered, research-anchored practices that help children develop their gifts and potential in the context of adults and peers who nurture, encourage, and nourish their creativity and engagement in learning and life.

Whether you are looking for effective strategies for teaching, behavior guidance, lesson planning, or playful learning, you'll find what you need here. If you want to grow in leadership and develop your influence, you'll find practical and meaningful ways to change your own life as you change the lives of others. These are written with you in mind - your daily interactions with children, your challenge to make the most of your time and energy, and your commitment and dedication to the children and families in your life.  

Select a book for personal study or to support the work of quality improvement in your community of practice and group study. The content is aligned with professional standards, developmentally appropriate practice, current research, and promotes diversity, equity, and linguistically and culturally responsive practices. No matter your experience level, you'll find a rich feast of strategies, real-life examples, and easy to apply tips to make your teaching, parenting, and leadership all you want it to be. You'll strengthen your own confidence, creativity, and impact as you grow. Be sure to reach out to me with questions and comments and to discuss your own professional journey or the needs of your organization
. If I can't help you directly, I'll help you find the resources you need.  

See below to explore each of the available books and resources to support your professional and personal growth. 

Enjoying the Parenting Roller Coaster:
Empowering Your Children Through the Ups and Downs

Marie Masterson, Ph.D. with Katharine Kersey Ed.D.

Order From: Gryphon House Inc.

​                                                                Order From: Amazon

Whether you are a new parent who desires a deeper understanding of your child, an experienced parent who wants to build more meaningful relationships with your family, or a struggling parent on the verge of desperation, this book will inspire you and give you the practical help to make parenting the joy it is meant to be. Instead of getting bogged down in cycles of frustration, you will leave behavior struggles behind and turn children on to cooperation and respect. You will be able to maximize the influence of your relationship and become your own best self – as you show children how to live.


In each chapter, you will find quick and helpful strategies that show what works, with parent perspectives that reveal daily struggles and successes, challenges and insights. Each brief topic section is power-packed with tools and resources to help you recharge your energy, boost your skills, and give you words, actions, and activities to put into use right away. The practical tips are filled with advice that will impact your daily life immediately. You can explore one section at a time or investigate the chapters by topic in any order that meets the need of your own unique parenting journey.  As you read, you will find a life-changing philosophy of respectful, relational parenting that will change your child’s life and your own.


Gryphon House: Award-winning publisher of books and resources for early childhood education.

Transforming Teaching: Creating Lesson Plans for Child-Centered Learning in Preschool

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Child-centered lesson planning can have a daily positive impact on your time and energy and on the quality of children’s learning and engagement—but it takes organization and a toolbox full of strategies and ideas. 


Whether you are just beginning your career in early childhood education or have many years of experience in the classroom, this book helps you to assess where you are and what you are doing and provides you with tips and resources to inspire creative, developmentally appropriate teaching approaches. 


In each chapter, you’ll find


  • Real-life examples showing what is possible when teachers work together to enrich and personalize teaching

  • Links to early learning guidelines and standards to maximize planning and communication

  • Ideas for dramatic play themes that relate to daily life, families, cultures, and communities

  • Strategies to infuse rich vocabulary experiences that scaffold language development, support executive function skills, and strengthen self-regulation

  • Tips to help you evaluate and adapt spaces and materials to address physical needs

  • Examples for how to support dual language learners

  • Ways to integrate family engagement as a strength and asset for development and learning

101 Principles for Positive Guidance with Young Children Creating Responsive Teachers

Katharine Kersey Ed.D.  &  Marie Masterson, Ph.D. 

Order from Pearson

Order from Amazon

101 Principles for Positive Guidance with Young Children is an innovative manual for educators. It is a handy guide, a reference book, and a daily help for all educators working with children ages birth to age eight. Rather than focus on changing the behavior of children, this guiding text uniquely focuses first on exploring the beliefs, actions, words, responses and strategies of the teacher. By providing effective skills for teachers in behavior redirection and consistent social-emotional support, the authors explain that children will gain the competence necessary to relate successfully with their peers and others and learn to create healthy outcomes for themselves.



Lively and accessible, the authors have written a truly user-friendly interactive manual  with a seamless link between research and practice. The techniques presented are effective, practical, and field-tested, addressing every aspect of classroom guidance for young children. Furthermore, multicultural and cross-cultural contexts are fully-integrated, with particular efficacy for children at-risk, English language learners, and those working in diverse and inclusive classrooms. Relational and practical solutions for working with parents in the most constructive and caring manner are also addressed and will help educators learn to build bridges between home and school.


Versatile in depth and scope, the text can be utilized a myriad of ways from a traditional classroom textbook, a group professional development text, a group facilitator’s guide, or for individual study or enrichment. The text is reader-friendly for teachers, students, and practitioners of every level, and provides for personal reflection and immediate application, allowing teachers to gain confidence in connecting with and relating positively to children, transforming classrooms into caring, positive learning communities.


The Essentials: Providing High

Quality Family Child Care

Marie Masterson, Ph.D. & Lisa Ginet, Ed.D 

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), 2018


This book, part of the NAEYC Essentials series, provides easy to read information needed by those serving young children and families in the unique multi-aged setting of home-based setting. Family child care professionals, quality improvement specialists, and all who want to understand more about this growing profession can read and refer to this book as they work together to nurture the social emotional, cognitive, language, and physical needs of young children.

Family child care professionals will find developmentally appropriate strategies to support warm and responsive relationships with children and families. Tips and ideas to enrich the environment and engage children in natural and meaningful learning will be given in a reader-friendly format. Discover new ways to enhance routines and maximize positive interactions. Guidelines are given to help providers balance home and professional needs, maximize dual-use spaces, and strengthen  effectiveness in teaching.


Order from National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

                           Let's Talk Toddlers:

     A Practical Guide to High Quality Teaching


This user-friendly, strategy-packed book speaks to the realities, challenges, and needs of daily life with rambunctious, enthusiastic, unpredictable toddlers in group settings. The design and format of this book highlights informative and real-life examples, with immediate take-away action steps that detail solutions and resources for practice.

Let's Talk Toddlers brings research about toddlers to life and presents it along with easy-to-understand strategies that can be applied immediately by caregivers to make each day go more smoothly in the classroom, increasing the quality of toddler care.

This book addresses the whole child in the context of family and community. It ensures the highest level of nurture for every area of children's development, including physical, social-emotional, language, cognitive, and self-regulation skills; personal skills such as emotion and behavior regulation and self-care; as well as mental health and well-being.


Serious Fun: How Guided Play Extends Learning

NAEYC Announces the Release of Serious Fun

Washington, D.C.-- The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) launched a new book, Serious Fun: How Guided Play Extends Children’s Learning, edited by Director of Quality Assessment at McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership, Marie L. Masterson, and NAEYC’s Senior Editor of Books and Related Resources, Holly Bohart.


The publication explores the importance of providing content-rich guided play experiences to nurture children’s emerging capabilities and skills. This book is an excellent resource for preschool and kindergarten teachers. In addition, teacher educators, coaches, and trainers will find lots of helpful information, including the reflection questions at the end of each chapter.


Topics covered in Serious Fun include what brain science tells us about guided play, helping children meet standards through play, and nurturing culturally rich dramatic play.


According to Marie Masterson, "This is the goal of education in the early childhood years—to build on what children already know and can do in order to instill a love of learning and ensure strong social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and language skills that will propel them to ongoing success in school and in life."

This is Masterson’s second NAEYC published book, following The Essentials: Providing High-Quality Family Child Care, a work offering the basic information family child care providers need to run a successful program in a warm, welcoming setting for children and their families.


Masterson and Bohart are the editors of this inspiring book; sixteen early childhood authors wrote the chapters.Serious Fun is available for purchase in the NAEYC online store. For more information on this book and other resources, visit

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I am delighted to announce the release of a new book, Building on Whole Leadership: Energizing and Strengthening Your Early Childhood Program, published by Gryphon House and released on October 1, 2019.


If you are an early childhood program leader, this book is for you. In a single day, you manage operations, build relationships with families, oversee teaching, and plan professional development. You are an expert in child development, child guidance, licensing standards, and policy. With all of these pressing responsibilities, how can you foster a stronger sense of purpose and collaboration in your program? How do you balance priorities? How will you accomplish your goals while maintaining perspective and energy?


The Whole Leadership Framework, developed through the work of the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership, introduces an integrated and holistic way to revitalize the work of early childhood leaders. The Whole Leadership Framework offers an opportunity for you to refresh your sense of purpose, energize your practice, and focus on the most important ingredients of leadership success.


In this book, you will find useful tools and resources to help you balance your priorities and effectively lead your program. The framework will help you develop a cohesive, sustainable, and vibrant organization. Building on Whole Leadership is a practical guide to empower leadership and revitalize program staff collaboration, creativity, and effectiveness.

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