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I'm Michel Martin, and this is Tell Me More from NPR News. Its official, Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States. The Electoral College met yesterday. We will talk to one of the electors about what it was like. That's in just a few minutes.

But first, they say it takes a village to raise a child, but maybe you just need a few moms in your corner. We visit with a diverse group of parents each week for their comments and some savvy parenting advice. Today, we want to continue our conversation we had last week about parenting books. Last week, we invited two very different authors, both men, to talk about their two newly-published books. But we decided that the whole issue of parenting books deserves more attention. Especially as the holidays approach, and books are always a popular gift. So, we decided to ask two of our moms, regulars, to look on their shelves for their favorite books. Jolene Ivey, a regular Tell Me More contributor, is cofounder, of the Mocha Moms, a parenting support group. And Dia Michels, who also works in the publishing industry, decided to share the books that they thought should be on every parent's gift list.

Ms. JOLENE IVEY (Cofounder, Mocha Moms): Hey, Michel.

Ms. DIA MICHELS (Founder and President, Platypus Media): Thanks, Michel.

MARTIN: Jolene, what do you look for in a parenting book?

Ms. IVEY: I look for something that makes sense, that doesn't dictate to me, this is how you should raise your child, but more, here are some observations, here are some philosophies, here are some things you can look for. I don't believe that somebody else knows better than I do, generally speaking, how to raise my child.

MARTIN: So, tone is very important.

Ms. IVEY: Very important.

MARTIN: If it takes this, kind of, didactic, this is how it is, believe-it-or-get-the-hell-out kind of approach, you're not interested.

Ms. IVEY: Right. I won't pass that along to anyone.

MARTIN: So, one of your suggestions is T. Berry Brazelton's, "Infants and Mothers: Differences in Development."

Ms. IVEY: Yes, I really like this book. It's a classic, and what I appreciate about it is he definitely says the mother knows best about her child. She knows what's going on with her kid. If there's something wrong, he says, trust your instinct. And he takes three different children and watches their development for a year. So, month by month, you get to hear about a quiet child, an active child, and an average child. That way, when you are a new mom and you don't know what you're doing, you don't feel confident, you see that your kid fits somewhere in the continuum of what is normal. You don't think there's something weird wrong with your child because he's doing something faster or slower than other children.

MARTIN: But what if there is something wrong that…

Ms. IVEY: Well, you know…

MARTIN: Demands attention. Sometimes there are developmental markers that are really important to bring to the attention of a professional.

Ms. IVEY: Absolutely.

MARTIN: So, it can work both ways.

Ms. IVEY: Yeah.

MARTIN: So, trusting your instincts also doesn't mean ignoring professional advice.

Ms. IVEY: Absolutely.

MARTIN: Dia, what do you look for in a parenting book? And I should mention that your company, Platypus Media, publishes them, but none of the books you're recommending today are published by your imprints. I just want to be sure that everybody knows that.

Ms. DIA MICHELS: Oh, absolutely right. Right.

MARTIN: So, what do you look for in a book, for yourself as a mom and also to publish?

Ms. MICHELS: What's important to me is that the book not have a dogmatic tone. I don't want anyone telling me that unless I do this there'll be dire consequences. So, it's important to me that the author is a relaxed author, that they tell me, you know, how to think about something, how to praise(ph) something. And even more important than that, I want the book grounded in science. I want it looked at from the child development point of view. I don't just want someone's opinion.

MARTIN: I want to a play short clip from our conversation last week, where I asked you about the two books we were talking about. One of the books was by Steve Doocy, he's the author of "Tales from the Dad Side." It's kind of a memoir about his time as a parent. We also had on author Brett Berk who wrote "The Gay Uncle's Guide to Parenting." Dia, your reaction to Brett's book. Let's just say, when I asked if you liked the book. Well, let's just listen.

(Soundbite from Tell Me More interview with Steve Doocy and Brett Burke, December 9, 2008)

Mr. BRETT BERK (Author, "The Gay Uncle's Guide To Parenting"): Uh-oh. That's a long pause.

(Soundbite of laughter and unintelligible)

MARTIN: That's just a little piece of exchange. But Dia, clearly there was something that you were hating. So, what was it?

Ms. MICHEL: Well, actually, I'm glad you asked that because I had a week to think about it. I think what bothered me about the book is that it was all his opinion. And one of the things that Brett said in his book, in the breastfeeding section, is that he has a rule about breastfeeding. Two breasts, two years. Well, it's a nice alliteration, it may work for some people. But the fact of the matter is, some children are perfectly happy weaning early. And some are perfectly happy continuing longer. And the rule in breastfeeding is as long as it's mutually compatible for mom and baby. So, I don't need someone who's never breastfed, who's never studied breast milk, and who's never looked into the science of human lactation, saying two breasts, two years.

MARTIN: Well, I will say, though, he does have two degrees in early childhood development. He's been a head of a preschool. He has extensive experience working with young children. But he's not a parent. And he's certainly not a woman. But is that what pushes your buttons? I mean, do you feel that - is it more the tone?

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