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Blau, Melinda 1943–

Blau, Melinda 1943–

PERSONAL: Born 1943; divorced; children: two.

ADDRESSES: Home—Northampton, MA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Atria Books, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.

CAREER: Freelance journalist.

WRITINGS:

YOUTH NONFICTION

Killer Bees, Contemporary Perspectives (New York, NY), 1977.

Whatever Happened to Amelia Earhart?, Contemporary Perspectives (New York, NY), 1977.

First over the Oceans, illustrated by Jon Gampert, C.P.I. (New York, NY), 1978.

(With others) Careers to Explore for Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts, illustrated by Stella Warwick, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. (New York, NY), 1979.

SELF-HELP

(With Ron Taffel) Parenting by Heart: How to Connect with Your Kids in the Face of Too Much Advice, Too Many Pressures, and Never Enough Time, Addison-Wesley (Reading, MA), 1991.

Families Apart: Ten Keys to Successful Co-Parenting, Putnam (New York, NY), 1993.

(With Christopher L. Hayes and Deborah Y. Anderson) Our Turn: The Good News about Women and Divorce, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1993.

Loving and Listening: A Parent's Book of Daily Inspirations for Rebuilding the Family after Divorce, Berkley (New York, NY), 1996.

(With Ron Taffel) Nurturing Good Children Now: Ten Basic Skills to Protect and Strengthen Your Child's Core Self, Golden Books (New York, NY), 1999.

(With Tracy Hogg) Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2001.

(With Ron Taffel) The Second Family: How Adolescent Power Is Challenging the American Family, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2001.

(With Tracy Hogg) Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Tracy Hogg) The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems (by Teaching You How to Ask the Right Questions), Atria Books (New York, NY), 2005.

OTHER

(With Myrlie Evers-Williams) Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on the Way to Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1999.

Contributor to periodicals, including New York, New York Times, and Utne Reader.

SIDELIGHTS: Since the early 1990s, freelance journalist Melinda Blau has written numerous books addressing parenting or family issues. Several of her early works, such as those cowritten with Ron Taffel, provide advice to parents of older children and adolescence. One example is The Second Family: How Adolescent Power Is Challenging the American Family, in which Taffel and Blau explain from an adolescent's perspective the significance of "second families" composed of a teen's peers, and how parents can strengthen the bonds within the primary family structure. Library Journal contributor Linda Beck found that "this is a probing look into the often misunderstood phenomenon of teen culture, coupled with good answers for uninvolved, oh-let-them-have-what-they-want parents. Highly recommended for social science as well as child-rearing collections." In a Booklist review, Vanessa Bush remarked: "Though sometimes distressing, this is a valuable resource for parents." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly described the book as "a thoughtful complement to recent first-person accounts of parenting difficult adolescents."

Blau worked with nurse and childcare specialist Tracy Hogg to compose the popular three-part "Baby Whisperer" series. The coauthors first addressed the issues faced by the parents of infants in Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby, move on to the toddler stage in Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers, and fill in the gaps with The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems (by Teaching You How to Ask the Right Questions). At the core of Hogg's childrearing philosophies is a balance between the extremes of "attachment parenting" (including cosleeping and on-cue feeding) and the "cry-it-out" method. Nancy Spillman, a contributor to Booklist, wrote that the first book "bubbles with unbridled enthusiasm." Of the second book, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly remarked that "Hogg offers basic advice on most aspects of childrearing, including toilet training, protecting newly ambulatory toddlers, sibling rivalry and tantrums. Her suggestions are occasionally humorous and always practical." Booklist contributor Mary Frances Wilkens commented that Hogg "and her coauthor find a comfortable middle ground between short, bulleted lists of how-to's and essays on the philosophy of parenting, striking a balance that reflects both the sacred and profane aspects of child rearing." Annette Janes, writing for Booklist, described the final book in the series as possessing "unusual tenderness and heart…. This is the perfect gift for a new mom and family."

In 1999 Blau collaborated with Myrlie Evers-Williams to produce the civil right activist's autobiography, Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on the Way to Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be. Evers-Williams shared with CNN.com interviewer Jamie Allen her perspective on collaborating with Blau: "I take risks in the book of really putting the private side of Myrlie out for the reader to see, and [Blau] wanted me to do even more and I said, 'No, there's a place where I will draw the line.'… We had some heated times … but I think we're pretty good friends as a result of it." As Mary Carroll, a contributor to Booklist, commented: "The best memoirs capture their authors' voices and tell stories readers cherish. With the help of journalist Blau, Evers-Williams has written that sort of memoir."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 1999, Mary Carroll, review of Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on the Way to Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be, p. 790; March 1, 2001, Vanessa Bush, review of The Second Family: How Adolescent Power Is Challenging the American Family, p. 1213; June 1, 2001, Nancy Spillman, review of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby, p. 1908; December 15, 2001, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers, p. 682.

Library Journal, January 1, 2001, Annette Janes, review of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, p. 146; March 15, 2001, Linda Beck, review of The Second Family, p. 99.

Publishers Weekly, January 8, 2001, review of The Second Family, p. 56; December 24, 2001, review of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers, p. 61.

ONLINE

CNN Web site, http://www.cnn.com/ (September 22, 2005), Jamie Allen, "'You Move Forward': Myrlie Evers-Williams Marches On," interview with Blau.

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