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Small Talk: Learning from My Children About What Matters Most {review}

Small Talk: Learning from My Children About What Matters Most is the latest book from author and blogger Amy Julia Becker. Becker takes moments (life) with her children and shares through a variety of topics. The book is broken up into three sections: Holding on with topics like Jesus, beauty and failure; Letting Go with topics like happiness and waiting; and Growing Up with topics like tragedy, forgiveness and, of course, listening.

small_talkIt is obvious Becker has listened and paid attention along the way, which is why the reader gets a sometimes funny and thought provoking read. Her observations are ones that may cause the reader to pay more attention to our children while they are in their presence. As they say, those moments will be fleeting and, before you know it, your children will be gone and you will wonder where they went.

I found the chapter about failure and the vegetable garden quite amusing. Becker makes us laugh at the expense of her, which is probably, because we can see a lot of ourselves in her. Becker simply explains her failure as the fact that she will never be the mother to her children, her mother was to her. Because of that, she may often appear to be less than perfect in the eyes of her children.

On the other hand, Becker does have some other explanations as to why she is the mother she is and those reasons are ones many mothers (like me) can relate to. That is the beauty and fun of reading through Small Talk. Becker is me and it is that connection that makes Small Talk fun to read and you rally behind the mother while also learning the importance of paying attention to the needs of your children…and just doing the best you can.

About the Book
Every day, one of Amy Julie Becker’s children says something that prompts her to think about life in a new way. “Mom, does Santa love me?” William asks, after his mother explains the meaning of Christmas…In a chat with her dad about the children who died in the Sandy Hook shootings, Penny asks, “Did they go to heaven?” …”You was a jerk, Mommy?” asks Marilee one morning in the car.
These conversations deepen Amy Julia’s relationships with her children, but they also refine her understanding of what she believes and what God is doing in her own life.

In Small Talk, Amy Julia draws from the wisdom and curiosity of those young voices to reflect on beauty and kindness, tragedy and disability, prayer and miracles. As she moves through the basic questions her kids posed when they were very young to the more intellectual questions of later childhood, she invites us to learn from our own day-to-day conversations with the children in our lives.

This eloquent parenting memoir is about the big questions little hearts ask, the thoughts their words provoke, and the laughter and soul-searching their honesty brings—to adult and child alike.small_talk01

About the Author
Amy Julia Becker writes about faith, family, and disability for, the New York Times Motherlode blog,, The Huffington Post parents page, Christianity Today, The Christian century, and numerous other publications. Her first book, A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny, was named one of the Top Ten Religion Books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly. Amy Julia lives in western Connecticut with her husband and three children.

Official Website: Small Talk

Amy’s Website: Amy Julia Becker

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