The Story of the Book

Everyone has at least one book in them. Critical Connection is mine.

Ever since I was ten, I wanted to grow up and have a happy family.  Since I was sixteen, I wanted a career in which I could help teenagers to grow up well. As a teacher, coach, and parent, it has been my privilege to do so – often ineffectively, of course. One of the things I have learned along the way is that there are very few good books out there about parenting early adolescents (10-14 year olds).

In 2009, I started blogging here at Growing Up Well, and over the next few years people would say to me, “You really need to write a book.”  I thought, “No way. That’s way too much work.” But in 2011, my wife and I decided that I really could and should write a book on parenting middle school kids. “A page day is a book a year,” I recalled. “And why not me? I don’t know everything, but neither does anyone else,” I concluded.

More importantly, there was definitely a need for such a book. There was a gap in the canon of books on parenting, with hundreds of good books for early childhood and hundreds for teenagers, but little to nothing for the in-betweeners. More and more, I would talk with people about their families, and when I would tell them that I was writing a book about parenting middle school kids, they would  say something like, “Really? That would be great. I’ll buy one.” Some seemed downright desperate for fresh ideas, motivation, and encouragement.

So, I looked into it, and it turns out that with a lot of time, hard work, persistence, and guidance, you can write a book with very little money or experience. It’s the new age of publishing. You really can do it. Now, selling books is another thing. I don’t know how easy that is. But actually making a book is possible, even with a full-time job.

For me, it took about two years and a few thousand dollars. And countless hours, of course. But it was a dream of mine — a bucket list task — so it was enjoyable. I chipped away at it with no deadline and no boss pestering me, mostly late at night, which is my prime time for creative work.

With the help of my wife, a few friends, a terrific editor (Meghan Pinson), and a professional formatter (Nicole Hutchins), I did it. I actually created something worthy of putting my name on and promoting, and that’s saying something, since I am an introvert and despise being the center of attention. This book is something that I am proud to have as a legacy. It will outlive and perhaps outperform me, which is very cool.

So, here it is. Give it a shot. For a few bucks, you will get a wealth of thoughts and ideas about parenting. You might even have a breakthrough that profoundly improves your family life.

Let me know what you think. Leave reviews on the Amazon page and comments on this blog. I want to hear your thoughts and stories.


The Contents:

Part 1 – Connection

  • Be the Parent
  • My Early Years
  • Family Matters
  • Defining Adolescence
  • The Power of Connection
  • Take Care of Yourself
  • Fear Less

Part 2 – Guidance

  • The Heart Matters Most
  • Discipline
  • Resilience
  • Socialization
  • Social Life
  • Career
  • Education
  • Athletics
  • Looking Good
  • The New Media
  • Mobile Devices
  • Outdoor Life
  • Work and Money

Buy-Now-buttonCritical Connection is an Amazon Bestseller. The Kindle version was the #1 Hot New Release in the Parenting category (11-30-13) and was the #1 Bestselling free e-book in the Parenting category (12-14-13). 

Author: Andy Kerckhoff

I'm a husband, father, teacher. I'm doing my best, wishing I could do better, and trying to help others to effectively lead kids through early adolescence.

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