Harper: The Snakes by Sadie Jones

Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool

In her 2013 book Expecting Better, economist Emily Oster equipped pregnant people with the data and information they need to make informed, evidence-based decisions about their pregnancies. The book's straightforward, judgment-free presentation of the data made it a big (if somewhat controversial) hit in a world where expectant parents are bombarded with abundant, and abundantly confusing, advice.

Now, Oster is taking a natural step forward with Cribsheet, a similar guide for parents navigating the first three years of their child's life. What does the data say about when to give your newborn her first bath? Are the apparent benefits of breastfeeding more correlational than causational? Are things like co-sleeping or "crying it out" truly harmful? How do various childcare options affect developmental results? And how much "screen time" can we get away with, really?

These questions may not have clear-cut answers, but Oster can tell you exactly what the data says (and also, anecdotally, share her own wisdom as a parent of two). In addition, she will give you some insight into how trusted organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics make their recommendations.

Crucially, Oster's goal is to present readers with a thorough but accessible and layperson-friendly analysis of the available data on a given topic, and leave the decision-making up to them. Considering how fraught, frightening and often contradictory the discourse on these topics can be, Oster's even, friendly tone is both refreshing and reassuring. --Hannah Calkins, writer and editor