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Free e-textbook: Family Life in Adolescence

FLAMany parents fear the time when their beautiful happy children will become unmanageable adolescents continually engaging in risky or destructive behaviour. Unfortunately, this view of adolescents is the focus of the media, even though it relates to just a small proportion of young people.

In Family Life in Adolescence, research is collated showing that most adolescents are responsible young people who care about their families and crave the support of their parents. The research also indicates that the quality of the relationship parents have with their adolescents is crucial to the wellbeing of those young people.

Authors Patricia Noller and Sharon Atkin discuss the need for parents to set reasonable limits on their adolescents and to expect appropriate behaviour. They also show that children who have experienced positive, caring relationships with their parents are more likely than other adolescents to behave responsibly.

Family Life in Adolescence is valuable reading for anyone interested in the development of young people and the impact of the family environment. It draws on contemporary research across the globe, showing that behaviour in adolescence builds on earlier experiences in the family. It will prove useful to practitioners from a range of professions, such as social workers, educators and youth leaders.

This 222-page book is available in both PDF and EPUB format suitable for e-readers. Both may be downloaded free of charge from:



3 new free textbooks from BCcampus

Open-Textbooks-StickerThese excellent online textbooks may be freely downloaded by students, teachers and members of the public.

British Columbia’s Open Textbook Project began in 2012 and so far contains over 70 openly licensed textbooks, each available to read online, download in PDF, ePub and mobi (Kindle) formats for free, or as low-price printed books, and educators may use, re-use, modify, and adapt the books to fit course requirements. Here I’m looking at three examples of interest to the children’s workforce.

1. Introduction to Psychology
This is a 695-page textbook aimed at first-year university students. It has 16 chapters and is in full colour – but note that this results in the PDF being a 39MB download. It is designed to help students organise their thinking about psychology at a conceptual level, and each section also includes learning objectives, key takeaways, exercises and critical thinking activities, making it highly interactive. Many in the children’s workforce will immediately want to read Chapter 7: Growing and Developing, which includes prenatal development, infancy and childhood.
Download Introduction to Psychology here:

2. Introduction to Sociology
This is a 717-page textbook again aimed at first-year university students. It has 21 chapters and is in full colour – but the PDF file size is larger still, being a 71MB download.
This textbook adheres to the scope and sequence of a typical introductory sociology course, organized so that topics are introduced conceptually, with relevant, everyday experiences. I began by reading Chapter 5: Socialization and Chapter 14: Marriage and Family, and found both chapters attractive and stimulating.
Download Introduction to Sociology here: by

3. Supporting Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities & Mental Illness
This is a 111-page black & white textbook with 7 chapters, so the PDF is a much smaller download, being just 1.2MB. Unlike the two titles above, this one has a more vocational nature, and although children and childhood issues are covered throughout, the target audience of the book appears to be carers of adults. Each chapter presents up-to-date evidence-informed practice knowledge, and for those interested mainly in ‘what to do’, text box summaries are provided for reading and listening. Throughout the book there are links to corresponding mp3 audio clips, which makes reading the book an engaging experience.
Download Supporting Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities & Mental Illness here: by

If you want to discover more about the BCcampus Open Textbook Project, you can do so at:, where you can also search their whole collection via

Free textbooks by The National Academies Press

The NAP in Washington publish more than 200 books a year on a wide range of topics, resulting in a catalogue of more than 4,000 titles in PDF format which can be downloaded for free by the chapter or the entire book. The NAP catalogue includes 98 books on Children, Youth and Families. Here are four books from the catalogue:

cover4.phpSnow C.E, and Van Hemel, S.B, (2008): Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How
This book affirms that assessments can make crucial contributions to the improvement of children’s well-being, but only if they are well designed, implemented effectively, developed in the context of systematic planning, and are interpreted and used appropriately. Otherwise, assessment of children and programs can have negative consequences, especially children from economically disadvantaged homes and communities and children with special needs.

cover3.phpBoat, T and Warner, K.E, (2009): Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities  
Mental health and substance use disorders among children, youth, and young adults are major threats to the health and well-being of younger populations which often carry-over into adulthood. This book argues that greater effort is needed to prevent mental, emotional, and behavioural problems in young people, and highlights research which shows that many prevention programs work.

cover2.phpEngland, M.J, and Sim, L.J, (2009): Depression in Parents, Parenting, and Children: Opportunities to Improve Identification, Treatment, and Prevention
Health and social service professionals who care for adults with depression should not only tackle their clients’ physical and mental health, but also detect and prevent possible spillover effects on their children. In making this case, this book highlights disparities in the prevalence, identification, treatment, and prevention of parental depression among different socio-demographic populations. It also outlines strategies for effective intervention and identifies the need for a more interdisciplinary approach that takes biological, psychological, behavioural, interpersonal, and social contexts into consideration.

cover.phpPetersen, A, Joseph, J and Feit, M,(2013): New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research 
This book from the Institute of Medicine reports that rates of physical and sexual abuse of children have declined over the last 20 years, but for reasons not fully understood. Yet, reports of psychological and emotional child abuse have risen in the same period, and data vary significantly as to whether child neglect is increasing, decreasing, or remaining constant.

These textbooks from The National Academies Press are of particular interest to students, academics and policy makers. The hard-cover versions cost in the region of $50-$60 each, so we are very fortunate to be able to download the PDF versions for free. I encourage academics and faculty to choose NAP and other free titles for their courses whenever possible, which saves students lots of money. 

Elsewhere on my blog, there is a separate page which lists other free textbooks of interest.