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About Parenting Press

 Parenting Press®

Mission and History


Parenting Press creates practical material that builds “people” skills. Specifically, we publish the best “how-to” information available for child guidance, problem solving, emotional competence, and kids’ personal safety issues.


Three decades of serving parents, parent educators, and early childhood professionals:

Most publishers start small, and Parenting Press is no exception: the parenting book that Elizabeth Crary wrote on her dining table was self-published in 1979. The first 5,000 copies were warehoused in the garage, and the dining table was used for invoicing and packing between meals.

That first book, Without Spanking or Spoiling, sold like the proverbial hot cakes—and launched a company that today has published almost 100 titles, with all but four still in print.

Parenting Press’s initial focus was parenting, and its current catalog is still full of titles that suggest how parents can handle issues like discipline. Early on, however, Crary also recognized the importance of truly useful children’s books.

Link to book description

In the early 1980s, when no major publisher would consider a title on sexual abuse, Crary published It’s MY Body, by Lory Freeman. It sold even faster than Without Spanking or Spoiling. Recognizing a market for gentle, factual books on abuse prevention, Crary gradually added related books; today there are eight kids’ “personal safety” books, most available in both Spanish and English.

Without Spanking or Spoiling was based on Crary’s work and experience as a parent educator at a local community college; It’s MY Body evolved from Freeman’s preschool teaching. Today, most Parenting Press books are based on the teaching experience of the authors and are field tested by parents, child-guidance professionals, and children.

The time spent in field testing and internal review results in better books—books that become what Crary calls “modern classics,” books you’ll take down from your shelf over and over and over again.

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Many Parenting Press books tackle tough topics: peer pressure, bullying, petty theft, grief, death, and feelings like frustration, anger, and fear. They talk about getting kids to take on chores, about surviving adolescence, and about adapting guidance techniques to your child’s temperament.

How Parenting Press offers child-guidance publications:

Although traditional publishers often rely on annual catalogs and sales reps, Parenting Press emphasizes niche marketing. The most popular early titles were successful because of direct mail (photocopied flyers labeled and sorted by hand by the Crarys and their young children on that dining table), the authors’ speeches, publicity through preschool co-ops, and other word of mouth.

Today the Parenting Press staff continues nontraditional marketing. It was among the first to introduce online media kits and e-mail press releases. It also uses activity plans, free downloadable publications, and a content-rich, advertising-free web site to reach parents, children, teachers, counselors, parent educators, and parenting columnists.

Link to book description

In 2003, a kids’ first-aid video contest held in conjunction with the revision of Kids to the Rescue! First Aid Techniques for Kids honored fledgling videographers in Harlan, Iowa and Bakersville, N.C. Since 2003, libraries and bookstores sponsoring “Fish Lips Face” photo contests have received free copies of Parenting Press’s best-selling picture book, The Way I Feel.

Wherever you travel abroad, you may see Parenting Press books. More than three dozen titles are available in languages ranging from Japanese and Chinese to Hebrew, Russian, and Icelandic. And, of course, you can also find Parenting Press books in Internet bookstores and Parenting Press’s own web site.

Thanks for visiting the Parenting Press website. Elizabeth Crary and her crew welcome your comments . . . and hope you will find exactly the book you need.

For a different look at Parenting Press see the time line.

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Last updated March 17, 2016