How to Be a Family (Hardcover)
The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together
Little, Brown and Company, 9780316552622, 336pp.
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Other Editions of This Title:
Compact Disc (9/17/2019)
Dan Kois and his wife always did their best for their kids. Busy professionals living in the D.C. suburbs, they scheduled their children's time wisely, and when they weren't arguing over screen time, the Kois family-- Dan, his wife Alia, and their two pre-teen daughters-- could each be found searching for their own happiness. But aren't families supposed to achieve happiness together?
In this eye-opening, heartwarming, and very funny book, the fractious, loving Kois family goes in search of other places on the map that might offer them the chance to live away from home-- but closer together. Over a year the family lands in New Zealand, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, and small-town Kansas. The goal? To get out of their rut of busyness and distractedness and to see how other families live outside the East Coast parenting bubble.
How to Be a Family brings readers along as the Kois girls-- witty, solitary, extremely online Lyra and goofy, sensitive, social butterfly Harper-- hike through the Kiwi bush, ride bikes to a Dutch school in the pouring rain, battle iguanas in their Costa Rican kitchen, and learn to love a town where everyone knows your name. Meanwhile, Dan interviews neighbors, public officials, and scholars to learn why each of these places work the way they do. Will this trip change the Kois family's lives? Or do families take their problems and conflicts with them wherever we go?
A journalistic memoir filled with heart, empathy, and lots of whining, How to Be a Family will make readers dream about the amazing adventures their own families might take.
About the Author
Praise For How to Be a Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together…
"Lots of people talk about pulling up stakes and traveling for a year. Dan Kois and his family actually did it. He's funny and honest about how it all turned out."—Pamela Druckerman, author of Bringing Up Bébé and There Are No Grown-Ups
"This sometimes hair-raising adventure in family togetherness across many continents took courage even to attempt, and a lively sense of humor to describe. Kois has produced a delightful and eye-opening book about what it means to be a family in the modern world."—Ian Frazier, author of Family and Coyote V Acme
"Many parents will relate to the experiences in this book of trying to get your kids to do stuff. Dan gives us some hope that we can ask our kids to do hard things, to adapt to new challenges, and it can be good for everyone. Also, the book is wildly entertaining."—Emily Oster, author of Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool
"As many parents know, the key to making a family work is: Put in the time. Dan Kois and his wife took their two kids on the trip of a lifetime and learned what's great (and miserable) about how that time passes. The result is a funny, thoughtful, well-reported and inspiring guide for anyone hoping to create family adventures (and misadventures) of their own."—Charles Duhigg, bestselling author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better
"How To Be a Family is a witty, surprising
and compulsively readable book. You may find yourself planning a
geographical cure of your own by the time you reach the end of it. But Kois is
too thoughtful a writer to dwell only on the transformative possibilities of
such a trip. Nothing is quite as his family imagined it would be and this leads
the book into exhilarating, emotionally complex territory."—Jenny Offill, author of Department of Speculation
"Kois and his
family actually take the dizzying leap to leave behind their lives for a year-a
trek that takes them from New Zealand to Kansas-and the result is a unique book
that every overstressed and anxious (meaning = every) parent should read."—The Millions