The Book

What people are saying about The

Parent Backpack for Kindergarten through Grade 5…


IMG_1349From Parents Magazine (September 2013 pg. 18):

Mom Must-Read

Every so often, I run across a book so good it belongs on every family’s shelf. That’s the case with The Parent Backpack for Kindergarten through Grade 5: How to Support Your Child’s Education, End Homework meltdowns, and Build Parent-Teacher Connections.

Author ML NIchols, director of nonprofit The Parent Connection, has written a guide for surviving and thriving in elementary school. She explains the system – from testing to special education to how administrators choose your kids’ next teacher. Best of all, she outlines whet to expect academically at different ages, defines fancy edu-terms, and offers advice for advocating for your child. Hopefully, you won’t need to contact the teacher and principal often – bit if you do, this book provides fantastic strategies.

–Kristen Kemp,  Parents Magazine writer


Read why PARADE made The Parent Backpack a favorite parenting book:

The Parent Backpack, by ML Nichols
A practical guide for parents of elementary-school children, The Parent Backpack explains how to muddle through an (often mystifying) educational system and help your kids thrive. With how-to advice on topics such as choosing a kindergarten, writing an effective note to your child’s teacher, or teaching good study habits, Nichols (the director of a non-profit parent education group) has packed the book with helpful tips and example scripts for conversations and e-mails. Each chapter ends with a list of “Top 10 Takeaways” for readers to refer back to easily.



Parent Backpack 2 cover“A smart, wise, and practical book every parent of a young child should own. Read this beautifully composed trove of well sorted advice and enjoy with confidence your child’s elementary education.”

–Edward Hallowell, MD, author of The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness,  Driven to Distraction and Crazy Busy

“ML Nichols has given parents a long-overdue map through the ‘minefield’ of elementary education: where to turn and what to say and do (in and out of school) to become an effective advocate for your child.”

–Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook

“The concrete strategies empower you to build strong partnerships with teachers and tap your child’s natural motivation to learn. As a psychologist and parent of three elementary-age children, I highly recommend this book.”

–Dr. Donna Pincus, author of Growing Up Brave


Here are the TOP TEN TAKEAWAYS from The Parent Backpack for Kindergarten through Grade 5. Each chapter also ends with its own Top Ten Takeaways.


Involved Parents = Better Students

How do you ensure that your child gets the best education possible when U.S. schools are overburdened, test driven institutions that rank only average worldwide?

Decades of research confirm that when parents engage in their children’s education in meaningful ways, kids do better  in school – and in life.

The Parent Backpack for Kindergarten through Grade 5 helps you:

  • understand the critical role you play in your child’s education
  • connect with educators in respectful ways
  • encourage a love of reading in your children
  • minimize homework meltdowns and disorganization
  • support a child who struggles academically
  • help your kids navigate social situations and bullying
  • fuel your child’s mind and body for learning.

Parent involvement looks different for every family and every child. Packed with real stories and tested strategies, The Parent Backpack for Kindergarten through Grade 5 demystifies our complex education system and gives you the insights you need to help your kids thrive.


Order yours today by clicking on any outlet in the upper right corner. Available in paperback or e-book.


From Publishers Weekly (May 2013): 

In this approachable guide, Nichols offers practical advice to parents on everything from how to select a kindergarten program to how to write appropriate e-mails to your child’s teacher. Nichols, the director of the Parent Connection, a nonprofit parent education group, has extensive knowledge of the ins and outs of the early years of a child’s education.
All parents will benefit from the early chapters providing specifics about the current generation of elementary schools, and suggestions for what parents can do to ensure their children’s success within the changing system. Nichols is well versed in both the budgetary and curricular strains on the system and current best practices in various subjects and classroom management.
The final chapters run the gamut of parenting and education topics, from bullying to technology and even health, but each feels important and contributes to the larger framework. “Top Ten Takeaways” at the end of each chapter are provided for easy reference, and sample scripts for how to interact with teachers are particularly useful. Throughout, Nichols successfully balances her frustration with the system with heartfelt optimism regarding the role that parents can play in making their children’s school experience positive, claiming that “there’s never been a more challenging or more exciting time to do this.” Agent: Mollie Glick, Foundry Literary & Media.