5 Important Books on Pediatric Medicine

5 Top Pediatric Medicine Books

  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
  • American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Your Child’s Symptoms
  • The Harriet Lane Handbook
  • The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog
  • Pediatric Physical Examination

Books on pediatric medicine must walk a fine line between providing too much detail for parents and too little detail for pediatricians. The best books can manage this balance act. Other authors avoid the dilemma completely by writing to a specific audience. This list on important books about pediatrics is split between books for parents, books for clinicians and books for both. Hopefully, readers of all backgrounds will find useful information here.

1. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

This beloved non-fiction work profiles two pediatric doctors as they care for Lia, the child of Hmong immigrants. The doctors must balance their medical knowledge with the traditional beliefs of Lia’s family. It’s a must-read for any medical professionals who work with diverse populations. First published in 1997, it continues to be one of the best-selling books about pediatric medicine because of author Anne Fadiman’s thoughtful exploration of the clash between modern medicine and ancient practices.

2. American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Your Child’s Symptoms

Pediatricians love recommending this book to parents. It’s won numerous awards for its evidence-based, easy-to-understand descriptions of common childhood illnesses. Parents can learn when to call a doctor, how to treat illnesses with over-the-counter medicines and basic first aid. Because it’s published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctors and patients don’t have to worry about inaccurate or controversial information.

3. The Harriet Lane Handbook

This is the CliffsNotes of pediatric medicine. It contains concise explanations of common pediatric ailments so busy residents can get the information they need quickly. It has chapters on pediatric pharmacology for quick, accurate medication dosing, and covers pediatric presentation of dermatology, gynecological and pulmonary symptoms. Now in its 21st edition, the handbook has been trusted by generations of residents and clinicians who need reliable information in the palm of their hands. Every new purchase comes with a free electronic version of the book for a more in-depth look at the graphs and pictures.

4. The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog

Child psychiatry is a controversial field. Are doctors overdiagnosing mental illness in children? Psychiatrist Bruce Perry shows that, for some children, pediatric psychiatry is the only path to a healthy life. Dr. Perry explores his work with traumatized children with a focus on how these resilient patients recovered from the horrors of their early life. He shares detailed anatomical knowledge of how stress affects young brains. The book also includes Dr. Perry’s techniques for helping young patients overcome early traumas. This book will be equally enjoyed by parents of children with mental illness, pediatricians wanting to expand their clinical knowledge and readers interested in the medical humanities.

5. Pediatric Physical Examination

This pocket-sized handbook is packed with features. It has examples of patient history flowcharts, guides on how to chart pediatric findings and more than 300 illustrations. Clinicians will return to the sections on medication dosage and development markers over and over. The spiral binding makes it easy to flip to any page, and the laminated cover and small size mean this pediatric handbook is designed to slip into a lab coat pocket.

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Every book on this list has been through multiple printing runs. That’s because the most important books on pediatric medicine resonate with parents and providers across time.