Growing up is difficult. Spanning the centuries, history and literature have recorded a communications gap separating one generation from the next. But don't lose heart. Lessons from the annals of history have taught us that wisdom and truth are ageless. To that end, Dear Mother, Dear Daughter offers a creative, problem-solving communications tool in the form of 17 beguiling coming-of-age poems which will make you smile, chuckle and even shed a tear. That special bond between mother and child evinces love in a rhythmic exchange of thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams.

Every female reader will easily identify with these poetic exchanges between mother and daughter. Each of the poems addresses a theme familiar to all of us: a desire to be independent, to excel, to be popular, attractive, courageous and solvent and to develop the ability to confront our fears and rejections. These themes are expressed by specific examples common to adolescence: height and weight concerns, boredom, bedtime, sports and musical talents, fashion trends, responsibility for one's actions, defense of the underdog and death of a grandparent. Although these issues are not unique, this form of communication is. In a concise, lyrical format, a mother offers sound, wise advice to a daughter challenged by adolescent growing pains.

Talent, heart and soul combine in these verses by Jane Yolen and her real-life daughter, Heidi Stemple, to endear the reader to both mother and daughter. Jane Yolen is the award-winning author of more than 200 books. Heidi Stemple's short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous magazines and journals.

The poems are enhanced by the artistic contributions of Gil Ashby whose artwork has appeared in many advertisements, textbooks and children's books. If improved communication with your children is your goal, and you're looking for a fresh approach, don't pass this one up. It will help you bridge the generation gap and build mutual respect.

C. Elizabeth Davis is a former marketing director for the education division of Turner Broadcasting System.

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