Book Reviews & Endorsements

Different Dream Parenting Reviews

If you are struggling to juggle the demands of special needs caregiving, Jolene Philo is the perfect juggling coach. With Different Dream Parenting: A Practical Guide to Raising a Child with Special Needs on your reading table you will learn the tools and tips to prioritize what is important in life and build a stable and secure environment for your child with different needs, his siblings, and for your family. To read the entire review, visit

Lorna d’Entremont

Special Needs Book Review

As the mother of a child who has special needs, I’m constantly searching for resources that will help me with any and all aspects of raising my special little guy. Author Jolene Philo has written a complete and comprehensive guide to raising a child with special needs and especially addresses those cases in which hospitalization is necessary.

Different Dream Parenting coaches parents on how to prepare children for surgery as well as how parents should prepare to help their children through procedures. Philo’s easy-to-understand language enables the reader to soak in all the valuable information at a time when it’s sometimes difficult to comprehend everything going on. The most impressive part of Different Dream Parenting was Philo’s discussion of post-traumatic stress disorder and how it can influence a child’s life even years after surgery.

I found the information especially important, and I’m sure that as my special-needs child prepares for his next surgery, I’ll turn to this book again and again.

Ann-Marie McClellan

Reviewer for the Christian Book Association’s Retailers & Resources Magazine

For such a small book, Different Dream Parenting is full of great information that is easy to read and easy to put to use. It addressed the practical and spiritual concerns I deal with daily. I knew that Jolene and the other families know what it’s like to live my life. I highly recommend this book to parents of children with special needs. 

Jennifer A. Janes

Writer, blogger, and homeschooling mom of a child with special needs

What I like best about the book is the clear outline and practicality. While raising a child with special needs, parents won’t be able to luxuriate, book in one hand and chilled beverage in another, by the pool. No, they might instead be looking for one specific section that relates to their struggles in that moment….From the standpoint of a special needs ministry leader, this is helpful because each parent doesn’t have time to describe their emotions and circumstances in as much detail as we’d both like. Just as stretching out with a book by the pool isn’t likely, neither is a sustained conversation for many of the parents I work with each week. This book is that sustained conversation for me when I need it.

Shannon Dingle

Special Needs Ministry Coordinator & Blogger

I think it is so important that books like this exist, not just for the informational value, but so that parents feel they are not alone.

Lisa Copen

Founder of Rest Ministries

Jolene’s new book, Different Dream Parenting, gives practical wisdom and insight for parents who are raising children with disabilities. She tackles tough subjects with the wisdom of a mom who has been there, and offers comfort and encouragement with steady guidance.

Katie Wetherbee

Key Ministry Educational Consultant

If you’re searching for an encouraging book and one that will deepen your faith in your walk as a parent of a child with special needs, then look no further! You’ve found it.

Michael Woods

Director for the Special Friends Ministry

One of my favorite lines in the book states, “Taking care of myself is not selfish. It is essential.” That’s just a sample of the spiritual, practical, and heart-felt wisdom Jolene placed throughout the book. I highly recommend this book, as well as A Different Dream for My Child: Meditations for Parents of Critically or Chronically Ill Children, to all families facing medical, behavioral, or educational challenges in parenting.

Michele Scott

Author, Praying Through Your Adoption

Jolene Philo’s book is an invaluable help to parents and caregivers seeking to do their very best to serve their child with special needs. Her book can serve as an “adjunct left brain” when the emotions and decisions parents need to process become too much to handle….Jolene has managed to assemble a book that is as useful to a parent of a child being treated for cancer in the intensive care ward of a tertiary care pediatric hospital as it is to a parent sitting in my office whose child has just been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Different Dream Parenting is a great Christmas gift for any parent or caregiver of a child with special medical or mental health needs.

Dr. Steve Grcevich

President and Founder of Key Ministry

A Different Dream for My Child

The examples of comfort and shared experience will benefit all who read this book. Chronic sorrow follows chronic disease, and the reflections offered are excellent in addressing this. Every problem discussed is “right on” and pulls out personal recollections of many of my patients. I would recommend it to families and caretakers alike.

David H. Van Dyke, MD

Pediatric Neurologist

What a tremendously helpful and inspiring book!  Having two chronically ill children myself, I was amazed at how well acquainted Philo was with the private pain, grief, guilt and loneliness I have experienced trying to cope with it all. With each devotion, my spirit was lifted into a hope I have rarely felt in the midst of the battle. I highly recommend this book to any parent whose dreams for their children have been sidetracked by illness.

Rene Gutteridge

Author, Never the Bride and My Life as a Doormat

I love Jolene’s book, A Different Dream for your Child.  As the mom of a disabled child, I can tell you that Jolene encourages us to see that though our parenting experience may not be the ‘norm,’ and can still be rich, rewarding and full of joy.

Linda Evans Shepherd

Author, Speaker

A Different Dream for My Child offers the right words for those painful moments when everything seems wrong. The chapters are short, designed for parents with only snatches of time to spare. The author’s personal stories create common ground with readers; her prayers express what grieving parents feel but can’t always articulate; her reflective postscripts nudge readers to move past the “now” and onto the “what’s next?” Philo’s book is like a gentle balm prescribed for persons bruised and battered by circumstances.

Holly G. Miller

The Saturday Evening Post

“Why couldn’t my child be normal?” I was a volunteer hospital chaplain the first time I heard that cry. She wasn’t blaming God or screaming about the unfairness of life. She meant, “I hurt for myself; I hurt for my daughter. I wanted her to be healthy and she’s not.”

No words can change the diagnosis, but there are those who can help parents change their attitude. Jolene Philo understands those cries because of the experience with her son, Allen. I highly recommend this book from a mother who opens her heart on every page.

Cecil Murphey

New York Times’ Best-Selling Author , When Someone You Love Has Cancer

Powerful, insightful, and candidly honest, Jolene Philo’s book A Different Dream for My Child is a treasured companion for those who’ve journeyed the heart-bending path of caring for a chronically or critically ill child. Written with insight, pasion, and wisdom, Jolene’s words deliver both comfort and biblical counsel on the diverse and complex emotional, spiritual, relational, and practical aspects of caring for sick children. This book is a celebration of hope in the God of comfort who walks beside us in the midst of our pain.

Shelly Beach

Award-Winning Author , Precious Lord, Take My Hand: Meditations for Caregivers

The trauma and drama of a sick child is a journey of it’s own kind. Gratefully Jolene has tenderly rose up to come to the heart-aid of the families. With every page you turn you will hear the stories of parents who understand how it feels to receive the terrifying news that their child is in immediate and long-term danger. If you have experienced or are living in deep sorrow brought on by your child’s condition I recommend that you open this book and allow the balm of understanding to meet you where you are at…to help ease your ongoing ache, your loneliness, and your feelings of isolation.

Patsy Clairmont

Author, “Catching Fireflies” Women of Faith Speaker