What is more fascinating than the human brain? It controls every thing we do, the way we feel and how we sense and experience the world around us. Kids love to learn and these super smart books about the brain will engage and fascinate them. But who else needs to learn about the developing brain? Why parents of course! My approach to parenting has been heavily influenced by learning about how the brain works and I've included a couple of my favorite books about the child and teenage brain below so caregivers can learn alongside their kids!
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The Owner's Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain by JoAnn Deak and Terrence Deak. I love this book. We got it a few years ago and I had intended to write a whole post about how every tween and teen should own and read this brain-y book. I love how the authors cover the biology of the brain without dumbing it down and use relatable examples for what the brain may be doing (or not doing) during common adolescent experiences. A must read!
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It by JoAnn Deak. If you are looking for an age appropriate picture book for elementary students that addresses how the brain works and how a growth mindset can benefit them, this is a good choice. The book is easy to understand and entertaining enough so that facts do not take on a moralizing posture. Kids will come away with the knowledge that they have the capacity to learn anything they want to.
My First Book About the Brain by Patricia J. Wynne and Donald M. Silver. What better way to learn about the brain than in a hands-on coloring book! There are 25 illustrations which describe the brain, its operating system and how it connects to the rest of your body's functions. This isn't a coloring book for littles, though! Recommended for upper elementary aged kids and up–even adults will enjoy it..
The Adventures of Your Brain by Dan Green. This is a great interactive book that engages your mind with lift the flaps, turning wheels, pop ups, pull tabs, mazes, graphs and more. It is a sturdy book and kids will love reading it with you as well as independently.
National Geographic Kids Brain Games: The Mind-Blowing Science of Your Amazing Brain by
Jennifer Swanson. You all know I love to give my kids brain games. Well, this book from National Geographic teaches kids about what their brains are doing while they are playing those games!
Now You See It, Now You Don't (The Amazing World of Optical Illusions) by Seymour Simon. Yes, this is a brain book! The brain is part of the nervous system which regulates our senses. Kids will experience and learn about how the brain and eyes work together, and how the brain can trick us into seeing something that isn't actually there!
You Can't Use Your Brain If You're a Jellyfish by Fred Ehrlich. Naturally, after learning all about their own brains, kids will want to investigate the brains of other creatures. From worm brains to dog brains to human brains, learn about all the different kinds of ways animals use their nervous systems. Includes a glossary.
Brain Books for Parents
Some of the most helpful parenting books were those that taught me how the growing brain actually works! If you want to make good parenting decisions, base them on the science of the brain!
The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson. This is my number one recommendation for parents. It will change your whole outlook. Seriously! I love how the book includes not just brain science but actionable steps to take. It even includes cartoons to read with your kids so they can understand what's happening in their noggins! Siegel and Bryson have several books, including a workbook and I recommend them all.
The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults by Frances E Jensen & Amy Ellis Nutt. The teenage brain is a mystery, yes? I found this book to be refreshing and helpful.
Want more fascinating, brain-y reads?