By Luan Stauss, Owner of Laurel Book Store, Oakland, CA
Author: JoAnn Deak Ph.D.
Illustrator: Sarah Ackerley
Reading Level: Grade 1-3, Age 5 and up (easily of interest for older kids)
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Little Pickle Press
I love to suggest non-fiction books to kids and luckily there seems to be an increase in the number of really good books that feed the hunger for knowledge. In Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, Dr. JoAnn Deak has done an amazing thing in teaching the beginnings of neuroscience to young kids. Just when they get into the swing of learning all sorts of things every day, here comes a book that not only teaches them about their brain, but also tells them how it does what it does in helping them learn. In breaking it down into easy-to-understand pieces, Dr. Deak explains what each of the parts of the brain are and what they do, and then goes on to explain how you can “stretch” your brain to make sure you can keep learning more new things. Of course this has implications all your life so this little book could help lay the groundwork for a generation of kids to keep their brains active and sharp into old age.
For example, she makes it clear that kids are in charge of their brains and that what they do can affect their learning. So much information is simply fed to them, that it can be easy to not be as active a participant as they could be. I believe that this concept makes it a really great book for parents and teachers as well. It’s also a great foundation and support for talking about how different people learn things at different rates and sometimes in different ways. My favorite new word is “neurosculptor” and Dr. Deak presents it as a powerful term that enables kids to feel in control of their brains.
The illustrations by Sarah Ackerley are clean and clear and completely kid-appropriate. With a tiny owl and mouse giving bits of commentary, the kids portrayed are active, inquisitive characters who are easy to identify with. Ackerley makes the learning fun for the intended age group and interesting for older kids.
I appreciate the book itself as well. It’s made from a new material called TerraSkin paper which is made from stone. It’s environmentally-friendly, printed with soy inks, uses green packaging, and is printed in Canada. Many of those things will stretch one’s brain by learning about them, so it’s all very supportive of the message!
I appreciate that Little Pickle Press is coming out with really lovely, informative, and ecological books and look forward to seeing what they do each season.
Editor's Note: To buy a copy of Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, please click here. The book will soon go into reprint, and will not be printed on TerraSkin, but rather on a recycled paper, so you will be purchasing a collector copy of this first-run edition if you buy now. The corresponding poster pictured below will continue to be available on TerraSkin, and makes a lovely addition to a gift purchase. Perfect for teachers, too! This January, enter LPPBrain2012 at checkout, and receive the poster for FREE, along with FREE SHIPPING on your entire order when you purchase of Your Fantastic Elastic Brain!
|18"x27" TerraSkin Poster $7.95|