My Mum told me about ‘growth mindsets’ and the amazing research of Carol Dweck many years ago now. I furiously researched the concept and started weaving the concepts into Wired for Wonder and my life. We started using the concept with our kids and the results speak for themselves. I went looking for books to simply illustrate the concept of growth versus fixed mindsets and the importance of ideation and experimentation and found a few absolute goldies. Whilst searching high and low I also found another few awesome books that will help kids prepare for the future, these are so wonderfully relevant for adults too – here they are:
Your Fantastic elastic brain – JoAnn Deak
Can you say ‘neuroplasticity?’ – this is a fun and detailed explanation of how the brain works and how we can build new brain. We had been in the science section at the library and the books about the human body were pretty out of date, there was no mention of the prefrontal cortex let alone the amygdyla (because every 4 year old wants to know about these things right? maybe just mine). The cool thing though is that it is beautifully illustrated and up to date!!
Hello Ruby – Linda Liukas
Want to learn how to code? Again, this might just be my 4 year old, but Sienna has delighted in the adventures of Ruby as she learns a basic coding mindset. Some awesome activities to encourage algorithmic thinking include cooking, structured craft (with instructions to follow), counting, reading! Coding is EVERYWHERE! When we realise this we can start to code ourselves, our kids and each other for good!
Bubble Gum Brain – Julia Cook
This is the most fabulous book to explain ‘growth’ versus ‘fixed’ mindsets. The characters have a bubble gum brain and a brick brain. As you can probably imagine, the bubble gum brain kid has a stretchy and curious mind and the brick brain gets upset when they make mistakes and don’t try too hard because they don’t want to fail. They realise the power of ‘yet’ and trying hard and giving things a go. Sienna delighted “hey Mum, the bubble gum brain learns from her mistakes like we do!” mistakes are the portals to discovery in this house and I was so proud to hear her identify with this so easily!
The most magnificent thing – Ashley Spires
Have you ever had a vision in your mind of something really awesome, but when you go to create it, it just doesn’t quite work? This shows the power of giving things a go and never giving up, of iteration, fast failure, experimentation and RESILIENCE! A gorgeous story to give you and your little one help in bringing ideas to life!
What do you do with an idea? – Kobi Yamada
One thing I realised in my career was that while there was no shortage of good ideas, there is a shortage of people who can actually execute, or do something with that idea. This is a fun story about bringing ideas to life, Sienna said “Oh I have good ideas all the time Mum!!” – she is also willing to give things a go and bring her ideas to life, so hopefully this continues throughout her life!
The energy bus for kids – Jon Gordon
Having a growth mindset and being able to ideate, experiment and be resilient is all awesome, but what about managing energy? what about bullies? This is such an awesome book about positivity, managing our energy and not letting bullies take our energy. I identified so much with little George in this book, he works hard to stay positive all the time, but sometimes life’s challenges and negative people try to get in the way. This is about how to overcome these challenges, staying positive and choosing who we let on our energy bus. Sienna has already fallen in love with this story too, she likes imagining being the bus driver and telling me the best success of her day like the little boy in the book does.
Making mistakes is one of the best ways that your brain can learn and grow, reading new books is a wonderful way to encourage imagination and to provide fuel for your brain!
If you only read 6 books this year, I 100% recommend these!!! Stretch your brain, imagine doing things that scare you, try bringing an idea to life and prepare yourself for the future! The more learning you do, the more neurons you grow, the more neurons you grow, the more messages your brain can send, it is like creating bigger bandwidth within your brain, more data, more downloads, better programs to play with!! Become a neurosculptor and technician of your own mind…! This isn’t just worthwhile for your kids, it is worthwhile for you too 🙂