A wide-ranging guide to harnessing the brain’s awesome powers on the journey through adolescence.
De-emphasizing bodily changes, the brain takes center stage as the key to understanding individual differences, identifying character strengths and personality traits that affect how we experience the world, maintaining a positive mindset, focusing on what we can control, and letting go of what we can’t change. Confidence-building quizzes, tips, and online resources aim to help readers manage setbacks through cultivating a growth mindset, managing stress, and improving sleep. Techniques for improving one’s learning offer useful, practical advice. The message that, at the fundamental level of brain structure, individuals are more alike than not is comforting. The book touches only lightly on topics of gender and sexuality. Many of the recommended activities are geared to middle-class readers with considerable autonomy and financial resources. The dietary guidelines reflect a Western diet, although there is mention of vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. Exercise (including suggestions for those with disabilities), reading (and what to do if you don’t enjoy it), sensible social media use, and cultivating empathy are also covered. The text is broken up into manageable chunks utilizing a variety of fonts, and the chatty style is accessible. Despite some limitations, this presentation of growing up through the angle of brain development sends a positive message: Everyone’s different, but the upheavals of adolescence are universal.
An upbeat, reassuring tool kit for tweens and young teens. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)