Looking for some interesting books to read on language, brain, and child development? Here are some of my top choices, and I would love for you to share books about child development and learning that you have found interesting and educational to read. Simply use the form to your right.

1. Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky

Ellen Galinsky goes through seven essential life skills that every child needs to succeed: They are 1. Focus and Self Control, 2. Perspective Taking, 3. Communicating, 4. Making Connections, 5. Critical Thinking, 6. Taking On Challenges, 7. Self-Directed, Engaged Learning. The book is a fascinating read, and will provide you with new insights into your child’s behavior.

Take a look inside the book and listen to an audio-sample >

2. Nurture Shock, New Thinking about Children by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman

Another fascinating read! You’ll be surprised by many of the latest science findings these two science writers present. The book will give you fresh ideas about many nurturing intuitions you have and it is likely going to change your thinking about parenting and young children.
Areas the authors discuss in a razer-sharp narrative are ‘the inverse powers of praise, what too little sleep does for learning and the developing brain, why kids lie, why some children excel in language and others don’t’, when is a good time to teach a child about race’, and more.

Take a look inside the book and listen to an audio-sample >

3. Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five by John Medina

Another good read, chock-full of science information and written with a lot of humor. Dr. John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist, discusses what the latest science tells us about brain and child development and what they mean for parents. He discusses what can be done to optimize a child’s learning potential and often includes funny stories to make his point. The information will make you think about your own parenting and give you new insights.

Take a look inside the book and listen to an audio-sample:

4. Baby Play, 100 fun-filled activities to maximize your baby’s potential by Dr. Wendi Masi , Dr.  Roni Cohen Leiderman (eds.)

An absolutely lovely book full of great ideas for play activities throughout the first year of life. If you’re looking for a how-to book with short developmental summaries, this book is one of my favorites. The activities are simple, well-described, require things you most likely already have at home and are arranged in age ranges that allow for easy navigation and use of the book. A perfect companion to play with your baby.

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5. Superbaby, 12 Ways to give your child a head start in the first three years by Dr. Jenn Berman

Another great read, full of science findings and practical tips to support your child’s development in the first three years. The topics range from ‘how to have a respectful communication’, to ‘responding to cues’, ‘creating security and predictability in the child’s life, to findings about ‘how to promote language learning’ and ‘the benefits of sign language’, and more. Dr. Berman’s book is an essential read for parents and caregivers who look for in depth information and practical tips they can use in their parenting day in day out. Sidebars and lists make it easy to read through the book and catch key information on the fly.

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 6. Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn — and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., Roberta M. Golinkoff, Ph.D.

One more fascinating read! Discussing the challenges of modern parenting, the two eminent child psychologists advocate PLAY as the essential ingredient to a child’s healthy, happy and smart development. Babies don’t need flash cards, baby videos or other media to learn best. They thrive through play. The authors show how play is a crucial part in children’s development as a variety of skills emerge – ranging from language, to math, reading, and social skills, as well self-awareness, and others. Discussing science findings from their own studies and other child development experts, they weave together science findings with practical games for creative play in the various areas discussed.

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7. Start Smart: Building Brain Power in the Early Years by Pam Schiller, Ph. D.

Pam Schiller, a prominent childhood author, focuses on ways to boost the child’s brain power from birth to age five. Topics range from ‘aromas, colors, movement, learning styles, music and the brain’, to many more. She integrates research findings with practical play activities and suggestions for books to read with young children. She explains why and how certain activities help to build a strong foundation for future learning. Another helpful, great read if you’re looking for quick information and play activities.

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8. Talk to me, Baby. How you can support young children’s language development
by Betty s. Bardige, Ed. D.

An excellent read if you are looking for information about language and literacy development in young children from birth to age six. Dr. Bardige, a developmental psychologist and educator, writes in a very accessible way how children build their language skills, and includes stories and lots of easy to use ideas for play activities along the way. The book is for parents and educators like-wise and gives great ideas on how to talk and play while promoting the child’s development.

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9. Baby Minds. Brain-Building Games your Baby will Love by Linda Acredolo, Ph.D., Susan Goodwyn, Ph.D.

The authors, two well-known child psychologists and authors of Baby Signs, weave together science findings with practical tips and play activities in areas such as problem solving, language learning, memory, pre-literacy, learning about numbers, and more… They make science information accessible and fun to read, give little anecdotes and their play activities are easy to follow as well.

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10. The Scientist in the Crib. What early learning tells us about the mind by Alison Gopnik, Ph.D., Andrew N. Meltzoff, Ph.D., Patricia K. Kuhl, Ph.D.

A fascinating read written by three pioneers in child development and cognitive science. Written in a sharp, often funny narrative that will make you smile, they discuss what science tells us about the amazing abilities of infants and toddlers, so you get a really good idea what goes on in the head of the little minds. Covering chapters such as what young children know about people, about things, about language and what scientists have learned about these amazing little minds, the book is great for parents, educators and policy makers like-wise. The science is presented in a very accessible way and spiced up by anecdotes from the authors’ own experiences as parents and scientists.

For more information click here >

11. Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children by Betty Hart, Ph.D.,Todd R. Risely, Ph.D.

As a language researcher, I love this book. That said, I think it’s an enjoyable read for anyone who wants to dive into the details of what makes rich language experiences for young children and how such experiences shape their future lives! You can skip over many of the fine details but there is so much valuable information that will help you to look at your conversations with young children in new ways. They describe how they went into the homes of 42 American families and collected their data – conversations parents had with their toddlers in their homes as they engaged in daily activities. They went into the homes for over two years, and then analyzed this mountain of information and you get to see it here in its origin. Their results made headlines in 1995, and are in the news now again. How much and how parents talk shapes young children’s early language skills and later achievements in school. Enriched talk and interactions in the infant and toddler years give children a head start.

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12. What’s Going on in There? : How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life by Lise Eliot, Ph.D.

A great book if you’re interested in learning more about children’s brain development – from conception through the first five years. Dr. Lise Eliot, a research neuroscientist, gives a fascinating account of how the child’s brain is formed, detailing the basic biology of brain development. Other chapters include prenatal influences on the developing brain, how birth affects the brain, how touch is important for a healthy development, the development of senses such as smell and taste, as well as the emerging abilities for memory, language, thinking and reasoning, and more. It gives parents lots of information to draw from and shows many ways how they can actually help their child grow and thrive.

Take a look inside the book and listen to an audio sample >

13. Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn. Building essential skills in young children by Mary Renck Jalongo

The ability to listen is essential for learning. This book is a great read combining research and practice on listening that enriches interactions parents and teachers have with young children.