**Wear your hardhats, folks! This page is constantly under construction!**
I’m a bit of a bibliophile, I’ll give you that. But each resource here is one I value and would recommend to my friends and colleagues. (In other words, you.) Each linked title will take you directly to Amazon (or Ebook host site) where you can learn more about the book and even purchase it right there, if you wish.
I don’t endorse every single thing written in each book, but I do think each one is worth reading and thinking critically about! Each one has shaped, informed, or resonated with me in some way. I’d love to hear what would be on your list!
(Affiliate links included. Purchases made through these links send a little change to the Not Just Cute tip jar at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)
Of course, I have my own resources that I’ve written, and I’d love for you to check those out too, but I hope some of these reads get you thinking, just like they did for me!
General Child Development, Education, and Parenting
The Importance of Being Little
My copy is full of underlines and post-it notes. A must-read for early childhood professionals and advocates!
Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children
If you’re expecting to learn what kind of flashcards are best for babies, this isn’t that book. Written by the powerhouse team of Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, PhD and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, PhD, this book breaks down what children really need for optimal learning, and how we can best put that knowledge into action.
Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs
One of my absolute favorites! I sincerely feel that all parents and teachers would do well to really study this book! One of the first read along books at NJC. Check out the series plus the interview with author, Ellen Galinsky.
What if Everybody Understood Child Development?
Based on a hugely popular essay by the same title, this book challenges all those decisions made for our kids without consideration for what we know about our kids. 2016 Read Along Book. Check out the series here.
The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way
This is a fascinating book that takes a look at other countries with high-performing education systems. While there are a lot of differences between them, the similarities may be exactly what’s missing from the US system.
Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder
As I wrote in this guest post for Life Your Way, “I believe we must think of our homes as schools, or it will matter little what we choose instead.” That doesn’t necessarily mean you exclusively home school, but you have to realize the amazing potential of the home as a place of powerful learning. This book is all about how to do that in playful, natural, inspiring ways.
It’s OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids
(Read-Along!) Sometimes implementing best practice and following child development principles can make you feel like you’re “going rogue”, but this book is all about why you should! With great references and resources, you’ll want to grab yourself a copy!
Heather Shumaker’s follow-up book to It’s OK NOT to Share. Read my review of it here.
NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children
Another book that turns conventional wisdom on its head.
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind
Listening to this one right now! It’s an interesting view on how to connect the lower, emotional brain with the higher, logical brain. Kids (and parents and teachers!) need to be able to balance the two in order to make healthy connections, manage powerful emotions, and make good choices.
Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications (6th Edition)
OK, this link is to an outrageously priced textbook. The book is a great resource for basic theories of human development. Unless you need the most recent copy for a class, I would recommend finding an earlier edition on half.com (that’s what I have!)
The Power of Play
A Child’s Work: The Importance of Fantasy Play
Paley was a pioneer in teaching the power of imaginative play. This small book fueled my passion for supporting dramatic play in early childhood.
Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn–and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less
Need research to support play as a powerful form of learning? This book is full of it!
Children’s Play: The Roots of Reading
I’m guessing this is used as a textbook. The bad news side of that is that it’s rather high-priced for a fairly small paperback, but the good news is you could probably find it used for a fraction of the price. It’s packed with academic essays and research supporting play as a necessary foundation for literacy skills to emerge.
Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul
This book, written by Dr. Stuart Brown, is not just about why kids need play, but why we ALL do! Fantastic mix of data and research and fascinating anecdotes.
This is free online, and a fantastic resource!
Nature and Outdoor Play
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder
This should be required reading! Why do kids (and the rest of us) need nature? So glad you asked……
A Little Bit of Dirt: 55+ Science and Art Activities to Reconnect Children with Nature
Get kids out in nature! This book will tell you how to do it!
This is an outstanding resource for building literacy skills in young children in meaningful ways. Check out my interview with one of the authors, Allison McDonald of No Time for Flash Cards.
The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition
Timeless and highly recommended resource on the hows and whys of reading aloud.
Literacy Beginnings: A Prekindergarten Handbook
This is a great handbook for any teacher in the early childhood classroom. Intentional in providing literacy-building skills, but also strong on play and the incredible importance of PRE-literacy experiences. This book read like a validation of my personal philosophy of literacy education in the early school years.
Unique Needs, Personalities, Temperaments, and Behaviors
Practical Solutions to Practically Every Problem,: The Early Childhood Teacher’s Manual
–>NEWEST Addition! (October 2016)
This is probably my most used book for classroom consultations! It’s an outstanding resource and one of the best texts for teaching how to implement a positive guidance philosophy in the early childhood classroom.
So This Is Normal Too?
I actually have a (very worn out) first edition of this book, but this newer version looks quite the same. What I love about this book is that it addresses behavioral issues both from a classroom standpoint as well as a family standpoint. If you teach, you can copy the family handouts right out of the book to share as needed!
Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too
If the challenging behaviors tend to revolve around sibling interactions, this is the book for you!
Sensory processing disorder is a big issue for many children today. This is essentially “The Book” on the subject!
The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun, Revised Edition: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder
Think of this as the how-to activity book to go along with the first book!
Growing an In-Sync Child: Simple, Fun Activities to Help Every Child Develop, Learn, and Grow
Essentially posing the question, “Are kids out of sync, or is it the world they live it?” this edition in the series looks at proactive exercises and activities every child should have the opportunity enjoy in order to grow up healthy and whole. Really interesting mind-body and movement-development connections!
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
This is a fascinating book about introversion! It may give you some insight to yourself as well as your child!
Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic
I’ll confess, when I read (er, listened to) this book years ago, I didn’t think there was anything mind-blowing in it. “Common sense,” I thought to myself. Then a friend of mine mentioned how it changed her whole paradigm in dealing with her child’s challenging behaviors. So if you’ve already spent years in education and development classes it may seem like common sense, but if not, this book may be life-changing for you too!
The Curious Kid’s Science Book: 100+ Creative Hands-On Activities for Ages 4-8
I love the way these activities are set up. Not just as instructions for an activity, but as real science experiences! Find my full review here.
150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids
Awesome hands-on activities from Asia Citro of Fun at Home with Kids. Find the book review here.
Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors
Written by the amazing Rachelle Doorely of the blog TinkerLab, this is a fantastic resource for any parent or teacher of young children. Focusing on the intersection of art and science and the critical importance of nurturing creativity, exploration, and tinkering, this book is packed with 55 hands-on activities kids will love! (Read an interview with Rachelle here.)
101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever!: The Entertainment Solution for Parents, Relatives & Babysitters!
Hand this book over to your kids or students along with a pat of sticky notes, and they’ll mark page after page of awesome activities. You’ll have a ready-made response to “I’m BORED!” From the brilliant ladies behind the fun learning site, Kids Activities Blog.
The Ultimate Kids’ Cookbook and The Ultimate Kids’ Baking Book
I love the way these cookbooks are formatted, focusing not just on recipes, but on teaching about cooking techniques and concepts along the way.
The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art and Creativity–Includes over 60 Art Projects for Children Ages 1 to 8
Inspiring and beautiful, this book has received several honors, including the 2013 Amazon Best of the Year List and 2013 Family Choice Award. ***Beautifully REVISED Edition for 2019!***
Time to Create: Hands-On Explorations in Process Art for Young Children
A fantastic resource full of creative, process-oriented art!
Simple. Intentional. Life.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
If you don’t want to just get more done, but want to make sure you’re getting the “right things” done, check out this book.
Today’s world is noisy and distracted. This book has great insight into how to quiet the noise and do meaningful work.
Real tips for building habits to live more in line with what you value.
Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World
Another gem from Tsh Oxenreider of The Art of Simple. Tsh breaks life down into main categories (food, education, travel, etc.) and talks about how to be more aware, thoughtful, and intentional in living that part of your life. Tsh shares her own experiences and realizations, but also challenges her readers to come to their own conclusions for their own families.
Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!
Rachel Macy Stafford is truly a gem and this book has really got me thinking about how to build more meaningful connections!
Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids
I think we all crave simplicity in one form or another. This is a great book about why kids need it in particular, and how to make room for it in your home and your life.
Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood
As a type-A list-maker, becoming a mom and trying to schedule a day has always been a challenge for me. This book was an eye-opener. All about intentional, powerful parenting.
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story
All about living an intentional life, but in a very readable narrative form. This is one of my absolute favorite books!
7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess
This is very much a Christian book, so you’ll have to judge if it’s right for you – sometimes she works for me, sometimes no. But in this one, I found her to be both profound and hilarious. Truly changed my perspective! Also enjoyed For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards. It made me laugh and cry at the same lines.
What should I add to my shelf? I’d love to hear what’s gotten your brain buzzing lately!