By Author / Illustrator
Nicola Morgan, illus Risa Rodil
Walker Books Ltd
Paperback / softback
A fun and practical guide to making your brain brilliant, from well-being expert Nicola Morgan.
Build a brilliant brain with this fun and practical guide for young people from award-winning well-being expert Nicola Morgan. From the benefits of the right food, sleep and exercise, to how be creative, curious and resilient, discover the incredible science and top advice to make your brain the best it can be. Packed with fascinating facts and brain boosting activities, this illustrated guide gives you the power to build your brilliant brain!
In this latest book from teenage brain expert Nicola Morgan, you can find out ten brilliant ways to supercharge your brain! Ten Ways To Build a Brilliant Brain is written in Nicola Morgan's trademark positive and accessible style and covers topics including fueling your brain, sleep and the brain, the importance of resilience and the power of reading! As well as the ten key topics there is also an excellent introduction to getting to know your brain and how it all works. Each chapter follows a similar format starting with the 'Main Message', 'What You Need to Know', 'How to Use This Knowledge', a quiz or activity before finishing with 'What You've Learnt'. Risa Rodil provides the book with its very stylized and eye-catching graphics.
Throughout the book there are also dotted about information boxes with brilliant brain facts (which I found rather fascinating!), brilliant brain boost and questions from you, which all add to the enjoyment of reading this book. I found this a fascinating read and it is full of really useful and accessible information and practical things to try in the 'How To Use This Knowledge' section of each chapter as well as an activity to try. The section on Sleep was particularly interesting, especially the description of the different stages of sleep and why they are important. Chapter 9 was another highlight for me, focusing on the importance of reading. The message is direct and it has great infographic explaining the benefits of reading especially for pleasure. Chapter Five 'Make Friends' was reassuring in its advice about friendship and how to use social media well.
The book does have a limited glossary which I feel could have been extended, and I feel the book would have benefitted from suggested web links to guide readers to sites for further information. I feel this would be a useful book to recommend to young people (ages 10 - 14) who are interested in keeping good mental health and who want to know how their brain works. You could also just recommend a chapter in it to read for something specific like sleep or issues around social media.
This also makes it very suitable for use in schools in PSE classes as each chapter could easily be a lesson in itself, and on Nicola Morgan's website there are suggested lesson plans for each chapter too. Overall this is an excellent resource and there is plenty to learn and try to help you build a brilliant brain!
176 pages / Reviewed by Stephen Leitch, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 11+
Written as ten chapters, plus an overview, Ten Ways to Build a Brilliant Brain introduces the reader to this complex organ and then lays out ten pieces of advice on making the most of it. This includes facts about the brain, ways to improve your mood and mental stamina, and answers to questions that Nicola Morgan has been asked in real life by curious young people.
There's a quiz at the end of every chapter, activities and a glossary to keep the audience engaged while absorbing the easy-to-digest information and the illustrations by Risa Rodil, which complement the text in a calming monochromatic blue.
Unsurprisingly, a particular favourite chapter is '9: Love Books', which presents a list of benefits reading brings to the brain, a well-balanced discussion on the pros and cons of reading on screen and advice on enjoying books more as well as finding the right read for you.
Ten Ways to Build a Brilliant Brain is a book for children from 8+ to adults alike. While it would appeal most to those who enjoy non-fiction reads, this well-being guide should be shared far and wide to ensure that all brains are the best they can be!
176 pages / Reviewed by Rhiannon Cook, school librarian.
Suggested Reading Age 9+