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This section contains an annotated bibliography of about 50 non-fiction books that relate to varied aspects

of thinking and learning. A few offer specific techniques, like Brookes' book on learning to draw and

Rico's on learning to write. Some, like D'Amasio's and Gardner's, offer well-developed theories

of the mind and brain. Others, like Diamond's, Feynman's and Suskind's, are gripping

stories of the mental effort required to accomplish some herculean task such as

Diamond's comprehensive and compelling analyses of how societies fail,

Feynman's explanation of why the Challenger disater occurred, or

Suskind's narrative of a disenfranchised youth's struggle to

obtain a first-rate education.

At the end of the Thinking and Learning bibliography is a link to two annotated bibliographies on the environment.

One enables adults to inform themselves; the other contains books that can be read to

children or older children can read to themselves.

— — —

Annotated Bibliography

Emphasis: Thinking and Learning

Brookes, Mona (1986).  Drawing with children. Los Angeles: Tarcher.

Useful approach to teaching children, even very young ones, to draw.  Relies on analysis of shapes which the author codifies into dots, circles, lines, and mixed shapes.

Campbell, Don (2000).  The Mozart effect for children. New York: HarperCollins.

As good as it gets, by a superb musician/music educator on using music from the time the embryo is conceived through about the age of ten.  No parent should be without this book and teachers will find it an excellent resource.

Carpenter, Edmund

(1972).  Oh what a blow that phantom gave me. New York: Holt Rinehart & Winston.                                     (1970).  They became what they beheld.  New York: Ballantine.

Two superb books by a master story teller on the impact of media on society.  Anthropologist, filmmaker, professor, author Carpenter is revered by students and readers who, intentionally or accidentally, have found his books.

* Corsaro, William and Molinari, Luisa (2005).  I compagni: Understanding children’s transition from preschool to elementary school.  New York: Teachers College Press.

A longitudinal study in a northern Italian city of a handful of children from age three to age eight.  One of the few accounts of “what happens” after children attend an enriched preschool.  Takes into account the strong influence of a culture.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly

(1993).  The evolving self. New York: HarperCollins.

Consequences of our choices and their impact on society.

(1990) Flow. New York: HarperCollins.

Author of best-selling and numerous books, a psychologist and great humanist, (called “Mike” by friends and pronounced: Chik sent muh high), Csikszentmihalyi  examines what motivates us.   He defines a theory that when we are challenged beyond current capacity but not at a level that frustrates we are our most creative.

Damasio, Antonio R. (1994). Descartes’ error. New York: Putnam.

Research on how the brain works by a brilliant neuroscientist; parts of the book are technical but nonetheless accessible.

Diamond, Jared

(2005). Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed. New York: Viking.

Must read for anyone who cares about the environment.  Excellent descriptions of many of the new sciences used to understand past events.

               (1992).  The third chimpanzee: The evolution and future of the human animal.  New York: HarperCollins

               Overview of the development of our species, how we learn, how we behave, and the implications.

* Edwards, Carolyn, Gandini, Lella, Forman, George (Eds.). (1998). The hundred languages of children. 2nd Edition.   Greenwich CN: Ablex.

A good resource on the Reggio Approach with chapters by many of the Italian educators themselves as well as some Americans who were among the earliest to be involved.  Some chapters are difficult because they are written in interview format and translations from the Italian are by Italian not English speakers.

Feuerstein, Reuven, Rand, Yaacov, Rynders, John E. (1988).  You love me!! Don’t accept me as I am.  Jerusalem: International Center for the Enhancement of Learning Potential.

Theory of mediation as the critical element in shaping how we think and learn; by a renowned psychologist; technical reading, excellent theory.

Feynman, Richard

(1988).  What do you care what other people think. New York: Norton.

(1985) “Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman!”.  New York: Norton.

Two easy-to-read, humorous, autobiographical books by a noble prize winning physicist.  Many fine portrayals of analytic thinking processes.

* Gandini, Lella, Edwards, Carolyn (Eds.). (2001).  Bambini: The Italian approach to           

infant/toddler care.  New York: Teachers College Press.

Good coverage of the history of early education in Italy and the federal legislation that supports families.

Gardner, Howard

(1991). The unschooled mind.  New York: Basic Books.

Theory of multiple intelligences applied to what goes on in schools by a brilliant psychologist.

(1989). To open minds.  New York: Basic Books.

Comparison of how art is taught in the USA and China with the author’s changing his opinion as he studies the field; worth reading for the approach to teaching.

Gleick, James

(1988).  Chaos: Making a new science.  New York: Penguin Books.

Story of how the new science of chaos was discovered.           

(1992). Genius.  New York: Panatheon.

Biography of Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman.       

Gopnik, A., Meltzoff, A., Kuhl, P. (1999).  The scientist in the crib.  New York: William Morrow.

Good overview of infant intelligence  with many concrete examples and references to recent research.

Hawkins, David (1974).  The informed vision: Essays on learning and human nature. New York: Agathon Press.     

Thought-provoking ideas about what education should be by a brilliant philosopher/physicist/educator.

Hawkins, Francis (1969).  The logic of action.  New York: Random House.

Story of a year with a small class of deaf pre-schoolers, very moving.  Timeless insights about early learning.

** Holt, John (1964). How children fail.  New York: Dell

Classic book on a humane approach to teaching. 

Karr-Morse, Robin and Wiley, Meredith S. (1997). Ghosts from the nursery.  New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.

On a search to determine why a 16-year-old had engaged in an act that destroyed many lives, the authors summarize recent research on human development from conception through early childhood.  They examine factors such as stress and abusive substances.

Kidder, Tracy  

(2003).  Mountains beyond mountains.  New York: Random House.

Gripping account of  Dr. Paul Farmer’s work bringing high quality health care to Haiti.  Portrait of an incredible human being and his unusual childhood.                     

(1989).  Among school children.

             Moving account of a fifth grade teacher’s year with children from the wrong side of the tracks.

Leonard, George B. (1968).  Education and ecstasy.  New York: Dell Publishing. 

A compelling look at the state of  public education in America by the then editor of “Look” Magazine.  Includes an inspiring description of what good education could be.

Levine, Mel (2002). A mind at a time.  New York: Simon & Schuster.

Comforting advice by a pediatrician on how children are vastly individual and how parents can best help by understanding who their children are and supporting them.

* Lewin-Benham, Ann

(2008).  Powerful children: understanding how to think and learn using the Reggio Approach.  New York: Teachers College Press.

The intriguing stories of the complex projects carried out by inner city preschoolers with their teachers’ collaboration.  The author highlights one feature of the Reggio Approach for each project as well as a major issue in early childhood education and describes policy implications.

 (2006).  Possible schools: The Reggio Approach to urban education. New York: Teachers College Press.

Story of an inner city preschool, buffeted by social factors.  The school received the highest possible honor – accreditation by the Municipal Preschools of Reggio Emilia – but could not survive in its own culture.

Matthews, Jay (1989).  Escalante.  New York: Holt.

Biography of this inspiring teacher.

Mogel, Wendy (2001).  The blessing of a skinned knee. New York: Penguin.

This down to earth book has excellent and straight-forward advice on raising children in an age of entitlement when we all have and want too much.

Neil, A. S. (1960).  Summerhill.  New York: Hart

Classic book on an approach to teaching difficult students.

Papert, Seymour

(1996).  The connected family.  Atlanta: Longstreet.

Using computers at home with children; another Papert gme.                                                

              (1980).  Mindstorms: Children, computers and powerful ideas.  New York: Basic Books.

Use of computers in the classroom, timeless philosophy of teaching, especially math, by an MIT professor of computer science, brilliant educator, and first-rate iconoclast.

Perelman, Lewis J. (1992).  School’s out. New York: William Morrow.

Critique of public schooling.

Perkins, David  

(1995).  Outsmarting IQ: The emerging science of learnable intelligence.  New York: Free Press.

Thoughtful and thorough discussion of what intelligence is and how to develop it. The emphasis is on post-early childhood education.

(1992).  Smart schools.  New York: The Free Press.

Excellent on teaching techniques for elementary through high school (does not address early childhood).  Written  by the Co-founder/director of Harvard’s Project Zero.

Pinker, Steven (2002).  The blank slate: The modern denial of human nature. New York: Penguin

A thoroughly researched argument on why nature (genes) is a more dominant influence than nurture (environment).  Important information and critique of much current thinking whether or not you agree with Pinker’s theory.

(1994). The language instinct: How the mind creates language.  New York: HarperCollins.

This is a definitive book on how we acquire and use language.  It puts the on-going controversies about teaching reading in prospective.

Postman, N. (1985).  Amusing ourselves to death. New York: Penguin Books.

Cogent discussion of the impact of TV on society, and good material on the impact of TV on children.  Explains that Sesame Street simply trains children to be TV watchers.  Classic and a MUST READ.

Rambusch, Nancy McCormick (1962). Learning how to learn. Baltimore: Helicon.

An out-of-print book that portrays the Montessori approach thoroughly and helped to create the Montessori school movement in the 1960’s.

Rico, Gabriele Lusser (1983).  Writing the natural way.  Los Angeles: Tarcher.

Great approach to teaching (or learning on your own) how to write.

Sachs, Peter (2000).  Standardized minds.  New York: HarperCollins.

Excellent review of the dilemma of standardized tests; great ammunition for why they should not be used the way we are currently using them.

Sacks, Oliver  (2001). Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a chemical boyhood.  New York: Random House.

Autobiography by a great neurologist and author of many books; describes his childhood in a family of scientists in the pre-and post-second world war era.  In his passion for experiments, he delves into the history of the discovery of the elements.  A tour-de-force of the history of chemistry with many helpful references to stimulate youngsters interest in science.

Singh, Simon (1997). Fermat’s enigma: The epic quest to solve the world’s greatest mathematical problem.  New York: Doubleday.

The gripping story of a brilliant mathematician who become consumed by trying to find the solution to a 350-year-old mathematical challenge.                    

Sizer, Theodore R.

(1992).  Horace’s school: Redesigning the American high school.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Sizer’s answer to the compromise: How to fix a public high school by the founder of the Coalition for Essential Schools.

(1984).  Horace’s compromise: The dilemma of the American high school.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

One of the best critiques of the American public high school by a brilliant educator.

Suskind, Ron (1998). A hope in the unseen: An American odyssey from the inner city to the Ivy League.  New York: Broadway Books

                The compelling true story of a student’s struggle to get a top quality education.

Wilson, Frank (1998).  The hand.  New York: Random House.

The evolution, physiology, and uses of the human hand.  Fascinating detail and stories of diverse people – pianists, jugglers, jewelers, auto mechanics – by  an articulate, astute neurologist and professor.

Winn, Marie (1977). TV: The plug in drug.  Penguin: New York

Classic on the bad effects of TV on children.

*   Books about the Reggio Approach and Italian early education

** If you like John Holt's book, you will also like books by Herbert Kohl, Jonathan Kozol, George Dennison,  and George Leonard’s book Education and Ecstasy.


Bibliographies on the Environment

for Adults and Children    

The bibliography for adults contains resources about many different aspects of the environment, from pollution and recycling to food sources and energy.

The bibliography for children contains fiction and non-fiction. Some books encourage children to appreciate the balances of nature and beauty of the environment. Others are full of interesting facts about all aspects of the environment. I have carefully selected the children's books for the quality of their text and illustrations.

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