Summer Reading List

5 must-read books for understanding and encouraging your baby's development

Summer is here!

And aside from sun, fun, and endless reasons to consume ice cream, this means that things have slowed down enough that you finally have time sit down with a book (or two).

But just one look at the parenting section on and you’re overwhelmed by the endless resources offered. What are the experts recommending? What will be enjoyable to read? What matters for my kids?

We’re here for you, and we believe that making a difference in you and your children’s life can happen one book at a time. So we’ve mapped out a ‘summer reading list’ to help you find the resource that will impact you the most, whatever stage of parenting you’re in, and whatever’s on your mind.

1. Einstein Never Used Flash Cards by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek Ph.D., Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Diane Eyer
Starting with perhaps the longest subtitle on our list--How Our Children Really Learn — And Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less — this book delivers a refreshing message to parents everywhere: play is the best way for children to learn. Written by two highly credentialed child psychologists, this book debunks the myths of the accelerated learning phenomenon and instead offers parents and educators a hands-on guide to preparing your child for tomorrow through smart, simple, and loving play exercises.

Best Part: The 40 exercises in total that cover every area of a child’s development and focus on how a child’s mind learns.

2. Amazing Baby by Desmond Morris
This pick is near and dear to our hearts because it takes the reader on a discovery journey through a baby’s first two years, charting the extraordinary growth and development patterns that occur in these early stages. Chapters are broken down by stage and growth--from conception through nine months in the womb all the way to walking and talking. Discover the biology, physics, chemistry of how your baby’s little body works.

Best Part: The 250 beautiful, large photographs and illustrations in an innovative layout. Perfect for browsing and study.

3. Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky
Just when you’re up to your ears in 'how-to’s on everything from potty training to discipline to nutrition, comes a book that offers research-based advice to help you answer the deeper question, “What kind of person do I want my child to be?’ Through conversations with more than one hundred outstanding researchers in neuroscience and child development, author Ellen Galinsky has identified simple, everyday things parents can do to build these essential life skills: (1) focus and self control; (2) perspective-taking; (3) communicating; (4) making connections; (5) critical thinking; (6) taking on challenges; and (7) self-directed, engaged learning.

Best Part: Going beyond explaining what the studies have found on these seven essentials, this book highlights concrete things you can do starting today.

4. Welcome to Your Child's Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College by Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt
Getting inside your child’s brain is ever the plight of parents everywhere. Now, join two neuroscientists as they expel common myths about raising happy, healthy kids from infancy well into teen years. Get the lowdown on everything from sleep problems, gender differences and autism to the meaning of ADHD in the classroom, and the value of educational videos for babies.

Best Part: Know when to worry and when to relax (emphasis on the latter).

5. Bright from the Start: The Simple, Science-Backed Way to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind from Birth to Age 3 by Jill Stamm
This last one mirrors our focus on child development from conception to age three, and is perfect for new parents. Explore common inquiries about things like reading to baby, baby sign language, and music in the nursery and discover practical information on the importance of simple interactions with your baby that fall into the attention, bonding, or communication categories. This book takes neuroscience’s latest findings and translates them into things that are already at your disposal.

Best Part: Get a list of games and tips for each developmental stage from 0 to 3.

We know how busy you are, so we want to be an accessible resource for empowering and equipping you to be the best parent you can be.

Happy summer reading!