Sunday, October 1, 2023

Today's read... SmART by Amy E. Herman

Years and years and years ago (am I aging myself? Maybe)...when I was a little whipper-snapper (yes, there are people in our area who still use that word.), my father would take us to the library every Saturday during our summer vacation. Our favorite and most visited section of the library was the nonfiction shelves. So, when I saw the number of nonfiction reads in this month's pile, I did a little happy dance. Okay, there are a ton of spookier reads fitting to the season, too, but I wanted to start this month on a great note. So, here we go!

Use Your Eyes to Boost Your Brain
adapted from Amy E. Herman
with Heather Maclean
Simon Schuster
Middle Grade Nonfiction
208 pages

OCTOBER 25th!!!

I Spy and Where’s Waldo? get a revolutionary twist in this self-directed, interactive book that teaches young readers how to fully engage their brains to think critically and creatively.

What would you say if I told you that looking at art could give you the confidence you need to speak up in class? Or that learning the history of donuts could help you think like a super spy and train like the CIA?

smART teaches readers how to process information using paintings, sculptures, and photographs that instantly translates to real world situations and is also fun!

With three simple steps (1) How to SEE, (2) How to THINK about what you see, and (3) How to TALK about what you see, readers learn how to think critically and creatively, a skill that only requires you to open your eyes and actively engage your brain.

GOODREADS   /    B&N    /    AMAZON


Meant for more than just kids, this book stretches those mind 'muscles' and explains how to increase those cognitive functions.

I'll admit that I expected quite a few search-puzzles and such, when I first got my hands on this book. That's not what this is...although there are plenty of exercises to give that brain a workout. Instead, this book leads the reader through various activities and explains what each one does and why it works along the way. Readers will leave these pages knowing more about why certain things improve our thought-speed and detail recognition as well as how to practice these abilities and improve. And it's a very interesting read, too. 

This is broken down into eight chapters, which lead the reader step-by-step down a path to 'improve' the brain. There is quite a bit to read, but the explanations are geared for young audience and use correlations they'll be able to connect with (like popsicles, detective work, games, etc). It is interesting, and I was surprised how much it draws in, although the topic seems as if it'd be dry. I do think that most middle graders won't want to dive into this much depth, yet, but it's great for young adults (and adults) too. 

I was happily surprised at the use of famous artwork in these pages. The author gives readers many opportunities to practice the skills on their own, and that mostly through the use of art. These exercises are fun, easy to understand, and use the art in a clever...and very successful...way. Sometimes, the reader needs to turn a few pages forward or back to do the exercise (which is too bad but not really an issue) and these photos do not fill the entire page (which is also too bad, since it'd make the exercises easier to do). Still, each of these does make the tasks entertaining, and they definitely fulfill their purpose.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed diving into this read and I can see especially teens enjoying this one quite a bit. It'd also add a great theme to the classroom setting or even for homeschoolers.

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