Books: Challenging and Rewarding

Mind, Brain, and Education: Neuroscience Implications for the Classroom (Leading Edge) (Leading Edge (Solution Tree)) edited by David A. Sousa
A collection of short chapters by many of the greats in the field, this book takes a more in-depth look at the neuroscience of—for example—reading, calculation, and creativity. Written for teachers with both an interest in and some background in neuroscience, this book does an excellent job of bringing a complex field into one volume.

The Behavioral Neuroscience of Adolescence by Linda Spear
Spear offers thorough scientific discussions of vital topics: for example, the development of cognition during adolescence, teenage emotionality, and the neurology of risk assessment. At the same time, she does so in straightforward, non-jargony language that offers helpful background information to teachers.

In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind by Eric R. Kandel
Although dauntingly large, Kandel’s book does an excellent job making decades of scientific habits and discoveries admirably clear. His in-depth presentation of his Nobel-prize-winning work on the neurology of memory is somewhat more challenging, but repays careful reading.

The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life by Joseph LeDoux
After both historical and evolutionary introductions, LeDoux explains a multiplicity of emotional systems. With a dual focus on the role of emotion in cognition, and on the function of the amygdala, this book helps make complicated scientific information easy to understand.

Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain by Antonio Damasio
The relationship between emotion and learning has long intrigued philosophers and teachers. Starting with the amazing story of Phineas Gage, Damasio explores the complex neurology of this relationship—and considers its broadest implications.

The Neuroscience of Human Relationships: Attachment And the Developing Social Brain (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) by Louis Cozolino
With his guiding image of a ‘social synapse,’ Cozolino emphasizes the importance of social context for neural development. Of course, as teachers manage classrooms and schools, we need to know as much as we can about that very relationship.