Monthly Archives: November 2013

35% Off & Free Shipping for Small Business Saturday!

The staff at Little Pickle Press is so grateful for your support that we wanted to do something so we’re offering a very special Small Business Saturday deal!

Today, you are welcome to a 35% discount on all of our books as well as free shipping. Our customers play an important role in the success of our business mission to be a 21st century publisher of children’s media. Little Pickle Press is dedicated to helping parents and educators cultivate conscious, responsible little people by stimulating explorations of the meaningful topics of their generation through a variety of media, technologies, and techniques.

Our books are available in hardcover, as e-books (for iBooksKindles and Nooks!) as well as accompanying apps so you have lots of choices from which to choose!

Use code SBS13 at checkout for your discount and FREE shipping! Enjoy your time to #ShopSmall for Small Business Saturday!

Love,

Little Pickle Press Staff

35% Off & Free Shipping for Small Business Saturday!

The staff at Little Pickle Press is so grateful for your support that we wanted to do something so we’re offering a very special Small Business Saturday deal!

Today, you are welcome to a 35% discount on all of our books as well as free shipping. Our customers play an important role in the success of our business mission to be a 21st century publisher of children’s media. Little Pickle Press is dedicated to helping parents and educators cultivate conscious, responsible little people by stimulating explorations of the meaningful topics of their generation through a variety of media, technologies, and techniques.

Our books are available in hardcover, as e-books (for iBooksKindles and Nooks!) as well as accompanying apps so you have lots of choices from which to choose!

Use code SBS13 at checkout for your discount and FREE shipping! Enjoy your time to #ShopSmall for Small Business Saturday!

Love,

Little Pickle Press Staff

Sharing With Students: LPP in the Classroom

By Audrey Lintner

Building your best brain!
One of the perks of working for a kid-oriented publishing company is getting to read lots of really neat books. One of the perks of being a parent who works for such a company is getting to share those books with local students. I took my copy of Your Fantastic, Elastic Brain over to the elementary school to get some feedback from the third grade classes. A few questions, some reading, and lots of giggles; we all had a great time.

My first question was pretty straightforward. Why do we need a brain? The near-universal answer to this one was “to learn.” Logan, Autumn, and Samantha all agreed that a brain is necessary in order to be smart. Dreya offered the thought that if you get really smart, you could be history, and Josh allowed that “you couldn’t think without one.”

Tori took a different approach, declaring that you have to have a brain, “Because if you don’t, you can’t be alive. You would have to be dead.” Bryn expanded on this concept, stating that the brain helps you “to live and not fall in lava.”

Question number two caused quite a few proud smiles. What is your brain really, really good at? Almost everyone confirmed that they were good at math or reading, while Chloe and Jackson mentioned that their brains were especially good at science. Abby and Jesse both professed to have a talent for thinking, while Justus leaned toward a broader range of skills. “My brain is good at multiplying and adding and subtracting and dividing.”

The third question was a toughie, with answers as diverse as the kids themselves. What can you do to train your brain? There were lots of suggestions to exercise, and quite a few admonitions to read and do math. Brooklyn included social studies as a good way to train your brain, while Dylan urged doing things you haven’t done. Cory and Hayden agreed that going to school and learning stuff is just the ticket for brain training.

We had a fine time learning about our brains, and all of the kids assured me that they were looking forward to a future visit and a reading of The Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain. If you’d like to share the gift of reading with a local school, or if you want to surprise your own family with some of the best in children’s literature, you’re in luck. Just in time for Small Business Saturday, Little Pickle Press is offering their most amazing savings to date.

Small business, HUGE savings!
I’d like to thank my very attentive and helpful audience and their teachers. In addition to the students already named, I had help from Chris, Kadince, Marissa, Derek, Lukas, Justice, Jadynn, Aiden, Jazzamine, Joel, Mya, Lilly, Phoenix, Allie, Jasmine, Jade, Cameron, and Bailey.

Up for discussion: Did you ever have a visiting storyteller at your school? Which book would you choose to read to a class?

Sharing With Students: LPP in the Classroom

By Audrey Lintner

Building your best brain!
One of the perks of working for a kid-oriented publishing company is getting to read lots of really neat books. One of the perks of being a parent who works for such a company is getting to share those books with local students. I took my copy of Your Fantastic, Elastic Brain over to the elementary school to get some feedback from the third grade classes. A few questions, some reading, and lots of giggles; we all had a great time.

My first question was pretty straightforward. Why do we need a brain? The near-universal answer to this one was “to learn.” Logan, Autumn, and Samantha all agreed that a brain is necessary in order to be smart. Dreya offered the thought that if you get really smart, you could be history, and Josh allowed that “you couldn’t think without one.”

Tori took a different approach, declaring that you have to have a brain, “Because if you don’t, you can’t be alive. You would have to be dead.” Bryn expanded on this concept, stating that the brain helps you “to live and not fall in lava.”

Question number two caused quite a few proud smiles. What is your brain really, really good at? Almost everyone confirmed that they were good at math or reading, while Chloe and Jackson mentioned that their brains were especially good at science. Abby and Jesse both professed to have a talent for thinking, while Justus leaned toward a broader range of skills. “My brain is good at multiplying and adding and subtracting and dividing.”

The third question was a toughie, with answers as diverse as the kids themselves. What can you do to train your brain? There were lots of suggestions to exercise, and quite a few admonitions to read and do math. Brooklyn included social studies as a good way to train your brain, while Dylan urged doing things you haven’t done. Cory and Hayden agreed that going to school and learning stuff is just the ticket for brain training.

We had a fine time learning about our brains, and all of the kids assured me that they were looking forward to a future visit and a reading of The Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain. If you’d like to share the gift of reading with a local school, or if you want to surprise your own family with some of the best in children’s literature, you’re in luck. Just in time for Small Business Saturday, Little Pickle Press is offering their most amazing savings to date.

Small business, HUGE savings!
I’d like to thank my very attentive and helpful audience and their teachers. In addition to the students already named, I had help from Chris, Kadince, Marissa, Derek, Lukas, Justice, Jadynn, Aiden, Jazzamine, Joel, Mya, Lilly, Phoenix, Allie, Jasmine, Jade, Cameron, and Bailey.

Up for discussion: Did you ever have a visiting storyteller at your school? Which book would you choose to read to a class?

Thanksgiving: Gratitude

By Kelly Wickham

Raise your hand if you’ve spent the better part of this month looking at your social media streams and seeing all the Gratitude posts? You, too? It’s all I’ve seen this month on my Facebook feed and my first inclination was to tune them out as I scrolled past to find interesting news stories and gifs of dancing cats. The last thing I wanted to do was read lists of gratitude from my friends about things for which they were thankful. There was one major problem with my doing that: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

I know there are better reasons to like Christmas (presents!) and my birthday (which is not technically a holiday), but Thanksgiving tops my list for the most simple reasons:

1. I get to be surrounded by my family.

2. I get to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and tell my children that I wanted to be one of the Rockettes when I was a young girl taking dance class.

and

3. It’s a dedicated time to think about how grateful I am in this life on this earth and in this body.

There was a time when I loved Thanksgiving even in the midst of being very poor. We’re talking poverty levels that would make your head spin. I was a single mother of a little girl and I moved her to a small college-town where I didn’t know anyone save for a few high school acquaintances. My first semester of school was going well, but I was still lonely and didn’t have the same opportunities that the other Freshmen had. The week before Thanksgiving everyone was making plans to go home and see their families but, being poor, we didn’t have the money for gas to get us back home.

My daughter, Mallory, was attending pre-school and when I went to pick her up after one of my classes the director of the school stopped me before I reached the classroom door. Cheerfully, she asked me what my plans were for Thanksgiving and I started weeping uncontrollably. Have you ever bawled like a baby in front of a stranger? It’s mortifying and they don’t really know how to act. Instantly, she reached for a box of tissues and we sat in the tiny chairs lining the empty hallway. Mrs. Corinna, the director, held me for what felt like an eternity and asked me if I wanted to talk about it.

In the space of about two minutes I let my tale of woe pour out of me and told her I wasn’t feeling very thankful since everything seemed to be going wrong. She let me go for a moment, pulled back, and said something very simple yet profound to me:

If you had the power to make a change, what would make this situation better?

At first, it felt like she was actually giving me power. She was allowing me a moment to dream. Through snotty tears and gasps of air I told her that if I had the gas money to go home and take my daughter with me that all I wanted was to be together with my sisters and parents for the holiday.

How would you be more thankful then? she asked as a follow-up question.

I had to admit that I was already thankful in that moment. For her kindness, for the chance to dream and get out of my poverty-stricken despair, and for a human being willing to take a moment to care for me. As weird as it sounds, I started to feel better and then I remembered why my mother always said to count my blessings. We do so in times of feeling blessing-less and it’s a way to shift perspective. Mrs. Corinna hugged me again and told me that everything would be okay in the end.

She shared John Lennon’s words with me about that:

Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. 

Mrs. Corinna was right. It wasn’t the end. And it was okay.

After collecting my daughter and packing up her belongings, Mrs. Corinna met us in the hallway with an envelope full of dollar bills. She went in her purse and took out what she had, giving it to me to get enough gas to drive home for Thanksgiving. If I thought it I had made a fool of myself before, I outdid myself this time. I teared up instantly and cried right there in front of her while holding my daughter on my hip. She hugged me again and said that if I knew how to count my blessings then I would always be okay.

This is the thing that came to mind when I thought about how much I was ignoring my friends’ Facebook gratitude posts. My friends, wonderful as they are, have been counting blessings this month and, momentarily, I forgot how important that was to do. It was just the reminder I needed.

I hope you’re blessing counting today on Thanksgiving and giving thought to the generosity of any strangers in your past. This year, I’m remembering Mrs. Corinna and the scared, hopeless young girl I once was and how important it is to pass along that hope to others. May your day be filled with nothing less than hope.

Thanksgiving: Gratitude

By Kelly Wickham

Raise your hand if you’ve spent the better part of this month looking at your social media streams and seeing all the Gratitude posts? You, too? It’s all I’ve seen this month on my Facebook feed and my first inclination was to tune them out as I scrolled past to find interesting news stories and gifs of dancing cats. The last thing I wanted to do was read lists of gratitude from my friends about things for which they were thankful. There was one major problem with my doing that: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

I know there are better reasons to like Christmas (presents!) and my birthday (which is not technically a holiday), but Thanksgiving tops my list for the most simple reasons:

1. I get to be surrounded by my family.

2. I get to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and tell my children that I wanted to be one of the Rockettes when I was a young girl taking dance class.

and

3. It’s a dedicated time to think about how grateful I am in this life on this earth and in this body.

There was a time when I loved Thanksgiving even in the midst of being very poor. We’re talking poverty levels that would make your head spin. I was a single mother of a little girl and I moved her to a small college-town where I didn’t know anyone save for a few high school acquaintances. My first semester of school was going well, but I was still lonely and didn’t have the same opportunities that the other Freshmen had. The week before Thanksgiving everyone was making plans to go home and see their families but, being poor, we didn’t have the money for gas to get us back home.

My daughter, Mallory, was attending pre-school and when I went to pick her up after one of my classes the director of the school stopped me before I reached the classroom door. Cheerfully, she asked me what my plans were for Thanksgiving and I started weeping uncontrollably. Have you ever bawled like a baby in front of a stranger? It’s mortifying and they don’t really know how to act. Instantly, she reached for a box of tissues and we sat in the tiny chairs lining the empty hallway. Mrs. Corinna, the director, held me for what felt like an eternity and asked me if I wanted to talk about it.

In the space of about two minutes I let my tale of woe pour out of me and told her I wasn’t feeling very thankful since everything seemed to be going wrong. She let me go for a moment, pulled back, and said something very simple yet profound to me:

If you had the power to make a change, what would make this situation better?

At first, it felt like she was actually giving me power. She was allowing me a moment to dream. Through snotty tears and gasps of air I told her that if I had the gas money to go home and take my daughter with me that all I wanted was to be together with my sisters and parents for the holiday.

How would you be more thankful then? she asked as a follow-up question.

I had to admit that I was already thankful in that moment. For her kindness, for the chance to dream and get out of my poverty-stricken despair, and for a human being willing to take a moment to care for me. As weird as it sounds, I started to feel better and then I remembered why my mother always said to count my blessings. We do so in times of feeling blessing-less and it’s a way to shift perspective. Mrs. Corinna hugged me again and told me that everything would be okay in the end.

She shared John Lennon’s words with me about that:

Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. 

Mrs. Corinna was right. It wasn’t the end. And it was okay.

After collecting my daughter and packing up her belongings, Mrs. Corinna met us in the hallway with an envelope full of dollar bills. She went in her purse and took out what she had, giving it to me to get enough gas to drive home for Thanksgiving. If I thought it I had made a fool of myself before, I outdid myself this time. I teared up instantly and cried right there in front of her while holding my daughter on my hip. She hugged me again and said that if I knew how to count my blessings then I would always be okay.

This is the thing that came to mind when I thought about how much I was ignoring my friends’ Facebook gratitude posts. My friends, wonderful as they are, have been counting blessings this month and, momentarily, I forgot how important that was to do. It was just the reminder I needed.

I hope you’re blessing counting today on Thanksgiving and giving thought to the generosity of any strangers in your past. This year, I’m remembering Mrs. Corinna and the scared, hopeless young girl I once was and how important it is to pass along that hope to others. May your day be filled with nothing less than hope.

A Reflection on Adolescence

By Cameron Crane

Let’s all take a moment to reflect on our adolescent years.
Did you shudder a bit? I know I did. Looking back on adolescence is kind of like waking up and looking back on a dream—it seems like real life until you realize that the Dream You is accepting very strange things as reality. Like, for instance, things like wearing a black dog collar around your neck may seem completely normal. At least, it did to me a freshman in high school.
And what’s even more odd is that same freshman who wore a dog collar thought she was invincible. She would climb buildings and break rules. She thought she was smarter than the adults around her. She was certain she would be successful, yet wasn’t exactly keen on setting up the foundation to get there. And she and her friends were convinced their lives were interesting and funny enough to be a reality TV series. We actually had conversations about this.
Yes, the freshman me was a regular, well, pain in the you-know-what.
To be fair, she was also extraordinarily brave and resilient. If she wanted something, she set her mind to it, and went after it fearlessly. She loved openly and could fix a broken heart with a bowl of cookie dough ice cream and a single viewing of The Notebook. She made friends easily, and lost friends regularly, and nothing seemed to bother her for very long (although the hours it did bother her were a sight to be seen).
The most important thing is that no matter how disconnected I feel from that freshman girl, she made me who I am today. And the truth is, I allow a certain forgiveness to her for her antics, because I’m pretty sure she may have felt disconnected from herself.

Adolescence is tricky, and I don’t think that the freshman me knew quite how to navigate things. That’s where The Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain comes in. As a teen and pre-teen who could have used driver’s ed for my brain, I have a strong appreciation for the Doctors Deak’s understanding of the adolescent mind, without being condescending of it. I wish that I had had a book like that in those years. Even now, though, it is a helpful resource for figuring out who I was then, and reflecting on that tumultuous stage of development.

A Reflection on Adolescence

By Cameron Crane

Let’s all take a moment to reflect on our adolescent years.
Did you shudder a bit? I know I did. Looking back on adolescence is kind of like waking up and looking back on a dream—it seems like real life until you realize that the Dream You is accepting very strange things as reality. Like, for instance, things like wearing a black dog collar around your neck may seem completely normal. At least, it did to me a freshman in high school.
And what’s even more odd is that same freshman who wore a dog collar thought she was invincible. She would climb buildings and break rules. She thought she was smarter than the adults around her. She was certain she would be successful, yet wasn’t exactly keen on setting up the foundation to get there. And she and her friends were convinced their lives were interesting and funny enough to be a reality TV series. We actually had conversations about this.
Yes, the freshman me was a regular, well, pain in the you-know-what.
To be fair, she was also extraordinarily brave and resilient. If she wanted something, she set her mind to it, and went after it fearlessly. She loved openly and could fix a broken heart with a bowl of cookie dough ice cream and a single viewing of The Notebook. She made friends easily, and lost friends regularly, and nothing seemed to bother her for very long (although the hours it did bother her were a sight to be seen).
The most important thing is that no matter how disconnected I feel from that freshman girl, she made me who I am today. And the truth is, I allow a certain forgiveness to her for her antics, because I’m pretty sure she may have felt disconnected from herself.

Adolescence is tricky, and I don’t think that the freshman me knew quite how to navigate things. That’s where The Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain comes in. As a teen and pre-teen who could have used driver’s ed for my brain, I have a strong appreciation for the Doctors Deak’s understanding of the adolescent mind, without being condescending of it. I wish that I had had a book like that in those years. Even now, though, it is a helpful resource for figuring out who I was then, and reflecting on that tumultuous stage of development.

5 Brain-Boosting Superfoods

By Audrey Lintner
Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
Look, up on the table! It’s a snack, it’s an entrée, it’s …

SUPERFOOD!


Yes, superfood. Wholesome, tasty, and a must for every mental menu. By adding some or all of the following foods to your daily diet, you can clear the cranial clutter that keeps your brain from working at full power.

Go fishing. As Doctor Kat told us, essential fatty acids such as DHA are found in deep-water fish such as salmon. By treating yourself to fish that’s not served in breaded stick form, you’re also treating your brain to some real food for thought.

Gra-a-i-ins! A healthy heart can mean a healthy brain. Proper circulation thanks to good cardiovascular health will provide your brain with the blood flow vital to its function. Since they also provide energy in the form of slow-release glucose, daily doses of whole grains are a good way to fight zombie-style brain fog.

Let’s get cracking!Some studies suggest that cognitive decline may be linked to a Vitamin E deficiency. You may be able to hold off the downhill trend with a serving of crunchy nuts, which are high in Vitamin E andflavor.

Have the blues.Skip the chocolate chip muffin and go for the blueberry. Loaded with antioxidants, blueberries are believed to improve cognitive processing and possibly even reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. In pancakes, on salads, or eaten out of hand; blueberries are just what the doctor ordered.

Pick a peck of pumpkin. With fall in full swing, now is the time to load up on pumpkin recipes. Don’t toss out the seeds, though! With the help of your oven, those little seeds can become a tasty, toasted snack that’s a great source of zinc. Popular in cold remedies, zinc is also beneficial for memory and critical thinking.

You don’t need hyper-caffeinated, extra-sugary drinks to stay sharp. The right diet can work wonders. While you’re feeding your brain, you might also take a moment to feast your eyes on the following links. Righteous Bacon is a blog by the amazing Diana Prichard. Celebrate National Farm to City Week by reading some of the best in real-life farming stories. Diana is also the author of The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen, a “moooving” tale about a young boy, his breakfast guest, and a lesson in food sourcing.

Up for discussion: Which brain superfoods do you eat on a regular basis? Can you tell when you skip a serving?

5 Brain-Boosting Superfoods

By Audrey Lintner
Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
Look, up on the table! It’s a snack, it’s an entrée, it’s …

SUPERFOOD!


Yes, superfood. Wholesome, tasty, and a must for every mental menu. By adding some or all of the following foods to your daily diet, you can clear the cranial clutter that keeps your brain from working at full power.

Go fishing. As Doctor Kat told us, essential fatty acids such as DHA are found in deep-water fish such as salmon. By treating yourself to fish that’s not served in breaded stick form, you’re also treating your brain to some real food for thought.

Gra-a-i-ins! A healthy heart can mean a healthy brain. Proper circulation thanks to good cardiovascular health will provide your brain with the blood flow vital to its function. Since they also provide energy in the form of slow-release glucose, daily doses of whole grains are a good way to fight zombie-style brain fog.

Let’s get cracking!Some studies suggest that cognitive decline may be linked to a Vitamin E deficiency. You may be able to hold off the downhill trend with a serving of crunchy nuts, which are high in Vitamin E andflavor.

Have the blues.Skip the chocolate chip muffin and go for the blueberry. Loaded with antioxidants, blueberries are believed to improve cognitive processing and possibly even reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. In pancakes, on salads, or eaten out of hand; blueberries are just what the doctor ordered.

Pick a peck of pumpkin. With fall in full swing, now is the time to load up on pumpkin recipes. Don’t toss out the seeds, though! With the help of your oven, those little seeds can become a tasty, toasted snack that’s a great source of zinc. Popular in cold remedies, zinc is also beneficial for memory and critical thinking.

You don’t need hyper-caffeinated, extra-sugary drinks to stay sharp. The right diet can work wonders. While you’re feeding your brain, you might also take a moment to feast your eyes on the following links. Righteous Bacon is a blog by the amazing Diana Prichard. Celebrate National Farm to City Week by reading some of the best in real-life farming stories. Diana is also the author of The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen, a “moooving” tale about a young boy, his breakfast guest, and a lesson in food sourcing.

Up for discussion: Which brain superfoods do you eat on a regular basis? Can you tell when you skip a serving?

Featured Customer of the Month: Alpha Delta Kappa

By Audrey Lintner

Graphic courtesy of alphadeltakappa.org
Teachers are in a class by themselves. It sounds like a cliché, but our featured customer proves it to be absolutely true.

Alpha Delta Kappa’s mission statement describes it as “an international honorary organization of women educators dedicated to educational excellence, altruism, and world understanding.” The more than 33,000 members of this organization put these ideals to work on behalf of schools and communities around the world.

Their International Teacher Education program, adopted in 1961, has to date provided scholarships and training to more than two hundred students from over forty countries. Project H.O.P.E. (Hope and Opportunity for Peruvian Education) embodies a partnership between ADK and Bridge Builders International to provide a school for the residents of Juanjui, San Martin, Peru.

One of the most astounding accomplishments of Alpha Delta Kappa occurred (and continues to occur) right here in the States. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is noted for being a leader in the field of childhood cancer treatment and research. Since 1981, ADK has contributed over 2.4 million dollars to St. Jude, money that will fund therapies and studies to benefit children all across the globe.

From donations of time and community service to fundraisers such as quilt raffles and book sales, Alpha Delta Kappa members do more than talk the talk of their mission statement; they walk it every day. 

Up for discussion: Alpha Delta Kappa–Epsilon Chapter  and Little Pickle Press share a longstanding commitment to aid others in need. What are some of the ways that your community practices the tenets outlined in the ADK mission statement?

Featured Customer of the Month: Alpha Delta Kappa

By Audrey Lintner

Graphic courtesy of alphadeltakappa.org
Teachers are in a class by themselves. It sounds like a cliché, but our featured customer proves it to be absolutely true.

Alpha Delta Kappa’s mission statement describes it as “an international honorary organization of women educators dedicated to educational excellence, altruism, and world understanding.” The more than 33,000 members of this organization put these ideals to work on behalf of schools and communities around the world.

Their International Teacher Education program, adopted in 1961, has to date provided scholarships and training to more than two hundred students from over forty countries. Project H.O.P.E. (Hope and Opportunity for Peruvian Education) embodies a partnership between ADK and Bridge Builders International to provide a school for the residents of Juanjui, San Martin, Peru.

One of the most astounding accomplishments of Alpha Delta Kappa occurred (and continues to occur) right here in the States. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is noted for being a leader in the field of childhood cancer treatment and research. Since 1981, ADK has contributed over 2.4 million dollars to St. Jude, money that will fund therapies and studies to benefit children all across the globe.

From donations of time and community service to fundraisers such as quilt raffles and book sales, Alpha Delta Kappa members do more than talk the talk of their mission statement; they walk it every day. 

Up for discussion: Alpha Delta Kappa–Epsilon Chapter  and Little Pickle Press share a longstanding commitment to aid others in need. What are some of the ways that your community practices the tenets outlined in the ADK mission statement?

Top 10 Ways to Communicate With Your Adolescent

By Kelly Wickham

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
I fancy myself something of an expert on teenagers both because I work with them daily and because I’ve lived to tell the tale of being a parent of teens. Somehow, I feel like I’m winning at life because they didn’t drag me down to the depths of you-know-where during those years. The worst of them, for me, was middle school when they knew everything and wanted to convince me of that detail. Ahh, the hubris of the young. They don’t take into account the fact that I was once a teenager myself.

You don’t need a doctoral degree in communications to be able to speak with your teenagers, but there are some tried-and-true common sense rules. Dealing with adolescents means that, as they grow, they have an increased need for independence and are trying out new identities. Naturally, they experience great physical changes, but as their brains change they also desire to be more secretive and private in their relationships. All of this is maddening to parents who think, “I thought I knew my child! What happened?”

In talking to teens and parents about communicating I have compiled a list of things that work during adolescence, a period of seemingly endless arguments and miscommunications. Now, I’m not suggesting that everything was peaceful and rosy during those years, but I do know that parents have to change the way they’ve been communicating with their children once they enter the period of adolescence. Here are 10 tips on communicating with adolescents that I have tried over the years:

1. Define the issues (moral versus how they’re feeling). Remove all defensiveness out of the equation when talking to teens. Of course, a lot of what they’re feeling is emotional due to brain changes and what they feel is intensified. Defining issues for them is crucial for their perspective but remember that their perspective is their reality, even if they’re looking at it the “wrong” way.

2. Avoid lecturing and nagging. Use the teachable moments that present themselves and listen more to their body language when discussing important issues. If you only lecture they will learn to only respond with numbness because, in their heads, they’re thinking, “I’ve heard all this before.” Remember that this is a conversation, not a chance to take them on a guilt trip.

3. Create some fair and reasonable rules for parenting an adolescent. It might seem silly, but this actually came in handy for me as a parent. Find some time to sit down with your adolescents and create some rules. Focus on the fact that rules keep them safe and ask them what they believe is a fair compromise. Setting these limits helps to respect their opinions and feelings while focusing on their safety and well-being. Each time I asked my teens what reasonable limits would be to keep them safe they often created harsher limits than I would have set in the first place. To protect yourself as a parent, make sure you add this caveat: All negotiations are subject to change.

4. Use a journal.During the adolescent communication breakdown, you may find that your teen or tween isn’t interested in talking to you face-to-face. Put important compromises in writing in a journal that can be accessed by both you and your child. My daughter and I did this to great effect. If she wanted to simply tell me something but not have a lecture in response, she wrote NO RESPONSE at the bottom of the page.

5. Social media. According to the latest Pew Internet Research, a full 63% of adult cell phone users are online which doubled since their research began in 2009. In their research that was published just six months ago, Pew found that 72% of online adults use social media. Somewhere in those findings, you’ll note that parents and their teenagers are conversing. This particular tip comes with this strongly worded advice: make sure you set rules about how you converse on social media. My friend, Jane, uses it in a really funny way when she wants her children to do something (i.e. a tweet that reads “Jordan, come and do these dishes NOW”), but this can backfire depending on your relationship with your child. Sometimes, all it takes is a “like” on Facebook or a “love” on Instagram for kids to know their parents are watching.

6. Stay away from criticism and ridicule. My parents loved to use the phrase, “If all your friends jumped off a bridge …”but it just annoyed me. Using sarcasm doesn’t often help when dealing with the black-and-white thinkers of adolescence, but definitely be wary of speaking in tones that criticize and make fun of them. Joking, as a form of communication, often works towards the end of a conversation with them and is best received with a hug or an arm around them.

7. Ask curious vs. pointed questions. During your communication times with teens, it’s important to put them in the driver’s seat so that you can understand where they’re coming from; in fact, this is more important to them than where you stand. Sometimes when we question them, these seem like attacks, so be sure that your questions are curious in nature. A good starter phrase is, “I’m wondering about something and I think you can help me. Can you explain …”

8. Remove emotionality. When my oldest came home from college after the first year, she finally understood what I was doing as a parent during her adolescence. She had just spent nine months at university not telling me where she was or what she was doing, so when she strolled in at three a.m. I was furious with her. I explained that when she’s not here I stay up and worry and run to the window at every noise to see if she’s safe. Finally I asked what a reasonable compromise would be to this that allowed her some autonomy and me some peace. She agreed to text me an approximation of her arrival or if she was going to spend the night at a friend’s house. All of a sudden, my emotional Why isn’t she thinking of ME? moment was gone and she could better hear me explain my position. Removing the emotion and telling her that my behavior changes when she doesn’t let me know that she’s safe helped us get to a better compromise.

9. Respond reasonably and truthfully. The most hated retort I get from teenagers is and was the I don’t care response. Adolescents listen best when both parties have clear heads and calm words. Just because they’re getting older doesn’t mean we change the truth for them, but parents can couch their words differently during this time. By the way, the best response to their “I don’t care” is this: “I know. I will have to care for you until you’re ready to care.”

10. Take a time out. It’s okay to walk away from your adolescent during heated moments. I’ve been known to use my hands like a referee and exclaim, “Hold on! T for Time Out!” and it gives us a break when we’re at an impasse. Being emotional isn’t a bad thing; it’s just that they’re teenagers. They’re better at being emotional and dramatic than we are. Give yourself permission to take a break and tell your teen to come and find you when they’re ready to listen. It gives them some power and helps them to realize that you’re a human being (though they still won’t believe you).

Top 10 Ways to Communicate With Your Adolescent

By Kelly Wickham

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
I fancy myself something of an expert on teenagers both because I work with them daily and because I’ve lived to tell the tale of being a parent of teens. Somehow, I feel like I’m winning at life because they didn’t drag me down to the depths of you-know-where during those years. The worst of them, for me, was middle school when they knew everything and wanted to convince me of that detail. Ahh, the hubris of the young. They don’t take into account the fact that I was once a teenager myself.

You don’t need a doctoral degree in communications to be able to speak with your teenagers, but there are some tried-and-true common sense rules. Dealing with adolescents means that, as they grow, they have an increased need for independence and are trying out new identities. Naturally, they experience great physical changes, but as their brains change they also desire to be more secretive and private in their relationships. All of this is maddening to parents who think, “I thought I knew my child! What happened?”

In talking to teens and parents about communicating I have compiled a list of things that work during adolescence, a period of seemingly endless arguments and miscommunications. Now, I’m not suggesting that everything was peaceful and rosy during those years, but I do know that parents have to change the way they’ve been communicating with their children once they enter the period of adolescence. Here are 10 tips on communicating with adolescents that I have tried over the years:

1. Define the issues (moral versus how they’re feeling). Remove all defensiveness out of the equation when talking to teens. Of course, a lot of what they’re feeling is emotional due to brain changes and what they feel is intensified. Defining issues for them is crucial for their perspective but remember that their perspective is their reality, even if they’re looking at it the “wrong” way.

2. Avoid lecturing and nagging. Use the teachable moments that present themselves and listen more to their body language when discussing important issues. If you only lecture they will learn to only respond with numbness because, in their heads, they’re thinking, “I’ve heard all this before.” Remember that this is a conversation, not a chance to take them on a guilt trip.

3. Create some fair and reasonable rules for parenting an adolescent. It might seem silly, but this actually came in handy for me as a parent. Find some time to sit down with your adolescents and create some rules. Focus on the fact that rules keep them safe and ask them what they believe is a fair compromise. Setting these limits helps to respect their opinions and feelings while focusing on their safety and well-being. Each time I asked my teens what reasonable limits would be to keep them safe they often created harsher limits than I would have set in the first place. To protect yourself as a parent, make sure you add this caveat: All negotiations are subject to change.

4. Use a journal.During the adolescent communication breakdown, you may find that your teen or tween isn’t interested in talking to you face-to-face. Put important compromises in writing in a journal that can be accessed by both you and your child. My daughter and I did this to great effect. If she wanted to simply tell me something but not have a lecture in response, she wrote NO RESPONSE at the bottom of the page.

5. Social media. According to the latest Pew Internet Research, a full 63% of adult cell phone users are online which doubled since their research began in 2009. In their research that was published just six months ago, Pew found that 72% of online adults use social media. Somewhere in those findings, you’ll note that parents and their teenagers are conversing. This particular tip comes with this strongly worded advice: make sure you set rules about how you converse on social media. My friend, Jane, uses it in a really funny way when she wants her children to do something (i.e. a tweet that reads “Jordan, come and do these dishes NOW”), but this can backfire depending on your relationship with your child. Sometimes, all it takes is a “like” on Facebook or a “love” on Instagram for kids to know their parents are watching.

6. Stay away from criticism and ridicule. My parents loved to use the phrase, “If all your friends jumped off a bridge …”but it just annoyed me. Using sarcasm doesn’t often help when dealing with the black-and-white thinkers of adolescence, but definitely be wary of speaking in tones that criticize and make fun of them. Joking, as a form of communication, often works towards the end of a conversation with them and is best received with a hug or an arm around them.

7. Ask curious vs. pointed questions. During your communication times with teens, it’s important to put them in the driver’s seat so that you can understand where they’re coming from; in fact, this is more important to them than where you stand. Sometimes when we question them, these seem like attacks, so be sure that your questions are curious in nature. A good starter phrase is, “I’m wondering about something and I think you can help me. Can you explain …”

8. Remove emotionality. When my oldest came home from college after the first year, she finally understood what I was doing as a parent during her adolescence. She had just spent nine months at university not telling me where she was or what she was doing, so when she strolled in at three a.m. I was furious with her. I explained that when she’s not here I stay up and worry and run to the window at every noise to see if she’s safe. Finally I asked what a reasonable compromise would be to this that allowed her some autonomy and me some peace. She agreed to text me an approximation of her arrival or if she was going to spend the night at a friend’s house. All of a sudden, my emotional Why isn’t she thinking of ME? moment was gone and she could better hear me explain my position. Removing the emotion and telling her that my behavior changes when she doesn’t let me know that she’s safe helped us get to a better compromise.

9. Respond reasonably and truthfully. The most hated retort I get from teenagers is and was the I don’t care response. Adolescents listen best when both parties have clear heads and calm words. Just because they’re getting older doesn’t mean we change the truth for them, but parents can couch their words differently during this time. By the way, the best response to their “I don’t care” is this: “I know. I will have to care for you until you’re ready to care.”

10. Take a time out. It’s okay to walk away from your adolescent during heated moments. I’ve been known to use my hands like a referee and exclaim, “Hold on! T for Time Out!” and it gives us a break when we’re at an impasse. Being emotional isn’t a bad thing; it’s just that they’re teenagers. They’re better at being emotional and dramatic than we are. Give yourself permission to take a break and tell your teen to come and find you when they’re ready to listen. It gives them some power and helps them to realize that you’re a human being (though they still won’t believe you).

Your Amazing Brain: An Insider’s View

By Audrey Lintner

Graphic courtesy of stock.xchng
I have the good fortune to know a lot of really cool and interesting people, and I’ve brought one of them on board today to talk about brains. No, she’s not a zombie. Please welcome my friend, “Doctor Kat.”
So, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

I am a research scientist. My research is focused on brain development, studying fetal, infant, and child development using non-invasive, state-of-the-art technology. On the flip side, I’m an artist and musician. I ride horses, kayak, raise chickens, have trained dogs, and love the outdoors.

You work with children and adults. What are some of the substantial differences between infant, adolescent, and adult brains?

Wiring – it’s all about the wiring. The infant brain started forming in the womb. We’re learning more and more about how the environment in the womb influences the nervous system, perhaps throughout our lifespan. During the last trimester and during the first year, the brain grows rapidly – neurons make connections, form networks; behaviors begin to emerge and the infant gains new skills. The amount of information and learning that takes place in the first year of life is astounding! Vision, language, motoring about, learning to manipulate the parents and grandparents … it’s amazing!

The frontal lobe of the brain is the slowest to develop – some think as late as early to mid-twenties. Parenting is essentially being your child’s frontal lobe. The frontal lobe plays a role in decision making, impulse control. Tune into one of those “Funny Video” shows to see examples of immature frontal lobes. The immature frontal lobe doesn’t know that it is impulsive and foolish. It thinks it is smarter, faster, and bullet-proof. The adult brain is good to a point, but in time, will not function as efficiently or as quickly, and has a tendency to tell stories. “Say, did I ever tell you about the time I …?” Young brains think this will never happen to them. They’re in for a big surprise. Older brains are wiser because the body that carries them around is scarred from the days when the young brain thought it could defy gravity.

As a researcher and a musician, you’re literally learning something new almost every day. How important to a developing brain is that kind of constant learning, and how can the average person take advantage of it?

Never stop learning! If you’re good at crossword puzzles, then learn something new. Break it up. Take some courses – you’re never too old to learn and it’s learning, not repetition of the same old thing you already know, that keeps your brain young. I also can’t leave without saying, “Eat right and exercise.” It’s true, there’s no escaping it! Good nutrition and all things in moderation. Research is also showing that exercise is very important for the aging brain. Common sense. It’s right there in your frontal lobe. Use it.

You have a copy of Your Fantastic, Elastic Brain in your office. How do you make use of that? Are you looking forward to having a peek at The Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain?

We’re in the middle of a study now, testing children between the ages of 8-12. Some are a little nervous when they come in, so we give them a copy of the book to read while they wait. They really get a kick out of it. It takes the edge off and gives us an opportunity to talk to them about their brain and how the tests that they’re doing test different parts of their brain. I’m sure the new book will be equally enjoyable not only for us, but for the parents of these children (for all pre-adolescent children!) to know what they’re in for.

Before we wrap up, I have to ask. Is fish really brain food?

The long chain essential fatty acids (building blocks for fats) found in fish, especially, the longest one, n-3, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is found in every cell of the body, but is particularly high in the brain and the retina of the eye. DHA appears to be very important for the nervous system, and there is some concern about whether we get enough. Women transfer DHA to their babies in the womb and through breast milk, but only if the women get enough DHA in their diets. Because women aren’t advised to eat a lot of fish while pregnant, there is concern that they’re not getting enough during pregnancy, and given that the typical Western diet is higher in n-6 fatty acids (soy, corn oils) than the n-3 forms, babies might not be getting enough for optimum development. We’re testing this now, but I would advise everyone to eat right, exercise, and make sure you get enough n-3 fatty acids without going off the deep end. All things, even the good things, in moderation!
Thanks, Doctor Kat! Folks, while you’re waiting for your copy of The Owner’s Manual to arrive, feel free to post your brain questions in the comment section. My first question is going to be, “How exactly do you pronounce docosahexaenoic?”

Your Amazing Brain: An Insider’s View

By Audrey Lintner

Graphic courtesy of stock.xchng
I have the good fortune to know a lot of really cool and interesting people, and I’ve brought one of them on board today to talk about brains. No, she’s not a zombie. Please welcome my friend, “Doctor Kat.”
So, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

I am a research scientist. My research is focused on brain development, studying fetal, infant, and child development using non-invasive, state-of-the-art technology. On the flip side, I’m an artist and musician. I ride horses, kayak, raise chickens, have trained dogs, and love the outdoors.

You work with children and adults. What are some of the substantial differences between infant, adolescent, and adult brains?

Wiring – it’s all about the wiring. The infant brain started forming in the womb. We’re learning more and more about how the environment in the womb influences the nervous system, perhaps throughout our lifespan. During the last trimester and during the first year, the brain grows rapidly – neurons make connections, form networks; behaviors begin to emerge and the infant gains new skills. The amount of information and learning that takes place in the first year of life is astounding! Vision, language, motoring about, learning to manipulate the parents and grandparents … it’s amazing!

The frontal lobe of the brain is the slowest to develop – some think as late as early to mid-twenties. Parenting is essentially being your child’s frontal lobe. The frontal lobe plays a role in decision making, impulse control. Tune into one of those “Funny Video” shows to see examples of immature frontal lobes. The immature frontal lobe doesn’t know that it is impulsive and foolish. It thinks it is smarter, faster, and bullet-proof. The adult brain is good to a point, but in time, will not function as efficiently or as quickly, and has a tendency to tell stories. “Say, did I ever tell you about the time I …?” Young brains think this will never happen to them. They’re in for a big surprise. Older brains are wiser because the body that carries them around is scarred from the days when the young brain thought it could defy gravity.

As a researcher and a musician, you’re literally learning something new almost every day. How important to a developing brain is that kind of constant learning, and how can the average person take advantage of it?

Never stop learning! If you’re good at crossword puzzles, then learn something new. Break it up. Take some courses – you’re never too old to learn and it’s learning, not repetition of the same old thing you already know, that keeps your brain young. I also can’t leave without saying, “Eat right and exercise.” It’s true, there’s no escaping it! Good nutrition and all things in moderation. Research is also showing that exercise is very important for the aging brain. Common sense. It’s right there in your frontal lobe. Use it.

You have a copy of Your Fantastic, Elastic Brain in your office. How do you make use of that? Are you looking forward to having a peek at The Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain?

We’re in the middle of a study now, testing children between the ages of 8-12. Some are a little nervous when they come in, so we give them a copy of the book to read while they wait. They really get a kick out of it. It takes the edge off and gives us an opportunity to talk to them about their brain and how the tests that they’re doing test different parts of their brain. I’m sure the new book will be equally enjoyable not only for us, but for the parents of these children (for all pre-adolescent children!) to know what they’re in for.

Before we wrap up, I have to ask. Is fish really brain food?

The long chain essential fatty acids (building blocks for fats) found in fish, especially, the longest one, n-3, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is found in every cell of the body, but is particularly high in the brain and the retina of the eye. DHA appears to be very important for the nervous system, and there is some concern about whether we get enough. Women transfer DHA to their babies in the womb and through breast milk, but only if the women get enough DHA in their diets. Because women aren’t advised to eat a lot of fish while pregnant, there is concern that they’re not getting enough during pregnancy, and given that the typical Western diet is higher in n-6 fatty acids (soy, corn oils) than the n-3 forms, babies might not be getting enough for optimum development. We’re testing this now, but I would advise everyone to eat right, exercise, and make sure you get enough n-3 fatty acids without going off the deep end. All things, even the good things, in moderation!
Thanks, Doctor Kat! Folks, while you’re waiting for your copy of The Owner’s Manual to arrive, feel free to post your brain questions in the comment section. My first question is going to be, “How exactly do you pronounce docosahexaenoic?”

Featured Young Writer of the Month: Lily Morton

By Lily Morton, 13 year old student

One of our favorite traditions on the Little Pickle Press blog is to feature a young writer on the second Friday of each month. Every month, we look forward to hearing fresh, young perspectives on the particular theme we are discussing. Today, we welcome 8th grade student and avid reader, Lily Morton, to talk to us about life as a young person. Little Pickle Press encourages any young writers with an interest in contributing to the Little Pickle Press blog to contact us!

It’s hard to say what I think of the teenage brain because I haven’t had to think about it that often. My mother, a second generation college graduate, tells me all the time that she doesn’t think I use my brain to full capacity. Most adults tell kids that and it doesn’t mean much to us because we’re so busy in our lives that we don’t consider it. But it’s hard and complicated living with our brains because, as I’ve just learned from reading a copy of The Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain, it’s constantly changing.

When I was 5 years old I had a brain injury in an accident while playing in the backyard with my brothers. I don’t remember it but we have a lot of pictures from when I was in the hospital and my hair was shaved. I had swelling on the brain called “edema” that made it important for my parents to keep an eye on me at all times. They stopped letting me play rough with my brothers who are both older than I am so I began to stay inside and read a lot. To this day, I am the best reader in my family and I have a freak accident to thank. 

As I’ve grown, so has my brain. We have pictures of the slices of my brain growth because I have to get checked out from my family doctor every once in a while. The pictures look something like this:


It wasn’t until I got to read the book by the doctors who wrote The Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain that it is still changing and growing. I didn’t know that it did that! I thought that you got a brain as a baby and that it stayed the same except it got bigger as you grew. Since my accident was so long ago I stopped wondering what my brain was doing except when my mom says, “Lily! Are you using your brain when I tell you to do your laundry?” She says that because I always wash the whites and colors together in hot water. I said, “Mom you said that hot water gets clothes clean.” but I keep ruining my white t-shirts when I do that. Sometimes I’m thinking so fast that I don’t know what I’m thinking.

More teenagers should know and understand how our brains work. We think about how tall we’re growing and our changing bodies but we forget about our brains. Maybe they are more important than we think.

Thanks, Lily! Check out the latest publication from Little Pickle Press and Drs. JoAnn and Terrence Deak. The Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain is available for pre-order by clicking here.




Becoming a Featured Young Writer

If you are interested in, or know someone who may be interested in, becoming a Young Featured Writer for one of our upcoming themes, please contact us with your name, some information about yourself/the young writer, and the theme/month you are interested in contributing to. Inquiries should be sent to [email protected](dot)com. Please title your email as follows: “Featured Young Writer.” We look forward to hearing from you!

photo credit: Mikey G Ottawa via photopin cc

Featured Young Writer of the Month: Lily Morton

By Lily Morton, 13 year old student

One of our favorite traditions on the Little Pickle Press blog is to feature a young writer on the second Friday of each month. Every month, we look forward to hearing fresh, young perspectives on the particular theme we are discussing. Today, we welcome 8th grade student and avid reader, Lily Morton, to talk to us about life as a young person. Little Pickle Press encourages any young writers with an interest in contributing to the Little Pickle Press blog to contact us!

It’s hard to say what I think of the teenage brain because I haven’t had to think about it that often. My mother, a second generation college graduate, tells me all the time that she doesn’t think I use my brain to full capacity. Most adults tell kids that and it doesn’t mean much to us because we’re so busy in our lives that we don’t consider it. But it’s hard and complicated living with our brains because, as I’ve just learned from reading a copy of The Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain, it’s constantly changing.

When I was 5 years old I had a brain injury in an accident while playing in the backyard with my brothers. I don’t remember it but we have a lot of pictures from when I was in the hospital and my hair was shaved. I had swelling on the brain called “edema” that made it important for my parents to keep an eye on me at all times. They stopped letting me play rough with my brothers who are both older than I am so I began to stay inside and read a lot. To this day, I am the best reader in my family and I have a freak accident to thank. 

As I’ve grown, so has my brain. We have pictures of the slices of my brain growth because I have to get checked out from my family doctor every once in a while. The pictures look something like this:


It wasn’t until I got to read the book by the doctors who wrote The Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain that it is still changing and growing. I didn’t know that it did that! I thought that you got a brain as a baby and that it stayed the same except it got bigger as you grew. Since my accident was so long ago I stopped wondering what my brain was doing except when my mom says, “Lily! Are you using your brain when I tell you to do your laundry?” She says that because I always wash the whites and colors together in hot water. I said, “Mom you said that hot water gets clothes clean.” but I keep ruining my white t-shirts when I do that. Sometimes I’m thinking so fast that I don’t know what I’m thinking.

More teenagers should know and understand how our brains work. We think about how tall we’re growing and our changing bodies but we forget about our brains. Maybe they are more important than we think.

Thanks, Lily! Check out the latest publication from Little Pickle Press and Drs. JoAnn and Terrence Deak. The Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain is available for pre-order by clicking here.




Becoming a Featured Young Writer

If you are interested in, or know someone who may be interested in, becoming a Young Featured Writer for one of our upcoming themes, please contact us with your name, some information about yourself/the young writer, and the theme/month you are interested in contributing to. Inquiries should be sent to [email protected](dot)com. Please title your email as follows: “Featured Young Writer.” We look forward to hearing from you!

photo credit: Mikey G Ottawa via photopin cc

The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain

By Cameron Crane

Let’s face it—when we look back on our adolescent years, most of us end up asking ourselves: what was I thinking? I, for one, cannot understand what possessed me to wear a dog collar around my neck for most of my freshman year of college. What was I thinking? And the truth is, that’s a pretty good question.

The adolescent brain can be difficult to understand because of its unique state of development. Luckily, there are experts who are working hard to help us crack the code and unlock the mysteries of what actually make teenagers act, well, so teenager-y.    

So, why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive? So much less self-aware than grown ups? In this TED Talk, cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults to show us how typical “teenage” behavior is caused by the growing and developing brain.

The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain

By Cameron Crane

Let’s face it—when we look back on our adolescent years, most of us end up asking ourselves: what was I thinking? I, for one, cannot understand what possessed me to wear a dog collar around my neck for most of my freshman year of college. What was I thinking? And the truth is, that’s a pretty good question.

The adolescent brain can be difficult to understand because of its unique state of development. Luckily, there are experts who are working hard to help us crack the code and unlock the mysteries of what actually make teenagers act, well, so teenager-y.    

So, why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive? So much less self-aware than grown ups? In this TED Talk, cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults to show us how typical “teenage” behavior is caused by the growing and developing brain.

Exploring the Adolescent Brain

By Terrence Deak, Ph.D.

From the day we are born, our brains are continually bombarded with incoming information from our body and the external environment. We rely on this spectacular organ to integrate this complex information and orchestrate appropriate responses to maximize our well-being. To do this, your brain comes into the world with an amazing capacity to learn, adapt, and change. It is no wonder, then, that early periods of brain development appear to be uniquely predisposed to capture specific skills and abilities, which can then be directly applied to the challenges of the age and often persist throughout your lifetime. 

While great emphasis has been placed on the brain benefits of enriched environments during infancy and childhood, the last 20 years has witnessed a vigorous emphasis on peculiarities of brain function that seem to be defining features of adolescence. Part of this new movement stems from the recognition that nearly all species experience a period of adolescence, and that much can be learned from studying the brains of adolescents in both animals and humans. Moreover, many of the hallmark features of adolescence appear to be highly conserved across species, such as heightened sociality, conflict within the nuclear family, and rapid expansion of cognitive function. These and nearly all other defining features of the adolescent period have their roots in basic brain development.

As a professor of neuroscience, I firmly believe that knowledge is power, and feel that as scientists we have a responsibility to communicate both our enthusiasm and the knowledge we obtain from our research projects to the public. The Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain builds upon the previous success of Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, authored by my aunt, JoAnn Deak, and extends the intricacies of brain function to new depths for an older audience. The opportunity to partner with my aunt on this auspicious adventure was a distinct pleasure for me, and the end product represents a true synergy between our own professional backgrounds, the astonishing illustrations of Freya Harrison that bring our text to life, and the creative staff at Little Pickle Press. The goal for The Owner’s Manual was to provide the next level of understanding to kids who had been “primed” with YFEB by providing salient, adolescent-relevant information to pique their interest. Our hope is that we can empower emerging adolescents to become amazing adults. 


Terrence Deak, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience at Binghamton University in upstate New York, where he runs a highly active neuroscience laboratory. Dr. Deak and his wife, Molly, have 3 inquisitive boys (Wyatt, Owen and Oscar) who are extremely interested in how their brains work, just like you. Together, they enjoy a plethora of outdoor activities, travel, and learning something new every day.

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Preorder The Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain and receive 30% off!
In this exciting follow-up to Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, you’ll get the goods on glia and the news about neurons. Hang on to your hemispheres, and prepare to have your mind boggled as you learn about the workings of the brain in its second decade. This mind-blowingly good deal is only available for a limited time, so act now!