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Welcome to the FuelEd Library! Our library of recommended reading spans the science, the skills, and the self-awareness of relationships. We think all of these books are incredible resources for anyone working with children or in schools. If you have a recommendation for a book we should add to our library, please let us know. We hope you enjoy!

The Science of Relationships

The brain evolved in the context of relationships and therefore became a distinctly social organ. The following books give a deeper understanding of the neuroscience behind why relationships drive learning and development throughout life.

The Social Neuroscience of Education, by Louis Cozolino

Recommended for anyone who wants to dig deeper into the neurobiology behind the brain as a social organ, this book explains how the brain learns best throughout the lifespan, from our early schooling through late life. Positioning the brain as distinctly social, Louis Cozolino helps teachers make connections to neurobiological principles with the goal of creating classrooms that nurture healthy attachment patterns and resilient psyches. Cozolino investigates what good teachers do to stimulate minds and brains to learn, especially when they succeed with difficult or “unteachable” students. He explores classroom teaching from the perspectives of social neuroscience and interpersonal neurobiology, showing how we can use the findings from these fields to maximize learning and stimulate the brain to grow. The book has relevance to anyone concerned with twenty-first century learners and the social and emotional development of children. This book also serves as a primary research foundation for the FuelEd program. FuelEd founder, Megan Marcus, worked with author Dr. Louis Cozolino as the lead researcher in the process of conceiving and writing the book.

Attachment in the Classroom, by Heather Geddes

Every day, teachers and other school staff have to deal with children who present challenging behavior during their learning process at school. This book combines the fundamental principles of attachment theory with teacher-based case studies and practical ‘how to’ interventions. This book provides instructional strategies for how to work with different student attachment styles.

The Neuroscience of Human Relationships, by Louis Cozolino

A visual exploration of how the brain develops throughout our lives. Just as neurons communicate through mutual stimulation, brains strive to connect with one another. Louis Cozolino shows us how brains are highly social organisms. Balancing cogent explanation with instructive brain diagrams, he presents an atlas of sorts, illustrating how the architecture and development of brain systems from before birth through adulthood determine how we interact with others. Essentially, this book reviews all the basics of the brain as a social organ of adaptation; its heavy on the neuroscience so be prepared for that.

The Healthy Aging Brain, by Louis Cozolino

What would you do if you could live to 122, like the Frenchwoman Madame Calment, whose life span is the oldest ever recorded? What if you could do so and stave off dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other common ailments of aging? What would happen if we stopped thinking of ourselves as aging and in decline, and instead started thinking of ourselves as chronologically advantaged? More effective than age-defying creams and anti-aging pills is a concrete understanding of how our bodies and our brains age, and what we can do to work with this natural process to make life as long and as fulfilling as possible. This is just what The Healthy Aging Brain offers. Here, expert psychologist and veteran therapist Louis Cozolino reveals that groundbreaking brain research proves that our brains continue to grow and change throughout our lives. He offers a neuroscientifically-based account of just how our brains age and evolve over time. In short, Cozolino says, our individual health and longevity are inextricably linked to those around us. How we age is grounded in our human relationships.

Attachment: Why It Matters, 
by Dr. Karyn Purvis (DVD)

This video explores the critical role of attachment in a child’s development. Most of us think of attachment as a loving bond between parent and child. But, what happens if a child doesn’t get nurturing, consistent care from a loving parent early in life? Can a parent love a child or a child love a parent, but still not feel securely connected? And what are the consequences of insecure attachments? In this video, adoptive parents share their struggles and successes in pursuit of these answers. They say their willingness to make sense of their own attachment histories has helped them become better parents. Experts share fascinating and encouraging research, particularly in the field of neuroscience, that reveals how secure attachments can help counter the effects of early trauma. Secure relationships can promote new brain growth and biologically improve a child’s ability to regulate his or her emotions and behavior. Secure attachments dramatically shape a child’s sense of security and how well a child learns to trust – for the rest of his or her life.

The Skills of Relationships

FuelEd’s core belief is that relationships drive learning. Because humans are social creatures, relationships are the stage on which we learn throughout life. The following books provide practical tools and skills to educators who wishes to strengthen their relationships.

Attachment-Based Teaching, by Louis Cozolino

This book serves as a practitioners guide and companion to Dr. Cozolino’s book, The Social Neuroscience of Education. The book provides practical examples of how to leverage teacher-student relationships and build a “tribal” classroom culture in order to promote student academic, social, and emotional outcomes.

Teacher & Child, by Haim Ginott

“I have come to a frightening conclusion. I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration….In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.” This quote by Haim Ginott serves as an introduction to the remainder of the book which demonstrates strategies for communicating with children in ways that both controls classroom behavior, conveys respect, and builds their sense of self-worth and dignity.

Freedom to Learn, by Carl Rogers

This text championed a revolutionary approach to education that changed the way we teach our children. Carl Rogers advocates that true education is student-centered and not teacher centered. If you are interested in experimenting with an approach to learning that places students’ interests at the center of the classroom experience, read this book!

Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, by John Gottman

Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child is a guide to teaching children to understand and regulate their emotional world. And as acclaimed psychologist and researcher John Gottman shows, once they master this important life skill, emotionally intelligent children will enjoy increased self-confidence, greater physical health, better performance in school, and healthier social relationships. The five-step “emotion coaching” process in this book teaches how to: Be aware of a child’s emotions, recognize emotional expression as an opportunity for intimacy and teaching, listen empathetically and validate a child’s feelings, label emotions in words a child can understand, and help a child come up with an appropriate way to solve a problem or deal with an upsetting issue or situation. This book will enrich the bonds between parent and child and contribute immeasurably to the development of a generation of emotionally healthy adults.

Mindsight, by Daniel Siegel

This groundbreaking book offers an extraordinary guide to the practice of “mindsight,” the potent skill that is the basis for both emotional and social intelligence. Most of us have a mental “trap” that causes recurring conflict in our lives and relationships, but Dr. Daniel J. Siegel shows us how to use mindsight to escape these traps. Through his synthesis of a broad range of scientific research with applications to everyday life, Dr. Siegel has developed novel approaches that have helped hundreds of people free themselves from obstacles blocking their happiness. By cultivating mindsight, all of us can effect positive, lasting changes in our brains—and our lives. A book as inspiring as it is profound, Mindsight can help us master our emotions, heal our relationships, and reach our fullest potential.

Trust in Schools, by Anthony Bryk & Barbara Schneider

This book is great for any educator who is looking to bring the power of relationships to the school-wide culture. The book came about based on the author’s findings that student achievement increases when trusting relationships exists between the key players in a school.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Internationally acclaimed experts on communication between parents and children, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish “are doing for parenting today what Dr. Spock did for our generation” (Parent Magazine). Now, this bestselling classic includes fresh insights and suggestions as well as the author’s time-tested methods to solve common problems and build foundations for lasting relationships, including innovative ways to:

  • Cope with your child’s negative feelings, such as frustration, anger, and disappointment
  • Express your strong feelings without being hurtful
  • Engage your child’s willing cooperation
  • Set firm limits and maintain goodwill
  • Use alternatives to punishment that promote self-discipline
  • Understand the difference between helpful and unhelpful praise
  • Resolve family conflicts peacefully

Enthusiastically praised by parents and professionals around the world, the down-to-earth, respectful approach of Faber and Mazlish makes relationships with children of all ages less stressful and more rewarding.

Teacher Effectiveness Training, by Dr. Thomas Gordon

The T.E.T. book, based on Dr. Thomas Gordon’s groundbreaking program, has taught hundreds of thousands of teachers around the world the skills they need to deal with the inevitable student discipline problems effectively and humanely. You will learn: What to do when students give you problems, how to talk so that students will listen, how to resolve conflicts so no one loses and no one gets hurt, how to best help students when they’re having a problem, how to set classroom rules so that far less enforcement is necessary, and how to increase teaching and learning time. A very practical guide to interpersonal relationships in classrooms and schools.

The Self-Awareness of Relationships

Lack of self-awareness can hinder anyone’s ability to form meaningful relationships. Teachers must not only have a strong grasp on their subject matter, they must also be aware of their emotional strengths and how to cope with their weaknesses. In other words, to hone the craft of teaching, a teacher must first improve him or herself. All of the following books come highly recommended for those who want to delve deeper into FuelEd’s personal development approach to professional improvement.

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others & Start Caring for Yourself, by Melody Beattie

Is someone else’s problem your problem? If, like so many others, you’ve lost sight of your own life in the drama of tending to someone else’s, you may be codependent-and you may find yourself in this book-Codependent No More. With instructive life stories, personal reflections, exercises, and self-tests, Codependent No More is a simple, straightforward, readable map of the perplexing world of codependency-charting the path to freedom and a lifetime of healing, hope, and happiness.

The Drama of the Gifted Child, by Alice Miller

“When I used the word gifted in the title, I had in mind neither children who receive high grades in school nor children talented in a special way…” writes Miller. Instead, the author is referring to the many amongst us who had to learn as children to hide our own feelings, needs, and memories skillfully in order to meet our parents’ expectations and win their love. This book shows how this particular childhood pattern might be particularly common to those in the helping profession: teachers, therapists, nurses, doctors – in fact, this very childhood survival strategy is what gave us the empathic skills we needed to do our jobs well! The Drama of the Gifted Child helps us to reclaim our life by discovering our own crucial needs and our own truth.

Healing the Shame that Binds You, by John Bradshaw

Shame is the motivator behind our toxic behaviors: the compulsion, co-dependency, addiction and drive to super-achieve that break down the family and destroys personal lives. This book has helped millions identify their personal shame, understand the underlying reasons for it, address these root causes and release themselves from the shame that binds them to their past failures. A recommended reading for anyone who wants to understand shame on a deeper level and how it works in your life.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, by Brene Brown

Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly. Whether the arena is a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation, we must find the courage to walk into vulnerability and engage with our whole hearts. In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. The book that Dr. Brown’s many fans have been waiting for, Daring Greatly will spark a new spirit of truth—and trust—in our organizations, families, schools, and communities.

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, by Brene Brown

Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we’d no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, “What if I can’t keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn’t everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?”In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough,” and to go to bed at night thinking, “Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.”

Parenting from Inside Out, by Daniel Siegel and Mary Harzell

How many of us found ourselves thinking: I can’t believe I just said to [this] child the very thing my parents used to say to me! Child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and early childhood expert Mary Hartzell, M.Ed., explore the extent to which our childhood experiences actually do shape the way we parent. Drawing upon stunning new findings in neurobiology and attachment research, they explain how interpersonal relationships directly impact the development of the brain, and offer parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories, which will help them raise compassionate and resilient children. Born out of a series of parents’ workshops that combined Siegel’s cutting-edge research on how communication impacts brain development with Hartzell’s thirty years of experience as a child-development specialist and parent educator, Parenting from the Inside Out guides parents through creating the necessary foundations for loving and secure relationships with their children.

I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from "What Will People Think?" to "I Am Enough", by Brene Brown

Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown offers a liberating study on the importance of our imperfections—both to our relationships and to our own sense of self

The quest for perfection is exhausting and unrelenting. There is a constant barrage of social expectations that teach us that being imperfect is synonymous with being inadequate. Everywhere we turn, there are messages that tell us who, what and how we’re supposed to be. So, we learn to hide our struggles and protect ourselves from shame, judgment, criticism and blame by seeking safety in pretending and perfection.

Dr. Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, is the leading authority on the power of vulnerability, and has inspired thousands through her top-selling book The Gifts of Imperfection, wildly popular TEDx talk, and a PBS special. Based on seven years of her ground-breaking research and hundreds of interviews, I Thought It Was Just Me shines a long-overdue light on an important truth: Our imperfections are what connect us to each other and to our humanity. Our vulnerabilities are not weaknesses; they are powerful reminders to keep our hearts and minds open to the reality that we’re all in this together.

Dr. Brown writes, “We need our lives back. It’s time to reclaim the gifts of imperfection—the courage to be real, the compassion we need to love ourselves and others, and the connection that gives true purpose and meaning to life. These are the gifts that bring love, laughter, gratitude, empathy and joy into our lives.”

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