Friday, December 13, 2013

Understanding Adolescent Brain Development

The Owner's Manual For Driving Your Adolescent Brain
by Dr. JoAnn Deak and Dr. Terrence Deak

Illustrations by Freya Harrison

In The Owner's Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain (Little Pickle Press, November 2013) renowned educator and psychologist Dr. JoAnn Deak and neuroscience expert Dr. Terrence Deak offer an easy understanding of brain function in a fun and engaging format for young teens, parents, and educators.

New research shows how the adolescent's brain develops

"Scientists previously thought most major brain development occurred in the first decade or 'the formative years,'" says Dr. JoAnn Deak. "But new research shows some parts of the brain become fully robust in adolescence. Simply put, if you use individual parts of your brain during their developmentally critical periods, then they will be stronger and more effective as an adult."

The Owner's Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain is the exciting follow-up to Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, the innovative children's picture book for kids from five to nine. The new book targets adolescents from ten to fourteen and emphasizes what neuroscientists call the "plasticity" of the brain into early adulthood.
"I've found that if adolescents understand how flexible their brains are, they're willing to study subjects and take on challenges they may otherwise avoid," she says.

Author Dr. JoAnn Deak has been at the forefront of training educators interested in brain function. The National Association of Independent Schools and the American Montessori Society have heralded Dr. JoAnn Deak's ability to demystify child development, learning, identify formation, and brain research.

Dr. JoAnn Deak's nephew, Dr. Terrence Deak, is the co-author of the second book in the Brain series. Dr. Terrence Deak runs a highly active laboratory of behavioral neuroscience as an associate professor in the Psychology Department at Binghamton University (SUNY).

"I was delighted when my aunt asked me to help her with The Owner's Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain. It's a unique experience working alongside a family member with mutual intellectual pursuits," Dr. Terrence Deak says. "I see this book as a way to get adolescents and parents to begin conceptualizing life experiences in terms of basic neural functions. The earlier that understanding begins, the greater the opportunity for learning down the road."

JoAnn Deak, Ph.D. has spent more than thirty years as an educator and psychologist helping children develop into confident and competent adults. For the last fifteen years, she has helped adults, parents, and teachers understand and appreciate their role in childhood brain development. Today, Dr. JoAnn Deak consults with organizations and schools throughout the world. 

Terrence Deak, Ph.D. joined the faculty at Binghamton University in 2001, where he teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology and neuroscience. His laboratory research focuses on stress responsive systems and neural-immune interactions across the lifespan, with an emerging emphasis on alcohol effects on brain development, and has been funded through the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, and several private foundations over the past decade.

Little Pickle Press is a 21st century publisher of children's media, 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. Little Pickle Press was named among the "Best for the World" B Corporations and awarded Independent Publisher of the Year by ForeWord Reviews. 

The Owner's Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain (Little Pickle Press, November 2013) is available at,, and bookstores nationwide.

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