Reviews /

Ten Ways to Build a Brilliant Brain

Authored by Nicola Morgan
Illustrated by Risa Rodil
Published by Walker Books

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Ten Ways to Build a Brilliant Brain is a how-to guide for anyone wanting to know how to make the most of their brain power, with a strong focus on self-care. Each chapter introduces a different way brains are affected by lifestyle and offers advice on how to make good choices that will have a positive effect.

The text is presented in a range of ways designed to engage the reader, supported by infographics and illustrations. The use of direct address throughout makes the reader feel as if they are being spoken to individually in an informal, friendly way. The chapters are split into two sections, ‘What you Need to Know’ and ‘How to Use this Knowledge’, and include key features such as Q&As, facts about the brain and tips for ‘Brain Boosts’. This makes the content feel accessible, although the formatting and presentation may sometimes affect readability for those with sight issues as there is a lot of dark text on dark backgrounds. The author recognises there might be special circumstances that mean the reader can’t or shouldn’t follow the advice, so text boxes are written directly to those who might be affected in the relevant sections, for example those with dyslexia, diabetes or who are neurodivergent, with key considerations.

This is a text that can be read alone or shared as part of guided reading with children aged 9-11; it also has potential for reluctant readers in lower KS3. A point to note is the author recommends having a notebook to hand while reading so you can take part in the suggested activities: it does feel like a bit of a missed opportunity not to have included space to write in the book as you go. Maybe the publishers will consider bringing out a workbook version in the future?