cover of book

The Intellectual Lives of Children
by Susan Engel
Harvard University Press, 2020
eISBN: 978-0-674-25051-2 | Cloth: 978-0-674-98803-3 | Paper: 978-0-674-27864-6
Library of Congress Classification BF723.C5E488 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 155.413


“A remarkable book. Whether you are an educator, parent, or simply a curious reader, you will come to see, hear, and understand children in new ways.”
—Howard Gardner, author of Multiple Intelligences

Adults easily recognize children’s imagination at work as they play. Yet most of us know little about what really goes on inside their heads as they encounter the problems and complexities of the world around them. Susan Engel brings together an extraordinary body of research to explain how toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary-aged children think.

A young girl’s bug collection reveals how children ask questions and organize information. Watching a boy scoop mud illuminates the process of invention. When a child ponders the mystery of death, we witness how ideas are built. But adults shouldn’t just stand around watching. When parents are creative, it can rub off. Engel shows how parents and teachers can stimulate children’s curiosity by presenting them with mysteries to solve, feeding their sense of mastery and nourishing their natural hunger to learn.

“A fascinating read for parents who wonder, simply, what is my child thinking? Why do they love collecting? Where did that idea come from? A celebration of children’s innovation and sense of wonder.”
—Emily Oster, author of Expecting Better

“Combining insight, scientific acumen, and exquisite narrative, The Intellectual Lives of Children allows readers to peer into the minds of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers as they explore and learn in everyday moments, emphasizing what constitutes real learning.”
—Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Science

Nearby on shelf for Psychology / Developmental psychology: