MIND IN THE MAKING. The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs.

You may have heard about the research showing that Executive Function skills affect school readiness, school success, college graduation rates, work and life success. In fact, some researchers have found that they are as important as IQ.

MITM_book-cover.jpgFirst Book is excited to announce a new partnership with Families and Work Institute to provide a collection of high-quality children’s books that promote the skills featured in the best-selling book Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky. This exciting new collection will help families and teachers in fostering Executive Function Life Skills, all research based, that help children thrive now and in the future.

We know how relevant this evidence-based book and the Seven Essential Life Skills are for many of you in promoting Executive Functions of the brain in the children you serve. By reaching more educators, clinics, and parent engagement-based programs with the Mind in the Making Life Skills, we hope to support you in ensuring all children are successful in the classroom, the workforce and beyond.

Below is a list of the Seven Essential Life Skills and the selected books, by age group, that connect to each Skill. We will also send you easy to use resources that will also directly support these books and the research in Mind in the Making. We hope these materials will enhance the opportunity for your educators and programs leaders to focus on Executive Functions and help bring these powerful resources into their everyday classroom teachings, their program activities and their work with families. We will also send you easy to use resources, created by Ellen Galinsky, that will directly support your use of these books and the research in Mind in the Making.


Children need this skill in order to achieve their goals, especially in a world that is filled with distraction and information overload. It involves paying attention, remembering the rules, thinking flexibly and exercising self-control.

AGES 0 TO 2: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes and Elmo Says…
AGES 3 TO 5: The Carrot Seed and Whistle for Willie (Spanish edition:Silbale a Willie)
AGES 6 TO 8: The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza and The Art Lesson


Perspective goes far beyond empathy: it involves figuring out what others think and feel, and forms the basis of children understanding their parents’, teachers’, and friends’ intentions. Children who can take others’ perspectives are also much less likely to get involved in conflicts.

AGES 0 TO 2: Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? and Five Little Ducks
AGES 3 TO 5: Fish is Fish and Are You Ready to Play Outside?
AGES 6 TO 8: Freedom Summer and Actual Size


Communicating is much more than understanding language, speaking, reading and writing – it is the skill of determining what one wants to communicate and realizing how our communications will be understood by others. It is the skill that teachers and employers feel is most lacking today.

AGES 0 TO 2: Baby! Talk! and Moo, Baa, La La La!
AGES 3 TO 5: The Cow That Went Oink and The Lion and the Mouse
AGES 6 TO 8: Martin's Big Words and The Storyteller’s Candle (bilingual)


Making connections is at the heart of learning—figuring out what’s the same, what’s different and sorting these things into categories. Making unusual connections is at the core of creativity. In a world where people can Google for information, it is the people who can see the connections who can go beyond knowing information to using this information well.

AGES 0 TO 2: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes (Bilingual: Diez deditos de las manos y Diez deditos de los pies / Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes) and The Very Hungry Caterpillar
AGES 3 TO 5: Caps for Sale (Spanish edition: Se Venden Gorras) and Harold and the Purple Crayon  (Spanish edition: Harold y el Lapiz Color Morado)
AGES 6 TO 8: I Am Different! Can you Find Me? and On the Same Day in March: A Tour of the World's Weather


Critical thinking is the ongoing search for valid and reliable knowledge to guide beliefs, decisions, and actions.

AGES 0 TO 2: Blue Hat Green Hat (Spanish edition: Azul el Sombrero, Verde el Sombrero (Blue Hat, Green Hat)) and The Runaway Bunny
AGES 3 TO 5: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (Spanish edition: Si le das una galletita a un raton) and Are You My Mother? (Spanish edition: ¿Eres Mi Mama?)
AGES 6 TO 8: Grace for President and Nate the Great


Life is full of stresses and challenges. Children who are willing to take on challenges (instead of avoiding them or simply coping with them) do better in school and in life.

AGES 0 TO 2: Llama, Llama Red Pajama and My Truck is Stuck
AGES 3 TO 5: Owen and The Little Engine that Could
AGES 6 TO 8: Knuffle Bunny and Horton Hears a Who


It is through learning that we can realize our potential. As the world changes, so can we, for as long as we live—as long as we learn.

AGES 0 TO 2: From Head to Toe (Spanish edition: De la cabeza a los pies) and Where's Spot?
AGES 3 TO 5: My Five Senses and The Snowy Day
AGES 6 TO 8: Lemonade in Winter and Dinosaurs Before Dark