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Bright From the Start: The Simple, Science-Backed Way to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind from Birth to Age 3 Hardcover – August 2, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 114 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Dr. Jill Stamm's Bright from the Start gives parents the most leading-edge approach to maximizing their children's intellectual potential - a powerful advantage in today's competitive world. These are critically important tools that will enhance your child's mind and solidify the parent-child bond. -- David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, Board-Certified Neurologist, Author, Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten

If all newborns could come with an instruction book this would be it. -- Kenneth S. Kosik, M.D., Professor of Neuroscience and Co-Director Neuroscience Research Institute, University of California Santa Barbara

In the tradition of the WHAT TO EXPECT books, BRIGHT FROM THE START gives parents of newborns and toddlers essential information on healthy development. What we are learning today from brain research is amazing, and this book makes that research into a parent-friendly tool. I highly recommend this practical and very important book. -- Michael Gurian, author of Nurture The Nature and The Wonder of Boys

Jill Stamm has synthesized an important set of brain science findings and made them accessible to all those interested in offering children the best of cutting-edge knowledge on what helps a child develop. Every parent should take the opportunity to use these no-hype, down-to-earth, brain-based practical tips that can help make parenting more effective, understandable, and fun. -- Daniel Siegel, MD, Co-Author, Parenting From The Inside Out, Author, The Developing Mind, UCLA School of Medicine

Yes! A baby's and toddler's brain is different from yours or mine. This book is a gem and will help you enrich your child's life and 'nourish' his/her growing brain with the great love and intelligent fun. -- Harvey Karp, MD, author of The Happiest Toddler on the Block

About the Author

Dr. Jill Stamm is the co-founder of New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development and is an associate clinical professor at Arizona State University in Psychology in Education. She is a nationally-known presenter on the subject of early brain development and has spoken before thousands of parents, caregivers, teachers, and policymakers. She knows firsthand how resilient a newborn brain is: her first daughter was born almost four months premature and doctors insisted she would never walk or talk. Stamm dedicated herself to improving her daughter’s life, and 32 years later her daughter is living proof that nearly every baby’s brain has the potential to adapt and flourish given the right attention.

Paula Spencer is the co-author of Dr. Harvey Karp’s bestseller The Happiest Toddler on the Block, author of Momdifence!, and a contributing editor to Parenting, Woman’s Day, and Babytalk.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham (August 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592402852
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592402854
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I work as a children's librarian and sometimes lecture on early childhood literacy. This is my new textbook and parent bible. Having read dozens of similar titles, I can easily say that this one is the best. It is thorough, informative, practical, conversational and true. I learned a number of things about brain development and early learning that I had not come across previously. Dr. Stamm has some especially pointed things to say about TV and computer time for young children. When you read what a typical TV show does to a young brain you will think twice about turning that machine on in the presence of a child. As Dr. Stamm says, what you really need to be a good parent is in the palm of your hand- give them "attention, bonding and communication" as well as time to play, create, dream and explore and you will have a far smarter child than any who are plugged into "educational" products. Dr. Stamm gives scientific reasons that back up what all of us who work with children know..that children learn best by listening to words coming from loving adults, either through talking or reading, by playing and by touching. The children in our country are literally dying to communicate with people who are not on cell phones, using computers or staring at a screen-and their brains are not growing to their potential nor their attention spans when they are presented with one passive entertainment after another. Read this book and be inspired.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First of all I must note that I read this book on iKindle (Kindle on the iPhone). I have two comments in regard to this: the first is that all the dashes--which the author used to excess--came across as question marks. This is not the author's fault of course. Her punctuation however is excessive. There is a lot of abuse of the exclamation point! All told?and this may be a quirk in the iPhone kindle?the result is often very unreadable!

Enough about grammar, the important thing is the book content. The author had a premature baby and a normal healthy baby and she shares a lot of her personal experience in this book. These stories are often touching and serve well to contrast the extremes of child development.

I found the exercises and scientific information very beneficial and I agree with most reviewers that this is a valuable book. I also found a lot of product endorsements. In many cases these endorsements seem to be self-serving.

There is also a good amount of information which is controversial or conflicting with advice you'll get from other reputable books and studies.

I think this is an excellent book to read with one or two grains of salt. There is very good advice and very good suggestions for exercises and playtime activities. As a new parent you'll trust your instincts and you'll be right to do so. This is a good source for suggestions but I wouldn't suggest it as a step by step guide to getting your child off to an intellectual head start. Love your child and trust your gut and you won't go wrong. I will use this book as a suggestion box, not a bible.

I am surprised that out of 30 reviews I am the first person not to give it five glowing stars. I do think it's a good book, but I don't think it really deserves five stars.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book, but after reading "Smart-wiring your baby's brain" which was published 5 or 6 years before this book, I noticed that it was incredibly similar in content. Bright from the Start does have some additional activity ideas but overall provides much of the same information. I would suggest reading either one of these two books, but not reading both (too redundant).
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Format: Paperback
Due to the high ratings on Amazon, I think I wanted to not like this book. Well, four stars proves I lost that battle. I usually don't understand anything that is "science backed" but somehow Stamm explains the science of the brain so clearly I didn't want to skim over any of it. I read the first 100 pages like they didn't really matter (in about 30 minutes). But once I returned to the book (the very next day) I decided to start at page 1 and actually read through the whole thing. I'm really glad I did. Though there isn't one big idea or take away that will drastically change my parenting, I appreciated the simple reassurance that things I've already been doing are backed by loads of research. I also think the book helps motivate and encourage readers to look for even more ways to improve their caregiving. This is done in a gentle, guilt free sort of way.

Stamm's theory is simple to follow. A, B, C. Attention, Bonding, Communication. She emphasizes the idea that a caregiver is baby's first and best toy. Face games, fill and spill, hide and find, sort and match, etc; activities are essential to learning and developing attention span and curiosity. All these are led by a parent, not gimmicky-flashing toys. But she also emphasizes the need for play time to be FUN and unstructured. Then there is downtime -- don't forget kids need to just take some time to watch the grass grow as birds chirp near by.

I love (and fully agree with) her emphasis on communication. Time and time again IQ is connected directly to vocabulary. Kids who start school with 10,000 words excel much quicker than those who enter with 5,000. Simply talking to a child, before they can even talk back, has a far reaching impact. Stamm also uses the section on communication to focus on music and reading.
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