Book Review & Giveaway: “Bubble Gum Brain”


Being a blogger can sometimes come with some pretty cool perks. When I am sent the latest Julia Cook book, FOR FREE?! That’s the best. And when I’m asked to do a review and giveaway for my readers?! Even better!

My school counselor library boasts quite a few Julia Cook books already. She is one of my go-to authors to creatively address many social-emotional learning topics. Her latest book, Bubble Gum Brain: Ready, Get Mindset…GROW!, discusses one of my favorite SEL topics – growth mindset.

bubble gum brainI believe that teaching growth mindset explicitly is crucial for our students. I cannot wait to add this piece of literature to my future classroom lessons! In her usual creative fashion, Julia Cook uses two characters – one with a bubble gum brain (representing growth mindset) and one with a brick brain (representing fixed mindset). Readers will quickly see that having a bubble gum brain, one that can flex, stretch, and expand his/her thoughts, leads to a lot more fun and a lot more learning!

While I love bubble gum brain’s antics, I must say I have a soft spot in my heart for brick brain, who reminds me so much of many of my students, who struggle with new things and hold onto fears that block their growth. I know they will be able to relate to this character.

My favorite pages in the whole book are page 10 and 23, because both talk about THE POWER OF YET. I use this language with my students already, and this book will naturally fit into the conversations I am already having.

Another powerful message in this humorous story is that having a growth mindset is a choice! The words colorfully show that all of us can choose to stay stuck in our negative thoughts, or we can choose to try, make mistakes, and learn how to be hopeful. What an important, life-changing conversation for our children to have!

What I like most about Bubble Gum Brain is the way Julia Cook uses adventure and fun to draw young readers in, while teaching a critical social-emotional skill – growth mindset – in a very real, life-like way. I can already see so many uses for this book, including classroom lessons, individual “booster” sessions, as well as guiding parents to help their own children develop growth mindset using the convenient “Tips for Growing a Child’s Mindset” in the back of the book.

If you are interested in receiving a free copy of Bubble Gum Brain for your own library, please comment below with how you would like to use this book with your students. All entries will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on July 10, 2017. One winner will be chosen.

Good luck and thanks for reading! 🙂


30 thoughts on “Book Review & Giveaway: “Bubble Gum Brain”

  1. Hi. I ama elementary school social worker for grades k-5 and also for students in special ed for behavior and emotions. Last school year, I began teaching students about growth mindset and they loved it! I did a few weeks of group and individual work on this topic. This school year, I plan to hit it harder as well as teach social learning. I already own several Julia Cook books and this would be a fantastic addition to my collection.

  2. I would love to use this book for a self esteem group for those students who struggle daily to overcome their fears and get thru school. Julia always has the best books for teaching lessons in a fun way!!

  3. Hello!! I am a first year elementary school counselor. I’ve spent the last 15 years as a stay-at-home mom. I’m loving my new journey as a school counselor. This is a dream job. The kids are loving and fun. I am slowly building my library, and have purchased several of Julia Cook’s books. The kids love them. So do I! I hope to be a glimmer of hope for these kiddos by chasing my own dream of school counseling, with my “Bubble Gum Brain.” Having a malleable brain and attitude is essential to living a happy and mentally healthy, strong, fulfilling life. I would use this specific book for small groups, classroom lessons, share it with teachers, and individual students. From big to small, we’d all benefit from adding this book to my tiny, but mighty, library. Thank you for all you do to support and help guide new–albeit older–counselors, like myself. I am grateful for your leadership!

  4. I would use this book to introduce growth mindset to my students. I will be a K-6 counselor at two elementary schools that have never had a counselor. I am very excited about this opportunity and plan to start my year off with growth mindset and build my program around it.

  5. I am elementary school in a title one school with almost 800 students. I am the only school counselor and I will use the book to continue my lessons from last year on growth mindsets with my K-5th grade students. Also, I am hoping to add some lessons on SEL.

    • Hello Veronica! Using a random number generator, your comment was picked as the winner of the free book! I just emailed you at the email address you used to comment. Please check it so we can get the book to you!

      • Omg…I sent you back an email. Thank you so much..I never win anything. I can’t wait to use this book in my lessons on growth mindset.

  6. I’d like to use this book with small group intervention on school motivation. The idea that your brain grows most when the learning is hard helps kids work through the tough spots without giving up. I create a lot of quick and easy advisory lessons for teachers and this book would be a good resource for that too!

  7. I would love to add this book to my collection! I am the only counselor at two rural, Title 1 schools. Student sometimes struggle to recognize that their mindset is a choice and by adjusting their mindset they can adjust their outcome. This book would help me reinforce this important lesson in classroom guidance lessons as well as with students individually.

  8. I am the only counselor in the largest elementary school in my district (15 total elementaries) and about half of us teach in the specials rotation (I am part of the half), so I could see myself easily using this to expand my lessons on mindset. It would also go well with my bulletin board which shows the process of a seed growing into a flower with the right mindset. One of our activities could include drawing pieces of bubble gum inside a bubble gum machine with lots of growth mindset messages, or cutting/pasting those messages for younger kids. In addition, it seems that the book would go along well with the small group that I have on social skills, as we discuss flexible thinking. I could see myself giving a piece of bubble gum to each student at the conclusion of the group to remind them to keep those bubble gum brains going!

  9. Hi,
    I too love teaching my kiddos about growth mindset. I would use this book on my classroom guidance lessons and focus on the power of that little small word YET. I’m sure I would somehow incorporate bubble gum cutouts, maybe with tasks that they can’t do yet or with growth mindset messages. I could also use it in individual counseling with a student who is struggling with self esteem issues and feeling like he/ she can’t quite measure up.
    Thanks for your review of the book and good luck to all!!

  10. Love your review. Julia Cook is just amazing in everything she does. Our entire school is embracing growth mindset so I would use this book to help teachers and students alike learn more about growth mindset. Thank you!

  11. Awesome timing. One of my goals for this year is to switch more of my classroom counseling lessons to include growth mindset. I discovered a book called “The Growth Mindset Coach: a month to month handbook for empowering students to achieve” by Annie Brock et al. I am excited to work with the teachers to make this more common language in our school. I think Julia Cook’s newest book is exactly a resource that will help me support them. I, too, am a big fan! I would love to have a copy! Thanks for putting this out there and for all the awesome ideas you graciously share on your blog!

  12. As a school counselor, now working in the schools as a mental health therapist- this book would add to my library, and give students the language needed to describe where their mindset is at any given time!

  13. We are in the midst of expanding our social emotional learning through all grade levels. As an elementary level school social worker, I’d love to incorporate it directly into my work with students but also create lessons which classroom teachers could use as well.

  14. I would love to use this book with my students who struggle with learning, and as a result, have poor self esteem. I lead small groups that would benefit from this book. I also lead classroom lessons on growth mindset, so lots of children would get to see this book!

  15. Julia Cook has always been one of my favorite “go to” authors! I am now a professor of school counseling and would love to use this with my graduate students – to share how they can use children’s books in their future work as school counselors! It is also a great way to educate them on the growth mindset in their own lives!!

  16. I love Julia Cook’s books too! I think this book would be a great supplemental text for some of my social thinking groups. I am a K-4 school psychologist/school counselor and would love to use this story with some of my groups. Thanks for sharing!

  17. I would use this book with both the students and the staff on my campus! I’m a counselor on a PK-K campus with 600+ students and this would be my very first Julia Cook book! Thanks for sharing your review!

  18. I love teaching growth mindset, both in small groups and in my classroom lessons. I’d love to have a new resource to help me explain the concept to my elementary students!

  19. I adore Julia Cook and my students love her books too! I envision using this resource for classroom lessons, small group, and/or with individual students.

  20. As a first year counselor at a title I school, resources are important and budgets are tight. I would use this book to reinforce lessons taught by the previous counselor as well as lessons going to be taught from the Mind Up curriculum this year. I think this book will help students with visualizing the concept of fixed and growth mindset. I would love to have this book in my little library!

  21. I think this book would be great to use in multiple ways, even at the middle school level. I think I’d use it in a self-contained English class since it ties nicely with comparing and contrasting. It would certainly help students broaden their self awareness and provide opportunities to change their mindset. I think sped students need to know the value of YET to give them the motivation to move forward and gain self confidence.

  22. I am so excited to use this book with my students. Our school counseling team has been working hard to integrate our trauma informed school program and our growth mindset. I love the use of metaphors in Bubble Gum Brain to discuss ACES and how we can learn and grow from our experiences.

  23. My Title I school would be so blessed to have a copy of this book in our toolkit. My students encounter so many challenges in their environment and community. With those challenges, we are trying to get them to rise above their situations with a growth mindset and setting goals. This book will help us greatly!!!!!

  24. I started growth mindset with my 1st graders last year-we used Janelle Monae’s song and a cute freebie from the Ned Show for our lesson. I would LOVE to use this them this year to review and reinforce these ideas. Thank you!

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