Twelve great reads for the summer holidays: Nourishing the Mind and Cultivating Growth

Embark on a transformative summer reading journey with recommended books for parents and teachers. Explore positivity, mindfulness, personal growth, and the inner workings of the mind. Nurture growth, embrace change, and find inspiration for a fulfilling summer.

Zeena Hicks

7/12/20237 min read


The summer holidays provide the perfect opportunity for parents and teachers to relax, rejuvenate, and engage in personal growth. Whether you're seeking inspiration, looking to enhance your wellbeing, or wanting to deepen your understanding of the human mind, we have pulled together an eclectic list of recommended reading, which hopefully has something for everyone. From positive psychology to mindfulness, personal development to neuroscience, and neurodiversity to pushing the boundaries of science, these books offer valuable insights and practical strategies that can benefit both your personal and professional life. So, get ready to choose a book, settle into a cosy spot, and embark on a journey of self-discovery, mind mastery, and growth this summer.

The first book on the list is blatant self-promotion, but one I stand strongly by, as it introduces you to positive psychology in a simple, practical bite-sized format, enabling you to learn lots in a short space of time. It recognises that everyone’s wellbeing journey is different and “28 Days of Positivity” gives you the opportunity to try out many different interventions and practices, so you can decide what works best for you.

It was incredibly challenging to choose only 12 books for this blog. There are eight books on the list (including my own!) which will offer a significant impact in a short time and all are deemed to be truly life-changing. The list then goes a little off-piste into the world of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), in response to the growing proportion of our clients seeking to learn more, understand and support these neural nuances. The final two books are just pure fun, pushing the boundaries of science and self-help so you can be inspired, awed and have a giggle along the way!

Let’s dive in…

Our recommended reading list:

"28 Days of Positivity" by Zeena Hicks

Start your summer reading with a powerful dose of positive psychology. Zeena Hicks (that's me) presents an uplifting, accessible and transformative guide, offering daily reflections, simple exercises, and affirmations to change any negative inner narrative and cultivate a positive mindset. This book aims to inspire parents and teachers to create their own recipe for personal growth, increasing awareness, embracing optimism and nurturing resilience. It also comes with a free workbook to keep you on track!

"Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art" by James Nestor

Take a deep breath and dive into the fascinating world of breathwork. In this thought-provoking book, James Nestor explores the science and history behind our most basic yet often overlooked function. Discover how conscious breathing can improve physical health, reduce stress, and enhance mental clarity. Parents and teachers can gain valuable insights into the profound impact of breath on wellbeing and learn practical techniques to incorporate into their daily lives.

"Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World" by Danny Penman and Mark Williams

In our fast-paced modern world, finding moments of peace and tranquillity can be challenging. This practical guide to mindfulness offers parents and teachers simple yet effective techniques to cultivate mindfulness and find balance amidst the chaos. Through meditation, breathing exercises, and cognitive strategies, discover the transformative power of present-moment awareness and its benefits for personal wellbeing and professional effectiveness.

"Authentic: How to be yourself and why it matters" by Stephen Joseph

Authenticity is a key component of personal growth and fulfilment. Stephen Joseph explores the importance of embracing one's true self and the impact it can have on our wellbeing, relationships, and overall satisfaction in life. Drawing on psychological research and real-life stories, this book provides practical guidance for parents and teachers to foster authenticity within themselves and support it in others.

"The Little Book of Ikigai: The Essential Japanese Way to Finding Your Purpose in Life" by Ken Mogi

Discover the ancient Japanese concept of ikigai, meaning "a reason for being." This delightful book explores the intersection of passion, mission, vocation, and profession, guiding readers to uncover their unique purpose in life. Parents and teachers can gain inspiration from the wisdom of ikigai and apply its principles to nurture their own sense of purpose while supporting children in discovering theirs.

The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families: How to Bring Out the Best In Your Kids and Yourself” by Hal Elrod and Mike & Lindsay McCarthy with Honoree Corder

Hal Elrod's "The Miracle Morning" is a transformative book that has resonated with countless readers worldwide. In this adaptation, the authors tailor the principles of the Miracle Morning routine to the unique challenges and opportunities of parenthood. Discover practical strategies to bring out the best in your kids and yourself by starting each day with intention, purpose, and positivity.

"Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones" by James Clear

Explore the transformative power of habits with James Clear's Atomic Habits. This book offers the reader a practical framework to create positive change by focusing on small, incremental improvements. Learn how to build and sustain new habits while breaking free from unproductive ones. By understanding the science behind habit formation, you can help children and students develop lifelong habits that support their growth and success.

"A Path through the Jungle: A Psychological Health and Wellbeing Programme to Develop Robustness and Resilience" by Prof Steve Peters

The new book from the author of "The Chimp Paradox" is an absolute must for your summer reading. Delve into the fascinating inner workings of the human mind with Prof Steve Peters. Drawing on his expertise in psychology, Peters unravels the complexities of your mind and offers insights into understanding and managing your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. Parents and teachers can start to better understand human psychology, fostering empathy, compassion, and effective communication with children and students.

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero

This empowering and practical guide to personal growth is full of humour and relatable anecdotes. Sincero encourages readers to embrace their inner power, let go of self-doubt, and create a life they love. Through practical exercises and inspiring insights, she guides readers on a journey of self-discovery and empowers them to overcome limiting beliefs, develop a positive mindset, and achieve their goals. "You Are a Badass" is a motivational and fun read that challenges you to step into your greatness and live life to the fullest.

E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality by Pam Grout

In the last, but most certainly not least book, Pam Grout introduces readers to the power of intention and manifestation, without taking herself too seriously. Through engaging stories and fun, practical experiments, Grout demonstrates the impact of our thoughts and beliefs on our experiences. She invites you to tap into the limitless possibilities of the universe and align your thoughts, emotions, and actions with your desires. By embracing gratitude, positive thinking, and a playful mindset, you can unlock your creative power and manifest your dreams. "E-Squared" is an accessible and empowering read that encourages readers to expand their possibilities and create a life filled with abundance and joy. Some of the experiments are great with kids too!

These final two books are some of my personal favourites and always make me smile (yes, I have read them several times!!). Sometimes we just need a little bit of magic or inner gusto to get us through the day or week ahead, and I feel both of these books deliver the inspiration to do just that.


To conclude our summer reading list, remember that the journey of personal growth and self-discovery is an ongoing adventure. By delving into the inner workings of the human mind through books like "A Path through the Jungle" by Prof Steve Peters, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and others. As parents and teachers, this understanding allows us to cultivate empathy, compassion, and effective communication with our children and students.

From embracing positivity and authenticity to exploring the power of breath, mindfulness, and habits, these recommended books offer valuable insights and practical strategies for personal and professional development. They remind us that we have the power to create positive change, overcome challenges, and live a purposeful life.

So, as you embark on your summer reading journey, let these books be a source of inspiration, motivation, and transformation. Take the time to reflect, absorb the wisdom within the pages, and apply the learnings to your own life. Embrace the joy of growth, the thrill of self-discovery, and the wonder of nurturing those around you.

Personal growth is not a destination but a lifelong pursuit. As parents and teachers, we have the unique opportunity to walk-the-walk and lead by example, showing our children and pupils the beauty of continuous learning and personal development. This summer has the opportunity to be a catalyst for positive change, and the knowledge within these books is the fuel that propels you towards a brighter and more fulfilling future.

So, enjoy diving into the pages of these recommended reads, let your imagination soar, and allow your heart to be touched. May this summer be a time of growth, inspiration, and transformation for both you and those around you. Happy summer, happy reading, and enjoy the journey ahead!

On request, I am delighted to share two insightful books that I always come back to for support. As a parent of two children with ADHD, and having also received the same diagnosis later in adulthood, these scientific, yet easy-to-read books made so much sense as I navigated through my own parenting journey with ADHD. There are lots of great books out there but these were my must-reads:

"Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder" by Dr. Gabor Maté

For parents and teachers seeking a deeper understanding of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dr. Gabor Maté offers a compassionate and insightful exploration of its origins and potential healing paths. Through personal stories and scientific research, this book challenges traditional views and encourages a holistic approach to supporting individuals with ADHD. You will gain valuable knowledge and practical strategies to create an inclusive and empowering environment for children and students. Please don’t get hung up on the use of ADD rather than ADHD within the book - it is a great read!

"ADHD 2.0: New Science and Essential Strategies for Thriving with Distraction-from Childhood through Adulthood" by Edward M. Hallowell M.D., John J. Ratey M.D.

Building upon the latest research, and top of their field, Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey provide an updated understanding of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and present practical strategies for thriving with distraction. This book equips parents and teachers with tools to support individuals with ADHD, emphasising their unique strengths and potential. Gain valuable insights to create an environment that fosters success and wellbeing for children and students with ADHD.