The Breakthrough Years: A brand-new book by Ellen Galinsky

Tools Board Member and best-selling author Ellen Galinsky’s new book is getting rave reviews from experts, but this super-readable guide, filled with insights and advice, is a go-to for parents and teachers alike.

The challenge


What we heard from teachers and administration at after implementing Tools at

The Breakthrough Years: A brand-new book by Ellen Galinsky


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The process

Committee search to choose the right curriculum

Selection of Tools of the Mind curriculum & professional development

Tools training and implementation for all relevant staff

Teaching and learning review and outcomes

Galinsky's new book is available beginning March 26th. 

The other time for brain development

The early childhood years are a time of rapid growth and executive function development in children. At Tools, the bedrock of our practice is supporting children as they develop self-regulation during those years. What some of us may not realize is that the adolescent years are nearly as important - and for the same reasons. As Tools of the Mind Board Member Ellen Galinsky says in the introduction to her brand-new book, The Breakthrough Years: A new scientific framework for raising thriving teens, these years are defined by a period of “heightened brain plasticity” and are therefore “prime time for learning executive function skills.”

Described as an “essential companion for parents of adolescents” by Publishers Weekly and “a singularly important, creatively unique, and timely book” by the founding editor of the Journal of Research on Adolescence, Dr. Richard Lerner, the book stands out as an evidence-based and accessible guide filled with practical advice for families and educators to support adolescents as they grow. 

The Breakthrough Years is truly is a labor of love. Galinsky’s love for adolescents as individuals and for the developmental period of adolescence shines through on every page. At every turn, the decisions she made—to not only survey adolescents and their parents, but interview them; to organize the book around the five messages adolescents want adults to know and write the messages in their voice… to weave in research to answer the questions she skillfully planted in our minds—paid off. This is absolutely the most informative, compelling, and passionate book on adolescents and adolescence I have ever read. I will be quoting it heavily for years to come.” 
—Karen Pittman, Founding Partner, Knowledge to Power Catalysts

Learning about kids by talking with them

Galinsky collected data and insights from over 1,500 kids (ages 9-19) and their families, through interviews, behavioral studies and focus groups. Using what she learned, in combination with additional findings and research gathered through conversations with nearly 50 leading adolescence researchers and reviews of hundreds of additional research studies, she offers readers a practical understanding of self-regulation skill development in adolescence. Galinsky calls the book “a real-news book” promoting neither bad news nor good, just “news you can use” to help adolescents thrive.

Sage, research-backed advice 

Galinsky, President of Families and Work Institute, has been featured on Good Morning America, the Today Show, and The Oprah Winfrey Show speaking about child-care, youth voice, parental development and, of course, her best-selling book Mind in the Making, which details the seven skills she identifies as critical for children to develop to their full potential.

Now, after spending nine years listening to what adolescents (including her own grandchildren!) have to say, Galinsky outlines the role we can play, giving adults the tools and strategies we need to take best advantage of “the age of opportunity” (aka the adolescent years) to guide the young people near and dear to us. 

For more of Galinsky’s perspective on today’s teenagers, including a peek at the data she collected during her nine years of research for this book, see her OpEd in the Los Angeles Times.

Galinsky's new book is available beginning March 26th. Learn more and order your copy here or on Amazon.