All The Ways To Be Smart

Being “smart” is so much more than test scores and checking off boxes, yet this remains a concept that’s so often ingrained in American culture, it’s difficult to escape. As a teacher, I tried to implement this by praising effort and hard work instead of smartness. Praise the process, not the product. I hear my parents’ generation often commending kids by saying “you’re so smart!” What does that even mean? Smart at science? Smart at art? Smart at socializing? Then what happens when a kid encounters a challenge in the thing that they’ve been told makes them “smart?” They begin to question what they’ve been told, doubting their smartness, and wondering, ‘well, if this is hard, does that mean I’m no longer smart?’ I could go on, but that’s a soap box for another day (or just check out Mindset by Carol Dweck). 

Enter this book, All The Ways To Be Smart by Davina Bell celebrates all the ways one can be “smart.” From knowing facts about dinosaurs to folding up airplanes for flying. “Smart is kindness when there’s crying.” And my favorite line of all, “Every hour of every day, we’re smart in our own special way. And nobody will ever do...the very same smart things as you.”


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