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Off the Charts : The Hidden Lives and Lessons of American Child Prodigies
by Ann Hulbert


Overview - From the author of the widely praised Raising America --a compelling exploration of child genius told through the gripping stories of fifteen exceptionally gifted boys and girls, from a math wonder a century ago to young jazz and classical piano virtuosos today.  Read more...

 
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More About Off the Charts by Ann Hulbert
 
 
 
Overview
From the author of the widely praised Raising America--a compelling exploration of child genius told through the gripping stories of fifteen exceptionally gifted boys and girls, from a math wonder a century ago to young jazz and classical piano virtuosos today. A thought-provoking book for a time when parents anxiously aspire to raise "super children" and experts worry the nation is wasting the brilliant young minds it needs.

Ann Hulbert examines the lives of children whose rare accomplishments have raised hopes about untapped human potential and questions about how best to nurture it. She probes the changing role of parents and teachers, as well as of psychologists and a curious press. Above all, she delves into the feelings of the prodigies themselves, who push back against adults more as the decades proceed. Among the children are the math genius Norbert Wiener, founder of cybernetics, a Harvard graduate student at age fifteen; two girls, a poet and a novelist, whose published work stirred debate in the 1920s; the movie superstar Shirley Temple and the African American pianist and composer Philippa Schuyler; the chess champion Bobby Fischer; computer pioneers and autistic "prodigious savants"; and musical prodigies, present and past. Off the Charts also tells the surprising inside stories of Lewis Terman's prewar study of high-IQ children and of the postwar talent search begun at Johns Hopkins, and discovers what Tiger Mom Amy Chua really has to tell us. But in these moving stories, it is the children who deliver the most important messages.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781101947296
  • ISBN-10: 1101947292
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publish Date: January 2018
  • Page Count: 400
  • Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Psychology > Creative Ability
Books > Education > Special Education - Gifted
Books > Social Science > Children's Studies

 
BookPage Reviews

How to parent a prodigy

Maybe you never expected to read biographical analyses of Shirley Temple and Bill Gates in the same book, but the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. It certainly did to Ann Hulbert, author of Off the Charts.

Hulbert, who previously covered a century of child-rearing advice in Raising America, turns her sights to the intriguing phenomenon of early genius. In Off the Charts, she peers into the formative years of 15 individuals, combining lively biographical sketches with serious analysis of the factors that contributed to their ascendancy in the public eye. Most of these prodigies we know, while some—such as precocious novelist Barbara Newhall Follett—have been virtually lost to history, but all offer important lessons.

Not surprisingly, those lessons tend to circle back to the prodigies’ parents—who run the gamut from free-range advocate to prison warden without the charm—and in many ways the book is as much about the parents as it is about their progenies. Wisely, Hulbert downplays judging the children’s genius and lets the facts—and often the prodigies—speak for themselves.

Rest assured, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to rearing a genius. And even the most seemingly well-adjusted prodigies don’t exactly breeze through adolescence. The “hidden lessons” are there in plain sight, but many of them are impossible to avoid.

 

ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our Q&A with Ann Hulbert about Off the Charts.

This article was originally published in the January 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews