Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Book Review: The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses

It's not often that I review books/products on this blog, but I recently had the opportunity to review a series of children's books that I thought were particularly unique. The book series written by Barbara Esham is called The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses. Each book focuses on a different challenge that children might face that may make them feel less competent in school, but are actually quite common. For example, one book focuses on difficulty with cursive handwriting, another tackles the topic of dyslexia, another focuses on problems paying attention and fidgeting in class.

One aspect of these books that I particularly liked was the fact that each book describes adults in the child's life or famous people that experienced the same challenge discussed my the main character. For example, the book on dyslexia tells of famous people throughout history who had dyslexia and overcame the challenge to succeed in their field. I think this approach would be helpful to aid kids in understanding the differences between people (i.e., their classmates) and that "different" does have to mean "bad." I could also see these books being potentially helpful in helping to prevent the teasing of other children, especially since the books explain why some kids are different.

I enjoyed reading the four books in the series that were sent to me, but I thought the one entitled Last to Finish: A Story about the Smarted Boy in Math Class, was particularly insightful. The story describes a boy who does well in school overall but has a lot of difficulty with timed math quizzes. The boy describes how his mind "freezes up" when the teacher starts the timer. At first, his parents and teacher think he may have a problem with learning math, but they soon discover that he has been doing his older brother's algebra homework, even though he's only in 3rd grade! Clearly, he has no problem with math, but has difficulty with the timed, rote aspect of the math assignments in his class. I thought it was interesting how the author was able to help the readers understand the difference between having a problem "learning math" and a problem with the format in which the math was presented. I imagine this is a problem that many children experience in school, and sometime parents (and perhaps teachers) are not aware of what is at the root of the problem.

Lastly, these books are good at offering concrete solutions for each of the issues described. Each book also includes a list of wonderful resources at the back of book for parents/teacher who want to delve deeper into the topic.

I encourage you to check out The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses. They would be great if your child is experiencing a particular school challenge or even if they have classmates who are having difficulties in school.






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