Women and Nonbinary Writers on Intelligence, Identity and Education


In stock

About the Book

Much is made of the test scores, earning power, and innovative contributions of highly intelligent kids, but we rarely ask what it’s actually like to be “gifted.” In a culture obsessed with exceptionalism, sorting by intelligence has become an educational norm, leading thousands of American students to be ushered through (or noticeably left out of) advanced academic programs. Stereotypes and generalizations about these students—from the socially inept genius to the high-strung overachiever–have filled the gap in data about who they are apart from what they achieve. At a time of educational upheaval and rapidly declining youth mental health, former gifted kids—particularly women and nonbinary people also wrestling with questions of identity, inequality, and parenthood—are reckoning with the “gifted” label.
This work offers personal accounts from diverse voices, each one considered a “gifted kid” in their youth, and considers questions of identity, inequality, poverty, racism, and more. Essays address the dangers of praising achievements over efforts, imposter syndrome, intelligence as identity, and why even the smartest among us often feel like failures, among many other topics.

About the Author(s)

Kaitlin Ugolik Phillips is a writer and editor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, LitHub, Narratively, and Columbia Journalism Review.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Kaitlin Ugolik Phillips
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 212
Bibliographic Info: notes,index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9242-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5132-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction: Desirable Difficulties
Kaitlin Ugolik Phillips 7
Part I: Go Big or Go Home
On My Own Terms
Aleenah Ansari 21
Cycle of Transgressions
Sheryl Carlson 30
Brooke J. Knisley 44
The Art of Stunting Trees
Bunny McFadden 55
Part II: Who Do You Think You Are?
The Very Worst Girl in the Family
Amy Challenger 67
Honorary Boy
Amanda Lehr 74
On the Shoulders of Giants
Sophie Strosberg 86
Fight Song
Amy Lee Lillard 102
Part III: Labels and Levels
Skipping Third Grade and Part of My Childhood
Candy Schulman 115
Twice Exceptional
Eve Z. Crevoshay 125
Sondi Warner 134
Too Young to Qualify
Michele Weldon 144
Mandy Shunnarah 153
Part IV: Breaking the Cycle
Laura Wheatman Hill 165
The Language of Learning
Jennifer Dines 174
A Desk of My Own
Melissa A. Watkins 180
I Wanted My Child to Be a Child
Aimee Seiff Christian 188
About the Contributors 199
Index 201

Book Reviews & Awards

• “A sobering perspective on the costs of being labeled gifted as a child, told in the form of highly engaging first-person stories. This book will make an important contribution to our thinking about gifted education.”—Ellen Winner, professor emerita, Dept of Psychology & Neuroscience, Boston College, author of Gifted Children: Myths and Realities

• “Should parents hope for a ‘gifted’ kid or be glad when their kid is so-called ‘average’? This may be the last education/parenting topic that hasn’t had its big book yet. Bring it on!”—Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids

• “Finally, a book that brings multiple perspectives to one of the oldest, most elitist problems of American education: the ‘gifted’ tracking system. These essays will resonate with many.”—Sara Zaske, author of Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children