Wonder Kids: The Remarkable Lives of Nine Child Prodigies

Overview

Meet nine amazing talents whose passions shone early.

Every kid is good at something. But imagine being so passionate about it that grown-ups flock to see you in action. Wonder Kids explores the lives of nine young talents whose amazing abilities attracted widespread attention.

Phillis Wheatlely, a black slave in colonial Boston, was 14 when her first poem was published. A young Stevie Wonder was wowing audiences with his harmonica solos at the...

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Overview

Meet nine amazing talents whose passions shone early.

Every kid is good at something. But imagine being so passionate about it that grown-ups flock to see you in action. Wonder Kids explores the lives of nine young talents whose amazing abilities attracted widespread attention.

Phillis Wheatlely, a black slave in colonial Boston, was 14 when her first poem was published. A young Stevie Wonder was wowing audiences with his harmonica solos at the age of 12. And silent-film star Buster Keaton was hurtling through the air on a vaudeville stage when he was only 3.

Other child prodigies featured are:

  • Maria Gaetana Agnesi, an Italian linguist fluent in seven languages by age 13(1718-1799)
  • Clara Schumann, a German pianist who made her professional debut when she was 9 years old (1819-1896)
  • Fanny Mendelssohn,
    a German composer whose work as a teen caught the ear of Queen Victoria (1805-1847)
  • Dai Vernon, a Canadian child-magician who went on to become the only conjurer to fool Houdini (1894-1992)
  • Wang Yani, a Chinese artist who began touring with her paintings of monkeys when she was just 4 years old (1975-present)
  • Terence Tao, an Australian mathematician who attended university at age 9(1975-present).

Compelling profiles tell the stories of how these young wonders' abilities were discovered and developed, and of how they used their gifts as they grew up. Complete with captivating photographs and links to their works, Wonder Kids is a true celebration of not-so-tiny talent.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Readers ... will probably find themselves delving into other chapters of this well-designed and quite readable volume.
— Carolyn Phelan
Canadian Teacher
Some people seem to arrive on this planet with amazing talents that are apparent at a very early age. Wonder Kids looks at nine of these extraordinary children and what they accomplished. Poet, musician, artist, composer, magician, mathematician, linguist, polyglot, performer--each of these children, whose lifetimes span the years from 1753 to the present, excelled in a different discipline, making history with their abilities. Photographs, sidebars and illustrations make this an appealing book for the target audience, and suggestions for ways to "Spend More Time" with each of the profiled people are included to encourage further research. Children with an interest in a particular area of expertise or who like to read about real people will enjoy Wonder Kids. Another book about extraordinary young people, also by Charis Cotter and published by Annick is Kids Who Rule: The Remarkable Lives of Five Child Monarchs.
Booklist - Carolyn Phelan
Readers who pick up the book to read about a famous prodigy will probably find themselves delving into other chapters of this well-designed and quite readable volume.
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8- This collection of brief biographies introduces nine young people with amazing abilities, spanning the globe and the centuries from the mid-1700s to recent times. Readers learn about poet Phillis Wheatley; painter Wang Yani; musicians Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn, and Stevie Wonder; mathematicians Maria Agnesi and Terence Tao; vaudeville star Buster Keaton; and card-trick expert Dai Vernon, who once fooled the great Houdini. Most chapters, which range in length from a few pages to nearly 20, are introduced by a fictional vignette about the subject's early years. Cotter doesn't hesitate to highlight the difficult parts of a prodigy's life, such as the tedious hours of practice or frustrations with overbearing parents, but she also shows readers that gifted individuals are not that different from themselves. Pages are broken up with photographs, drawings, sidebars with background information, and quotes from the subjects. Each chapter ends with a list of books, music, or videos that can provide more information. Unfortunately, the citations are incomplete (no publishers or dates), and the author's sources include Wikipedia and many children's books.-Jackie Partch, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR

School Library Journal
Cotter...shows readers that gifted individuals are not that different from themselves.
— Jackie Partch, Mulnomah County Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554511341
  • Publisher: Annick Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 2/15/2008
  • Pages: 136
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Charis Cotter is an editor and author of Kids Who Rule: The Remarkable Lives of Five Child Monarchs as well as other books for adults and young readers. She lives in Toronto.

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