Blog Archives

The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger

Gifted School

4 Stars

This book read a lot like Sex and the City meets the elementary school set. It reminded me of the constantly moving character arcs of Dominic Dunne’s People Like Us, only starring “bright future”-obsessed moms in the elitist world of gifted kids who are driven to succeed, only their parents are at the wheel.

In the high-brow world of Crystal, Colorado, children are basically your badge of honor… if they’re gifted. Even one characters’ twin sons–albeit not thought of as overly academic by other characters in the story–are on an elite travel soccer team that competes around the country. Violin on Tuesdays, ballet on Wednesdays, “test tutoring” three times a week… you get the idea.

But when word gets out that there will be a new “gifted school” that will pull only the top one percent from the five public school districts in the area, even the deepest of marriages and friendships will be the ones tested.

While the story was compelling from a “thank god that’s not my reality” standpoint–like watching a car wreck about to unfold involving people you really despise–I got the sense that this was nothing new. I think most of society is now aware of the “upper crust” parents, the top-tier of people who have not only money to burn on private (re: no undesirables allowed) schools and a million extracurricular activities, but also the way they push their children into a future of drugs and suicide for failing to meet their arbitrary goals.

The author could not have intended this, this was the perfect book to read during a global pandemic in which many parents are concerned about their children missing out due to school closing, virtual learning, and social distancing. With every page, I couldn’t help but think, “Thank goodness my children didn’t live like this.”

Where the book does bring in some much-needed originality to a done-to-death but also very realistic plot is in the way the climax comes about. It was absolutely a surprise, and a refreshing one at that.

Sourcebooks Partners with Natl Geographic on Interactive Kids’ Books

If we could spend a whole day with any entity in the publishing industry, it would be the powerhouse team at Sourcebooks. Great company, great vision, great willingness to embrace all sorts of change in the book business…yeah, awesome. What really sets them apart is the fact that other publishing houses both big and small are imploding from their own inability to grab a vision and go with it, while Sourcebooks is reshaping everything from the gift book market to the education sphere.

Take a look at their latest announcement here:

National Geographic Kids and Put Me In The Story™ Ignite Children’s Curiosity

in New Personalized Books

Win a Trip to the San Diego Zoo in the Little Explorer Drawing Contest

Naperville, IL, May 16, 2016—Put Me In The Story™, the #1 personalized books site in the United States, is partnering with National Geographic Kids to create two personalized educational books for kids—National Geographic Little Kids Book of Dinosaurs and National Geographic Little Kids Book of Animals, available now on

“Put Me In The Story is an ideal partnership, offering a new and creative way for kids to interact with our content,” said Erica Green, vice president and editorial director at National Geographic Kids Books.

In National Geographic Little Kids Book of Dinosaurs and National Geographic Little Kids Book of Animals, children will learn about their favorite animals and dinosaurs and be asked direct questions to help them connect, relate to, and learn about each creature.

“We are delighted to begin this partnership with National Geographic Kids,” said Dominique Raccah, CEO and publisher of Sourcebooks, Inc., which created Put Me In The Story. “Their dedication to the education of children is something we treasure. Together, we have created books that will ignite children’s curiosity and fascination with animals, nature, and the world through reading.”

Each book can be personalized with a child’s name on the cover and throughout the book, photos, and a dedication message. Plus, at the end, kids can fill out a personalized activities section about their favorite animals or dinosaurs.

Put Me In The Story and National Geographic Kids are celebrating the launch of the new books with the Little Explorer Drawing Contest. Parents can visit the contest page to enter and download a free coloring page. They can also generate extra contest entries by sharing their child’s coloring pages using the hashtag #ColorAndExplore or by uploading the drawing directly on the contest page.

The Grand Prize winner will receive a four-day, three-night trip for a family of four to San Diego to visit the San Diego Zoo and celebrate the zoo’s 100-year anniversary, as well as copies of the National Geographic Kids personalized books. Two runners-up will receive personalized books and one-year subscriptions to National Geographic and National Geographic Kids magazines. Contest begins May 16 and ends June 17.

%d bloggers like this: