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The Spark


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About the Author

Kristine Barnett is the mother of Jacob Barnett and his three younger siblings. She runs a daycare that includes both typical and special-needs children. She is also the founder of MyJacobsPlace, a non-profit organization designed to help children with autism, as well as an award-winning sports league for autistic children.


The Spark is about the transformative power of unconditional love. If you have a child who's 'different' - and who doesn't? - you won't be able to put it down -- Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind
The Spark describes in glowing terms the profound intensity with which a mother can love her child -- Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree
Every parent and teacher should read this fabulous book! -- Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures and co-author of The Autistic Brain
A story of triumph against the odds . . . a timely and important message, dramatically told * Sunday Times *
A remarkable book * Mail on Sunday *

Barnett, the mother of a child prodigy who was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, swiftly draws readers into her family life, sharing her humble upbringing in central Indiana as a member of the New Amish, and her whirlwind romance and marriage to a young man named Michael Barnett. The couple settles down to raise a family, he working at Target, she running a daycare center. When informed that their first child will never read or tie his shoes, the author follows her "mother gut," opening her own pre-kindergarten "boot camp" for autistic kids to prepare them for mainstreaming. Barnett had seen a "spark" in Jake and deeply believed that her child had much higher potential. Indeed, Jake-with an IQ higher than Einstein's-not only soon reads, but creates an original theorem that may put him in line for a Nobel Prize (at nine, he's been admitted to a nearby university). With passion and grace, Barnett covers Jake's transformation, how close he came to being "lost" in a special ed system focused on what children "can't do," and her own journey as the mother of three sons and as advocate for Jake and other autistic children. She also explores and defends the balance between Jake's intellectual pursuits and his right to an ordinary, happy childhood. This eloquent memoir about an extraordinary boy and a resilient and remarkable mother will be of interest to every parent and/or educator hoping to nurture a child's authentic "spark." (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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