A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius
Random House Audio Publishing Group, Compact Disc, 9780449009628
Publication Date: April 9, 2013
"The Spark" is a remarkable memoir of mother and son. Surrounded by experts at home and in special ed who tried to focus on Jake's most basic skills and curtail his distracting interests moving shadows on the wall, stars, plaid patterns on sofa fabric Jake made no progress, withdrew more and more into his own world, and eventually stopped talking completely. Kristine knew in her heart that she had to make a change. Against the advice of her husband, Michael, and the developmental specialists, Kristine followed her instincts, pulled Jake out of special ed, and began preparing him for mainstream kindergarten on her own.
Relying on the insights she developed at the daycare center she runs out of the garage in her home, Kristine resolved to follow Jacob's spark his passionate interests. Why concentrate on what he couldn t do? Why not focus on what he could? This basic philosophy, along with her belief in the power of ordinary childhood experiences (softball, picnics,'s mores around the campfire) and the importance of play, helped Kristine overcome huge odds.
The Barnetts were not wealthy people, and in addition to financial hardship, Kristine herself faced serious health issues. But through hard work and determination on behalf of Jake and his two younger brothers, as well as an undying faith in their community, friends, and family, Kristine and Michael prevailed. The results were beyond anything anyone could have imagined.
Dramatic, inspiring, and transformative, "The Spark "is about the power of love and courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles, and the dazzling possibilities that can occur when we learn how to tap the true potential that lies within every child, and in all of us.
“[An] amazing memoir . . . compulsive reading.”—The Washington Post
“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
“Love, illness, faith, tragedy and triumph—it’s all here. . . . Jake Barnett’s story contains wisdom for every parent.”—Newsday
“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.’”—Publishers Weekly
“Compelling . . . Jake is unusual, but so is his superhuman mom.”—Booklist
“The Spark describes in glowing terms the profound intensity with which a mother can love her child.”—Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon and Far from the Tree
“An invigorating, encouraging read.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Every parent and teacher should read this fabulous book!”—Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures and co-author of The Autistic Brain