I know for a fact that there are many books to get excited about this April, just from Random House Canada alone. BUT if there is ONE memoir that you should pre-order for April it’s The Spark by Kristine Barnett. You may have read about my “spark” yesterday and I hadn’t planned on writing a review on this book so quickly but I want you ALL to get excited about it.
The Spark is an incredibly touching memoir about a mother learning to nurture her sons’ passions, starting with her first-born Jake. Jake was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, when Kristine was told that he might never learn to tie his shoes or read. Instead of focussing on what her son “couldn’t” or “wouldn’t” do, she paid attention to his passions and found herself nurturing the mind of a genius.
Kristine is a remarkable person and a fantastic writer. I had goosebumps the entire time, I found myself moved to tears quite often, and I thoroughly enjoyed every word of this book. Kristine dedicated a huge chunk of her life to the Little Light program. A program she created for autistic children and their parents, where they could meet and learn. Her goal was to get these children mainstreamed into a public school system. She also decided that in order for her program to work she must pay attention to the passion bubbling up in the heart of each child and allow them to spend time doing it. She truly believes that “By watching and really listening to the children at Little Light, we could get a glimpse of what was inside them–and then all we had to do was get out of their way!” (page 80).
Although I was engrossed by Jake’s journey and his genius, I was more wrapped up in the importance of family and love that is portrayed in this memoir. I don’t want to say much more about this book but I will say that anyone who is in a state of self-doubt at the moment NEEDS to read it.
“…it is about the power of hope and dazzling possibilities that can occur when we keep our minds open and learn how to tap the true potential that lies within every child.” (X)
The Spark comes out APRIL 9th!
SYNOPSIS (FROM THE RANDOM HOUSE OF CANADA LIMITED WEBSITE)
The extraordinary memoir of a mother’s love, commitment and nurturing, which allowed her son, originally diagnosed with severe autism, to flourish into a universally recognized genius—and how any parent can help their child find their spark.
Today, at 13, Jacob is a paid researcher in quantum physics, working on extending Einstein’s theory of relativity. Diagnosed at 1 with severe autism, at 3 he was assigned to life-skills classes and his parents were told to adjust their expectations. The goal: tying his own shoes at 16. Kristine’s belief in the power of hope and the dazzling possibilities that can occur when we keep our minds open and learn to fuel a child’s true potential changed everything.