four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
13-Nov-Dec-2004
user_rating: 
0

Nurturing the Imagination in a Fast-Forward World

A-SeeingPastZIt’s all about freedom, argues Kephart in this book about encouraging children’s interests and imaginations. Using her 14-year-old son, Jeremy, as a model, she shows how parents can cajole reluctant learners into embracing creativity, leading to greater happiness and well being. Jeremy, for example, wasn’t so fond of reading as a child, but Kephart—instead of pressuring her son—offered him imaginative stories like Harry Potter. He slowly embraced literature, joined a reading/writing group, and imagined his future. The message? In today’s hyper-competitive culture of high-school sports and college entrance exams, not to mention the everpresent influence of TV, don’t force your children to conform. Instead, give your children the freedom to discover their own sense of wonder and passion in the world.
Norton. 192 pages. $23.95. ISBN: 0393058824

Baltimore Sun 4 of 5 Stars
"It is a beautiful word picture of a relationship between a mother and child who have been through a great deal together but who can still give each other the emotional space in which to stand up straight and walk around. It is deft and graceful writing that will captivate even those without." Susan Reimer

Chicago Tribune 4 of 5 Stars
"She gifts us with whole passage—be they the ones on reading aloud, or the power of story, or the one on what intelligence really is, or where imagination can take us—that you want to fold up and tuck away in your linen closet, to pull out and wrap around you on days when your soul feels blustery and chilled, and you crave the comfort of perfectly woven prose." Barbara Mahany

Critical Summary

Kephart, author of an award-winning memoir trilogy and the National Book Award nominee, A Slant of Sun (also starring Jeremy), is no typical mother. And Seeing Past Z is no routine child-rearing book. What distinguishes it from all the other "how to" books on the shelf is its gorgeous depiction of the relationship between a mother and child—not always easy, never perfect, but always emotionally honest. With sharp, evocative prose, Kephart explores how imagination not only lets us relate to others, but also creates a blueprint for our futures (Jeremy wants to follow in Steven Spielberg’s footsteps). She also provides suggestions for how to inspire your own children’s imaginations. So, dump those other child-rearing books, let your children play, and wait and see where Jeremy ends up!

Also by the Author

A Slant of Sun One Child’s Courage | Beth Kephart (1999): Jeremy’s story begins here: early in his life Jeremy was diagnosed with a mild form of autism. Kephart offers an examination of Jeremy’s journey from his diagnosis and a mother’s challenge to both help her son and accept those things out of her control. Named a Best Book of the Year by Salon.com.