The Spark

The Spark

A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius

Book - 2013
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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.

Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, c2013.
ISBN: 9780307362797
Characteristics: x, 250 p., [8] p. of plates :,ill. ;,25 cm.


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I just finished reading this new book by Kristine Barnett and it was fabulous. It’s a non-fiction read, but captivated me and could do well as an intriguing major motion picture film. It’s unbelievable the lengths this mother goes to find her son (through his autism) and her community. Highly highly recommended. You’ll be up very late reading, as you can’t put it down. (submitted by MM)

Feb 26, 2016

I could not put this book down. It is so awesome to see good in the world.

Oct 11, 2015

Would have loved to learn more about Jake and less about his mom (the author). Her feeble attempt at presenting herself as humble was a fail. She presents herself as a super human who can achieve things no one else can. Educators and parents can't hold a candle to her, apparently.

Sep 09, 2014

Absolutely one of the best books I've read! I strongly recommend it for everyone. - I wish I had read this book years back when the girls were young.

Apr 09, 2014

I absolutely loved this book. It made me cry couple of times, so I had to stop reading and get a tissue, and I also bursted into uncontrollable laugh couple of times too so my husband came to check from the other room if I was not choking :) Real eye-opener, made me rethink what I should and should not let my toddler girl do, now I let her do things that I previously did not, because I did not want to get her clothes dirty or room too messy... Very interesting read, I consider buying my own copy to store it on my bookshelf so I could reread it again and again. What a passionate mother little Jake has!

Mar 29, 2014

A definite read for parents and teachers and people who want to be parents one day. It is inspiring and gives you hope and comfort in case you ever face this situation. It was a bit repetitive at times (her reasons for her decisions to help others). Overall, a great read! A truly amazing kid.

Barcode55 Jan 10, 2014

I'll read this book again and again, not only for the amazing true story, but for the information about how our brains work. Absolutely one of the best books I've read! I strongly recommend it for everyone.

Oct 03, 2013

The Spark is a book, which like Jake, is off the ratings chart for me. I was so moved that I literally couldn't put it down till I finished it. This is the true story of Kristine Burnett fighting the system and finding the spark that makes her Autistic son Jacob tick. This spark is in fact a blazing fire and by focusing on what Jake CAN do instead of what he CANNOT Kris brings Jake out of his shell. The story is not just about Jake's phenomenal achievements; it is about a mother's love. A love which nurtures her child and let's him, and others like him, be a child - not totally involved in therapy. Kristin says, she wrote this book to share her son with the world. I for one am really thankful that she did. The world is a better place because of this book.

Sep 29, 2013

What an interesting book! A great story of a mother who would not give up on her son. Of course, the seed of genius had to be there all along, but the mom felt her son had potential and she pursued that.
a truly good read.

Sep 13, 2013

Interesting non fiction book documenting a mother's journey with her autistic son Jake. Initially told that he would never read, she takes him out of special education and does her own thing with him, which results in her running a variety of programmes for local autistic kids from her garage. Jake is profoundly gifted and his development from a child who wouldn't speak to one that is internationally recognised as a researcher (at 15!!!!) was fascinating. However, his mother Kris isn't a writer and it shows. If you can get past this and you're interested in this area, it's an interesting perspective.

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Apr 09, 2014

kanbantus thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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