A father's first-person account of his young son's difficulties in learning to talk, his surprising discoveries about other late talkers, and some intriguing speculation about the causes of this problem. Although clearly a bright boy who understood when spoken to and who displayed unusual analytical abilities (as a toddler, he managed to outwit a child-proof lock), Sowell's son John did not speak until he was almost four years old. When Sowell, a Hoover Institute senior fellow (Migrations and Culture, 1996, etc.), wrote about his son in his syndicated newspaper column, dozens of parents of late-talking children wrote to him. A support group of 55 families representing 57 children eventually formed. Sowell follows the story of his son John—now a successful computer scientist—with numerous anecdotal accounts from these families' letters. Seeing a pattern in their stories, Sowell sent out questionnaires in 1994 and 1996, and the results of the longer 1996 survey are summarized here. He discovered that most of the late talkers were boys, with especially good memories and puzzle-solving skills, that most were slow in their social development and late in toilet training, and that many had close relatives who played musical instruments or were in analytical professions. Sowell, who is more anecdotal than scientific in his approach, is quick to acknowledge that his is a biased sample of late talkers, but he asserts that both professionals and parents should be aware of this pattern of mental abilities and family backgrounds. It may be, he speculates, that some bright children are late in talking precisely because the demands of their analytical abilities, localized in the left half of the brain, are being met at the expense of the speech function. Children like his son, he warns, are frequently misdiagnosed as retarded or autistic and thus risk being placed in special-education classes, from which release may be difficult. Hardly definitive, but should ease the minds of worried parents.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 1997

ISBN: 0-465-03834-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1997

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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