Alissa Quart's deeply disturbing account looks at the intensely competitive and frenzied lives of America's children. Travelling the country and talking to scores of parents, teachers and children she looks at the overhyped world of baby edutainment and 'better baby' early education programmes, takes the lid off the world of IQ testing and child competitions (from Scrabble and chess to child preaching), and explores the lives of particular children who have been identified as prodigies from a four-year-old painter whose works sell for $300,000 to an eight-year-old professional skateboarder who is backed by nine corporate sponsors. And she asks the questions that many parents find themselves asking. Where should parents and teachers draw the line? How do we establish when children are being under-stimulated or over-stretched? And can the hothousing of children lead to irreparable problems later in life? Hothouse Kids is a thought-provoking, often shocking exploration of a subject that is only too worryingly topical.
Alissa Quart is the author of the acclaimed book Branded. She writes opinion pieces and book reviews for The New York Times and features for Lingua Franca, Elle, The Nation and Salon. A former child prodigy, she started writing novels at the age of seven and won numerous national writing competitions. She is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.