Sunday, May 1, 2016

Gifted in Pop Culture: Role Models Required

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One thing our kids want and need to watch and read are stories where they find others "like them."  Other gifted kids, passionate about real-world issues.  Other gifted kids, with strong interests and sometimes stronger fears.  Other gifted kids who work hard and play hard. Gifted kids, as all kids, need books and movies with role models who they can identify with.  They need to know they are Not Alone!  But where can we find such books and movies?


Reading and discussing stories that contain characters kids can relate to is called Bibliotherapy.  Whenever bibliotherapy and gifted kids are discussed, the first book mentioned is the most comprehensive guide to Gifted bibliotherpy: Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers from Preschool to High School by Judith Wynn Halstad.  Some of My Best Friends Are Books offers parents and teachers two features: a guide to using books in bibliotherapy, and a guide to many great titles for gifted kids of various ages, with details of the topics included inside each book. The books included mostly discuss topics related to the social and emotional needs of gifted kids, and each of the titles listed are good choices for your gifted reader.

Beyond Halstad's book, find lots more excellent titles for gifted readers on the Hoagies' Gifted Hot Topics Reading List: On Being Gifted. Looking for non-fiction titles supporting gifted kids as they grow?  My favorites are The Gifted Kids' Survival Guide (For Ages 10 and Under) by Judy Galbraith and The Gifted Teen Survival Guide: Smart, Sharp, and Ready for (Almost) Anything, by Judy Galbraith and Jim Delisle. Judy is the founder of Free Spirit Press, a great place to visit for gifted books. And Jim Delisle... if you don't know who Jim Delisle is, welcome to the world of gifted education.  Check out his books, find him at a speaking engagement, and get to know him.  His experience with gifted kids is priceless!

For kids between the 10 and Under and Teen guides, gifted kids love 
101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids: The Ultimate Handbook by Christine Fonseca.  Fonseca really "gets" this age group, and has great ideas that guide these "tween" gifted kids not only to success, but to self-understanding, a far more important characteristic than success, in my book.

For lots more titles for the gifted child, from the youngest preschooler to the intense teen, from vanilla gifted to twice exceptional to gifted kids struggling with anxiety, bullying, CDO (that's OCD in alphabetical order, of course!), and lots more, head back to 
Hoagies' Gifted Hot Topics Reading List: On Being Gifted.


While I prefer a good book to a poignant movie, there are plenty of great movies that were not preceded by an even better book. And when those movies feature gifted kids and adults in a positive way, offering our kids the role models they so desire to find in their entertainment of all forms... that's even better.  But what movies really do a good job at this, without being Disney sweet or far too intense for gifted sensitivities? Plenty!

Hoagies' Gifted Movies Featuring Gifted Kids (and Adults!) offers a wide range of movies, genres, and ages of both characters and the movies themselves. From the ever-hilarious Who's On First? and other skits by Abbott and Costello in The Abbott & Costello Show - The Complete Series Collector's Edition, to non-fiction titles like Akeelah and the Bee about a young girl who must blend in with her inner city schoolmates until she wins the school spelling bee and begins studying for the Scripps Bee, or October Sky about the Rocket Boys of West Virginia, there are plenty of movies that feature gifted kids in positive and realistic portrayals.

When you're looking for something fictional, The Incredibles offers a family of "supers," and the difficulties of being true to your super self while fitting in (some say hiding) in everyday school and work. In other titles, one parent doubts the gifts of the child until something changes their perspective.  How to Train Your Dragon and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs follow this plotline, both with hilarious and heartwarming results. In a more supportive family, Meet the Robinsons takes us on the adventures that can ensue when time travel to the past threatens the future.

Looking for a movie that combines humor with history?  Check out the Reduced Shakespeare Company DVDs! In their original title The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged not only can you catch all of Shakespeare's plays at once, but you can have a riotous good time doing so.  Three men performing 37 plays in less than two hours may seem a bit of a stretch.  Looking for a little holiday humor?  Try The Reduced Shakespeare Company Christmas  Chase those Yuletide blues away with this hilarious spoof of Hanukkah, Kwanza, and an obscure little holiday called Christmas. And there's more!

No list of movies for the gifted would be complete without my eldest's favorite movie.  Picture Shakespeare.  Picture Nathan Fillion, Amy Acker and others, under the direction of Joss Whedon.  Now you're ready for 
Much Ado About Nothing!

These are just a few of the movies you'll find on 
Hoagies' Gifted Movies Featuring Gifted Kids (and Adults!) list.  No matter the ages of your gifted kids, you'll find movies to share, enjoy, and talk about!

Family time is one of my favorite times with our now-grown gifted girls.  We read books, and talked about them.  We watched movies, and talked about them, often comparing them to the books of the same titles that we read first.  And to this day, our 20-something daughters enjoy spending time discussing the movies and books we've watched and read together!

And don't get me started on the Games we play...

This blog is part of the Hoagies' Gifted Blog Hop: Pop Culture.  Click to read the rest of the great blogs on Pop Culture (and Counter Culture) in this month's Blog Hop!


  1. Somehow, in all my years of reading Hoagies', I've missed the movies post. Thank you for sharing it!

    My kids love The Incredibles! You've listed heaps of my favorite books, too. Great post!

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  3. A great selection of books and plays - some of them new to me. Thank you, Carolyn!

  4. Thank you both! I love sharing new resources, especially ones my kids have enjoyed for years.

  5. Thank you so much for this resource. Over the years, Hoagies has proven to be an invaluable resource for me, both as a teacher and parent.

    Vasilios (Bill) Biniaris

  6. Thank you so much for this resource. Over the years, Hoagies has proven to be an invaluable resource for me, both as a teacher and parent.

    Vasilios (Bill) Biniaris

  7. Hi Carolyn, I love your post and links! I am a fan of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, too - you inspired me to show the Abridged Works to my older son. :-) Thank you so much for this wonderful help with role models!