The following is not an exhaustive list. Rather, it is a starting point for anyone who wants to study giftedness and gifted people. Even if you directly consult with a specialist, you will find the following books and journals helpful.
Dr. Ruf's Book
(2005) (formerly titled Losing Our Minds: Gifted Children Left Behind). 5 Levels of Gifted, published by Great Potential Press, combines four years of data gathering from 50 families with nearly 30 years of research and experience in the field of giftedness, individual differences, and high intelligence. The book is aimed primarily at parents and vividly describes the upper 10 to 15 percent of the intellectual continuum in human beings from birth to adulthood as manifested in their behaviors, thoughts, accomplishments, and test scores. She introduces the concept of Levels of Giftedness and makes it very clear how many factors contribute to a person's intellectual levels and achievement. Learn more or buy now.
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Parenting Issues and Help
Boosting Your Baby's Brain Power (2008), by Susan Heim and Holly Engel-Smothers. This parent guidebook offers descriptive explanations for developing and nurturing maximum brain power during the essential early years.
Bright, Talented, & Black: A Guide for Families of African American Gifted Learners, by Joy Lawson Davis. The author discusses what it means to be young, Black and gifted in the United States, and how families can help gifted children to understand their differences. Davis offers fresh insights into the challenges specific to gifted Black children.
Bullies Are a Pain in the Brain, by Trevor Romain. Millions of children deal with bullies every day. The author offers this book as self-help for kids, with cartoons offering clear and helpful advice. The format makes for a good guide for a parent to read with their child because it provokes good discussion.
Children: The Challenge: The Classic Work on Improving Parent-Child Relations—Intelligent, Humane, & Eminently Practical (Plume), by Rudolf Dreikurs and Vicki Soltz. One of the books Dr. Ruf frequently recommends to parents, now reprinted and available.
Developing Talent in Young People, edited by Benjamin Bloom. The book details the early childhood development and family lives of children who go on to professional, expert levels in music and the arts, athletics, and mathematics and science. Very helpful and eye-opening.
Get Off My Brain: A Survival Guide for Lazy* Students (*Bored, Frustrated, and Otherwise Sick of School), by Randall McCutcheon, et al. This is a guide for teens who are bored and frustrated at school, and who need acceptable ways to deal with their daily confinement. Written in a humorous style, it details methods for making the most—and getting the most—out of your school days.
Get Organized Without Losing It, by Janet Fox, et al. Tips, techniques, strategies, and examples, offered in a friendly, humorous and practical manner, empower kids to conquer clutter, prioritize tasks, handle homework, prepare for tests, plan projects, and stop procrastinating, which will lead to less stress and more success.
The Gifted Kids Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook (Rev. 1996), by Judith Galbraith and Jim Delisle. This handbook is the ultimate guide to surviving and thriving in a world that doesn’t always value, support, or understand high ability. It is full of surprising facts, step-by-step strategies, practical how-tos, and inspiring quotations, and features insightful essays contributed by gifted teens and adults. The book gives readers the tools they need to understand giftedness, accept it as an asset, and use it to make the most of who they are.
, by James Webb, Janet Gore, Frances Karnes, and A. Stephen McDaniel. A great gift idea for proud grandparents or those to whom you are trying to introduce the concepts of what gifted children are and what they need. Grandparents can provide important emotional support for bright, talented (exhausting!) children, especially when they understand them better.
Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers (2nd Ed.), by Carol A. Strip. The information and useful advice provided make this book an ideal resource both for those just starting out in the gifted field as well as those who are already seasoned veterans.
Intellectual Talent: Psychometric and Social Issues, edited by Camilla Persson Benbow and David Lubinski. This book examines the political ramifications of emotionally loaded findings about individual differences—documenting cases in which findings that contradict prevailing social values are simply ignored. The book also explores what is known about educating gifted children and why educators sometimes fail to act on that knowledge.
The Kids’ Guide to Working Out Conflicts: How to Keep Cool, Stay Safe, and Get Along, by Naomi Drew. Addressing common school problems encountered by students in middle school, the author offers effective tools for improving coping abilities and conflict-resolution skills. A really good book.
Literature Links: Activities for Gifted Readers (2005, by Teresa Masiello. Here is help for educators in meeting the needs of advanced readers in grades 2 through 6. Literature titles are included, along with discussion questions and classroom or small group activities for each title.
Living With Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and the Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults (2008), edited by Susan Daniels and Michael Piechowski. This resource describes overexcitabilities in children and adults and provides essential information about Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration. The book includes practical methods for nurturing sensitivity, intensity, perfectionism, and much more.
, by James T. Webb, Edward R. Amend, Nadia E. Webb, Jean Goerss, Paul Beljan, F. Richard Olenchak, and Sharon Lind. Physicians, psychologists, and counselors are unaware of characteristics of gifted children and adults that mimic pathological diagnoses. Six nationally prominent health care professionals describe ways parents and professionals can distinguish between gifted behaviors and pathological behaviors.
, by Brock Eide and Fernette Eide. The Eides are physicians who specialize in treating children with learning challenges, such as ADHD, autism and dyslexia. Based on physiological research on brain development, the authors discuss children's learning strengths and weaknesses and how to make the most of their potential. These people understand the 2e issues of giftedness combined with learning disabilities. Highly recommended.
More Than a Test Score: Teens Talk About Being Gifted, Talented, or Otherwise Extraordinary, by Robert Schultz, et al. Gifted teenagers from around the world responded to an online survey about what it means to be gifted. This book draws from those responses to look at what giftedness is all about.
Motherstyles: Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths, by Janet P. Penley and Diane Eble.
This book helps parents understand how personality type, defined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, affects parent-child interactions and family dynamics. Looking at how parents react to their children, and why, the authors offer ways to overcome the parenting challenges inherent to each type.
A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children, by James T. Webb, et al. The four authors, who have decades of professional experience with gifted children and their families, provide practical guidance to parents in the special challenges of raising their gifted children. This is an ideal follow-up book to Dr. Ruf's 5 Levels of Gifted: School Issues and Educational Options (2005) (formerly titled Losing Our Minds: Gifted Children Left Behind).
A Parent's Guide to Gifted Teens: Living with Intense and Creative Adolescents (2010), by Lisa Rivero. This book helps parents to view the challenging years of middle school and high school not merely as college prep, but as a preparation for life. Learn how to understand the adolescent's intensity and excitability, how to nurture creativity and self-directed learning, how to offer support without taking control.
Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence, by David Kiersey. For 20 years, Keirsey has investigated personality differences, working to define the facets of character that distinguish one from another. His findings form the basis of Please Understand Me II, an updated and greatly expanded edition of his original book which was published in 1978. One major addition is Keirsey's view of how the temperaments differ in the intelligent roles they are most likely to develop. We all have a long suit and a short suit in what interests us and what we do well, he says, and fortunate indeed are those whose work matches their skills.
, by Maureen Neihart, Sally M. Reis, Nancy M. Robinson, Sidney M. Moon. A publication of NAGC, available from Prufrock Press, 2002. Leading scholars comprehensively summarize several decades worth of the best research on the social and emotional characteristics of, and issues faced by, gifted children and adolescents. They offer what they learned from the research they examined, not absolute truths that will apply to all gifted children. The book’s 24 chapters explore underachievement, perfectionism, acceleration, peer pressure, depression, delinquency, risk and resilience, and social acceptance among gifted students. Also addressed are specific populations within the gifted community, such as the special concerns of girls and of boys, students with disabilities or AD/HD, the creatively gifted, and gifted children who are gay, lesbian or bisexual. Each chapter reviews and presents research relevant to a topic, with authors carefully distinguishing fact from fiction regarding the social-emotional and psychological characteristics of gifted children. They stress, for example, that there is little research to suggest that gifted students are psychologically or emotionally vulnerable because of their gifts. However, gifted students may be at risk because of the frequent disparity between their cognitive abilities and their educational program.
Some of My Best Friends are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers from Pre-School to High School (Second Edition), by Judith Wynn Halsted. This book’s extensive indexing makes it easy to find books that are appropriate and yet advanced and engaging enough for gifted children. Many classic books are listed by social or emotional topic so that adults can use books for bibliotherapy – the heroes and heroines of the books deal with problems familiar to the gifted child.
Stand Up For Your Gifted Child: How to Make the Most of Your Kid’s Strengths at School and at Home, by Joan F. Smutny. You’ll explore various options for your child’s education and learn how to communicate effectively with the local school and district, connect with other parents, and provide enrichment at home. You’ll discover your rights as a parent—and the benefits of taking a stand.
The Teenagers’ Guide to School Outside the Box, by John Taylor. The author explores a variety of traditional and nontraditional environments for volunteering, mentoring, alternative classes, job shadowing, internships, apprenticeships, camps, and study abroad. These are valuable ideas on how teens can enrich their lives outside of school. Dr. Ruf highly recommends this book because it supports her goal of building the child’s “portfolio” through acceptance that “school is not real life” and bright kids need to develop and highlight their strengths, not just get through school.
Understanding Creativity, by Jane Piirto. In this textbook, the author’s descriptions of well-known people in various creative fields—art, music, dance, theater, writing, science, math, business, technology—are fascinating, particularly the predictive behaviors apparent in childhood. She outlines the creative process and theories of how it develops.
Understanding Those Who Create, by Jane Piirto. Dr. Piirto illustrates her research regarding creativity and talent development with biographical material and life patterns of the creatively gifted, such as artists, writers, scientists, musicians, entrepreneurs, actors, and dancers. The author also provides ways for parents or educators to enhance and stimulate creativity, particularly in children.
What Do You Really Want?, by Beverly Bachel. The author is a successful business entrepreneur, and she has used her experience and knowledge to help teens define their real interests. She offers good advice about pursuing workable goals and then celebrating their achievements. Although this is for teenagers, parents should read it, too, so that they can be supportive of their children’s interests and goals. Too many parents over-rate school experiences and keep their kids from experiencing what are their kids’ true passions and ability areas.
What to Do When Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough: The Real Deal on Perfectionism: A Guide For Kids, by Thomas Greenspon. Written to and for ages 9–13, this book helps kids understand how perfectionism hurts them and how to free themselves. The author includes true-to-life vignettes, exercises, and a note to grown-ups. This is another good book to read together, especially if your child isn’t the type to read a self-help book, i.e. most boys. Dr. Greenspon has a wonderful grasp of what perfectionism is, where it comes from, and what to do about it.
When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers: How to Meet Their Social and Emotional Needs, by Jim Delisle and Judy Galbraith. Parents and older gifted children, as well as educators, can find answers to the questions that they often don’t know where else to find. This book addresses through anecdotes and very personal terms what giftedness is—inside and out—and how to set up the environment to nurture and enjoy it.
When Nothing Matters Anymore: A Survival Guide for Depressed Teens, by Bev Cobain. The author presents an easily understood and nonjudgmental discussion of what depression means, the types of depression, and the relationship between depression and suicide. In addition, she deals with treatment options and offers suggestions for positive mental and physical health. Bright teens, especially gifted ones, are smart enough to figure out that life is hard, confusing, and may even seem somewhat pointless from time to time. Unless we talk about that reality, our advice isn’t very believable. Cobain is believable.