By Dan McFeely, Indianapolis Star, 3/6/13
Kristine Barnett, mother of Hoosier boy genius Jacob Barnett — whose higher-than-Einstein IQ made him an academic star — has written a book about her experiences raising a genius at her home in Westfield, Indiana.
Jacob’s story was first told in The Indianapolis Star before he began to appear on national television shows like CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
Kristine Barnett’s book, “The Spark,” published by Random House, is scheduled to be released in hardcover April 9 for $25 a copy.
At a very young age, Jacob thrilled his parents and friends by the many things he would do with mathematics. But at the same time, doctors said he showed signs of autism and predicted a lifetime of struggle.
At age 9, however, Jacob began to work on an original theory in astrophysics that some experts think may put him in line for a Nobel Prize. And last summer, at 12, he became a paid researcher in quantum physics at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Officially titled “The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius” will be sold in 20 countries. Warner Bros. may produce a movie from the book, reports say.
The advance publicity for the book pitches it this way:
“ ‘The Spark’ is the powerful story of one mother’s love and her stubborn refusal to give up on her child. A remarkable memoir of a woman who followed her maternal instincts — even when those instincts ran contrary to her own husband, and the advice of all the professionals, who told her it was hopeless — and even as Jake withdrew further into his own silent world.”
Kristine pulled her son out of special education classes at Westfield and instead let him follow his own academic track — ultimately leading him to IUPUI as one of its youngest students.
Thanks to his mom, Jacob’s autistic-like fascination with things such as shadows on the wall and plaid fabric were encouraged and eventually fostered into his gateway to math, astronomy and physics.
The Barnetts, Kristine and Michael, still live in Indiana with their three sons. They currently run a charitable community center called Jacob’s Place for autistic and special-needs children and their families.
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