“The word gifted has never been applied to a kid like Donovan Curtis. It’s usually more like don’t try this at home. So when the troublemaker pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks
he’s finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction (ASD), a special program
for gifted and talented students.”
— Gordon Korman,
Ungifted, by Gordon Korman, explores what it means to be a troublemaker, a gifted student, and/or an outcast, and how we all have things to teach one another. Told from various perspectives, Korman creates a funny storyline about building friendships in unlikely situations. While I enjoyed the basic premise of this award-winning book, Korman used many stereotypes based on gifted children such as:
- Gifted children are different.
“Normal! We had a lot of talents in our homeroom. Normalcy wasn’t one of them.”
“But to be stared at by these geniuses with their Coke-bottle glasses and analytical frowns — it was like being dissected and having your vital organs spread out on slides.”
- Gifted children do not participate in normal activities.
“Sports? When? And besides, why play when you probably stink?”
“What about TV or video games? Oh, please. You’re far too smart for that. Pep rallies? For what — the robotics team? Forget it — and the same goes for school dances, funny-hat day, drama club, charity drives. . .”
- Gifted children do not adjust socially.
“Noah’s IQ was off the charts, but he’d yet to hold a conversation with a real human being this year.”
“Another thing about the Academy — being gifted rarely extended to social skills.”
While the book will "please Korman's fans and win him new ones," Ungifted is also a valuable resource to analyze examples of stereotypes. Discussions about how stereotypes are harmful, how we are defined by others, and how we define ourselves would help children recognize the many stereotypes in books, the media, and in their daily lives.
Upper Elementary/Middle School Audience