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The Cheetah Stories Series
The cheetah cubs are five gifted youngsters who exhibit the five overexcitabilities. These cubs illustrate several of the difficulties commonly encountered by gifted children, and yet they all also demonstrate how to deal with such issues in a positive and often a proactive way. These illustrated picture books are for young gifted children who need help understanding the difficulties that come with their gifts and who must learn to appreciate their strengths rather than focus on their struggles.
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Meet the cheetah cubs Chelsea, Chadwick, Christina, Chevron, and Charlotte, five gifted youngsters who exhibit exceptionalities across the spectrum of ability. Chelsea is creative and invents ways to make games more fun, Chadwick is athletically gifted but must hold himself back so that his friends can keep up, Christina is so perfectionistic that she has trouble keeping perspective about what makes something fun, Chevron is so curious and absorbed in the world around him that his friends often leave him alone so that they can play at their own games, and Charlotte is sensitive and easily upset by perceived injustices. Together, these cubs illustrate several of the difficulties commonly encountered by gifted children, and yet they all also demonstrate how to deal with such issues in a positive and often a proactive way.
The cheetah cubs are based on renowned author Stephanie Tolan’s now-famous cheetah metaphor for gifted children. Cheetahs are the fastest animal in the world, but if we put restrictions on them and hold them back, Tolan posits, would they still be cheetahs? If a cheetah was caged and never allowed to run, would it be a cheetah? If a cheetah were fed only zoo chow so that it was left undernourished, would it still be a cheetah? If a cheetah never learned how to be a proper cheetah, would we ever say that it was not, in fact, a cheetah?
The answer, of course, is no. Holding gifted children back in school, giving them only dumbed-down books to read (the intellectual equivalent of zoo chow), or refusing to acknowledge their gifts does not make these children any less gifted. But nor does being gifted make them immediately able to deal with all difficulties that come their way. They need nurturing and guidance to reach their full potential, just like any other children.
These illustrated picture books are for young gifted children who need help understanding the difficulties that come with their gifts and who must learn to appreciate their strengths rather than focus on their struggles. Each book tells an engaging story, which is followed by pages for the child that contain questions and activities for the child to enjoy, as well as pages for parents (or teachers) that offer information about the topic at hand and tips about what to talk about with the child. These books are an important first step toward enabling gifted children to feel good about themselves for exactly who they are.
Readers may also want to check out Out of Sync: Essays on Giftedness by Stephanie S. Tolan, which contains, among other interesting and enlightening writings, Tolan’s cheetah essay.