What does it take to become a child prodigy?

I have two favorite living child prodigies: one from the United States (age 13) and one from Norway (age 11).

Grace VanderWaal won America’s Got Talent in 2016, at age 12. She competed by singing her own songs that she wrote (the first video). She then signed a contract with Columbia Records and put out her first short album (with 5 songs) that reached #9 in the United States. She went on to win awards from the Teen Choice Awards and Disney.

Angelina Jordan won Norway’s Got Talent when she was age 8, singing classic jazz. At age ten in 2016, she recorded “I Put a Spell on You.”  If you enjoy that performance, there’s more. You will discover Angelina performs barefoot. Her first album is scheduled for release this year.

Grace VanderWaal and Angelina Jordan are both child prodigies. Scientific American explains what it takes to be a child prodigy.

“Recent research indicates that basic cognitive abilities known to be influenced by genetic factors also play a role in prodigious achievement. In the most extensive study of prodigies to date, the psychologist Joanne Ruthsatz and her colleagues administered a standardized test of intelligence to 18 prodigies—five in art, eight in music, and five in math. There was a wide range of IQs in the sample, from 100—the average for the general population—to 147—well above the usual cutoff for “intellectually gifted.” However, with an average score of 140 (above the 99th percentile), nearly all of the prodigies did extraordinarily well on the tests of working memory. …

“With an average score of 148, the music prodigies in the Ruthsatz study were especially high in working memory (the average for the math prodigies was 135 and for art prodigies was 132). In fact, all eight of the music prodigies were at or above the 99th percentile, and four were at or above the 99.9th percentile. The odds of eight randomly selected people scoring this high on a test are essentially zero. …

Prodigies also exhibit an unusual commitment to their domain … “Often one cannot tear these children away from activities in their area of giftedness, whether they involve an instrument, a computer, a sketch pad, or a math book. These children have a powerful interest in the domain in which they have high ability, and they can focus so intently on work in this domain that they lose sense of the outside world.”

What happens to child prodigies when they grow up?

To discover how far Grace VanderWaal has gone since winning America’s Got Talent at age 12, in 2016, to this month (first weekend in October 2017) click Austin City Limits Music Festival as she starts her first national concert tour at age 13.  Pay attention to the response from her fans as she walks on stage and throughout the performance.  It’s wild! Her fans love her songs and they love who she is at this age. We all change as we age and mature. I hope Grace gets only better than who she is now and that she never forgets who she was when she started out.

Note: If you are interested in watching Grace’s first concert that took place in Austin, Texas, on October 7, 2017, I want you to know that it might not be available much longer. I contacted Red Bull TV because I wanted to buy a DVD of the concert and I was told that they only have limited use and the concert will only be available through them to watch for free for about two weeks after the concert date.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

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What is Populism? Why Trump, Bannon, and Breitbart Are NOT Populists

Diane Ravitch's blog

Words matter.

Trump has been called a “populist.” The Brexit movement has been called “populist.” Marie LePen, who ran for president of France on an anti-immigration platform, was called a “populist.” Bannon and his anti-Establishment movement funded by the billionaire Mercers are called “populists.” No doubt, someone thinks the Koch brothers are “populists.”

None of these people are populists, not in the literal sense of representing ordinary folk, nor in the historical sense of connecting to a movement that surfaced in the late 1890s.

Populism as a movement means “for the people,” for the ordinary people, for working people. It should not be confused with appeals to nationalism, racism, and chauvinism. Demagogues appeal to base instincts, but they are not populists by doing so.

If you support a plan to take away health insurance from millions of people, you are not a populist. If you support tax reform that cuts…

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Walton Family Foundation Planning to Move into Middle-Income Districts in New York City

The Walmart, poverty-wage paying without benefits (they offer a medical plan but it will cost you your paycheck to buy medical through Walmart), labor union hating Walmart family continues to subvert the United States into their own deplorable fiefdom. Did you vote for Trump? It’s obvious that Walmart is the shopping choice for Nazis, Kluckers (KKK), racists of all types, fundamentalist Christians, and white supremacists.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Time for a friendly puff piece from Inside Philanthropy about one of the nation’s most malevolent foundations: The Walton Family Foundation.

Walton has two goals: privatizing education and eliminating teachers’ unions.

It pledged to spend $1 billion to achieve those aims.

It subsidizes many mainstream media, even NPR and Education Week, to make sure that it gets favorable coverage for its nefarious goals.

And now, Inside Philanthropy reports that the Waltons have decided to plunk a couple of million dollars down in New York City and spread the wealth so that some of it goes to traditional antagonists, like Teachers College, Columbia University.

Who funds Inside Philanthropy? I can’t tell from its website. I did notice an earlier article about the Waltons, which claimed that individual members of the Walton family were reaching out to what appear to be liberal organizations, like the Center for American Progress. The writer didn’t…

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The Story of Lucy – Beautiful Thing

Every time I watch this Windex commercial, yes, it is a commercial, the best I’ve seen, because of the happy memory tears that flow every time. I’m not alone with my tearful reaction. After you watch The Story of Lucy, scroll down and read some of the comments.

The song and lyrics are from Grace VanderWall who wrote the song and first performed it on America’s Got Talent in 2016.  She was 12-years old.

For more about Grace, read my fan post at This is an Invitation to attend my favorite YouTube Concert.

The next video is an interview with Grace on 98.7 AMP Radio. This way you get to know a bit about who this 13-year old is who wrote the song used in that incredible Windex commercial.

The Grammy nominations will arrive near the end of 2017. I’ll be shocked if Grace doesn’t get nominated.

Thank you, Grace. May you always see the world through the same prism that you were using when you were twelve. Keep that glass clean so there are no distortions. Use Windex.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

An Author Interview with Lloyd Lofthouse at the HBS Author’s Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Lloyd Lofthouse. Lloyd is the award-winning, historical fiction author of the short story, “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

Congratulations on your book: My Splendid Concubine. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with Lloyd Lofthouse continues on HBS Author’s Spotlight.

Who Is Sheriff Joe, Pardoned by Trump?

Discover the real Sheriff Joe Arpaio that Fake President, serial liar, and racist Donald Trump pardoned.

Diane Ravitch's blog

GregB sent this email because WordPress refused to post it as a comment. Trump pardoned the controversial and racist sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, on Friday night, when everyone was focused on Hurricane Harvey.

Here is Greg’s email:

“I tried to post this but WordPress wasn’t having any of it. Should it interest you, here’s what Joe Kloc wrote in the current email edition of Harper’s Magazine Weekly Review (it may be his best one yet):

“Days before the Mexican government offered to send aid for the victims of a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall in eastern Texas and caused catastrophic flooding in up to 50 counties and drove an estimated 30,000 people from their homes, one-time pornographic-film extra and current U.S. president Donald Trump issued a pardon for Joe Arpaio, a former sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County who, during his 24-year tenure, held inmates in Korean War tents…

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