"Meet nine amazing talents whose passions shone early." Every kid is good at something. But imagine being so passionate about it that grown-ups flock to see you in action. Wonder Kids explores the lives of nine young talents whose amazing abilities attracted widespread attention. Phillis Wheatlely, a black slave in colonial Boston, was 14 when her first poem was published. A young Stevie Wonder was wowing audiences with his harmonica solos at the age of 12. And silent-film star Buster Keaton was hurtling through the air on a vaudeville stage when he was only 3. Other child prodigies featured are: Maria Gaetana Agnesi, an Italian linguist fluent in seven languages by age 13(1718-1799) Clara Schumann, a German pianist who made her professional debut when she was 9 years old (1819-1896) Fanny Mendelssohn, a German composer whose work as a teen caught the ear of Queen Victoria (1805-1847) Dai Vernon, a Canadian child-magician who went on to become the only conjurer to fool Houdini (1894-1992) Wang Yani, a Chinese artist who began touring with her paintings of monkeys when she was just 4 years old (1975-present) Terence Tao, an Australian mathematician who attended university at age 9(1975-present). Compelling profiles tell the stories of how these young wonders' abilities were discovered and developed, and of how they used their gifts as they grew up. Complete with captivating photographs and links to their works, Wonder Kids is a true celebration of not-so-tiny talent.
Charis Cotter is an editor and author of "Kids Who Rule: The Remarkable Lives of Five Child Monarchs" as well as other books for adults and young readers. She lives in Toronto.