cover image A+ Parenting: The Surprisingly Fun Guide to Raising Surprisingly Smart Kids

A+ Parenting: The Surprisingly Fun Guide to Raising Surprisingly Smart Kids

Eva Moskowitz, with Eric Grannis. Harvest, $28.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-331022-3

Moskowitz (The Education of Eva Moskowitz), founder of Success Academy Charter Schools, phones in this insubstantial guide to parenting that draws on strategies she has used at Success Academy and on her own three children. The advice consists mostly of platitudes, including exhortations for parents to “encourage your child to explore their interests” and to “read to your children when they are young.” Moskowitz relies primarily on anecdotal evidence to support her claims, as when she justifies Success Academy’s requirement that students learn to play chess by citing Benjamin Franklin’s assertion that the game fosters foresight. The preference for anecdotal over scientific evidence becomes most conspicuous around Moskowitz’s most doubtful claims, such as when she argues that people underestimate the harm caused by video games in the same way people underestimated the harm caused by cigarettes in the early 1960s, and then details the ill effects of cigarettes instead of engaging with the extensive scientific literature on video games. Moskowitz also dedicates so much of the volume to lists, outlining, for instance, YouTube videos “to develop your child’s sense of humor” and questions to spur scientific curiosity (“Where does the sun go at night?”), that one might wonder if the whole thing would have worked better as a series of listicles. This doesn’t make the grade. (Oct.)