NONFICTION
The Orchid and the Dandelion: Why Some Children Struggle and How All Can Thrive
Knopf. Jan. 2019. 277p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781101946565. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101946572. CHILD REARING
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OrangeReviewStarBoyce (Lisa and John Pritzker Distinguished Professor of Developmental and Behavioral Health, Univ. of California, San Francisco) and his sister Mary, both red-haired and freckle-faced, were born into the same California family in the middle of the 20th century. A graduate of Stanford and Harvard, Mary was derailed by chronic illness and schizophrenia. A pediatrician and researcher, Boyce has spent more than four decades observing children similar to his sibling, discovering two primary prototypes: the dandelion (hardy, resilient, and healthy) and the orchid (sensitive, susceptible, and fragile). The author argues that genetic makeup and environment shape behavior, yet with attention and nurturing, orchid children can survive and thrive even beyond their dandelion peers. Furthermore, each child possesses unique abilities and strengths, and by harnessing them, parents can help their child grow in spite of socioeconomic and environmental disadvantages.
VERDICT This fascinating study of nurture vs. nature and how parents can play a positive role in a child's life comes highly recommended.

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