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Book Reviews

     Written by a practitioner with years of experience and an obvious love for nurturing gifted children,
Deborah Gennarelli’s Twice-Exceptional Boys: A Roadmap to Getting it Right is an important addition to
understanding and serving twice-exceptional learners. Twice-exceptional boys can be the most puzzling students we serve—the most quirky and energetic children we love--and often constitute the largest percentage of our 2e population, but ironically, their specific “boy” needs and tendencies are not commonly addressed in the gifted education body of literature. Deborah’s case study approach is highly relatable and practical and provides an interesting and clear framework for the reader. She provides first-person perspectives from classroom teachers, gifted support professionals, parents, and the students themselves. Whether the reader is a gifted resource teacher, an administrator, a parent, or a member of higher education, one will surely find oneself immersed in each student’s story and struggle to find success. In the end, the road map is a little less bumpy, the sight lines a little more clear, and the potential for a successful road trip that much more promising.

             Mark Hess, SENG Board of Directors, author of Gifted Boys: Tough Enough to Be Kind,
               I Used to be Gifted, and Social-Emotional Curriculum for Gifte
d Learners, grades 3-5.

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"Throughout this book, the author’s lens focuses specifically on 2E boys. Deborah Gennarelli begins by explaining the rationale for this focus, and by sharing understandings of twice-exceptionality. Then she takes a hard look at some of the challenges these boys face, and how parents and teachers can support their individual developmental trajectories. She reveals the stories of four 2E boys―Mateo, Jamal, Melvin, and Jake―each of whom has a unique learning and developmental profile. As descriptions of their experiences unfold (culminating in personal reflections, and graphics outlining support strategies), readers discover a range of ideas for application at home, school, or elsewhere. Gennarelli also pays attention to the role of intervention specialists, and the importance of curiosity, questioning, and coping mechanisms. Twice Exceptional Boys sheds light on a population of students that, like any other, deserves to shine brightly."
-- Joanne Foster, Ed.D., 
Award-winning co-author of Being Smart about Gifted Learning

(3rd Edition)

      Deb Gennarelli’s book, Twice-Exceptional Boys, is both highly informative and a pleasure to read. Packed with clear guidelines and case examples, this book is an essential addition to the gifted literature. The educational needs of gifted boys (well, boys in general) have been overlooked in schools not built to accommodate their learning needs. Most boys struggle in school when they are forced to sit still and pay attention. Gifted boys bring an additional level of intensity to the classroom – inquisitive, energetic, frustrated by rote learning and repetition, and likely to resort to acting out, underachievement, or withdrawal when their needs are ignored.
     Twice-exceptional boys, who present with an additional condition, such as autism, ADHD, or a learning disability, bring even more complex learning needs to the classroom. Twice-Exceptional Boys highlights the many problems that can arise when schools fail to detect and address their academic needs. Deb provides numerous case examples, including extensive descriptions of four twice-exceptional boys and their trajectory through the school system. Her writing combines her 40+ years of experience as a teacher and gifted specialist with a compassionate understanding of these neglected children’s needs. She highlights clear guidelines for how schools can address these situations, with an awareness of how schools work and what can be reasonably included within an educational plan.
     It is refreshing to read such a well-written, engaging, and accessible source of information about this overlooked population. While essential reading for teachers, administrators, and gifted specialists, it should be a mandatory part of any curriculum in university education programs, and certainly gifted education training programs. Parents of both gifted and twice-exceptional boys, though, may stand to benefit the most from this book; they will gain much-needed information and support, realize they are not alone with their concerns, and also feel better prepared when advocating for their child at school. I wish I had found such a clear, concise, and informative book when my sons were in school. As a psychologist, I will strongly recommend this book to families of gifted and twice-exceptional boys.

          Gail Post, Ph. D., psychologist and author of The Gifted Parenting Journey

      My husband and I are parents to a teenage 2e+ boy and found the book to be very educational. I wish we would have had a book like this to refer to when "navigating the system" when our son was younger. The author writes about the four students and their families with such sensitivity and support. Parenting a 2e+ child is often a thankless job, one where you are always questioning what you is a blessing to hear something positive. The book is exceedingly very well written, and we plan on sharing it with family and professionals alike.

           A. Molnar: Parent of a 2E Boy

"Such an important book about 2e boys that focused squarely on this frequently overlooked population. The writer, an accomplished longtime gifted education practitioner, provides a most reassuring voice with spot-on advice on the complexities of this population. One feels as if the writer is in the room, sitting beside the parent or educator, holding their hands, and providing comforting guidance and hope. The detailed real-life examples and many charts give clarity to the varied presentations and needs of 2e boys, lighting a bright and certain path to follow in raising and educating these remarkable boys. Would also be an equal and essentail reference for medical practitioners caring for individuals in this population. Bravo!" 

         Marianne Kuzujanakis MD, MPH, co-author of Misdiagnosis & Dual Diagnosis of Gifted  Children and Adults (2nd Edition)

As a father of two grown, twice-exceptional young men, I can relate well to this book. Deb Gennarelli has put forth a comprehensive approach to both understanding and working with twice-exceptional boys; a population that is frequently mis-understood, mis-diagnosed, and mis-represented. Thank you, Deb for this wonderful guide!

Mike Postma, Ed. D., founder of Gifted and Thriving, LLC; author of The Inconventional Student: Critical Issues in the Identification and

Eduation of the Twice-Exceptional Student.

The book Twice-Exceptional Boys: A Roadmap to Getting it Right written by Deborah Gennarelli is a must have for any educator working with gifted children.  The balance of descriptions, background information and hands on strategies is immensely helpful as a teacher.  The charts in each case study use a roadmap theme including a column for roadblock, roadmap and the destination. These case studies are fantastic resources for both parents and educators!

Ellen Honeck, Ph. D., Assistant Head of Tessellations School in San Jose, CA.; Author Teaching Gifted Children in Today's Preschool and Primary Classrooms: Identifying, Nurturing, and Challenging children Ages 4-9; Social and Emotional Learning for Advanced Children in Early

Childhood Birth to 8

Clearly, Deborah Gennarelli knows gifted children and education. Her years of
experience are quite apparent. This book ought to be in every teacher’s
professional library. Gennarelli provides detailed examples of four gifted/2e boys
and their experiences in school. She describes the challenges they faced and the
solutions she proposed. The book contains easy to follow charts that spell out the
remedies any educator might apply in their own classrooms. Many of the
examples will work for girls as well or for gifted/2e kids who might identify as
nonbinary. I work with parents of gifted children and I also have a few educators
in my counseling practice. I will be recommending this book to them. And to you.

Paula Prober, author of Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted
Adults and Youth

Deb Gennarelli's Roadmap for parents and teachers of twice exceptional boys provides a thorough overview of how and why these bright kids may have such a difficult time in school. More than that, her book provides a thoughtful approach to developing a support and intervention plan for these students. With many practical strategies and detailed case examples, parents and teachers will find this to be a useful resource as they help their 2e boys navigate their academic journeys.

Dr. Meghan Barlow, Clinical/Pediatric Psychologist 

Cleveland, Ohio

Deborah Gennarelli LOVES teaching and knowing gifted and 2e students, that is clear. Her book, Twice Exceptional Boys: A Roadmap to Getting it Right, helps parents and teachers parse out what it means to be a gifted learner and encourages meeting the gifted or 2e child where he is along his learning and development journey. She shares her observations of the double standard 2e kids often experience – wrong turns along their journey causing confusion based on their asynchrony. Gennarelli becomes a parent’s and teacher’s GPS, by providing easy-to-read charts that set up a child’s potential issue (roadblock), an intervention (roadmap), and what it looks like when they can thrive (destination). The four student scenarios she shares emphasize for the reader the importance of truly understanding and advocating on behalf of their gifted and 2e child. Gennarelli joyfully shares the beauty of when teachers and parents are flexible rather than rigid, and when they focus on strengths over deficits. She demonstrates and describes the importance of parent-teacher communication in identifying consistent and appropriate interventions to help 2e learners thrive. While this book addresses 2e boys, the accommodations and interventions suggested are best practices for all learners.

Julie Skolnick, M.A., J.D., Founder of With Understanding Comes Calm, LLC

As a mother of a teenage son who is twice-exceptional (2e), I found Twice-Exceptional Boys: A Roadmap to Getting It Right by Deborah Gennarelli to be an enlightening read- serving as an incredible resource for parents and teachers. This book takes readers on a journey to understand the unque challenges faced by 2e boys and provides practical strategies to help parents and teachers support these amazing students who have unfathomable potential (that is they have the right support!). 

The author's extensive experience in teaching gifted children for over 30 years is evident throughout the book. She combines research on 2e boys with her hands-on-experiences in the classroom to provide a comprehensive understanding of these extraordinary children. Applying our education system's "one-size-fits-all" approach can be detrimental to 2e boys. Gennarelli provides us with alternate solutions and approaches that can enable 2e boys to soar in school and in life. 

A. McGraw: Parent of a 2E Boy

Deborah Gennarelli did more than write about how to meet the needs of 2e boys; she walked us through what the eduational system is like for gifted children in this country and in the different states. Her focus on twice-exceptional boys is well-placed in that too few educators understand that one can-and needs to- attend to both the strengths and the weaknesses of the growing child. It isn't either -or. And she makes it clear the laws and safety nets simply are not in place for how to improve on waht our boys experience during their school years. In Chapters 3 and 8 (my personal areas of interest) Ms. Gennarelli maks sure her audience gets the background they need to effectively move forward meeting the needs of 2e boys. 

Deborah L. Ruff, PhD

Author: 5 Levels of Gifted Children Grown Up: What They Tell Us

As I read this book, it was hard to put down. Brilliantly written for educators and non-educators, Deborah Gennarelli shares professional experiences and knowledge in a meaningful way. This is an engaging and informative book of research-based knowledge into the world of twice exceptioanl boys and the successes of teaching them. This is a must-have valuable resource for a home or classroom library! I will be referencing this inforamtion with my university students! Thank you, Deborah Gennarelli, for sharing your expert knowledge!

Dr. Kolleen Homuth

Professor, K-12 Education, ePortfolio Coordinator, College of Education

Central Michigan University

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