Building Smart Kids in Challenging Times

Dr. Robert Lee

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 108 Price: (paperback) $19.99 ISBN: 9781796058215 Reviewed: May, 2020 Author Website: Visit »

In this unique compilation of stories, Dr. Robert Lee shows parents and educators how to teach children to think creatively and develop true wisdom.

Born in Canton, China, Lee came to the U.S. as a teenager and earned his doctorate in aerospace engineering from MIT. Firm in his belief that “smart kids are built,” Lee encourages parents and teachers to instill a “can-do” attitude in children and “challenge them to think first” when problem-solving opportunities arise.

In this slim yet clever book, Lee retells problem-solving stories from the Bible, Chinese literature and other ancient writings. Unlike most storybooks, however, Lee pauses before the solution is revealed and asks readers, “What would you do?” He admonishes parents to “not criticize [their children] for whatever they say” and to “[e]ncourage them to think of other solutions, ask questions and form their own opinions.”

Lee’s writing has the air of an old, treasured storybook. He immerses readers in a world where cleverness is respected and instills in them a desire to practice wit and wisdom on their own. For example, “The Slowest Horse Race” discusses a time when the Mongolians, tired of conventional horseraces, attempted a “slowest race,” but that resulted in no race at all. Twelve-year-old Genghis Khan solves the problem and “[gains] the respect and admiration of the entire tribe.” Lee’s belief that “all creative solutions in science, engineering and even the world’s problems come from ‘thinking outside the box’” is a friendly challenge to all of us to put on our thinking caps.

While the concept of this book is excellent, it’s difficult to imagine young children discovering solutions to many of the stories. Some problems will stump even adults. But getting minds cranking in a creative direction is a worthy start, all the same.

With bonuses sprinkled in – a science experiment here, a history lesson there – this book should resonate with educators and homeschooling families as the perfect addition to daily warm-ups or read-aloud time in the classroom.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Available to buy at: