S is for Andrew Solomon: Nurturing Children Who Feel Different

In the video above, Andrew describes the genesis of his book Far From The Tree. You can discover more about the book on the website.


Andrew describes parents who have encouraged children who may have been considered ‘different’. Such children may have been experiencing disability, Down Syndrome, deafness, autism or many other challenges.

He describes how the acceptance and love shown by parents enabled these children to develop. Here is a video in which Andrew describes the importance of hope during the nurturing process.

The book won many accolades. Here are excerpts from some reviews.

Lisa Zeidner, writing for the Washington Post.

Solomon forcefully showcases parents who not only aren’t horrified by the differences they encounter in their offspring, but who rise to the occasion by embracing them.

In so doing, they reveal a ‘shimmering humanity’ that speaks to our noblest impulses to nurture.


Sam Leith writing in The Spectator.

The first chapter, as well as eloquently setting out his stall, describes Solomon’s own experience as a son with three horizontal identities – homosexuality, dyslexia and depression – the difficulty his parents had accepting his gayness.

There are chapters on deafness, dwarfism, Down’s Syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, transgender issues and disability.

But there is also one on prodigies — parenting a prodigy, Solomon reports, can be every bit as difficult and estranging as parenting a disabled child. There’s an extraordinarily complex and harrowing chapter on children conceived in rape.

His aim seems to be to bring sympathetic common sense to bear, to allow lived experience to trump theory, and let human beings, in all sorts of circumstances, tell their own stories.

Nobody could read this extraordinary, moving book and not feel enlightened, but above all enlarged by it.

Here is Andrew’s YouTube page that contains videos of himself and also families who are mentioned in Far From The Tree.


Finally, here is Andrew giving a TED talk. Here is the official introduction to the talk.

What is it like to raise a child who’s different from you in some fundamental way (like a prodigy, or a differently abled kid, or a criminal)?

In this quietly moving talk, writer Andrew Solomon shares what he learned from talking to dozens of parents – asking them: What’s the line between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance?

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