Here from Chicago where she is professor of anthropology and Asian studies at Northwestern University is Shalini Shankar, with a new book on the part that spelling bees reveal about young people today. Her book is Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal About Generation Z's New Path to Success (Basic Books).
"Shalini Shankar does a remarkable job of pulling back the curtain on the phenomenon of 'spelling bee kids.' With the careful eye of an ethnographer, she takes the reader behind the scenes to understand the cultural world of elite spellers who learn to master not just the dictionary but the complex terrain of 'brain sports.' Anyone concerned about how Generation Z is faring will appreciate the grit, determination, and savvy that these competitors display. The kids are all right." —Ben Zimmer.
"Fascinating. Shalini Shankar uses the spelling bee as a lens into the world of Gen Z, illuminating its contours and giving us all a chance to reflect on what it means to grow up." —Angela Duckworth.