Books by Theme
Books About Kids Who Find Reading Hard
For some kids, reading isn't easy. They might have dyslexia, a learning disability, or just learn differently. Because it helps to know you're not alone, we've gathered together a list of recommended children's books for kids that feature characters of different strengths and abilities who've found they don't read like everyone else.
Aaron Slater, Illustrator
Although he loves stories, Aaron has trouble reading but has been an artist his whole life. With the help of Miss Greer, his astute 2nd grade teacher, Aaron’s gifts are realized and he gets help with reading. The rhyming text and illustrations call to mind the creators’ other collaborations and are equally captivating.
Ben and Emma’s Big Hit
Ben loves baseball. He loves the lines of diamond-shaped field and the dome of the pitcher's mound. What Ben doesn't like is reading. Ben has dyslexia, which means letters and sounds get jumbled up in his brain, and then the words don't make sense. But when Ben starts looking at reading like he looks at baseball, he realizes that if he keeps trying, he can overcome any obstacle that comes his way. In this empowering story by California Governor Gavin Newsom, inspired by his own childhood diagnosis of dyslexia, readers will learn that kids with the determination to try (and try again) can do big things.
Judge is desperate. His mother has threatened to send him to a different school next year. To prove he can succeed at his current school, Judge needs to bring up his grades. After weeks of hard work — all while dealing with his sometimes difficult brother and his dyslexia — Judge's hopes depend on winning a science competition. Soon it all comes down to the egg drop.
He's My Brother
Jamie’s brother narrates this touching look at a learning disability and how it affects not only Jamie but also his family. Jamie doesn’t do well in school and is much more content at home. Though it remains unspecified, the portrayal of Jamie’s learning disability will resonate with those who have struggled or seen someone else toil.
I Wish I Could Fly Like a Bird!
This is the story of Chic L. Dee, a bird with learning disabilities who flip-flops when he tries to fly. While he struggles to accept his limitations, he begins to discover his talents, trust his intuition, and find his own way. Perhaps most importantly, he learns about making room for differences.
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key
Joey is out of control. He knows it, his mom knows it, and the school knows it. Nothing seems to remedy his behavior until Joey runs away from a class field trip, hurts a classmate, and is sent to a special education program. There, his medications are regulated and Joey achieves a level of control.
In this book by Newbery Medal-winning author Karen Hesse, the highly skilled Juice, who can handle everything from power tools to her Pa's depression, is plagued by an inability to understand letters and reading.
Leo the Late Bloomer
Leo isn't reading, or writing, or drawing, or even speaking, and his father is concerned. But Leo's mother isn't. She knows her son will do all those things, and more, when he's ready.
My Name is Brain Brian
Brian was not excited to enter sixth-grade. He knew that it would be just as frustrating as every other school year. People tease him when he reads aloud in class or writes on the blackboard. But Brian soon learns that this year will be different! This year his teacher notices that Brian is dyslexic. He isn't stupid or lazy; he just needs to learn a little differently.
My Year With Harry Potter: How I Discovered My Own Magical World
I'm normal because I am a normal kid — going to school, being happy, getting homework, having a family. I'm not normal because I'm dyslexic... Thus begins the autobiography of an eleven-year-old boy who describes how he created a board game based on the popular Harry Potter series and entered it into his school's yearly Invention Convention, where it became an instant hit.
Niagara Falls or Does It? (Hank Zipzer)
On the first day of fourth grade, Hank's teacher assigns a five-paragraph essay, "What I did on my summer vacation," and he knows he's in trouble. It has always been difficult for him to read, write, and spell so he decides to "build" his assignment instead — to "bring Niagara Falls into the classroom, water and all." This is the first book in the Hank Zipzer series.
Thank You, Mr. Falker
Learning how to read isn't easy for Trisha. But with the help and support of a wise new teacher, she begins to blossom. Told with warmth and sensitivity, and illustrated in Polacco's signature style, the story of a girl overcoming dyslexia is based on the author's own experience.
When Will I Read?
More than anything, first grader Jim wants to read. Even though his teacher is reassuring, Jim is impatient. But then, one day it happens — Jim reads! Adults and children alike will appreciate the subtle message of different learning rates and styles in this gentle story.
Whispers in the Graveyard
Solomon has never had an easy time in school because of his dyslexia. But then, in a desolate part of an old graveyard, he finds himself battling the effects of an ancient curse put on the land by a witch many years before. With the help of a professor, his teacher, and a young girl, they unravel the mystery and break the curse forever.
Proceeds from the sale of books purchased at Bookshop.org and Amazon.com help support the Reading Rockets project. Thank you!