Books by Theme
None of us look just the same and we each have our own special interests. That's true of how we learn, too. Everyone has their own style and things that they do particularly well. As children prepare to go to school, it's a good time to remember there are various ways of learning, that achievements are wide-ranging, and that learning takes place at different rates. On the pages of these books, meet memorable characters with special ways of learning and dealing with school.
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.
Clementine, a high energy 3rd grader, finds it difficult to concentrate as her teacher would have her do, often getting Clementine into trouble. Clementine's narration exudes her originality, spirit, and vivacity — echoed in expressive black & white line drawings.
In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful — and very awkward — hearing aid. The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear — sometimes things she shouldn’t — but also isolates her from her classmates. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for.
Fish in a Tree
Even though she’s a math whiz, sixth grader Ally struggles to make sense of words on a page – that is until she meets Mr. Daniels. Ally discovers that she has dyslexia. Mr. Daniels is studying for a degree in helping children learn to read using different techniques – which open Ally’s world in many ways. Based on the author’s own experiences, Ally’s voice is successfully used to create a realistic and touching novel.
If You're So Smart, How Come You Can't Spell Mississippi?
Katie is keen observer and a curious third grader. So when her dad explains why he finds spelling difficult, Katie wants to investigate. She learns that her very intelligent dad, a lawyer, has dyslexia — probably like a couple of Katie's classmates. Expressive line and wash illustrations enhance the engaging, illuminating story. Part of The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses series.
Last to Finish: A Story About the Smartest Boy in Math Class
Max's hopes of becoming an engineer seem unattainable as Max's brain freezes every time he takes a timed math fact test and is teased by the other children. That is until it's discovered that Max understands how math works but just has trouble with memorization. A satisfying resolution does not involve a timer! Part of The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses series.
Marvin One Too Many
Marvin's excitement about first grade quickly dwindles when his name doesn't appear on the list and the class is short one desk. Add to that the fact that he struggles to read, well, it's clear that he's just "one too many." Things improve when Marvin's parents find out what is going on and his father shares his difficulty learning to read.
Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets
David's teacher asks for a parent conference when David's behavior distracts the rest of the class. David, however, comes up with his own wiggle fidget cures that he shares at the meeting, combining creativity and practicality that just may help others with the wiggle fidgets. Part of The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses series.
Ms. McCaw Learns to Draw
Even though Dudley Ellington has trouble focusing on school work, his teacher is the very patient Mrs. McCaw. But the talented Mrs. McCaw cannot draw a face in profile — that is until Dudley patiently shows her (and his class) how to do so. Lighthearted, cartoon-like illustrations are used to enhance the straightforward text.
My Travelin' Eye
Her "travelin' eye" doesn't bother the narrator at all but it does mean that she has trouble focusing in school. The patch and eyeglasses prescribed by the ophthalmologist give her classmates something to tease her about — until she makes them her own fashion statement. Naïve illustrations are eye-catching and capture the child's world, what she sees, and how she sees it.
Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything
Ruby Lu is an exuberant second grader who takes her responsibility to help her cousin transition from China to his new school in America. Unfortunately, it lands both children in summer school where Ruby remains daunted by a long book. The humor lies in the ordinary of a likeable, effusive child who just happens to be Chinese American.
Stacey Coolidge's Fancy-Smancy Cursive Handwriting
Try as she might, second grader Carolyn struggles with cursive. A wise teacher, however, helps the child recognize that her imagination and creative writing are her strengths, just like some other famous writers. Real problems and frustrations are presented with a light touch in this engaging book. Part of The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses series.
What Susan does everyday is revealed in a simple, rhyming text and light-lined, colored pencil illustrations. What Susan does and how she behaves is what all children do but she does it using a wheelchair, revealed — without sentimentality — in the final spread.
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