If you’re so Smart, How Come You Can’t Spell Mississippi
Readers will leave this book having learned a couple of lessons: dyslexia is common and lots of bright, successful people are dyslexic. When Katie, the young narrator, realizes that her Dad struggles with spelling, she’s genuinely surprised. Her Dad is smart and a successful lawyer. Katie’s Dad tells her that he is dyslexic, and that there are many accomplished adults who are also dyslexic. Katie, “a whiz at the library” does some research and is astonished to find that people who have struggled with reading and spelling have worked to conquer their learning difficulties, persevered and went on to become doctors, lawyers, scientists or artists. She is reminded of her classmate, Mark, who struggles with spelling tests and hides when asked to read aloud in class.
With simple language and engaging, skillful illustrations the author-illustrator team unmask something as complicated as dyslexia. For those who struggle with dyslexia, or know someone who does, this book will be a welcome addition to both school and home libraries.
Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets
” ‘David Sheldon, you are distracting your neighbor again,’ said Mrs. Gorski with her serious voice. ‘You are going to have to stop making that noise with your pencil!’” It seems that David has the “wiggle fidgets.” His mind wanders, his legs want to move. He thinks of the greatest ideas and inventions, and wants to show everyone. But he doesn’t think through the consequences of his actions – or experiments.
When David’s teacher, Mrs. Gorski, calls his parents in for a conference, David decides to come up with a cure for the wiggle-fidgets. To help focus and think, he creates reminder cards for his desk. When he really feels fidgety, he’ll hold a small stress ball. And when he needs to move his legs, he suggests to Mrs. Gorski that he erase the chalkboard or help pass out papers. And Mrs. Gorski agrees.
Jenny Rich © 2008 Parents’ Choice
Stacy Coolidge’s Fancy Smancy Cursive Handwriting
From Mrs. Thompson, the teacher, to Frederick, the class guinea pig, everything about second grade seems good to Carolyn. But when the
class starts practicing the slants and curves of cursive writing, she finds it difficult and her happiness evaporates. Detailing her frustrations and contrasting her struggles with a classmate s easy success, this picture book reflects experiences familiar to many young students. Carolyn s sympathetic teacher puts things in perspective, telling her that when it comes to writing, ideas and emotions are much more important than slants and curves. Designed to encourage children, books in the Adventures of Everyday Geniuses series tell stories of students who struggle in some respects, while excelling in others. Bright with colorful washes, the cartoonlike drawings clearly express the characters emotions. Given the pressure to introduce cursive writing to younger students, this picture book will resonate with a growing number of children.
Last to Finish – A Story about the Smartest Boy in Math Class
Last to Finish tells the story of Max, a third grader who struggles tremendously with timed multiplication tests. We learn that when he takes his time, he solves all problems correctly, but that he is unable to replicate this success when the timer is going. Max worries and struggles until the school principal, Mr. Singleton, finds Max’s math folder. When the Mr. Singleton checks inside the folder, he realizes that Max has been practicing the algebra assigned to his older brother.
Along with Max, readers learn that there are different ways to “be smart” in a subject. As Mr. Singleton explains, Max is the kind of kid who has a deep understanding of the way that numbers work, and this is a skill separate from memorizing math facts. Max is surprised to learn that he is, in fact, a bright mathematician – he just learns differently than some of his classmates.
Jenny Rich © 2008 Parents’ Choice