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Children's Books About Learning Disabilities

Aug 17, 2007
Nonfiction books can be of great help to parents and children dealing with learning disabilities. However, there is something to be said about the power of fiction to access people's emotions while at the same time getting important messages across to readers.

With that in mind, a growing number of writers have decided to tackle the subject of scholastic difficulties in the storybook format, which allows young readers to be entertained and informed all at once. These books may also provide a source of relief to kids with learning problems, since they prove that they're not alone in their struggles. Here is a sampling of some of the best fiction books available for children on the subject:

1. The Alphabet War: A Story About Dyslexia, written by Diane Burton Robb, illustrated by Gail Piazza, $15.95 (hardcover), available on Amazon.com

This book-which is suitable for children from age four through eight-deals with the learning difficulties of a little boy named Adam. As a very young child, Adam enjoys being read aloud to by his mother. However, once he enters school, reading becomes a source of major stress for him; he simply can't get the hang of it. He becomes increasingly frustrated and withdrawn until he is diagnosed with dyslexia and learns the strategies necessary to help him interpret written language. The well-paced narrative treats Adam's experiences with sympathy and respect, and the beautiful illustrations help readers to visualize the story's emotional arc.

2. The Don't-Give-Up Kid and Learning Differences, written by Jeanne Gehret, illustrated by Sandra Ann DePauw, $9.95 (paperback), available on Amazon.com

While most books that center around learning disabilities focus on one particular problem, this story-written for children from age six through ten-deals with other common scholastic difficulties. The protagonist is Alex, a bright kid who just so happens to have trouble learning how to read. Even though he faces ridicule from his classmates, he perseveres and gets the help that he needs. Along the way, he discovers that one of his heroes-Thomas Edison-also had to deal with learning issues, which provides him with plenty of personal inspiration.

3. Different Croaks for Different Folks: All About Children With Special Learning Needs, written by Midori Ochiai and Shinya Miyamoto, illustrated by Hiroko Fujiwara, translated by Esther Sanders, $17.95 (hardcover), available on Amazon.com

Originally written for a Japanese audience, this book has been lovingly translated for American readers. The authors put a playful spin on a potentially intimidating subject: Teacher Toad gives lessons to his frog students that help them to find solutions to their various learning problems. As this happens, these young frogs also discover the importance of accepting and valuing the differences in each other. The second half of the book is dedicated to a scientific breakdown of each scholastic difficulty, which makes it a great resource for both children and parents.
About the Author
Jane Saeman runs an In-Home Tutoring service called Aim High Tutors. Find out about how to help your student reach their full potential at http://www.aimhightutors.com/blog
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