Books about living with learning disabilities...
I am always on the look-out for great books about what it feels like to live with a learning disability. The best one I've found recently is Fish In a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt (who also wrote the wonderful One For the Murphys).
Ally is smart enough to have fooled a lot of teachers over the years, and hidden the fact that she can't read with disruptive behavior. With the help of a gifted teacher, though, she is slowly learning that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of.
Here are a few poignant samples of the writing. Here, Ally is explaining what having dyslexia feels like:
"Imagine if every single time you got on your bike, you had to worry that the wheels would come off. And every time you ride, they do. But you still have to ride. Every day. And then you have to watch everyone watch you as the bike goes to pieces underneath you. With everyone thinking that it's your fault..."
"Why in the world are you talking about bikes and wheels coming off?"
"My brain," I say, leaning my forehead against the cold wall. "My brain will never do what I want it to do." (page 138)
Later in the book Ally, is thinking about about the power of words:
"And I think of words. The power they have. How they can be waved around like a wand - sometimes for good, like how Mr. Daniels uses them. How he makes kids like me and Oliver feel better about ourselves. And how words can be used for bad. To hurt.
My grandpa used to say to be careful with eggs and words, because neither can ever be fixed. The older I get, the more I realize how smart my grandpa was." (page 184)
For a real treat, get a hold of a copy of Fish In a Tree to read with your child. (We have two copies in the library.)