Autism

[Book] Growing up with a learning difficulty: Vera McLuckie and The Daydream Club

 

About this book

Written and illustrated by Scottish duo Jane Evans and Ruth Mutch, Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club follows the adventures of lively young characters who display dyspraxia, dyslexia, and autism, including Vera McLuckie, a girl who hates school mainly because she struggles with stuff the other kids find easy. Oh, and because she keeps getting into trouble for doing what she is really good at… daydreaming. 

You can purchase the book here: Amazon USA

The Daydream Club

When I choose to read a book, it’s often because a small detail catches my eye. One word, a part of an illustration, a single phrase… and Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club is no different.

First of all, the title. The Daydream Club. I’m a dreamer. They often say that autistic people lack imagination, but I’m the opposite. I have an overactive imagination and it caused me a lot of trouble growing up. I can still hear the teacher: Eileen, stop looking out the window… Eileen, what did I just say? What did he just say? I had no idea, because I was thinking about how cool it would be if one day, FIFA  allowed women to play with men so I could play in the World Cup. What is Vera daydreaming about?

“I hate school”

Vera hates school. That caught my attention too. For the longest time I hated school. I know, many kids hate school. But it was different for me, I didn’t hate it because I didn’t want to learn and I didn’t hate it because I wanted to play instead. I hated school because I only had a couple of friends, I didn’t fit in, people made fun of me, and I struggled with things other children found easy. It’s difficult to feel different when you’re a kid.

I also wore sweatsuits and a ponytail every day of the year. My mom is probably cringing as she reads this and remembers – she tried to get me to wear jeans and dresses like all the other girls but I wouldn’t. Well at least not until I turned 16 and decided I needed to fit in to make friends. Girl clothes were not comfortable and I wanted to look like my favorite soccer players anyway.

It’s difficult to talk about a book without spoiling it, but here are a few things I can tell you. It’s a nice story that most children will relate to. The characters deal with low self-esteem, peer pressure, and the bullying that often happen when you’re different from your neurotypical peers.

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3 reasons why you need to read Vera McLuckie and The Daydream Club

1 – It’s a tool to teach children to accept differences.

It’s so important to talk about being different with our children, about empathy. This book teaches children about differences using penguins as an example. You’ll have to read the book to find out about that analogy but I can tell you that being a penguin is just as good as being any other kind of bird. 😉 We all have strengths and weaknesses. Acceptance of differences is something that needs to be taught.

2 – It has a message of hope.

Without telling you too much about it, I can tell you that there is a happy ending. It’s a children’s book after all. While yes, life doesn’t always happen like it does in books and movies, I was satisfied with the ending. A bad ending can ruin a great book for me. The message at the end of this book was light-hearted and a bit cliché, but perfect for children.

3 – It’s a well-written book.

The book was written in a way that makes it easy to like the characters and relate to them. I’m certain a lot of you will be able to relate to at least one of them. At the end of the book, I realized that not once, the words autism, dyslexia, or dyspraxia were used which I found interesting. If you have a little knowledge on the subject, you’ll easily be able to identify which character has each condition.

“A tool to discuss learning disabilities with children”

Overall, this was an easy and pleasant read that has the capacity to teach children important values. I’d also recommend this book as a teaching tool for parents and teachers to discuss what it’s like to live with learning difficulties. You can get your copy on Amazon today.

 

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