In an earlier post, my discovery of dyslexic-friendly books was introduced (search post on Letter to my Teenage Self). These books have been published to help overcome some of the difficulties experienced by people with dyslexia This was a discovery in my local BMCC library.

Visiting the website reveals a great array of choices, ranging from:

  • wonderful stories like Butterflies by Suzanne Gervay (2001), Simple Gift by Steven Herrick (2000)
  • classic fairy tales (like the Ugly Duckling and Three Little Pigs),
  • series fiction (think John Flanagan, Jack Heath, Andy Griffith) and,
  • latest releases (including CBCA 2019 titles and new adult fiction, e.g. Allegra in Three Parts and Boy Swallows the Universe).

Dyslexic Books are specially formatted books for people with dyslexia. Our books use a dyslexic font that is designed to alleviate some of the difficulties typically reported by readers with dyslexia, such as swapping or flipping letters and skipping lines without noticing.

Additional advice is given about dyslexia – identifying the symptoms, early signs in children and signs in adults. Other support services are also collated on the site.

It is also worth taking note of this encouraging quote from the site:

Nevertheless, there are many dyslexics who have overcome their difficulties and lead successful and happy lives. Examples of famous and successful people with dyslexia include Orlando Bloom, Richard Branson, Tom Cruise, Leonardo da Vinci, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Whoopi Goldberg, John F Kennedy, George Washington, George W Bush, John Lennon, Jamie Oliver, Pablo Picasso and Steven Spielberg.

While these books do not claim to have all the answers to dyslexia, some problems may be alleviated. It would certainly be worth looking for such titles at your own public library, as many are trialling their popularity.

# Have you found any yet?

## An interesting side-note. In a discussion with an adult friend with dyslexia, she said that reading was easier for her on a Kindle. I assume a dyslexic-friendly font may well be part of the reason for the difference??

### I also acknowledge that there are other publishers like Barrington Stoke who provide a range of dyslexic friendly titles. However, Dyslexicbooks has a great range of Australian titles.

Dyslexia-friendly books

It’s great to see publishers and libraries responding to the needs of the community – currently including in their collection new books catering to readers with dyslexia.

I came across this at my local library recently – a display of books which were published to meet the needs of those who struggle to read due to dyslexia. Using a special font and layout, the books are part of a trial collection of dyslexia-friendly titles.

As seen here, they include some newer Adult Fiction releases, and JF & YA fiction too (e.g. Catching Teller Crow, reviewed here earlier, and one of the CBCA Shortlisted books for 2019). You can view a list of titles on the BMCC catalogue – completing a search for “dyslexia-friendly books” will provide the list.

Do you know anyone who would benefit from this idea? Maybe even try one of these books yourself, if it meets your need?

It is being trialled at the Blue Mountains Council Libraries. Obviously, it would be great for the library to have some feedback – especially so that they can meet any expected demand for these titles! (just be aware that the books are a little thicker than some, due to layout demands, but they still hold some wonderful stories…)

I wonder how many other local libraries are likely to try this out themselves? Maybe ask at your local library if BMCC is not near you? Spread the word!

Note: Blacktown City libraries also have dyslexia-friendly titles, including PRC titles.

I am who I am – Dying to Know You

dying‘Dying to Know You’ begins with a young man knocking on the door of an author asking for help.

Karl has a girlfriend. Fiorella wants him to prove how much he likes her by writing answers to a set of questions she poses for him. The trouble is, Karl is dyslexic. He is also rather unsure of himself, after year of failure at school, and is certainly uncomfortable writing down his feelings.

His solution to the problem is to enlist the help of one of Fiorella’s favourite authors.

The (unnamed) author is decidedly reluctant at the start. After all, he is getting on in years, seventy-something, so why should he bother? However, for some reason, Karl gets under his skin, and he decides to help him compose the replies.

Along the way, the pair discover a little more about each other – though both have personal issues they hide. Unfortunately, they can’t hide the fact that it is not Karl who is writing the answers to Fiorella’s questions, even though the author does his best to interpret what Karl means to say.

Aidan Chambers is seventy-something himself. It is often said that you should write about what you know. Aidan Chambers does. Since the book is written from the (seventy-something) author’s perspective, you get a different view of young people, and it is hopeful and sympathetic.

There isn’t the usual criticism of Gen Y and their failings, or disrespect of the older generation. It is a sensitive story dealing with a young man’s attempt to find love and purpose in his life, while unintentionally connecting and impacting a much older generation.

Early in the story, Karl is the one keen to maintain the connection. As it continues, it is the author who begins to feel the need to stay in touch with the teenager – for his sake as much as Karl’s. The unexpected friendship develops naturally through the ups and downs of their emotional lives.

Several key events arise – some of which have had people questioning whether the issues dealt with in DTKY are suitable for teen readers. An answer to this is provided by Patrick Ness in a review in the Guardian:

So is this a book for teenagers? Why on earth not? It features two fully realised, complicated teenagers at its centre, viewed with a clear-eyed compassion by an observer who could have tipped towards the alien but remains fully human. It is perfect for that cloudy expanse between older teenager and younger adult, a novel that doesn’t pretend to advise, but merely sees its characters for who they really are. No one appreciates that more than a teenager does. Source: Patrick Ness, Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers – review – an unexpected and unusual friendship, the Guardian,

Do you think Chambers portrays the complexities of teenage life decisions realistically? Is it effective to have a seventy-something year old telling the tale? Have you ever had a special friendship develop from surprising circumstances? Is that something we all need?

Aidan Chambers shares a lot on his website. And here are a few thoughts from him when asked ‘who would you like to read your books?’:

I’m not interested in readers who read quickly just to pass the time. I’m not in the entertainment industry. Of course, I want my books to be enjoyed, to give pleasure. But that’s a different matter. I get pleasure from working hard, when it’s work I want to do. As a reader, I enjoy reading books that make me think and that are so rich and generous that I have to reread them to get all I can from them. So I suppose I want to write books of that kind and want to be read by people who read the way I do. Source: Aidan Chambers, Frequently Asked Questions,

Will ‘Dying to Know You’ be a book that you will reread?