Feature Shelf No. 52: The ADHD/Learning Disabilities Edition

Hello, readers! This month’s Feature Shelf was requested by Ashley, and she was looking for books with ADHD/Learning Disabilities representation that aren’t Percy Jackson, so that’s what I’m going to tackle today.

First, a business item. I love making these lists, and they help my students find books to read as well. If you’d like to request your own shelf, leave me a comment down below, or hit me up @thebooksupplier on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat.

So let’s get right to it.

Let’s start with a Fish in a Tree, a middle grade novel with dyslexia rep that is from one of my favorite middle grade authors, Lynda Mullaly Hunt (mainly because one of my students read her other book, One for the Murphys, loved it, and Hunt sent her a letter. That’s big for small-town kids who sometimes forget that PEOPLE write the books they read).

In Fish in a Tree, Ally is a troublemaker. She uses her disruptions to hide the fact that she has trouble reading and in an effort to keep from being labeled as a loser. Her teacher, however, sees how awesome she is behind the veneer of distraction and finds ways for her to successfully show her smarts.

The second book on our list this week is Dying to Know You by Aiden Chambers. Kyle loves Fiorella. In his quest to impress her, and because he’s afraid she’ll think he’s stupid because he’s dyslexic, Kyle enlists the help of an author to write his replies to Fiorella’s questions about love.

This leads to an unlikely friendship between Kyle and the author and some unintended consequences for everyone. Just the title alone makes me wonder: who is it that someone is dying to know? And also, what’s with the goldfish?

At the apex of our list this month is Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt. I remember reading this over the summer ages ago, and loving it.

Okay for Now is a companion novel to Schmidt’s The Wednesday Wars, but you don’t have to have read that one to get this one. This one follows Doug Sweiteck, a fourteen year old who is the new kid in town. He meets Lil Spicer, who becomes his friend and helps him deal with an abusive father, a brother who’s just come home from Vietnam, and the assumptions people in town make about him.

I once said that After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick was the funniest sad book I’d ever read. It’s the companion to Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, but it’s another where you don’t have to read the first to get the second. In Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, we find out that Jeffrey has cancer, but that’s not the center of the narrative.

He’s in remission now, and is dealing with not only his memory issues as a result of the cancer, but he’s also angry at his brother for leaving and at a friend for keeping a secret.

And last, a classic, Freak, the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick. In Freak the Mighty is about the unlikely friendship between two boys, one of whom is large, has a learning disability and takes the role of protector, and one who is small and has a physical disability. Together, Max and Kevin form Freak the Mighty – a mighty warrior who slays dragons and saves damsels in distress.

Readers note: this was written in 1993 and there is some language that was not entirely acceptable then that is definitely not acceptable now. Just something to keep in mind.

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