From California Governor Gavin Newsom comes an empowering picture book about a young boy with dyslexia who discovers a new way to look at reading.
Ben loves baseball. He loves the lines of diamond-shaped field and the dome of the pitcher's mound. What Ben doesn't like is reading. Ben has dyslexia, which means letters and sounds get jumbled up in his brain, and then the words don't make sense. But when Ben starts looking at reading like he looks at baseball, he realizes that if he keeps trying, he can overcome any obstacle that comes his way.
In this empowering story by California Governor Gavin Newsom, inspired by his own childhood diagnosis of dyslexia, readers will learn that kids with the determination to try (and try again) can do big things. *This book is set in a font specifically designed to be easier for people with dyslexia to read.
K-Gr 2--Drawing a parallel between baseball and learning to read, this school story about dyslexia is a home run. Ben (a shaggy, blond-haired boy) is a natural at baseball but when it comes to reading, "it felt like going up against the hardest team in the league, every day." Fortunately for Ben, and three other students of varying skin colors and ethnicities, they have a patient and empathetic reading coach in Ms. Kim. The alphabet and reading drills frustrate Ben and his emotions get the better of him but gentle intervention by Ms. Kim re-centers him so that he can rejoin the class. He learns that Emma, even though she carries around the largest books, only does so because she likes to pretend she can read them. Ben's emotions and the constructive classroom environment are thoughtfully depicted. When the class finds that Ms. Kim likes baseball but has never been able to hit the ball, the tables are turned and Ben finds himself coaching and motivating his teacher as his classmates cheer her on. Realistic illustrations with soft colors dominated by pale blue and green, and expressive characters, depict the supportive environment and the themed connection between reading and baseball well. As the class gathers together outside, the ending sentiment to try hard every day may seem trite but fits well with the twin themes of teamwork and coaching. Newsom, governor of California, provides a note about his own journey with dyslexia. VERDICT Learning of any kind takes perseverance and teamwork; teaming the difficult discussion of dyslexia with reader-friendly baseball will help get this book into the right hands.--Ramarie Beaver, formerly at Plano P.L., TXCopyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.