Brilliant Bea

­Magination Press. Nov. 2021. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781433837418.
PreS-Gr 3–Dyslexia is hard for children and adults to understand. Do children with dyslexia have trouble reading fluently? Do they reverse their letters? Do they struggle with writing? The answer is “Sometimes.” This book succeeds as a story about dyslexia not because the characters spout definitions of dyslexia, but rather because the story opens a window into the mind of one dyslexic child, Bea, and shows readers how adults can make a significant impact on the emotional state, and therefore the education, of children with learning differences. Although she is a great storyteller at home (a “real word slinger”), at school Bea usually feels stuck and finds reading and writing difficult because the words jump around the page. Her school experience is altered forever when her teacher, Ms. Bloom, tells her she has a “brilliant brain” and gives her a tape recorder for her stories. With that device, her imagination soars, the words flow, and she makes friends. The last, tacked-on page shows us that she grows up to be an author. The illustrations are wonderful, with a warm, brown tone throughout, and the characters have simple yet expressive faces. The back matter includes a note that defines dyslexia, provides symptoms to look for, and describes treatment possibilities.
VERDICT A heartwarming story that will expand the understanding of dyslexia for children and adults.

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