This book is a love song for my children.
It began many years ago when my son was in second grade. He couldn’t read. Fortunately, we lived in Montgomery County, Maryland, and his teachers literally leaped into action. While I took him for testing, they began working with him, giving him encouragement and added skillsets to help him navigate the world of dyslexia.
While Elementary School was difficult for him, it was Middle School that took its toll. The teachers in his Elementary School worked in harmony to lift him up and while they couldn’t protect him from unpleasant behavior, they tried very hard to do just that.
But Middle School...Middle School is tough for every child, and especially tough for the special needs child – the speds.
Every student knows who the speds are, and many are unkind. Getting off the bus every morning must have felt like heading into a torture chamber from which there was no escaping.
I looked for books about dyslexic children. I thought it might help to know there were others whose names he recognized, so he wouldn’t feel so alone. But most of those books were about how difficult it was to be dyslexic. Which he already knew!
That’s when I decided to write a book with the dyslexic kid as the hero…because he WAS dyslexic. A normal learner would be useless because he/she didn’t have the special skills and abilities often found in those who are dyslexic.
This book has been written and formatted for the dyslexic child. The chapters are short on purpose, so there’s a sense of accomplishment every day.
My goal with this book is to help dyslexic children realize they are bright, shining stars, and to help educate non-dyslexic children that different isn’t a reason for ridicule. They all need to know each of us has the seed of a hero hiding in our hearts.
“In Wixon's debut YA novel, a dyslexic teenager's trip to Disney World becomes a more serious adventure in which he must stop invading aliens from spreading evil.
An educational, witty, and enjoyable tale that showcases its unique protagonist.”
– Kirkus Reviews
In Wixon’s debut YA novel, a dyslexic teenager’s trip to Disney World becomes a more serious adventure in which he must stop invading aliens from spreading evil.
Devon would rather listen to music than sit in a classroom at school, where his fellow students often mock him for his dyslexia. So he’s excited when his grandmother suggests a Disney World vacation with his mom, Lindsey, and little sister, Taylor. It’s not the family’s first time to the amusement park, but this year’s different: Grandma says that she needs Devon’s help with something, and she begins by revealing the park’s genuine purpose. The world, it turns out, is secured against evil by the “joyzone layer,” which was, back in the 1930s, dangerously thin in both Florida and California. Walt Disney built his theme parks there to spread joy and help protect the world. It’s also revealed that Devon has special powers—including the ability to know what someone will say after hearing the first word of a sentence—making him a prime candidate to be a protector, like Grandma. And now that the joyzone layer has a hole, his assistance is urgently needed, especially after a repulsive alien breaches the layer and injures his grandmother. It’s up to Devon, armed with a laser gun, to prevent the alien from escaping the park and devastating the planet. Wixon’s story effectively spotlights and champions its dyslexic hero. Devon’s disorder is never portrayed as a detriment and, in fact, may be the reason for his powerful abilities. But other characters are just as intriguing: Taylor unhesitatingly chases after her brother despite her fear of slimy aliens, and a flying-gnome sidekick named Sniffen is always ready to bop Devon on the head for using vulgar language. The briskly paced tale finds Grandma in dire peril, but it also offers sympathy for the aliens, as not all of them are necessarily evil. Most memorable, however, are the expressive scenes depicting Devon’s personal struggle: “the letters wouldn’t cooperate and they’d rearranged themselves right in front of his eyes.”
An educational, witty, and enjoyable tale that showcases its unique protagonist.
Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2017
Page count: 172pp
Publisher: DeLiTa Press
Review Posted Online: June 16, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018
Passion in life
It's a good day when we've helped one child feel better.
Hey there, book lover.
We’re glad you found a book that interests you!