A helpful adjunct to diagnosis, therapy, and meds for youngsters with ADHD and their families.

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THE BOY WHO LOST HIS ATTENTION

A boy with attention deficit disorder learns coping methods and appreciates his own strengths in this illustrated children’s book.

Despite the title, this work’s unnamed, dark-skinned protagonist doesn’t exactly lose his attention. More often, his attention distracts him, especially in school, “by showing him all the other things that were happening inside and outside.” As the boy gets older and meets higher expectations for self-control, his distractibility, curiosity, and high energy cause problems at home and at school. Teachers devise various strategies to help him pay attention, such as rewards for completing work; at home, the boy’s mother also tries to keep him organized with lists and schedules and signs him up for energetic activities. A special doctor performs tests and diagnoses “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, for short,” and also discovers the boy is gifted in reading and math. With medication, the boy’s school performance improves, although he dislikes the pills’ side effects and sometimes doesn’t take them. Eventually, he realizes his “superpowers”—talents other kids don’t have—such as noticing patterns, grasping new ideas quickly, and problem-solving. (In fact, kids without ADHD can also have these qualities.) As an adult, now with “Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, or AADD,” he has a good job and uses his superpowers while still taking meds and managing his organizational challenges. Several pages of information and resources on ADHD are included. Weston (The Girl Who Couldn’t Read, 2018), an elementary school teacher with special needs students, skillfully describes the various manifestations of ADHD in simple language that youngsters with the condition can easily understand and relate to. The book covers the sometimes-puzzling aspects of ADHD, like the ability to superfocus on interesting things like video games. The author usefully acknowledges that not every solution works and that medication has drawbacks, helping to manage readers’ expectations while still providing hope and optimism. The colored-pencil or crayon images by debut illustrator AK (The Girl Who Couldn’t Read, 2018), a sixth-grade student, are well-done in a naïve manner, showing various expressions and diverse characters.

A helpful adjunct to diagnosis, therapy, and meds for youngsters with ADHD and their families.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5255-3788-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2019

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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