A practical, sensitive depiction of a child with ADHD facing challenges and receiving affirmation.
Charlie goes through his days feeling as though he can never measure up to others’ expectations because of “a spinning motor inside [him] that buzzes and whirls and hums.” The term ADHD is never used in the book proper, but extensive backmatter notes intended for teachers, parents, and other caregivers specifically name the disorder and offer practical tips for supporting kids with ADHD. Charlie displays by turns distracted, hyperfocused, and hyperactive behaviors at home and at school, and both text and illustrations depict his classmates’, parents’, and teacher’s negative reactions. At the day’s end, Charlie hides under his blanket when his mom says she needs to talk with him. “Will she tell me all the things I did because of my buzzing motor?…I wish I could turn off the motor!” Happily, his mother’s approach is compassionate. She cuddles her son and reads from a “Wonderful List” that notes things that went right that day at home and at school, too. This loving affirmation calms Charlie and allows him to settle in to go to sleep, optimistic about tomorrow. The line-and-color illustrations depict Charlie and his family as white, though he does have some classmates of color; swift, sketched lines indicate his nearly constant motion.
Compassionate, helpful, and wise. (Picture book. 4-8)