works for me wednesday at we are that family

It’s that time of the week again… Works for Me Wednesday! (Hosted by We are THAT Family)

This week I’ve been noticing a lot of frustration and discouragement both on my part and from other dyslexics and LD folk in my life. So I thought it would be a good week for a pick-me-up of sorts, a little encouragement for those of us who want to be awesome at something- or even just “not terrible” at it- but seem to have everything working against us.

Last night Husband and I were watching a movie we’d been waiting to see together forever, Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief. I saw the movie with my family when it came out, which inspired me to start reading the books. I got back to Matthew and we started reading them together and LOVED them. They’re well-written, funny, clean and fun for all ages of kid. They have the perfect pacing for reading aloud, too. Depending on your schedule and their attention span you can read one, two or even three chapters a night without getting tired! But I’m slightly off topic now 😉

As I said, we watched the movie and loved it all over again – but this time I was struck with the Dyslexia elements of the storyline. (They are present in the movie, but even more prominent in the books- seriously, read them! You’ll thank me later.) We watched the special features (like the honest geeks we are) and during the “Making of” featurette Christopher Columbus said this:

My daughter Isabella introduced me to Percy Jackson. She was listening to the books and she told me I should read them. I read them and I realized the hero of the books is dyslexic just like my daughter- and it was just an emotional moment because I became very passionate about it because my daughter has dyslexia and there are all these kids in America who suffer from dyslexia and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to empower those kids with a story about a kid who has dyslexia who is, essentially, a superhero himself. The son of a god- a demigod.”

I’ll confess: I actually cheered and squealed throughout this statement! There are other people out there who care about empowering dyslexic children! This thought electrified me, so I set out to find out more about Rick Riordan and Percy Jackson. What I found was these statements:

When I was writing Percy Jackson, my own son was in the process of being tested for learning differences. He was having trouble reading, and some trouble focusing in the classroom. The teachers were wondering about ADHD and dyslexia. He was frustrated about learning to read, and we had to explain to him that the testing was designed to help the teachers help him, not to make him feel bad….
dyslexic/ADHD kids are creative, “outside-the-box” thinkers. They have to be, because they don’t see or solve problems the same way other kids do. In school, unfortunately, they are sometimes written off as lazy, unmotivated, rude, or even stupid. They aren’t. If they can get through their rough school years, they often go on to become very successful adults. Employers love them, because they come up with original, fresh ideas. Making Percy ADHD/dyslexic was my way of honoring the potential of all the kids I’ve known who have those conditions. It’s not a bad thing to be different. Sometimes, it’s the mark of being very, very talented. That’s what Percy discovers about himself in The Lightning Thief.

And a wonderful quote from Rick Riordan’s son, Haley.

Percy has changed my life,” says Haley [Riordan]. “You read a lot of books and none of them have a hero who is ­dyslexic or has ADHD – it’s always perfect people in a perfect world ­doing perfect things. Percy is, in fact, very flawed and he has to fight against that and at the same time fight monsters.”

The character started out as a ­bed-time story for Haley, then nine. At the time Haley refused to read and hated school so much he would sit under the table and cry.

I would love to say I have a giveaway or something, but as I’m just another poor blogger (who doesn’t even own all the books for myself yet!) I will say that I hope these books can encourage you, your child or a friend /friend’s child. Even if the child has a hard time reading they can be read aloud by a parent or listened to via audiobook. ( I’ve listened to a bit and it sounds pretty good- here’s the first chunk.)

THIS is why I love Young Adult and Children’s Fiction- it can teach, empower and shape someone’s life like no other time in their life. THIS is a series I want on the shelves of my children one day, and that I plan to re-read myself from time to time because it’s all-around great.

What books or movies have you found that are encouraging to you or your kids?