Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club
Vera McLuckie hates school. Mainly because she struggles with stuff the other kids find easy. Oh, and because she keeps getting into trouble for doing what she is really good at. Daydreaming. So when Vera gets the chance to show just how extraordinary she is, will she dare take on the coolest, smartest girl in the whole of Acorn Bank Primary?
This is a children's story whose main characters happen to have Dyspraxia, Dyslexia and Asperger's (not made explicit). Will relate to children who feel different and left out at school. The book's real purpose is one of catalyst to help parent and teacher discuss, with children in a respectful way, what it is like to have a learning difficulty.
This book works on several levels. It is a lovely story in itself that most children will relate to, dealing as it does with lack of self-belief, peer pressure and the bullying that goes along with not necessarily being the most popular kid in class. These issues can be readily picked up in school and discussed in circle time and PSHE (citizenship) lessons.
But it goes deeper. Whilst not named in the book explicitly, the three main characters exhibit dyspraxic, dyslexic and autistic (Asperger's Syndrome) tendencies respectively. So the story can be used by parents and teachers as a catalyst for discussing what it is like to have a learning difficulty. In schools, teachers can use the book on a one-to-one, group or class basis to help raise awareness and improve well-being.
Both author and illustrator are keen to raise awareness of specific learning difficulties in a way accessible to children. The illustrator is herself autistic.
The publisher – Your Stories Matter – is dedicated to publishing books that share experiences, improve understanding and celebrate differences. To this end it provides free cross-curricula teaching resources with all of its books at www.yourstoriesmatter.org
What people are saying - Write a review
My 8 year old loved this school-based story about a group of friends who are not part of the popular group of kids in their class. No surprise that they are even bullied a bit for being different. But these friends stick together and gain in self-confidence through their very own Daydream Club. As you'd hope there is a positive conclusion to the story. But there are also hidden depths to be explored, particularly within the classroom. Teachers will find the book very useful to begin discussions around the idea that we are all different in some way and that there is nothing wrong with this. The main characters display traits of dyslexia, dyspraxia (DCD) and autism, though a strength of the book is that these are never referred to explicitly. As such, parents of special needs children could share this book with them to emphasise the positives of being different and that perhaps we all have our insecurities - as it transpires is the case with the coolest, smartest, most popular girl in school.