Paul Russell (text) and Aśka (illustrator), My Storee, EK Books (an imprint of Exisle Publishing), August 2018, 32 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781925335774
“Just because you can’t spell doesn’t mean you can’t write!” is the message clearly displayed on the cover of this hardback picture book from EK Books. The second book for author Paul Russell, this story draws on his own experience with dyslexia.
The text of the “storee” is told in mis-spelt yet phonetic words which can be deciphered easily. Part way through, dramatic red pen corrections intrude, showing the negative effect of past teacher criticism on the child-narrator, killing his enthusiasm for stories and confidence in writing.
Mr Watson, a new teacher, to the rescue! He creates a classroom where imagination matters, everyone is encouraged to have a go, and spelling matters not a jot.
Cartoon-style illustrations by Aśka are accessible, dynamic and positive in mood.
What a lovely line to finish on: “So I picked up my pencil and wrote.”
This book will be a huge encouragement to students struggling with learning disabilities, and will help teachers reinforce the idea that the classroom is a safe place to have a go. Targeted at children aged four to eight, this book would also be a useful support for older special education classes. Recommended.
Reviewed by Julie Thorndyke