When the book Aaron Slater, Illustrator, arrived at my house, my 10-year-old grabbed it and sat down to read it to himself.
When he finished, he looked at me.
"That's a good book," he declared.
Later he voluntarily read Aaron Slater, Illustrator, to his little sister before bed, showing me that once again the Questioneers series has delivered something very special to readers everywhere.
The author received copies of the book and compensation for this article. All thoughts and opinions expressed are her own.
It's not just the great story by Andrea Beaty that makes Aaron Slater, Illustrator so special. The beautiful illustrations by David Roberts add a magical quality and show why this book has received recognition like being named a No. 1 New York Times Bestseller, Indiebound Bestseller, and recipient of the Parents' Choice Award.
The empowering story of a boy with dyslexia
Aaron Slater, Illustrator is about a boy who loves listening to stories and dreams of one day writing them himself. But when it comes to reading, the letters just look like squiggles to him, and it soon becomes clear he struggles more than his peers.
When his teacher asks each child in the class to write a story, Aaron can’t get a single word down. He is sure his dream of being a storyteller is out of reach ... until inspiration strikes, and Aaron finds a way to spin a tale in a way that is uniquely his.
Printed with a dyslexia-friendly font, Aaron Slater, Illustrator, is an empowering story of a boy with dyslexia who discovers that his learning disability may inform who he is, but it does not define who he is and that there are many ways to be a gifted communicator.
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Everyone has their own way of learning
This story resonated with me as I have spent a lot of time with kids who are Aaron Slater in one way or another. My adult life, even before becoming a parent, has been dedicated to kids in a variety of capacities and as a long-time lover of books and reading, I know that books can have a special impact in a child's life.
Now, as I help guide our youngest through her kindergarten year, I try to be as purposeful as possible with the books we choose to read as a family. Aaron Slater, Illustrator was a very easy choice as I instantly felt a connection to my own children in the story.
I was glad to be given the chance to share copies of Aaron Slater, Illustrator with other kids around Chicago, as well.
One parent I shared the book with told me it created a space for dialogue about dyslexia and how everyone has their own way of learning – a topic they hadn't discussed as a family before.
Other families shared pictures with me of how Aaron Slater, Illustrator inspired a lot of creativity in their homes! Kids illustrated stories themselves or drew pictures inspired by the book.
'Being YOU is what matters'
Another family shared how this book was a great reminder to their children that there are many ways to share your story, to be uniquely you, and shine just as you are! (Enjoy their adorable video, shared from Instagram, below!)
"Having a neurodiverse child is such a gift, but it also comes with a ton of worry that the world's roadblocks will dim their light. We are constantly reminding our children that their academic journey does not define them and that their brilliance and light are greater than any challenge," Tiana, a Chicago mother of two children, told me. "However you learn or share your voice is important and valid. Being YOU is what matters."
In the classroom
I was also able to give copies of Aaron Slater, Illustrator to local kindergarten teachers to share with their classrooms. It was great to be able to have this story reach so many kids and I was blown away by the insight these five- and six-year-olds were able to share after listening to the story!
So many were able to recognize that we each have something that makes us unique and special, just as we all have skills that can be a bigger challenge for us, but if we keep trying, we can find new ways to meet these challenges in our own way.
WOW! Perseverance for the win!
Click here to find out more about what makes Aaron Slater, Illustrator such a special book, and get to know the rest of The Questioneers series. You will also find fun downloads and can order your own copy of this must-read book today. I encourage families, teachers, and librarians to make room on their shelves to include Aaron Slater, Illustrator. I have no doubt it will be a favorite for years to come.