I love books. The look, feel, smell and texture of them makes me very happy.
But I've got to admit - the "self help" type kind of accumulates on a shelf. I think it's because they can be a little boring (a lot boring?) and the effort to get through them can feel pretty daunting. I hear this same thing from my clients...individuals of every age with ADHD, LD, OCD, Aspergers, Giftedness, anxiety and other conditions. They don't always want to read a book to help them 'manage' a condition - they want to 'see themselves' in a story.
So - here are my top 7 picks for wonderful, fun, quick and colourful reads sure to be engaging enough for every brilliant and quirky brained person on your list.
Ish - this book was given to me by one of my favorite clients and I keep it right beside my desk..."Ramon loved to draw. Anytime. Anything. Anywhere. Drawing in what Ramon does. It's what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon's older brother, Lean, turns Ramon's carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily for Ramon, though, his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently..."
On a Beam of Light - Given to my son Lucas by his Aunt Robin, who has contributed most of the children's books in our household, this one lives on our coffee table..."a boy rides a bicycle down a dusty road. But in his mind, he envisions himself traveling at a speed beyond imagining, on a beam of light. this brilliant mind will one day offer up some of the most revolutionary ideas ever conceived."
The Land of O - Written by a wonderful young man with dyslexia, who I had the pleasure of knowing while I was with the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada..."At first glance young Emily might seem to be an average girl, although like many in the magical Land of O she is quite the character; unconventional with a distinctly unique personality. When this bright but sometimes challenged girl unexpectedly stumbles into this strange and vibrant alternative world, she quickly finds herself surrounded by the remarkable - and sometimes startlingly - array of whimsical characters that inhabit it."
A Walk in the Rain with A Brain - Dr. Ed Hallowell really 'gets' it. As a child and adult psychiatrist who has ADHD, he is one of my 'go to' sources. In this children's book, he writes about how each person's brain is unique..."a little girl named Lucy is making her way down a rainy sidewalk when she spies, of all things, a brain - Manfred - called Fred - sitting forlornly in a puddle. The courtly cerebrum asks Lucy for help getting home, and as they walk along she worries that she is not smart enough." 'Everyone's smart!' explains Fred. 'You just need to find out at what!' Fred reassures her that each child learns and thinks differently - and that every child has special talents."
The Hank Zipper Series - Henry Winkler (known and loved as 'The Fonz') has been a long time advocate and an amazing champion for children with learning disabilities. Only being diagnosed at 31, his is now known as the co-author of the Hank Zipper series of over 20 books, which follows the misadventures of "The World's Greatest Underachiever" a boy with a learning disability similar to his. In book #1 ..."It's science report time in Ms. Adolf's class. This is good news and bad news for Hank - he loves science, but hates the report part. So Hank turns to TV to take his mind off of things. But when the program directory scrolls by too quickly for Hank to know what's on, he decides to take apart the cable box to try and slow down the crawl. Great! Now Hank has found the perfect science project! But what he wasn't counting on was his sister's pet iguana laying eighteen eggs in the disassembled cable box. How is Hank going to get out of this one? "
The Rosie Project - This is one of my absolute favorites. I blew through it while on holidays this summer and literally laughed out loud. This is the perfect read over the holidays, with a cozy blanket and a cup of tea..."A first-date dud, socially awkward and overly fond of quick-dry clothes, genetics professor Don Tillman has given up on love, until a chance encounter gives him an idea. He will design a questionnaire—a sixteen-page, scientifically researched questionnaire—to uncover the perfect partner. She will most definitely not be a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker or a late-arriver. Rosie is all these things. She is also fiery and intelligent, strangely beguiling, and looking for her biological father, a search that a DNA expert might just be able to help her with."
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night -Time...My adult son loved this book and I was thrilled to know it was part of the curriculum at his school several years ago. It's now been turned into a theatre production and won a 2015 Tony Award for Best Play..."Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the colour yellow. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day a neighbour's dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes."
It's really important for kids and adults to be able to 'see' themselves in a book, so I hope my list gives you some inspiring ideas for the wonderful and brilliant person in your life. Or yourself!
Now....what are YOUR favourites? I would love to hear from you so please write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your favourites in the comment section below.
Judy Mouland loves to challenge the status quo and chip away at the word ‘normal.’ Over the years, she has learned to embrace and use her own quirky brain to succeed and is passionate about the power of self-awareness. She became a CTI (Coaches Training Institute) Life Coach for people with ADHD, LD, OCD, Aspergers and other conditions after serving for 20+ years in local, national and international settings, most recently as the C.E.O. of the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada. She works to empower her clients to live life on their own terms - no excuses – and to uncover their brilliance so they can shine. She is a member of the International Coaches Federation and freely admits that most everything she knows she has learned from her three exceptional children, who never let her brain become idle. You can write to Judy at email@example.com and her empowering blog posts can be found at: www.judymouland.com/blog