Synopsis from Jessica Kingsley Publishers’ Website:
At school Kevin feels that he is not ‘okay.’ He finds that all the other kids in his class are faster than him at answering the teacher’s questions, and he feels like he will never catch up with them. But, one day, his reading teacher asks him to help out with the school store and Kevin soon begins to recognize his strengths and think differently.
About: Okay Kevin is a children’s picture book written by James Dillon and illustrated by Kara McHale. It will be published on 4/21/17 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, hardcover, 36 pages. The genres are juvenile fiction, social themes, and special needs. This book is intended for kids ages 5 to 8 years old. According to Jessica Kingsley Publishers’ website, they are “a wholly independent company, committed to publishing books that make a difference.” It was founded in 1987 in London by Jessica Kingsley and has grown since then to now publishing over 250 books a year and recently in 2004 opened a US office in Philadelphia. Please see below for more information about the author.
My Experience: I started reading Okay Kevin on 3/22/17 as a story time for my 5 year-old son and we finished it on the same day. We read it again on 4/1/17. This book is awesome! An amazing read for kids and parents alike. Reading this book as a parent reminds me that each person is different and they learn differently. I like the different ways of encouragement this book presents and the areas to exposed kids to. My son likes the story as well and I can see that he relates to Kevin in a way that at home he can be so outgoing and at school he can be so quiet.
In this book, readers will follow Kevin as he struggles in class because he couldn’t think of an answer fast enough compare to his classmates when the teacher, Mrs. Brooks ask a question after reading a book to the class. He feels sad and thought that there may be something wrong with him. His mom decided to sign him up to meet with a reading teacher, Mrs. Martinez, to improve his reading skills. The reading teacher works with Kevin everyday from Kindergarten to third grade. One day in third grade, Mrs. Martinez introduce Kevin the school supply store where Kevin will be the store manager selling school supplies via cash transactions. Kevin discovered that he can actually do math in his head and able to compute really fast. It caught the attention of the school principle and the comments she gave him of his abilities motivates him for days.
“When you do something a lot, you get better. Just keep trying, even if it’s hard.” p.23
This children’s book is unlike any other children’s books I have read for my son. This book follow a child over time, from Kindergarten to third grade. I like how the author involve teachers and parents into the learning progress of the kids. I like when a principle of the school admitted to making mistakes too. I like the innovative ways of exposing kids and encouraging them to learn and explore their strengths and weaknesses. Most of all, I love the additional last page of the book, a guide for parents and educators for talking to children about learning in school. I highly recommend parents to read this book, both for yourself and for your kids. It definitely makes a difference.
Pro: learning self-esteem & confidence, learning concerns, different ways of learning, learning strategies, relatable, illustrations, parents involvement, encouragement, teachers involvement
I rate it 5 stars!
Grab yourself a copy here: Jessica Kingsley Publishers or Amazon: Okay Kevin: A Story to Help Children Discover How Everyone Learns Differently
About the Author:
James Dillon has been an educator for over 35 years, including 20 years as a school administrator. While working as the principal of Lynnwood Elementary in New York, he developed the Peaceful School Bus Program, and subsequently wrote The Peaceful School Bus (Hazleden, 2008). James was named Principal of the Year in 2007 by the Greater Capital Region Principal Center and he has also received recognition for administrative leadership for character education. He was an invited participant and presenter at the first National Summit on Bullying Prevention sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 and is a certified Olweus Bullying Prevention Program trainer. He is the author of No Place for Bullying: Leadership for schools that care for every student (Corwin, 2012) and Reframing Bullying Prevention to Build Stronger School Communities (2015). James is currently an educational consultant for Measurement Incorporated, who sponsor the Center for Leadership and Bullying Prevention. He makes presentations and conducts workshops on a variety of educational topics, including instruction, classroom management, leadership, and supervision. He has four grown children, Ernie, Tim, Brian and Hannah and two grandchildren. He and his wife, Louisa, a school social worker, live in Niskayuna, NY. (Info obtained from Jessica Kingsley Publishers’ website).
More Information about Jessica Kingsley Publishers
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***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Jessica Kingsley Publishers for the opportunity to read and review. Please assure that my opinions are honest.