By: Jeanne Gehret, M.A.
Illustrated by: Michael LaDuca
Publisher: Verbal Images Press
Publication Date: September 2009
Reviewed by: Pamela Victor
Review Date: July 2009
Alex is a persistent little guy, which turns out to be an important asset since Alex also has a learning disability that makes it hard for him to learn to read. The Don’t-Give-Up Kid is a vibrantly illustrated picture book that tells the story of Alex’s inventiveness and dogged persistence as he tackles challenges like learning to read…and getting at the cookies that his mom put on top of the refrigerator!
When Alex’s parents take him to see a psychologist, they find out that he learns in a different way from other people. “When most people read, the letters stay in one place on the page, but for you they sometimes jump around,” the doctor explains to Alex. When Alex starts to work with a learning specialist, he realizes that kids have many different learning styles, and with hard work he will be able to overcome his challenge and learn to read.
Like the other books in The Coping Series, Gehret provides two pages of “discussion starters” at the back of The Don’t-Give-Up Kid. Readers are encouraged to expand their thinking beyond Alex’s story to apply its lessons to their own lives. By selecting a few of these questions each time the book is read, young readers may be encouraged to re-read this story with an adult, gleaning something new at each pass.
In the postscript, the author reveals that she wrote this book in order to provide hope for her family after they were told that their son may never learn to read. Like Alex, Gehret’s son fortunately overcame his challenges. Parents can take the author’s advice to heart when she assures, “Your belief in these kids makes all the difference. Keep the faith!”
Quill says: The Don’t-Give-Up-Kid shows us that persistence pays off!