Early Book Review: Okay Kevin: A Story to Help Children Discover How Everyone Learns Differently by James Dillon

Okay Kevin: A Story to Help Children Discover How Everyone Learns Differently by James Dillon is currently scheduled for release on April 21 2017. Kevin never smiles at school, but he is different at home. He jumps up and down when his favorite football team scores a touchdown, and screams "CANNONBALL!" when he jumps into the swimming pool. But at school he feels that he isn't 'okay.' Other kids in his class are much quicker at putting their hands up and answering the teacher's questions, and Kevin feels that he will never catch up. One day, his reading teacher asks him to help out with the school store, and Kevin slowly begins to realize that he had really been 'a okay' all along.

Okay Kevin is a story that offers a look into the mind and emotions of one student that does not learn the same way as his classmates. He cannot keep up with the pace of reading skills as his classmates. This goes on through several grades in school, leaving Kevin feel like he is not okay, that he is different in a bad way. His mother and reading teacher do thier best to help him understand that there is nothing wrong with him, but Kevin still feels bad about himself. It is only when he is offered the change to work in the school store, and shows off his math skills, that Kevin gets the reinforcement and confidence in himself that he needs. He starts to see that he is okay, and might not learn the same way as his classmates, but he has his own skills and talents that make him smart in his own way.

Okay Kevin is a story that can help those struggling in school see that they are not alone, and that other people understand how they feel. It can also help those that have no problems academically understand and have some empathy for those that might. This is an important book for children of all abilities to be exposed to, in the interest of empathy and self confidence. 

Through providing an insight into Kevin's thoughts, feelings and coping strategies, this picture book for ages 5-8 is a source of support for children who, like Kevin, find school difficult and feel that they are 'behind' their peers. The book, which draws on the author's experiences as the principal of an elementary school, is also the perfect springboard for discussion around difficulties at school, academic ability, self-esteem, confidence and recognizing strengths.
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