Growing up as a kid with ADHD is tough. Sometimes it feels like nobody understands you, or worse: that everyone is sick of you and your inability to sit still or pay attention. A kid with ADHD can feel isolated; they can feel like nobody in the world understands what they’re going through.
Fortunately, there are people who do understand, who grew up to write books for and about kids with ADHD. This list tackles two issues: helping kids learn about ADHD, and helping reluctant readers with ADHD find stories they’ll love, with characters they can identify with. Here are six books to help kids (and adults!) better understand, manage, and accept ADHD:
1. Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets by Barbara Esham
David just can’t stop fidgeting, and his teacher, Mrs. Gorski, is at the end of her patience. Fortunately, David also has a plan. This picture book is great for parents and guardians to read to young children who are prone to fidgeting. Free Association: Where My Mind Goes During Science Class by Barbara Esham is also a great pick for ADHD kids who tend to drift off during class.
2. Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
Clementine is having a horrible, rotten week and it seems that everyone is mad at her. She just can’t seem to stop getting in trouble, and everyone keeps telling her to pay attention even though she is. Little does everyone realize that Clementine has a brain chock full of wonderful ideas just waiting to spill out. This is a great pick for young fans of Ramona Quimby and Junie B. Jones who struggle with hyperactivity and inattention.
3. Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos
Joey Pigza is a good kid who sometimes makes bad choices, even when he takes his “dud meds,” his pet name for Ritalin pills, and if he doesn’t get himself together, he’s going to be in the biggest trouble yet. This National Book Award finalist is a humorous but earnest look at life with hyperactivity and an ADHD kid coping with the feeling that something must be wrong with him.
4. The Survival Guide for Kids With ADHD by John F. Taylor
Kids struggling with ADHD can find some genuine help in this guide by Ph.D. student and psychologist John F. Taylor. It helps kids define ADHD and develop the skills they need to succeed in school, form bonds with peers, and behave better at home. Written specifically for easily distracted readers, it uses bold fonts, pictures, and highlighted sections to help keep kids’ attention. This book is great for parents and guardians to read with their middle school-aged kids and implement plans to help them succeed.
5. Journal of an ADHD Kid: The Good, the Bad, and the Useful by Tobias Stumpf and Dawn Schaefer Stumpf
Part of the diary and journal genre of books that are exploding in popularity with middle school kids, Journal of an ADHD Kid is written from the perspective of Toby, a narrator who kids with ADHD can identify with. It also works as something as a survival guide, with real tips and facts to help kids better manage their ADHD.
6. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book One) by Rick Riordan
This modern-day retelling of Greek mythology is told from the perspective of Percy Jackson, a boy who struggles with hyperactivity and dyslexia in school. However, he soon learns that he’s the son of a Greek god with a great destiny, and also that his ADHD is actually a superpower that makes him more skilled in battle than any mere mortal. It helps teach kids that ADHD isn’t all about having weaknesses, but it can have its strengths, too.
The most important thing for kids with ADHD is to know they’re not alone!
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