Saturday, February 03, 2007

Lily and the Mixed-Up Letters by Deborah Hodge

Deborah Hodge, widely known to non–fiction readers, has come out with a new picture book with Tundra Publishers. Lily and the Mixed –Up Letters will win the hearts of both kids and adults alike. Lily used to love going to school, but now that she is in grade two, her beautiful bright pictures aren’t enough to win her praise. Instead, she is left feeling anxious and inadequate by her inability to read. Neither the words nor the letters make sense to Lily who is afraid to confide this even to her best friend Grace. Not surprisingly, Lily tries to hide her inability by feigning illness. Lily always feels better the moment she hits the playground; a telltale sign if ever there was one.

A crisis isn’t far off though. Soon everyone in Lily’s class will be expected to each read a page from their books at the upcoming Parent Day. Lily is unable to hide her distress any longer. When Lily’s mother asks her what’s wrong that night, Lily breaks down sobbing. To Lily's surprise, her mother confides that she had similar troubles reading when she was Lily's age. The knowledge that she is not alone and that her mother has successfully learned to read are healing balms for Lily. As well, her mother contacts Lily’s teacher who immediately assigns Lily a reading buddy. In the end, disclosure and support at home and at school leads to her success and to Lily “Feeling as light as a kite on the wind”.

While not all children will succeed in overcoming a reading problem as quickly and easily as Lily has, parents and educators will well know that success is much more likely with support than without it. Read this book to a class and you might help a child understand that they are not as alone as they thought they were. might just help them to start “Feeling as light as a kite on the wind” just like Lily.

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