Young People’s Books about Dyslexia

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer

Plucky twelve-year-old Foster McFee is not going to let her inability to read keep her from reaching her goal of having her own television cooking show. In fact, her ambitions engage everyone around her, including an unlikely reading tutor who forces her to confront the vulnerability she is trying to keep hidden.


Eleven by Patricia Riley Giff

Sam, a talented boy who can’t read, is trying to discover his true identity through written documents. This action-packed psychological mystery is both suspenseful and touching.


Hank Zipzer: The World’s Greatest Underachiever
A Series by Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver

“Hank Zipzer is the kid next door. Humor, magic, a school bully, a pet dachshund named Cheerio, and a pet iguana that slurps soup at dinner add up to a fun novel with something for everyone.”
-Library School Journal

Henry Winkler’s real-life experiences as a young “underachiever” inspire these humorous and exciting stories in the Hank Zipzer series. These books will engage even the most reluctant reader in a fun romp through the days of Hank Zipzer, who always manages to keep things lively and, in the end, helps deliver a message of understanding for all kids, especially for those who share Hank’s learning differences.

Visit Hank Zipzer’s official site.

“The Fonz Makes Dyslexia Cool” A video on BBC News.

“Henry Winkler, who played the Fonz in the 1970s sitcom HappyDays, has been in Hampshire talking to schoolchildren about his struggle with dyslexia.” -BBC


The Lightning Thief
and others in the series by Rick Riordan

“My son and all his friends from ages 10-15 years old like these series, they are filled with excitement, danger, and personal triumph. They can also be downloaded for an MP3 player.”
-Marcia Mishaan, YCDC Council Member

From Myth & Mystery: The Official Blog for Author Rick Riordan…
On a more personal level, mythology was very helpful to me. Before I wrote The Lightning Thief, my son Haley was struggling in second grade, or Year 3. It turned out he was dyslexic and ADHD. These learning disabilities, by the way, are also a frontier, a way of seeing from the edge. ADHD and dyslexic people are creative, out-of-the-box thinkers. They cannot do things traditionally, so they learn to improvise. Percy Jackson was a myth to help him make sense of who he is. Mythology is a way of explaining something that can’t be explained, except by allegory, and my son’s struggle in school definitely applied. He completely bought in to the idea that ADHD/dyslexia, taken together, was an almost sure sign that you have Olympian blood.


Trapped. A Novel by Judy Spurr

“A short, empathetic novel for middle-schoolers that addresses learning disabilities and bullying…nicely executed fiction with a neatly resolved ending that will leave readers smiling.” -Kirkus Reviews

School is difficult for Jamie–dyslexia not only makes coursework a challenge, but he is often bullied at school. Spurr, a former reading teacher, enters the real-life, day-to-day struggles of kids with dyslexia and shows how friendships and perseverance can change a life. The book is written appropriately for young people, but parents will learn something, too, of both the academic and social challenges kids face. The book offers lots of food for thoughtful discussion between parents and kids or kids in a classroom or book-club setting.

Click Here! Judy Spurr: On Why She Wrote Trapped


Author by Helen Lester

“Lester’s lighthearted book of how she came to write children’s books will give aspiring authors of any age a lift and encouragement to persevere.”
-Publishers Weekly

An inspirational true story of a girl, Helen Lester, who has trouble writing even something as simple as a grocery list yet becomes a teacher and then a celebrated children’s book author.


Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester & illustrated by Lynn M. Musinger

“This book is must reading for any kid–or grown-up–who refuses to follow the pack.” -Publishers Weekly

This delightful tale of an odd penguin who doesn’t fit in with the perfect penguins in his colony is well suited to budding out-of-the-box thinkers who often do things differently from their peers. Stories give children a way to think positively about themselves, and Tacky is a hero for children who struggle with differences.

Note: A Read-Along Book/CD combo is also available.

Visit Helen Lester’s website.


What Is Dyslexia?: A Book Explaining Dyslexia for Kids and Adults to Use Together
by Alan M. Hultquist, illustrated by Lydia Corrow

“…a must read for parents and children
struggling with dyslexia.”

Children with dyslexia can be left “out of the loop” when it comes to discussions about the reasons for their struggles at school. What Is Dyslexia? is designed to help adults explain dyslexia to children aged 8-11. Hultquist offers clear examples and explanations, interactive activities for parents (or other adults) and children to do together, and highlights of the courage and strengths of people with dyslexia.


It’s Called Dyslexia by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos & illustrated by Nuria Roca

Whoever said that learning to read and write is easy? The little girl in this story is unhappy and she no longer enjoys school. When learning to read and write, she tries to remember which way the letters go but she often gets them all mixed up. After she discovers that dyslexia is the reason for her trouble, she begins to understand that with extra practice and help from others, she will begin to read and write correctly. At the same time, she also discovers a hidden talent she never knew existed!


Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

“…an inspiring picture book…the author clearly shows the ways that children internalize critical comments made by others and suffer for their differences.” -School Library Journal
“This story is truly autobiographical. It is about my own struggle with not being able to read. This story honors the teacher that took the time to see a child that was drowning and needed help…. Mr. Falker, my hero, my teacher, not only stopped this boy from teasing me, but he also noticed that I wasn’t reading well and got a reading specialist to help.” -Patricia Polacco

Visit Patricia Polacco’s website.


The Alphabet War: A Story About Dyslexia by Diane Burton Robb and Gail Piazza

“Adam’s experience will inspire and encourage many youngsters who find themselves in similar predicaments. Equally important, the book sounds an alarm for educators and parents.”

“When Adam was little, he loved to sink into his mother’s warm lap and listen to her read.” Yet reading becomes a frustrating, daily battle once Adam starts school. Finally, in third grade, Adam learns that he has dyslexia…and begins a journey back to enjoying reading.


My Name Is Brain by Jeanne Betancourt

“Children with learning problems will relate well to this book.”
– School Library Journal

It’s a new school year and Brian is hoping to have a much better academic year. He’s still joking with his friends, and makes them laugh especially hard when he writes his name on the board as “Brain.” But this is no joke, as his new no-nonsense teacher spots Brian’s previously undiagnosed dyslexia. With tutoring and the help of his teacher, Brian starts to see his potential and himself in a whole new light.


Two-Minute Drill: Mike Lupica’s Comeback Kids by Mike Lupica

Teaming up brings new opportunities for the class brain and the class jock.

Chris Conlan is the coolest kid in sixth grade—the golden-armed quarterback of the football team, and the boy all the others look up to. Scott Parry is the new kid, the boy with the huge brain, but with feet that trip over themselves daily. These two boys may seem like an odd couple, but they team up when Scott figures out how to help Chris with his reading problem, while Chris helps him with his football, and both boys end up winners.

Scroll to Top