Last year, a wonderful new children’s book, was added to the growing collection of PDA resources. This month I was passed a copy to see what I thought about it and I can’t begin to say how charming and sweet this story is.
The book is titled Pretty Darn Awesome: Divergent not Deficient and is written by a PDA parent – Lauren O’Grady.
The story is well crafted and follows a lovely rhyming pattern that sounds soothing to read to a younger child.
The book follows a very special boy with PDA and explains not only the things he finds challenging, but also the things he excels at too. It is very character driven and paints a portrait of a highly sensitive and curious boy, who, if given the right tools could make his impact on the world.
I think this story would empower a young child and enable them to see the positives in being neurodivergent. It also touches upon the education system feeling quite restrictive and it is presented in a way the child can understand, as well as teaching them that it’s not their fault that school can feel like a difficult place.
This picture book is aimed at a younger audience but my daughter is nine and was able to enjoy it more than a heavy text, so I definitely think that it’s worth looking at for a variety of young people. It also works well for parents, siblings, teachers and support staff (or any other related professionals that work closely with a PDA child).
The illustrations are imaginatively drawn and create symbolised ideas to the child which therefore help to cement their understanding further. This drawing is one example of the metaphorical barriers faced by an autonomous and anxious child:
My daughter wanted to highlight this image as her favourite from the story:
It’s interesting that she picked this picture as I think it really is a graphic summary of how she feels, on a daily basis, living with such severe anxiety. She can read words about it, but seeing it visually in a cartoon-like fashion, highlights with more drama and immediacy what it really feels like.
It was a pleasure to read this book and to have the opportunity to review it. My next step will be to share it with my two younger children so that they can consolidate their learning about PDA. They both also struggle with anxiety and (although undiagnosed) seem likely to have extra additional needs. I’m sure the book will resonate with some of their individual challenges too.
If you are interested further, then the book Pretty Darn Awesome: Divergent not Deficient by Lauren O’Grady, is available to purchase from Amazon (here is a quick link to take you straight there).
**Disclaimer** no payment was taking for doing this review and all views are my own.