By Sivan Hong
I'm a children's book author who happens to have ADHD. Through my picture book series, "Super Fun Day Books," I delve into the world of neurodiversity, exploring the worries and, of course, the resilience that often accompanies it.
While A Novel Mind does a fantastic job of providing book resources for our community, it's worth noting that children's books featuring neurodivergent characters remain a very small fraction of the overall children's literature landscape.
I make it a point to read as many of these books as possible, and have compiled a small list of some new ones, and some favorites. As a mom of two boys with ADHD, I have found these books to be particularly helpful. Please let me know if you have any others to add to this list, and of course, check out my books too at sivanhong.com.
1. Skating Through ADHD: From Hockey to Homework, by Iris Alapin. 2023.
Meet Alex, an 8-year-old boy with an immense passion for hockey. However, school doesn't quite capture his enthusiasm. Alex has boundless energy, especially when he's not on the ice. The challenge lies in the fact that Alex has ADHD, which means he often finds it tough to sit still in class or at home. His body craves movement, and his mind refuses to settle down, leading to lots of wiggling in his chair.
But fear not! After a visit to a specialist, Alex embarks on a journey to discover a set of fantastic tricks and strategies. These will help him manage both his body and his mind more effectively.
The author, Iris Alapin, is a Canadian psychologist who is experienced in ADHD. This book is just the ticket for sharing with a sports-loving child who's about to undergo or has recently experienced the process of receiving an ADHD diagnosis.
2. Hi. It’s Me! I have ADHD, by Katelyn Mabry, Illustrated by: J. Charles Friedel. Purple Butterfly Press, 2022. Elementary level.
Hi, It's Me offers valuable glimpses into the wide realm of ADHD, delivering a collection of practical tips and providing printable coloring and journal pages. Through its engaging rhymes and captivating illustrations, this book extends a helping hand to young children who wrestle with ADHD, nurturing a sense of empowerment within them.
In a reassuring manner, Hi, It's Me conveys a pivotal message: a diagnosis of ADHD should never define a child. It emphasizes that beneath the label lies a treasury of unique qualities and talents waiting to be discovered. Most importantly, this book reassures young readers that they are not alone in their thoughts and feelings, ultimately offering solace and connection to those who need it most.
Read this book with any child who has ADHD when they are feeling down or frustrated about their diagnosis. It's the perfect pick-me-up and feel-proud-of-who-you-are book!
3. My Brain is a Race Car by Nell Harris. 2023.
The 'race-car' analogy is one I used when introducing the concept of ADHD to my kids following their diagnosis. It's an analogy that children can easily grasp, and this book brings it to life.
Think of brains as cars, all driving around a track, gathering information, and then bringing it back. Some brains are like Race Cars that love to go extra fast. But sometimes, they forget to stop and complete a task fully. Just like driving cars fast all the time -- without servicing or maintaining them -- can lead to overheating and burnout, we can apply the same logic to our brains.
This book explains common traits in a neurodivergent brain. It provides self-regulation tools for the child to use on their own to assist with their plan and treatment. It's a tool to start a conversation between you and the child about their unique selves and why both of you do what you do to manage, assist, and uplift.
Plus, it will put a smile on your face.
4. The Survival Guide for Kids with ADHD, by John F. Taylor. Free Spirit Publishing, 2013
This review pertains to an older book. But its remarkable quality compelled me to include it in our list. This book adeptly addresses the inquiries that young readers may have about ADHD, such as: What is ADHD? What does it mean to have ADHD? How can children diagnosed with ADHD support their own success in school, foster better relationships at home, and build healthy and enjoyable connections with their peers?
Crafted with a child-friendly approach and a format that welcomes even the most hesitant and easily distracted readers, this book reassures children that they are not alone in their experiences. It provides them with practical strategies for self-care, behavior modification, school enjoyment, and having fun, all while addressing interactions with doctors, counselors, and medication. The book also features real-life scenarios, engaging quizzes, and a special message tailored for parents.
Candidly, as an adult with ADHD, I found this book helpful in my life as well.
Sivan Hong is both the author and illustrator of the top-selling children's series, The Super Fun Day Books. Her acclaimed titles, including "Benny J. and the Horrible Halloween," "George J. and the Miserable Monday," "Emily D. and the Fearful First Day," "Avery G. and the Scary End of School," and "Joey T. and the Winter Holiday Worries," depict the victories of neurodiverse children as they tackle difficulties with perseverance and bravery. Furthermore, The Super Fun Day Books are available in Spanish and as audiobooks, ensuring they resonate with all kinds of learners. Her influential work has garnered attention from NBC and News12.
In addition to her literary pursuits, Sivan actively serves as a Trustee on the Board of the Rita Allen Foundation, using her vast expertise and passion to effect positive change. Away from her professional endeavors, Sivan cherishes her roles as a wife and mother to two delightful children. The family, which includes their beloved dog and cat, lives in Connecticut.
Engage with Sivan on her social media account @sivan_hong_author, where she dives into everything related to neurodiversity. Or check out her website at sivanhong.com.