That’s Like Me!
“That’s Like Me!”: Stories About Amazing People with Learning Differences
by Jill Lauren, MA
Published by Star Bright Books, New York: 2009
A trapeze artist, fire fighter, veterinarian, inventor, event producer, dancer, award-winning illustrator — there’s not much that would seem to link these disparate people.
What they share, as revealed in Jill Lauren’s surprisingly brave touching children’s book, “That’s Like Me!”, is a common history of struggling with school and academic pursuits because of learning differences. Some of these learning disabilities were recognized early in the subjects’ school careers, with several speaking about their positive experiences in small resource room classes, or the encouragement they received from teachers and parents. Others struggled through school, only finding their way when they received an appropriate diagnosis in college or beyond.
As illustrator Jerry Pinkney writes in his foreword, “My learning disability was not recognized or considered, thereby making it invisible, which caused me to find ways of keeping in unseen. I learned to excel in areas where I was strong and hide those places where there was a challenge.”
One of the author’s goals in writing this book and sharing these stories — which intersperse those of the adults with poignant stories from children currently in school, who define themselves as an artist, scientist, wrestler and Eagle Scout — is to offer inspiration and hope to children and their parents.
‘That’s Like Me!’ is designed to inspire, educate and empower children with learning disabilities,” writes Lauren, a teacher who specializes in the field and works with children and adults. “Finally, some of your child’s connections to the stories may be emotionally based, and reading the profiles may lead to important discussions about feelings related to learning differently.”
For a slender volume, this packs quite a powerful punch, one that I’m sure will resonate with special education teachers as well as parents and children who deal, daily, with the challenges of these learning differences. #