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Kevin never smiles at school, but he is different at home. He jumps up and down when his favorite football team scores a touchdown, and screams "CANNONBALL!" when he jumps into the swimming pool. But at school he feels that he isn't 'okay.' Other kids in his class are much quicker at putting their hands up and answering the teacher's questions, and Kevin feels that he will never catch up. One day, his reading teacher asks him to help out with the school store, and Kevin slowly begins to realise that he had really been 'a okay' all along.
Through providing an insight into Kevin's thoughts, feelings and coping strategies, this picture book for ages 5-8 is a source of support for children who, like Kevin, find school difficult and feel that they are 'behind' their peers. The book, which draws on the author's experiences as the principal of an elementary school, is also the perfect springboard for discussion around difficulties at school, academic ability, self-esteem, confidence and recognising strengths.
James Dillon has been an educator for over 35 years, including 20 years as a school administrator. While working as the principal of Lynnwood Elementary in New York, he developed the Peaceful School Bus Program, and subsequently wrote The Peaceful School Bus (Hazleden, 2008). James was named Principal of the Year in 2007 by the Greater Capital Region Principal Center and he has also received recognition for administrative leadership for character education. He was an invited participant and presenter at the first National Summit on Bullying Prevention sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 and is a certified Olweus Bullying Prevention Program trainer. He is the author of No Place for Bullying: Leadership for schools that care for every student (Corwin, 2012) and Reframing Bullying Prevention to Build Stronger School Communities (2015). James is currently an educational consultant for Measurement Incorporated, who sponsor the Center for Leadership and Bullying Prevention. He makes presentations and conducts workshops on a variety of educational topics, including instruction, classroom management, leadership, and supervision. He has four grown children, Ernie, Tim, Brian and Hannah and two grandchildren. He and his wife, Louisa, a school social worker, live in Niskayuna, NY.
Children who struggle with learning often develop doubts about how smart they are, especially when they compare themselves with classmates. These doubts frequently generate worries and sadness, which make learning even more challenging. In this wonderful book, Jim Dillon not only captures the thoughts and emotions of students who struggle to learn, but as importantly, he portrays what adults can say and do to help these children become more hopeful, confident, and successful. Helpful illustrations of specific, practical interventions are offered not only in the story but also in the guide for parents and educators. This book will serve as an impressive resource for both children with learning problems and the adults in their lives.
Robert Brooks, Ph.D., psychologist and co-author of Raising Resilient Children
Lively and colorful illustrations along with a sharp and enduring story take our main character, Kevin from "not okay" to performing like a "high speed computer"! Read this to your class or with one student to boost every young learner's sense of belonging, growing, and happiness.
Debra Wing (Hoffmann), author, Welcome to Kindergarten, Teacher Instructor, Coach and Presenter
Great illustrations and a 'Guide to Parents and Educators' at the end add much to the value, and Kevin is a real hero!