Written by Sherrill S. Cannon
Illustrated by Kalpart
Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co.
12/4/2019 28 Pages Age 4—8
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Fiction
Themes: ADHD, Symptoms, Acceptance,
Meet David, one of award-winning author Sherrill S. Cannon’s “Classroom of Kids,” who manages his ADHD with the help of classmates.
David discovers ways to cope with his hyperactive brain, while learning how to calm and soothe his ADHD. Solutions include setting daily schedules and following simple rules that regulate behavior. His teachers and therapists encourage using the computer for academic advancement, and to establish a pattern for study as well as for occasional recreation. David not only learns self-control and communication skills, but is able to fit into the classroom and make friends.(from publisher)
“David sometimes just couldn’t sit still.
He’d fidget, and yell, and disrupt things at will.
He’d seem very angry and then lose his cool,
But this didn’t bother the kids in his school.”
Why I like David’s ADHD
Young David has trouble at school and at home. He is fidgety, disruptive, inattention and quick to erupt, often yelling instead of speaking. He can become very angry for no apparent reason. Other kids do not want to play with David. His frustration level causes David to react inappropriately. His parents are overwhelmed, yet never give up.
Soon a doctor diagnoses David as having ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. With help from a therapist, a doctor, his parents, and his school, David learns how to cope, how to pay attention in class, and how to express his emotions properly. He even learns how to get along with the other kids. This is David’s story.
Author Sherrill S. Cannon has written many picture books, all award winners. Her text is bouncy, easy to read, and usually quite funny. I love Ms. Cannon’s books for those reasons and more. David’s ADHD is different. The author’s trademark rhyming text remains and her artist’s iconic characters, many of whom appear in her other books, return for another story. Yet, David’s ADHD is a more serious tale. David exhibits many of the typical symptoms of ADHD. He needs the help of his family and friends to learn a new way of living; one that helps him control his symptoms and his emotions.
Despite being on the wordy side, David’s ADHD will help children understand what some of their classmates are going through each day. It might even help them understand their own actions and feelings. The ADHD brain tends to be deficit in a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. This “ADHD nervous system” is the cause of the symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and mood regulation. I must admit, despite a working understanding of ADHD, I am lost on the author’s explanation of the disorder’s symptoms and their origin:
“We all have a camera that lives in our head.
It gives us bright pictures of all that is said.
“The lens helps us focus, to make things seem clear.
Dave’s couldn’t connect with his eye or his ear.
“The focusing lens was asleep in his brain.
He needed some help to wake it again,
“To help him remember the skills that he’d learned,
To help him restore self-control he had earned.”
ADHD is a difficult disorder to explain without mentioning which brain functions are involved. I’m guessing the above is an attempt at an explanation children can understand. It is difficult to know for sure due to the lack of a reference section, which can be a big help when dealing with non-fiction subjects.
David’s life with ADHD, including its symptoms and daily functioning, is wonderfully detailed and realistic. Children who read David’s ADHD should go forward with a better understanding of life with ADHD. In addition to understanding, the text has the empathy David, and kids like him need to succeed. Hopefully, readers will recall this story and share that empathy with classmates who need it.
While I think the story is a bit long for younger children, Ms. Cannon handles the subject with her usual composure and skill. I like how she highlights the importance of everyone in David’s life being part of his success; from classmates understanding his outbursts and teachers knowing how to motivate David, to his family helping him succeed at home and in the community.
Clinicians will find David’s ADHD helpful for clients and their families. Kids with the disorder will find hope and humor in David’s story, especially when realizing the story is about a real kid named David (and a grandmother determined to fill a need—specifically, letting kids with ADHD read a story with a character they can recognize as themselves). Teachers can turn to David’s ADHD when needing to explain ADHD to students or as part of a science class.
David’s story imparts hope and understanding where both can often be lacking. Most importantly, David’s ADHD has the power to influence anyone who reads this story. Like most disorders afflicting kids, the cure begins with empathy and understanding. David’s ADHD contains both. Highly recommended.
Favorite Sentence /Scene
I like the illustration of David and his parents at the doctor’s office. What I find impressive is the artist (Kalpart), has the doctor talking directly to David, who sits closest to the physician. The doctor is giving David permission to take control of his ADHD, while (presumably), giving him tools to do just that.
Illustrations Rendered digitally.
Available at Amazon
DAVID’S ADHD. Text Copyright © 2020 by Sherrill S. Cannon. Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Kalpart. Published by Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co., Houston, TX.
Copyright © 2020 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved