What Shibani’s Reading: ‘Ben and Emma’s Big Hit’ by Gov. Gavin Newsom

In preparation for the back to school season, I am loading up on school supplies, purchasing bigger clothes and opening up a book from our family’s book collection: “Ben and Emma’s Big Hit.

As a mother of a dyslexic child, I have become a continuous learner about the topic of neurodiversity. I know I am not alone. Tens of millions of Americans struggle with dyslexia. Learning when to get my child diagnosed – and then seeking support and resources for them was neither easy nor straightforward. Educating myself and those around around me about dyslexia is now a deep interest of mine, driven by a desire to understand and support my child. That’s why I got this book!

What I have come to learn is that dyslexia can be a superpower. Some of the most successful and creative people on the planet have been or are dyslexic, including: Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Steven Spielberg, Richard Branson and even the current Governor of California, Gavin Newsom.

When I stumbled upon this children’s book he had written about his experience being dyslexic, I had to get it. I knew it would bring home the message that you can rise to great things (politics aside) even with dyslexia. His messaging is positive: “I hope this books inspires kids and parents to see learning differences as gifts — not obstacles to overcome.” He also shares personal anecdotes that children (and adults) can relate to:

When I was a kid, I wondered why my sister would finish her homework so quickly while I struggled. Reading aloud in front of class filled me with fear and anxiety.

CA Governor Gavin Newsom

The picture book is colorful, easy to read and helps share the experience of what it is like to have dyslexia, allowing families to expand their understanding and empathy. He goes on to say this about his motivation for writing this book:

“I learned strategies to deal with my dyslexia. I began to see it as a strength. It helped me think differently, be more creative, and learn to take more risks. I want to help kids and their parents see their own learning differences as gifts too – rather than simply obstacles to overcome.”

Happy reading!

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