cover image The U-nique Lou Fox

The U-nique Lou Fox

Jodi Carmichael. Pajama, $18.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-77278-258-5

Diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, 10-year-old Louisa Elizabeth Fitzhenry-O’Shaughnessy—whose name is 36 letters long—dreams of becoming a famous playwright with a simple name: Lou Fox. In the meantime, Lou is frustrated with grade five in Winnipeg, especially when her extensive vocabulary proves irrelevant on spelling tests: “I can talk the talk, but no way can I spell the spell.” Her teacher harps on her mistakes and her daydreaming, and often sends Lou to the principal’s office. Convinced she’s to blame when her teacher becomes sick and her pregnant mother is rushed to the hospital, Lou tries to redeem herself, along the way receiving encouragement from her understanding father and principal. Pulling from her own experience with ADHD, Carmichael (Family of Spies: Paris) deftly captures the imaginative protagonist’s internal struggle of conflicting emotions, including perfectionism and a desire to please. Designed using fonts made with consideration for dyslexic readers, this touching book with an arc toward self-acceptance demonstrates the importance of accommodation and classroom support. Lou and her family read as white; the supporting cast includes characters of Chinese, South Asian, and Cree descent. Back matter includes an author’s note, details about dyslexia and ADHD, and resources. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)