By Sarah Ottensoser, M.S., CCC-SLP, Shemesh Executive Function Coach
I have recently been doing lots of reading with the students on my caseload – not about them, but rather, with them. I am finding that there are numerous books out there written for children that target ADHD/Executive Function weaknesses and are written on a level that kids as young as 7-8 years old are able to understand and relate to. Once I read a book with a child, we then have a springboard for further discussion, and the characters in the books create an opening for us to talk about an EF topic while de-personalizing it. Thus, we can talk about Cletus or Noodle having trouble taking responsibility, rather than Aaron’s difficulties doing so.
My favorite author (currently) is Julia Cook, who has written tons of books on these topics. Additionally, she writes on self-regulation, anger management, and other social-emotional skills, so search for her books on whichever topic you are looking and you are sure to find a title that fits your needs. I bought my books on Amazon, since I find that’s the easiest route, and once you start searching, one book literally leads you to the next, so buyer beware- you can find yourself spending lots of money building your library!
The following is my list of my top 10 books for kids with ADHD/EF weaknesses:
1. A book about growth mindset, this book introduces an introduction to the anatomy and functions of the brain that will empower the reader to stretch and grow their brain. It also teaches young readers that making mistakes is one of the best ways for the brain to grow!
2. In another book about growth mindset, Lorisa models a positive attitude as she makes mistakes throughout her day, with her mother demonstrating belief in her daughter.
3. This hilarious story teaches kids to be present wherever they are and what happens when they try to multi-task.
4. Noodle is frustrated hearing so many directions each day until his mother teaches him how to turn the “need tos” into “I did its!”.
5. Noodle learns to accept responsibility for all the things he does wrong throughout a very difficult day.
6. Noodle learns the consequences of pushing off what needs to be done in another funny book by Julia Cook.
7. A book in Julia Cook’s Functioning Executive series, Cletus and his cousin Bocephus (who are polar opposites!) learn how to plan and prioritize.
8. Bocephus helps his cousin Cletus learn to organize his belongings so he can find what he needs when he needs it.
9. Cletus’ mom teaches the boys how to approach studying in a healthy, planned out way.
10. Louis is a verb! He’s always on the go and has a lot of trouble focusing until his mom teaches him how to pay attention.
Well, that’s my top ten - I hope you find your own favorites among these!