The Classroom Mystery – a book about ADHD
DrTracy Packiam Alloway
Illustrated by Ana Sanfelippo
QED publishing 2019
Reviewed by Cath Young
THE CLASSROOM MYSTERY – a book about ADHD, is a light-hearted and strength-based introduction to ADHD, which may help children understand themselves or other children they encounter. Featuring full page illustrations and a story set within a school context, it is clearly aimed at early primary school children. The story centres around Izzy, a girl who is so intent on solving the classroom mystery that she cannot attend to the teacher’s lesson. Eventually the teacher allows all the class to take a break while Izzy connects pieces of information together to solve the mystery of the pet rabbit’s missing food. The story itself makes no mention of ADHD, but rather tells of Izzy’s experience and behaviour in the classroom as she tries to focus. For example, we read about Izzy tapping her foot, wiggling in her seat, snapping her hair clip and climbing on her desk, while she thinks about the mystery rather than the lesson. The teacher in the story becomes a little frustrated saying “What on earth are you doing?” but adjusts to Izzy by allowing the whole class to investigate outside and congratulates Izzy when the mystery is solved at the conclusion to the story. Izzy’s classmates show enthusiasm for her powers of deduction at the end of the story. The final two pages of the book offer notes for parents and children about ADHD, which is described as a learning difficulty, and discussion points that the adult reader may wish to raise with their class or individual child.
The bright and slightly retro look illustrations are inclusive, featuring cartoon like characters with different colours of hair and skin. Attention has been paid to the expressions on the children’s faces in the various scenes and these would make good discussion points. The pages are mat and the font is dyslexia friendly on a soft pastel background.
You can hear Dr Packiam talk about her books and neurodiversity on her website: