Brilliant Bea by Shaina Rudolph and Mary Vukadinovich

Brilliant Bea

Shaina Rudolph and Mary Vukadinovich, Authors

Fiona Lee, Illustrator

Magination Press, Fiction, Nov. 16, 2021

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes: Learning differences, Reading challenges, Dyslexia, Storytelling, School

Opening: “They say you imagination can take you anywhere. I remember when mine didn’t let me leave the classroom.”

Synopsis:

Despite her struggles with reading and writing, Beatrice is a natural and brilliant storyteller. With help of a kind-hearted teacher, Beatrice uses an old-fashioned tape recorder to tell her stories in a whole new way. With her new approach, Beatrice is able to show her classmates who she really has been all along.

Brilliant Bea is an endearing story that demonstrates the power of expressing yourself and finding your unique strengths.

Why I like Brilliant Bee:

Shaina Rudolph and Mary Vukadinovich’s Brilliant Bea is an adorable and uplifting story that shows how a little girl discovers that learning differently from other students doesn’t define her. Even though reading and writing challenge Bea, she learns that she doesn’t need to feel embarrassed or afraid. She already expresses herself in many creative ways. 

Bea is a very expressive character. Like many children with dyslexia, Bea is very smart. She finds clever coping mechanisms and finds ways to distract the teacher with stories to avoid reading. Her teacher isn’t fooled and works with her. He recognizes she’s an excellent storyteller, so he hands her an old-fashioned tape recorder and encourages her to record her stories. 

I love how positive and supportive Bea’s parents are about her reading difficulties. Her mom says she “has a way with words.” Her dad says she’s a “real word slinger.” Her brother says she’s the “greatest storyteller on Earth.”  And once the kids in the class realize she tells good stories, they get involved in her adventures in a very fun and unique way.

Fiona Lee’s lively and colorful illustrations support the story plot and show a diverse group of characters. I particularly love her clever use of “sketches” on a white page to demonstrate Bea’s storytelling. 

The publisher uses a dyslexia-friendly Easy Reading font so that children with reading differences can read Bea’s story on their own. 

Resources: Make sure you check out the helpful Reader’s Note at the end of the story. There are wonderful questions that parents and teachers can use to begin a conversation with a child with dyslexia or other learning differences. This book is such a positive book to use with an entire classroom because it shows how they can support classmates with different learning styles.  

Shaina Rudolph is an author and educator in the Los Angeles area. She has worked alongside students with unique learning needs for the last 10 years. Shaina also co-authored All My Stripes: A Story for Children With Autism. Visit her @ShainaRudolph_ on Instagram.

Mary Vukadinovich has been working with students with language-based differences for the last 16 years. As a learning specialist in Los Angeles, Mary values the opportunity to teach diverse learners, including students with dyslexia. Mary believes all her students can be successful, and she is constantly inspired by how brightly they shine. Visit her at her @Mary_Vukadinovich on Instagram.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Review copy provided by Magination Press in exchange for a review.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

14 thoughts on “Brilliant Bea by Shaina Rudolph and Mary Vukadinovich

  1. A wonderful book. So many times children with dyslexia are labelled stupid or slow learners. When in fact, they just learn differently and are usually very smart. If this is not caught early, it can lead to behaviour problems. I like that the teacher recognized the issue and did something about it.

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  2. I always say learning is not a race to the finish line. Some of the smartest kids I’ve known have a learning disability. Give kids a chance to succeed with options and success can come their way. Great book to share in classrooms and at home.

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    • My daughter was one of them. She wasn’t dyslexic, but she learned differently. When she took in information, she had to learn to organize it and put out her thoughts. You would never know today.

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  3. So much progress has been made in helping kids with dyslexia find the best way for each to succeed. M\There are many different kinds of dyslexia, too, that need different approaches. There’s no cookie cutter way to learn. Thanks for featuring this book, Patricia!

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  4. This is a must-read for me. I am always on the lookout for books about how kids learn differently. Thanks for sharing it!

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  5. What a great book to put in classrooms. We have made such strudes in the past ten years or so with picture books about all sorts of neurodivergent ways of being. This looks great, Pat.

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    • We certainly have. I was having a discussion with someone recently how much the children’s publishing world is embracing differences and diversity. It has been fun to think about our early manuscripts and see how far we’ve come in the past 11 years.

      Like

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