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.”
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.