Bookshelf: A list of books discussing ADHD for children and parents

April 1, 2007

Seven books addressing ADHD for children and adults to enjoy.

For the general pediatrician, identifying children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not a rare occurrence. That said, children's books that deal with the subject seem to be surprisingly few and far between. Sure, several of the better-loved and "adventuresome" storybook characters have their fair share of diagnosable traits-Pippi Longstocking, Ramona the Pest, and Dennis the Menace all but jump off their respective pages. But when it comes to identifying children's books, especially fictional ones that help to clearly illustrate the challenges and promote appropriate management of ADD or ADHD, this list of options becomes significantly shorter. This month's bookshelf department reviews children's books that deal with everything from name calling and self-esteem to destructive behaviors and medication. They will hopefully prove themselves useful, enlightening, and even entertaining to children and families living with ADHD, and anyone who wants to better understand this common disorder.

1. Shelley the Hyperactive Turtle

By Deborah M. Ross, Woodbine House, 2006, (20 pages, hardcover); 3 to 6 years

2. Curious George Makes Pancakes

By Margret & H.A. Rey, Houghton Mifflin, 1998, (24 pages, paperback); 3 to 6 years

The fact of the matter is that you could open the pages of any one of the countless number of Curious George books and find that the unbridled curiosity so characteristic of young children (and at least one monkey) is wonderfully captured. This series has served to remind generations of parents for more than 60 years that a free spirit, inquisitiveness, and even an occasional accident along the way is a normal part of childhood. Okay, so this particular book happens to be the one where George, the good-natured and eternally curious monkey, manages to get in trouble, cause pancakes to start flying, and find himself sticky and wet-all in the course of trying to contribute to the local hospital fundraiser. Nevertheless, his good intentions and his high-energy contributions do not go unrecognized, and leave him on the receiving end of both praise and recognition-as well as an invitation to toss pancakes again the following year. If only this type of outcome was true in real life. It will make no difference if children listening to this story share George's demeanor or not. They, along with any parents who haven't picked one up in a while, are sure to enjoy the shared reading experience.