Dyslexia, Literacy

Spotlight Series: Dav Pilkey and Carmen Agra Deedy

October is Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia Awareness Month. This month at Lexplore, we will spotlight some authors and illustrators who have learning issues and share some favorite books for kids who struggle with reading. 

Spotlight on Dav Pilkey and Carmen Agra Deedy

Dav Pilkey is best known for the Captain Underpants book series. Dav was diagnosed at a very young age with ADHD and dyslexia.  His early experiences in school were often very isolating.  He felt very alone and like a failure.  He especially struggled to read aloud and was often teased. 

He credits his mother for making sure that he was always reading.  She took him to the library weekly and let him choose his own books.  As a kid, given this freedom of choice, he focused on reading for fun and chose books that took him to places where he could let his imagination soar.

Dav focused on his ability to draw and soon became known as a storyteller through his comics. In 2nd grade, he created his first comic book about a superhero named Captain Underpants.  

Dav appreciates graphic novels because they break up the text into smaller panels and add illustrations, which makes it easier to take in the information on the page.

Dav’s Captain Underpants series has more than 80 million copies in print worldwide. It has been translated into more than 28 languages. In 2017, DreamWorks Animation brought the character to the silver screen in the feature film adaptation Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.

Carmen Agra Deedy, Children’s Book Author and Storyteller

Carmen Agra Deedy came to the US from Cuba at the age of 3.  From an extremely young age, she had a voracious love for books.  She faced multiple obstacles, having to learn a new language and struggling with undiagnosed dyslexia throughout her entire childhood, high school graduation, college, and motherhood.  She found ways to cope with her disability and wasn’t officially diagnosed until the age of 28. She explains that dyslexics “take the scenic route” to get from point A to point B.  In some ways, this makes them more interesting people, with a highly unique perspective. Yet, it can also be excruciating and exhausting.   “You have to trust that whatever process your brain has for acquiring knowledge makes you your own self. Everyone has some kind of gift.” Deedy is an award-winning author and storyteller, as well as an accomplished lecturer. She has authored 12 books for children, including The Cheshire Cheese Cat, The Rooster Who Would Not be Quiet and 14 Cows for America (a NYT Bestseller).