The U-nique Lou Fox
The U-nique Lou Fox
I scurried into the classroom, zipping straight to my cubby to dump off my backpack. Keeping my sights locked on my desk on the far side of the room, I avoided making eye contact with Mrs. Snyder. I slid into my seat, my plan firmly in mind. I would not get into trouble. Somehow, I would stay on task. I would not daydream. I would listen to every word Mrs. Snyder uttered. Every. Single. Word. And boy did she like to talk. A chatty Shadow Phantom. Just my luck.
Louisa Elizabeth Fitzhenry-O’Shaughnessy has a lot to deal with, including dyslexia and ADHD. Unknown to Louisa, her nemesis and her teacher, Mrs. Snyder, is actually one of her biggest supporters.
In addition to struggling to survive Grade Five with Mrs. Snyder, Louisa is also trying to become a Broadway playwright with the dream name of Lou Fox. With her two best friends, Lexie and Nakessa, Louisa is about to stage “The Haunting at Lakeside School” for the school talent show. But Louisa’s ability to focus on what is important to her, the play, ends up costing her the support of her best friends. Things are going very wrong at school.
At home, Louisa is struggling with some major challenges also. After years of wanting to be a big sister, Louisa is about to get her chance. But now she is beginning to realize the implications of not having her parents all to herself. When she learns that ‘the baby’ is actually twins, Louisa wishes the babies weren’t going to happen.
Fortunately, Louisa has incredibly supportive parents, as well as a dedicated and supportive teacher and principal.
With lots of help and a few bumps along the way, the play is a success, Louisa is reconciled with her friends, Mrs. Snyder recovers from the illness Louisa believes she has cursed her with, and Louisa realizes she wants to be the best big sister ever.
Probably every family, and every teacher, knows a Louisa. ‘Louisa’ in our family (the name has been changed to protect the innocent) is every bit as fun and creative and caring as author Jodi Carmichael’s Louisa. And she struggles every bit as much as Louisa to focus and function in a school environment. Carmichael, who has ADHD herself, has created a totally believable character.
Our ‘Louisa’ loves to cook, and so it is a nice bonus that Carmichael has included a recipe at the back of the book for “Mom’s Tofu Chocolate Chip Cookies”.
Carmichael also includes short descriptions and resources for more information on dyslexia and ADHD, as well as a message to her readers.
To my readers:
Louisa — a.k.a. Lou Fox — embodies all of us who struggle with our uniqueness. Being dyslexic or having ADHD can come with many gifts that are often overlooked because of the challenges they bring — especially when attending school. Please know that just like Louisa, you are enough just as you are
I hope that every Louisa in every classroom gets an opportunity to read or listen to The U-nique Lou Fox. It will be wonderful for all Louisas to have their uniqueness recognized and affirmed.
Dr. Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher and principal who hopes that, for at least one Louisa, she was as supportive as Mrs. Snyder and Mrs. Muswagam.