Wednesday, June 1, 2022

My Name is Layla by Reyna Marder Gentin

Genre: Young Adult, Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction
Source: I won a copy from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

This last Friday was my last day at school. Our principal told us to make sure we took time for us. Then he called me out in front of everyone. He told me he had talked to my husband about finding a way to make me not focus on work. Yes I admit I have a problem letting school work go. However, after two years of covid teaching I needed a break. I told him I had a stack of books on my couch waiting for me.

This book was one of them I had not been able to get to earlier due to covid teaching.  As a middle school teacher, this book really resonated with me. I see students like Layla every year.  A lot of them fall through the cracks and are never diagnosed with a learning disability. I try to be a teacher who works for each and every one of them.  Layla wants so hard to do better in school. She wants the approval of her mother who works the night shift as a nurse.  She has the support of her older brother Nick.  No matter how hard she tries her undiagnosed dyslexia makes her feel bad about herself. It is her English teacher who believes in her and recognizes her disability that turns things around.

This should be on every classroom shelf. It is true to life. Middle school students will be able to identify with the character and most importantly the events that take place in school and at home.  The fact that Layla is able to find help will give hope to those who struggle, and may just encourage those teachers who aren't real sure how to help a student.  I applaud this author for creating a book that needs to be read by teachers and students alike.


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