CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 41. . . .June 20, 2014
Josh is 11-years-old, dyslexic, and has been sent from his mother’s home in Toronto to live with his dad in Arbutus Bay, a small coastal town in BC. After three months, he has no friends, and his classmates mock him for his very weak reading skills. His joy is the sailboat his father made for him. When Brittany, queen of the meanies, calls his boat a bathtub, Josh steamily retorts, “I bet Nomad’s faster than your boat. I bet I could beat you.” If Brittany beats Josh in the Senanus Island Small Boat Race, she cruelly demands that he will have to read aloud to a Literacy Day audience. Problems ensue: Josh’s brother is stuck in Toronto and cannot be his crewman, his boat is damaged by a floating log, and a capsized competitor needs his help. Overcoming these obstacles, while preparing for the terror of reading aloud at the library, shows Josh’s resilience, tenacity, and good character. The book’s strength lies in its portrayal of dyslexia, its frustrations, and how Josh learns to manage his learning disability. The book’s highlight is Josh’s final conversation with Brittany.
Prove It, Josh is nicely written overall, but many of the elements are formulaic or predictable. A weakness of the book jacket is that the sailor looks seven rather than eleven, which will turn off most of the book’s target audience. Young sailors will like the book, but Prove It, Josh will be most valuable as a book of hope and tenacity for students ages 8-12 who suffer from dyslexia.
Shelbey Krahn is a teacher-librarian and worked at Laurentian University’s School of Education. She treasures her memories of sailing on Lac Pelletier.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.