March is National Reading Month! My favorite activity of this month is to read with my kiddos. So in celebration, I bought a few new children’s picture books from the Moms Who Write. One of my favorites was This Kid Can Hyperfocus by Patty DeDurr.
Changing the narrative around ‘hyperfocus’
I am a 34-year-old creative who has battled with spats of hyperfocus all my life. From a young age, I was known for being scatterbrained and forgetful, obsessive, and over-the-top. I was either a little too much or entirely unproductive, and I never saw my ability to focus fiercely on one passion or project as a positive trait–more of a curse.
This book may have forced me to think about things differently.
I love how Patty paints hyperfocus in a beautiful light. We often joke about it–how hyperfocus clutters our brains, prevents us from getting anything done, or forces us to learn random hobbies we may never follow through with– but this experience can be confusing for children. Sometimes, you don’t even realize you’re hyperfocusing until you tune back into the world. To have support from loved ones, both during and after these instances, is crucial for children to accept their unique personalities.
Healthy periods of hyperfocus can be incredibly productive and fulfilling, and Patty celebrates this trait rather than trying to tone it down. The main character–a goat named Kid with ADHD– tells the reader he has the ability to focus on something he wants for hours. She uses words like amazing, creative, and hard-working to describe Kid’s hyperfocus. There’s never a point when the reader sees Kid as distracted or out-of-control; Patty shows you a kind-hearted goat who is fully committed to his current interest and cheered on by all his friends and family.
Smiles across the farm
At the beginning of the story, Kid tells the reader how much he loves being funny and making his farm animal friends laugh. When things become a bit too quiet around the farm, Kid makes it his mission to set out and spread some cheer. Unable to stop thinking about fun ways to make his friends happy, Kid knows if he works really hard, he can think up enough ways to get a smile from everyone.
From tickling to dancing to telling jokes, Kid adapts his humor to each type of farm animal. He pretends to fly for the chickens, jumps in the mud with the pigs, and sings silly songs with the horses. By the end, the entire farm is laughing, and Kid feels accomplished in his goal.
One of the scenes I love most about this picture book is when Kid wants to make his friend Cat smile by tickling her with a feather. Kid suddenly realizes his feather is missing, and he improvises with a leaf instead, achieving the same result.
Forgetfulness so often accompanies individuals diagnosed with ADHD and who experience hyperfocus, and I was thrilled to see it included in the story. This scene is a perfect opportunity to talk to your children about overcoming challenges and adapting when a plan goes awry.
Add This Kid Can Hyperfocus by Patty DeDurr to your collection!
I had a blast reading This Kid Can Hyperfocus to my kids. They loved the colorful illustrations and were bouncing around by the end trying to figure out how they would make each animal laugh. We also talked a lot about activities and interests they have hyperfocused on in the past and what type of support they need to help them feel productive
Grab a copy of This Kid Can Hyperfocus by Patty DeDurr and find out more about how Kid came to be on her Kickstarter page. A portion of all book sales goes to Iowa Farm Sanctuary to help provide a safe haven for rescued farm animals and educational opportunities on farm life.
Find more amazing picture books by Moms Who Write, visit our blog. Happy reading!
About the Writer: Shell Sherwood is a poet, fiction writer, freelancer, and creator of silly children’s stories who could live on coffee, pastries, and romantic tragedies. She lives in Hudson Valley, NY, with her three boys and aspires to own a small writing getaway in every climate. Shell is currently working on her debut poetry collection. Learn more about Shell and follow her writing journey via her author blog, Instagram, and TikTok.