Representation matters. Whether it’s culture, ethnicity, gender, or neurodiversity, seeing oneself in others fosters a sense of belonging and acceptance. For girls with ADHD, representation has been lacking. In fact, discussions about how ADHD presents itself in females are limited in scope. For young girls, characters such as Junie B. Jones and Ramona Quimby hint at characteristics, but explicit talk of ADHD never materializes. This is why The Golden Bee by Dana Storino is more than just a fun read for kiddos.
The Golden Bee Synopsis
The main character, Stephanie, is an intelligent, fun, and friendly young girl working to prove herself within a high-achieving charter school in Chicago. She battles her own impulsivity and disorganization as she faces the typical challenges of middle-grade social structures.
After an incident with another student, Stephanie is diagnosed with ADHD. Embarrassed, she then hides the diagnosis from her friends. All of this occurs as the ever-important Golden Bee competition between students in Mr. B’s class is about to commence.
As the competition for the Golden Bee heats up, students perfect their projects and each group works to gather the most clients for their service project. The competition is close when unexpected point tampering throws the class into turmoil. Will Stephanie be able to overcome her challenges and help her group win the Golden Bee? Can she prove to her friends that she can be a responsible leader? Can Stephanie learn to believe in herself?
How The Golden Bee Depicts ADHD
During sessions with her counselor, Miss Hailey, Stephanie learns strategies to help her manage everyday struggles such as emotional control, disorganization, and impulsivity. Readers are introduced to these skills, learning that while ADHD has no cure, it can be managed through compensating strategies.
Through Stephanie, young girls will see themselves as more than their challenges. They will see a good friend, a smart girl, and someone who can learn strategies to manage the challenges in their life.
A Fun and Relevant Writing Style
Readers will enjoy the thoughtful way the author has incorporated text conversations between the students. Through these interactions, the reader is immersed in the inner world of middle school. Emoji conversations abound. Group chats discuss classes, teachers, and weekend plans. For those familiar with the Chicagoland area, the rivalry between Cubs versus Sox fans, Max and Josh, will be both entertaining and familiar.
Focusing on Friendship
This book is perfect for children between the ages of eight and twelve. While many of the main characters are young girls, the friendship between Stephanie and Max provides a wonderful model of friendship between the sexes. The support Stephanie receives from her group of friends will encourage other girls who seek to find their own friend group.
The Book We Need for ADHD Representation
The Golden Bee is the book many of us needed as young girls. Historically, most women do not receive a diagnosis of ADHD until adulthood. The time in between can be filled with confusion, anxiety, and difficulties with friendships. With this book, Ms. Storino hopes to change that.
About the Writer: Jill Robinson is a wife, mother of two, athlete, speech-language pathologist, and lover of all animals. She loves the outdoors and singing off-key in the car. Writing brings her peace. You can follow Jill on her author blog, Instagram, and Twitter.