The Story Machine

OK, you are going to have to bear with me as this is my first ever book review!  I am 44 and I really should be reviewing material that is age appropriate but I have been really struck by The Story Machine by Tom McLaughlin.

Click here to visit Tom's website
Click here to visit Tom's Website

Having written about Margaret Rooke and her book Creative, Successful, Dyslexic, I thought I would try to find other books that could be inspirational to readers of this blog.  Something grown up, sensible, and again age appropriate.... Then I found this book!

I found out about this book through the Guardian's article, 'A dyslexic author's writing tips for dyslexic kids' by Tom McLaughlin.  In this article Tom, who has always had a weird relationship with words, offers his supportive and beautiful writing tips to dyslexic children everywhere.

This article inspired me to buy the book and find out more about Tom's writing style.

So I downloaded The Story Machine onto my Kindle app and took a look...

Firstly, I was struck by how beautiful this book is.  Tom does his own illustrations. The first page was a visual feast of colour and charm.  The book is a story about Elliott, a boy that loved to find things who finds a typewriter.  The book hints that Elliott is dyslexic as he is not good with words, but Elliott is hoping that the strange machine is a story machine.

Picture taken from The Story Machine, courtesy of Tom McLaughlin & Bloomsbury
He then discovers that his playing with letters starts to build pictures and from there he can start to make stories.  Elliott uses the typewriter to express his stories in a non conventional way.

Without giving much more away, the book has a powerful message for children with dyslexia which is that you don't have to be good at writing words to be a fantastic storyteller.

Tom has had a successful writing career despite having dyslexia and with his ability to mix stunning illustrations with strategically (and minimally) written words his book certainly touched the heart of this 44 year old with his message.  I heartily recommend this book to you and any dyslexic learners that you are supporting. 

Tom's latest book is called 'The Accidental Prime Minister' and you can find out more about that here.

Have you read any of Tom's work?  Please let me know what you think about his books.  Have they helped a child with dyslexia to want to develop an appetite for reading?  Let me know :-)

John Hicks
The Studying With Dyslexia Blog