Featuring: Counting to D by Kate Scott (Guest Post)

February 4, 2014

I've always enjoyed reading books with characters that are outside the norm. It always leads to some interesting reading, and most often also expands our thinking horizons. We have on the blog today one such book, called Counting to D, which is described as a 'brainy YA' book with a dyslexic protagonist in an conflicting situation. Check out the blurb and cook features that have been incorporated into the book, and scroll down for a guest post by the author on her own experiences dealing with dyslexia.

Title: Counting to D
Author: Kate Scott
Publication date: February 1, 2014
Publisher: Elliott Books
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Amazon Goodreads | TBD
When her mom gets a job in a faraway city, Sam decides not to tell anyone about her little illiteracy problem. Her new reality seems perfect. But she’s not sure she can keep it that way...

The kids at Sam’s school never knew if they should make fun of her for being too smart or too dumb. That’s what it means to be dyslexic, smart, and illiterate. Sam is sick of it. So when her mom gets a job in a faraway city, Sam decides not to tell anyone about her little illiteracy problem.

Without her paradox of a reputation, she falls in with a new group of highly competitive friends who call themselves the Brain Trust. When she meets Nate, her charming valedictorian lab partner, she declares her new reality perfect. But in order to keep it that way, she has to keep her learning disability a secret. The books are stacked against her and so are the lies. Sam’s got to get the grades, get the guy, and get it straight—without being able to read.

Counting to D is a brainy YA romance with with a thorny puzzle sure to resonate with anyone who has struggled with learning disabilities, young love or just being a teen!

Note About The Font: The font used in Counting to D is specially designed to be easier to read for dyslexics.

Guest Post
Becoming An Illiterate Author

I chose to write a book with a dyslexic main character for very personal reasons. I am dyslexic, and because dyslexia is genetic, I have numerous dyslexic relatives. None of the descriptions of dyslexia I’ve found in fiction have felt authentic to me, so I decided to remedy this problem by penning a dyslexia story of my own. That being said, my own experience growing up with dyslexia didn’t exactly mirror Sam’s (the main character in my YA novel, Counting to D). For the most part, I think things were easier for me than for her.

I was officially diagnosed with dyslexia at the beginning of third grade, when I was eight years old. At that time, my father and older brother had both already received dyslexia diagnoses, as had several of my other extended family members. So there was never any mystery in my family regarding what dyslexia was or how it should be treated.

My mother, the sole literate member of my immediate family, was a middle school English teacher. She read everything to my brother and me, and she made it her personal mission to ensure that neither of us fell behind in school as a result of our dyslexia. She then went on to apply her knowledge of dyslexia in her own classroom. She started a new literacy program in her school that specifically targeted learning disabled students, whose needs didn’t fit the more traditional special education model.

In addition to having tremendous support at home, my parents also hired a private tutor, Marjorie, for me to work with outside of school. Marjorie spent more than 450 hours with me when I was between the ages of eight and twelve, teaching me the phonics required to enter the literate world. I am thankful for this gift every time I pick up a book, and I dedicated Counting to D to her as a result.

By the time I made it to high school, my dyslexia no longer felt like an “issue.” I could sound things out well enough to read the questions on my tests and assignments. I got audio versions of most of my textbooks, and my mom was always willing to read me the books I didn’t have recordings for. I took almost exclusively honors and advanced placement courses and graduated at the top of my class.

I wasn’t a “learning disabled kid”; I was a big, fat nerd. Unlike Sam’s group of brainy friends, we didn’t call ourselves the Brain Trust, but my high school friends and I definitely took academics very seriously! My friends all knew I could barely read, but years of friendship with me had proven to them that reading and thinking were two very different things. As a result, I managed to avoid most of the discrimination Sam faces in Counting to D.

Now that I’m an adult, it’s even easier for me to imagine away my learning disability. I have multiple degrees and academic-sounding letters after my name. I’m a successful engineer, a small business owner, and a published author. Some people would call me a dyslexic success story. But I’m just as dyslexic today as I was back in third grade.

That’s the thing most non-dyslexic people can’t understand: I have achieved all these things in my life, not despite, but because of my disability. I haven’t surmounted huge challenges and overcome obstacles. I’ve simply chosen to take advantage of the many non-literary strengths I possess. I’m still a very slow reader and a HORRIBLE speller. I’m still dyslexic, and I will always be dyslexic. But I have never felt disabled.

Sam is a bright teenage girl with immense potential. She’s going places, and Counting to D is just a short chapter of her life’s journey. She can barely read, but she’s smart enough to understand she doesn’t have to. Letters are everywhere, but they aren’t everything. As I said, thinking and reading are two very different things, and everyone with dyslexia understands that.

I am an illiterate author, who wrote a book about an illiterate teenage whiz kid. I will never be a good speller, but spelling is overrated. And my life is pretty freakin’ great.

About The Author

Kate Scott lives in the suburbs outside Portland, Oregon with her husband Warren. Kate was diagnosed with dyslexia as a young child but somehow managed to fall in love with stories anyway. Counting to D is her first novel. When Kate isn’t writing, she enjoys listening to audiobooks, camping, and spending time with her friends and family. Kate also spends a lot of time doing math and sciency things and is a licensed professional engineer.