Last summer I discovered a series of books involving Alvin Ho, a second grader with a load of anxiety disorders. My younger son, Brayden, who was going into second grade, absolutely loved these stories. Alvin considers his anxieties more like allergies. He is allergic to girls, the outdoors, death, funerals, school, and just scary things in general. School is a challenge for him as he has some type of selective mutism--he absolutely does not talk. This is very frustrating for his teacher and his psychotherapist who has yet to make a huge breakthrough with him.
Fortunately for Alvin, he sits next to a student who fully understands him and is able to communicate on his behalf. Only, this student is a girl and Alvin wants nothing to do with her and is often down right rude to her at times. She tries to remain understanding, but has been known to lash out at him. His lack of communication often leads to conflicts, which could be resolved right away, but instead creates deeper layers to his problems that just only makes things worse. Lucky for the reader! Because Alvin's initial dysfunctional attempts to resolve his issues are hysterical. The reader is left at the end of each chapter with the anticipation of the chaos that will surely follow. My son and I were often left not wanting to even turn the page, but finding it impossible to resist to find out how deep in trouble this kid gets himself into. Anyone who loves Junie B. Jones will love this kid--even when he's totally despicable.
I can see some parents avoiding these series because Alvin is not always a great role model. Keep in mind--he's a child. Anyone who thinks children are supposed to be perfect angels (even though they might look the part) are living in a fantasy world that doesn't exist. And Alvin does learn important life lessons in the end, much like my own son. My son can easily relate to Alvin Ho.
Do yourself a favor! If you have second graders or you have been one yourself, read these books. They are written by Lenore Look and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Here's a quick link to browse them on Amazon.