We love wayward children in literature. Not so much in life.
When Sally Rippin discovered her child was struggling to read, the best-selling children’s author assumed it would sort itself out over time. She couldn’t have been more wrong. Her son’s dyslexia and ADHD went undiagnosed for years, leaving him further and further behind his peers, and labelled as ‘difficult’ by an education system that couldn’t easily cater to neurodivergent kids. And by the time Sally learned how to advocate for her child, it was – almost – too late.
This extraordinary book for parents is about how we learn to read and what can happen if we don’t, through the eyes of a parent who did everything the wrong way. Through meticulous research, interviews with educational experts and conversations with neurodivergent adults, Rippin shares her brilliant and eye-opening insights into how we can help all kids find the joy in reading, and advocate for them within the limited mainstream schooling system – and maybe even help shift the system entirely. After all, they say school isn’t for everyone, but if everyone must go to school – then why not?
Reviews for Wild Things
'Sally Rippin is one of Australia's most beloved children's authors, but this book is her true gift to parents. Wild Things throbs with love, compassion and, above all, hope for children who happen to find written words really hard.'
– Alice Pung OAM, author of Unpolished Gem
'Wild Things shows what happens in an education system that isn’t built to support different learning styles. This is a must-read for parents, teachers and universities wanting to learn how we can create an inclusive and accessible education system for everyone.'
– Eliza Hull, disability advocate and editor of We've Got This: Stories by Disabled Parents
‘This illuminating, big-hearted, deeply humane book is both essential guide and powerful call to action. A much-needed source of solace and empowerment for any parent with a child who struggles at school, this is also a vital commentary on the desperate need for a better resourced and more inclusive education system. Left me heartbroken, inspired, and fired up to create change for the kids locked out of all that reading brings.’
– Rachel Power, author of The Divided Heart and journalist for the Australian Education Union.
‘[Wild Things] is powerful and informative, full of wonderful tips and evidence-based facts. It’s going to be helpful for everyone – parents and carers, anyone who has been touched by literacy difficulties, at any stage of their life. Our kids do find their way, but as [Sally Rippin has] clearly said, this journey would have been so much easier if our kids had only been given the opportunity to learn to read early in primary school.’
– Heidi Gregory, founder of the Dyslexia Victoria Support Facebook page