Explore dyslexia, multiple sclerosis, and books

KNEES shows us what it is like to live with dyslexia, how it makes life difficult, especially reading and writing, even talking. Fortunately Louis has parents, a teacher, and friends who understand and support him in his quest to overcome what can be a significant obstacle.

I have been a reviewer for NetGalley for several years, but only recently reviewed any children’s books. I received a digital PDF copy of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley. This post also uses affiliate links that can help support this blog. Now, let’s learn about…


the mixed-up world of a boy with dyslexia

by Vanita Oelschlager , illustrated by Joe Rossi

KNEES is a book about a boy, Louis the Third, who is in the 4th grade. It is not about his knees but about his dyslexia which he describes as a “mix up between eyes and brain” such that his words come out backwards, like this-


Except that not only are the letters in reverse order, but the letters are also backward. When you see a “b”, he sees a “d”.

KNEES shows us what it is like to live with dyslexia, how it makes life difficult, especially reading and writing, even talking. Fortunately Louis has parents, a teacher, and friends who understand and support him in his quest to overcome what can be a significant obstacle.

Louis learns the key to living with dyslexia is finding an activity he is good at. After trying, and failing, at several different ones, he eventually excels at a skill that surprises us.

The author tells us about super achievers who also have dyslexia; Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney and others are mentioned in the book.

The illustrator, Joe Rossi, used simple pencil sketches that portray Louis somewhat as a comic strip character; I think it was a wise choice. The strong clean lines make Louis the star of this book and kept him from getting lost in detailed color pictures.  This is Mr. Rossi’s first illustration of a children’s book . A note explained that hard copies are printed on cream colored paper to be easier for people with dyslexia to read.

This book is fun, entertaining, educational, and inviting to kids and adults; I enjoyed it and recommend it for your kids.

About the author of KNEES

Vanita Oelschlager is a wife, mother, grandmother, philanthropist,  former teacher, current caregiver, author, and poet. She graduated from Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where she serves as a Trustee. She is  Writer In Residence for the Literacy Program at The University of Akron.

Her first book, My Grampy Can’t Walk, was widely praised. It’s an uplifting story about the wonderful relationship between her husband Jim, who has multiple sclerosis, and their grandchildren.

Mrs. Oelschlager is a publisher as well as an author. Her company, VanitaBooks, is an independent publisher with “a large heart for children with life problems”.

VanitaBooks help children through those life experiences adults call ‘growing up.’ In her books she explores of history, folklore, origin traditions, poetry, grammar fun, pets, family and more. She also tackles difficult topics like disabilities, childhood fears, family life: adoption, fostering, loss, non-traditional, military and more.

Through her company VanitaBooksLLC, she dedicated the book KNEES to Lawrence School in Ohio and donated the book’s net profits.  

After creating VanitaBooks, her successful children’s book publishing company, Vanita launched Newburn Drive Press for adult books. Titles include her first novel, Silent is the Magpie, and her first poetry book, Air Mask.

About Air Mask:Poems of Passion, Love, Life & Survival

MS is hard on everyone–the person who lives with the disease and those who live with the person with the disease. Its toll on family caregivers can be especially hard. As a wife and caregiver, Vanita knows exactly how hard it can be. She’s captured those experiences and emotions in Air Mask, her first book of poetry.

Air Mask is a record of trial and triumph, both Vanita’s and her husband’s. It reaches out to those who have been tested by the daily struggles of living with multiple sclerosis and other chronic diseases.

Newburn Drive.com

VanitaBooks and Newburn Drive Press donate all net profits to the Oak Clinic for Multiple Sclerosis and other selected charities.

Jim & Vanita Oelschlager

2016 Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award Recipients

Jim Oelschlager founded Oak Associates, Ltd., an investment firm in Bath Township, (Ohio) and the Oak Clinic, a nonprofit facility in Uniontown that treats patients with multiple sclerosis, regardless of their ability to pay. 

Jim was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1973. He founded the clinic in 2001 as a comprehensive resource for multiple sclerosis patients’ nursing and medical care, social services, education, rehabilitation and social enrichment.

The Oelschlagers remain the Oak Clinic’s primary funders. Vanita donates a percentage of her revenue from writing to the clinic and other related charities.

The Oelschlagers’ philanthropy has benefited health care organizations throughout the region where they live, including Akron Children’s Hospital. Over three decades, they donated more than $12 million and created three charitable funds at the hospital: the Oelschlager Center for Child Advocacy Endowment Fund, the Adoption Advocacy Center Fund, and the Global Health Fund, which provides health care resources to children in disadvantaged locations throughout the world.

Read more about multiple sclerosis and find links to other resources at this link from the National Institutes of Health

NINDS– Multiple Sclerosis

exploring, and sharing, the HEART of health

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. What I thought would be a review of a cute children’s book, turned into an opportunity to meet a talented author and illustrator, and a couple who share my passion for sharing the heart of health.

While not all of us have the resources the Oelschlagers have, anyone can donate time or talent to help someone else. I hope this post prompts you to find a way to share the heart of health with someone soon.

Please subscribe and you’ll know when I post another new article.

Here is another review of a children’s book

Kids with migraine-a book review

Ms. Stein introduces her book by explaining it is fiction based on personal experience, so when she describes the migraine “aura” she understands what that means. (Aura is the intial sign of an impending migraine headache, usually visual changes.)

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Author: Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D.

As a family physician, I explore the HEART of HEALTH in my work, recreation, community, and through writing. My blog, Watercress Words, informs and inspires us to live in health. I believe we can turn our health challenges into healthy opportunities. When we do, we can share the HEART of health with our families, communities, and the world. Come explore and share with me.

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