“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”Albert Einstein
Most people don’t know this about me, but I didn’t learn how to read until I was seven—about the age I decided to be an author. And to be honest, even today I’m pretty slow.
But you know there was one thing that always kept be going. Many famous scientists and inventors were also bad at all the things I was bad at. (And good at the things I was good at, namely science) For a start, Einstein was told he should attend a trade school and his teachers reportedly declared him as borderline intellectually impaired. Now, okay, I admit to never quite managing to reach those lofty heights of academic frustration, but there were others with issues that made learning for them…different. Edison, Bell, Ford, The Wright Brothers, Greider, Horner, Maxwell & Faraday, to name a few.
I loved the fact that my father’s English was atrocious, but he still got a PhD. And when I say atrocious, I mean exactly that. His spelling made my primary school spelling look good, but in science that didn’t matter. What mattered was his ideas and the quality of his work.
It’s the ideas that matter.
The Frankie Files and a dyslexic hero
And so with Frankie, making my inventor dyslexic was a no-brainer. Of course she was dyslexic. It makes sense as so many scientists and inventors don’t think in words, they think in concepts. Visualisation, like language is a skill that grows through use.
But mainly, I wanted a positive role-model. School can be such a sad place for people who struggle to read and write. (One of my secondary school bullies basically turned her whole life around after learning to read—she’d been hiding her lack under a veneer of bad behaviour to save face. A story that is all too common.)
So yes, whether you consider dyslexia to be a fundamental problem with (various or specific) language skills, or simply an inability to read, or read at a level that would otherwise be expected, is irrelevant. What is relevant is that some of the greatest minds have had difficulties reading and writing, and we celebrate them for what they could do, and the things that they did. These minds were allowed to flourish, and given the resources to do that. Frankie is my way of passing on the scientific method to the next generation, while also being a fun series of stories about a whacky inventor who gets into monster trouble.
Have fun reading,
See who has caught the science bug with Frankie here: https://ponderbooks.com/catch-the-science-bug-with-the-frankie-files/