By Nancy Tandon. Charlesbridge, 2022. 240 pages. $16.99/hardcover; $9.99/eBook. Recommended for ages 10–12.
The Way I Say It is a story about an 11-year-old boy who has a speech problem. He cannot say the R sound. It comes out of his mouth sounding like W. This is a major problem, as his name is “Rory.”
Rory has gone to speech therapy in elementary school, and now he’s in sixth grade in a larger middle school. The author, Nancy Tandon, is a speech-language pathologist. She describes Rory’s torment in a way that makes the reader aware of the social problems associated with a speech problem.
Tandon captures the angst of middle school friendships and drama. Rory’s best friend, Brent, starts hanging out with some mean boys, and he joins them in teasing Rory about his speech. When Brent suffers a brain injury in an accident, Rory struggles with standing up for his friend.
This book is a pleasing read for young people aged 10–12. It addresses differences, relationships, and friendship from a young person’s perspective. As a retired speech-language pathologist myself, I appreciated the book, and especially the therapeutic methods used by Rory’s new speech therapist. This book will be a good read for middle school students, teachers, and parents.
Katie Green is a member of Clearwater (Fla.) Meeting. She is a storyteller, workshop leader, and educator.