In October of 2010, I was working in an after school program. I was the director of the program…which meant I got to be the bad guy.
One of the things on my bad guy daily to-do list was making sure the children each read for 15 minutes every day. Every child listened to me…except for one. A little blonde haired first grade boy named S.
Sweet little S. refused to read. Every day he had a new excuse for not reading.
“This book has too many pages, Ms. Anna.”
"This book has too many words, Ms. Anna."
"Ms. Anna, this book is too big."
Every day, I sat with this boy and tried to convince him he could read. But the truth was, as long as he thought he couldn’t read…he really couldn’t do it. His self-doubt doomed him to failure…and my encouragement meant nothing because he negated every positive comment I made.
Soon after, I left my position to focus on my own studies. I left very frustrated because I couldn’t teach S. to read…and I hate when I can’t do something.
I was sitting in philosophy class one day, very upset about this, when I had an idea: I’m gonna make S. a book that he can’t read, and I’m gonna call it “You Can’t Read This Book”.
I wrote the first draft of the book right there…and it was published within a year.
Is there something you can’t do?