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Queenie Jean Is in Trouble Again

by Christine Read

Christine Read (Credit: Carrie Marshall Photography)

Author Christine Read shines a light on the thoughts and feelings of kids with ADHD in her debut middle-grade novel, Queenie Jean Is in Trouble Again.

Queenie is a Grade 5 student who gets herself into a lot of predicaments. She’s excitable, talkative, exuberant, forgetful, and impulsive. New to Vancouver, Queenie is looking for a BFF (best friend forever). She attempts to befriend Kenneth, who is not amused by her suggested nicknames of “Kenny” or “Ken,” and Chloe, who is more interested in Queenie’s cute older brother and hanging out with the cool kids at the country club.

Despite her best efforts to fit in, Queenie’s days are filled with chaos and disarray. Queenie encounters a lot of upper-case challenges, including a “Horrible Awful Brother,” her new “Very Important Principal,” and her “Horrible Awful ADHD.” When she loses track of her school calendar on the second day of class and forgets her gym clothes, her mother says, “You know how you lose and forget everything.” When the school calls, her father asks, “What did she do this time?” 

Queenie is short on allies. While her teacher Miss Smart is understanding and calm, and the vice-principal is empathetic, it’s Queenie’s mom who advocates for her unique behavioural needs. When Queenie decides to sell her artistic pencil cases at school to make money for her GIC, it’s her dad who celebrates her entrepreneurial spirit, while the principal makes her pay the profits back to the school.

Although she is a procrastinator, Queenie eventually has a breakthrough moment during the “Life-or-Death Speech Competition” when she speaks her truth as a left-handed ADHD kid, and wins a hard-earned victory among her classmates.

The author beautifully captures both the universal feelings of a misfit and the unique characteristics of kids with ADHD. Many readers will understand Queenie when she expresses such negative self-talk as, “I’m such a loser,” and “Shame washes over me.” The diary-like illustrations with misspellings give us a sense of Queenie’s challenges and inner world. The book’s final pages offer facts on ADHD with helpful tips for teachers.

Queenie Jean is a new underdog hero to all creative, energetic innovators and disrupters who are poised to harness the strengths of neurodiversity and forge new paths.


Reviewer: Nikki Luscombe

Publisher: Heritage House Publishing, Wandering Fox Books


Price: $14.95

Page Count: 224 pp

Format: Paper

ISBN: 9781772034790

Released: April

Issue Date: April 2024

Categories: Children and YA Fiction, Kids’ Books

Age Range: 9–12