Award-winning author Sally Gardner created a career out of the very thing she called her enemy for years-- words. Gardner is severely dyslexic, and went through years of early schooling unable read or write. One of her early teachers even called her ‘unteachable’. At the time of Gardner’s schooling, being dyslexic was not recognized as a learning disability. She was instead labeled as ‘word blind’ and was given no supplementary or alternative material. Gardner struggled with the traditional school system, where she was graded on her ability to perform on a written exam rather than her abilities themselves. It wasn’t until she enrolled in an art school that her interest in storytelling and writing was nurtured. In this new school setting, Gardner both excelled at her studies and strengthened that which would foster her future children novels-- a vividly interactive imagination.

Having published award-winning novels such as I Coriander and Maggot Moon, Gardner happily notes in a piece published in The Guardian that she has gone from “the dyslexic writer” to “a writer who happens to be dyslexic.” She hasn’t stopped there though. Gardner has additionally published many poems that address dyslexia. Her poem “The Box” comments on both the frustration and imaginative abilities of dyslexics, as well as the school systems that force dyslexic children into an inflexible examination system which suppresses their abilities.

Visit Sally Gardner’s website here to see all of her published children's novels. Or read the piece Gardner wrote for The Guardian’s Dyslexia Awareness Week here.