Indigo solves the pzulze – review

Written by Wendy Fitzgerald, Illustrated by Sophie Norsa
Little steps publishing, NSW 2012
ISBN 9781921928987 (hardcover)

A book with a message about a girl who finds out she has dyslexia. She wants to feel normal and to help other people who have dyslexia.”  By Josh, aged 11

Indigo solves the pzulze is a book splashed with vibrant hues, charming watercolour illustrations and the unfolding personal story of Indigo. Without any fuss, ten-year old Indigo describes a bit about herself. She loves acting, netball, horse riding, swimming, playing guitar and spending time with her family. The illustrations depict an energetic and creative girl and so it is interesting to read that although Indigo loves hearing stories she has trouble at school learning to read.

The book’s slightly higgledy-piggledy font matches reversed and jumbled letters of posters on the classroom walls, Indigo doesn’t know why letters jump out at her. Readers understand why reading is difficult for Indigo.  Life for Indigo at school was lonely and girls in her class taunted her. Illustrator Sophie Norsa has drawn these faceless girls in grey and as bystanders. Indigo becomes secretive, hiding her feelings and sitting by herself in the playground at lunchtime. Her sadness is expressed at home when she can’t stop crying.    Her mum says we’ll work this out together.

Here is a turning point. Indigo’s mum walks with her to school accompanied by a whole chorus of birds. A revelation is about to take place! Indigo has some tests and finds that her IQ shows she is clever but she has dyslexia. Indigo and her mum are relieved and now something can be done to help her read letters, numbers and words.

Primary school children and their parents reading Indigo solves the pzulze will learn about dyslexia. Many will relate to Indigo’s personal experience because they have had similar feelings of being isolated and bullied.

A note for parents and teachers at the beginning of the book speaks of the prevalence of dyslexia for children and particularly for girls. The difference between boys and girls behaviour is explained. Girls may try to cover up their reading difficulties which go unnoticed. Many parents may not realise their daughters are struggling and are not getting the help they need.

Indigo solves the pzulze is a book which promotes early support and assistance for children to improve literacy. This has far-reaching implications for people’s lives. Indigo, her mum and Dr Catriona Wallace want to make a difference so they launched the Indigo Express Fund. Purchasing this book will help the fundraising initiative.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children can have trouble with reading and writing too. Indigo Express Fund works with the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, MultiLit and the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation. Find more about initiatives to improve children’s literacy through resource links at the back of the book.

Jillian Rattray
AWCH librarian
July 2015