Book review: Looking for heroes–One boy, one year, 100 letters


The book

Looking for heroes, One Boy, One Year, 100 Letters by Aidan Colvin with Liisa Ogburn, 2016

“Not only does the book show us how role models can help us on our journey, ultimately, it shows us that like Aidan we can and should be the heroes of our own story.” ~The Dyslexic Library book review

What’s it about?

Like many dyslexic teenagers, Aidan Colvin can clearly identify his weaknesses. Yet everyone keeps telling him to “find his strengths.” Annoying, right? Aidan rightly asks: “how do you do that?”

Looking for an answer to that question, he wrote letters to 100 dyslexic heroes to find out how they achieved success. He didn’t expect anyone to write back. Lucky for us–many of them did (more proof that the dyslexic community rocks!). He and his mother/co-author Liisa Ogburn published those letters in 2016 in a collection titled, Looking for heroes, One Boy, One Year, 100 Letters.

Here are just a few of the people whose letters are included in the collection:

  • Writer John Irving
  • Arctic exploer Ann Bancroft
  • Surgeon and CEO Delos Cosgrove
  • Sculptor Thomas Sayre
  • Poet Phillip Schultz



Who should read it?

  • Teenagers and adults with dyslexia/learning or attention issues
  • Parents/families
  • Teachers
  • Advocates
  • Anyone who is looking for a hero

Why we love it

Looking for heroes has received rave review from readers, and rightly so. It’s a fun way for any child, teen or adult to learn about dyslexia, and it would be a good family read-aloud book at bedtime. Here’s why we loved it:

It’s chock full of helpful advice and tips: Looking for heroes is a treasure trove of personal insights and practical advice from some of the world’s most creative thinkers and dyslexia experts, including from Aidan and his mom. The contributors share personal insights into both the challenges and strengths that come with dyslexia (and how to turn those challenges into advantages).

It’s inspiring because it’s grounded in reality: Aidan’s personal story is interwoven with the letters he receives from famous dyslexics. Seeing the information presented this way reminds us that even the most successful dyslexic is on the same path we are. It’s empowering to realize you’re part of a community that includes some of the world’s greatest writers, movie makers, physicians, scientists…we’re not so stupid after all, are we?

It celebrates everyday heroes: There are many heroes in this story, including Aidan and his loving family (more proof that every dyslexic kids needs an advocate: whether that be a parent, teacher or friend). Not only does the book show us how role models can help us on our journey, ultimately, it shows us that like Aidan we can and should be the heroes of our own story.

It’s honest: Aidan and his mom (co-author Liisa Ogburn) don’t gloss over the challenges of being a dyslexic teen, nor for any teen trying to find their way. That makes the book even more readable and relatable for teens.

Excerpt from book “Looking for heroes” by Aidan Colvin

It’s timeless: Aidan wrote the book when he was in grade 10. Three years have passed since Looking for heroes was published. Aidan has probably finished high school and is busy pursuing his dreams. Time moves on, but this book is timeless. Every year, a new generation of teens will look for answers to the same questions. I hope they will find this book, the wisdom it offers, and know they aren’t alone.

Quotable quote

“Look what can happen when we realize that the very things we think are holding us back instead turn out to be the key to the worlds we could never have imagined.” ~Aidan Colvin, Looking for heroes

There’s always a “but”….The letters in this collection are things of beauty, and I wish a publisher would pick this book up and do it justice in terms of layout and promotion. I did discover that in 2017, a second edition of “Looking for Heroes: One Boy, One Year, 100 Letters” was published  featuring a redesign for dyslexic readers. Though I haven’t seen it (I have the 2016 edition) it features a cleaner layout with better spacing, a Dutch font designed for dyslexic readers and punchier graphics.


Dyslexic Kids–Aidan’s website

This teen author found his hero right at home

Jay Leno’s advice to my dyslexic son


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