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Children's Fiction Special Needs

Duck Days

by (author) Sara Leach

illustrated by Rebecca Bender

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
Oct 2020
Special Needs, Friendship, Cycling, Bullying
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 7 to 10
  • Grade: 2 to 4



The third title in the collection that began with USBBY Outstanding International Book Slug Days. Lauren, a third-grade student who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, takes on the challenges of sharing her best friend and persevering when a classmate mocks her bicycle’s training wheels.

Irma is Lauren’s best friend. Irma knows all the strategies Lauren uses when her Autism Spectrum Disorder makes it hard to “go with the flow.” Lauren helps Irma learn English words and understand unfamiliar customs. So why does Irma suddenly want to introduce Lauren to her mountain-biking, litter-dropping neighbor Jonas? Why is Irma calling Jonas her friend?

As if sharing Irma weren’t bad enough, Lauren also has an alarming new problem at school. Their teacher has announced a mountain biking day when the students will learn to ride their bikes on an obstacle course. But Lauren still uses training wheels. She just can’t face the teasing she will get when her classmates see them. She isn’t brave like Irma. She can’t go with the flow like Dad. How can she possibly face this challenge?

From author Sara Leach and illustrator Rebecca Bender comes an honest and warm-hearted successor to the critically acclaimed Slug Days and Penguin Days. With straightforward text and frequent black-and-white illustrations, Duck Days is an accessible chapter book for any young reader with mountains of their own to climb.


About the authors

Sara Leach hails from Whistler, BC, where she loves to ski, hike and bike. Her middle grade novel Count Me In won the Red Cedar Book Award for 2012/13. In addition to being a children's author, she is also an elementary school teacher-librarian. She has had the privilege of teaching several amazing students with Asperger Syndrome (now classified under Autism Spectrum Disorder), and her experience working with them inspired Slug Days.


Sara Leach's profile page

Rebecca Bender is a well-loved author-illustrator of children’s books as well as an art director and designer. Her picture books include Not Friends, Don’t Laugh at Giraffe, Giraffe Meets Bird, Peach Girl (illustration), and How Do You Feel?. She has also illustrated the chapter books Slug Days, Penguin Days, and Duck Days. Rebecca’s awards and honors include the OLA Blue Spruce Award, a Cooperative Children’s Book Center best-of-the-year choice, and a Toronto Public Library best-of-the-year selection. Rebecca graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design at the top of her class, earning the Medal for Illustration. She lives in Burlington, Ontario, with her husband and two children.


Rebecca Bender's profile page


  • Nominated, OLA Forest of Reading Silver Birch Express Award
  • Short-listed, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens Selection
  • Commended, Junior Library Guild selection

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Duck Days

2020 Junior Library Guild selection

2022 OLA Forest of Reading Silver Birch Express Award nominee

2021 CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens Selection

“Rating: 5…All readers will be able to relate to [Lauren's] experiences navigating friendships, child stresses at school, and big emotions, and readers without autism will find many role models in the story for ways to connect with and support friends and family with autism…[A] fantastic story…”—Youth Services Book Review

Duck Days is an honest and warm-hearted successor to the critically acclaimed Slug Days and Penguin Days. With its straightforward text and frequent black-and-white illustrations, Duck Days is a thoroughly ‘kid friendly’ and accessible chapter book suitable for young readers ages 7-10 — especially those with mountains of their own to climb!”—Midwest Book Review

“We rated this book: [5/5]…This book is amazing. I love that it is from first person, Lauren’s point of view, and how we can see how she processes things.”—Manhattan Book Review

“From the author of the highly recommended Slug Days and Penguin Days, this early chapter book puts the reader squarely in the life of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”—Winnipeg Free Press

“Although Duck Days might read as a Kindergarten-grade 4 level book, I think it could be used as a teaching tool for even higher grades to address differences and challenges for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder….Having books like Duck Days available as a starting point for discussion with children who can relate and see themselves in Lauren’s behavior and thought process can only serve as essential tools for parents and teachers alike. Recommended.”—Canadian Review of Materials

Duck Days by Sara Leach is a novel for ages 7 – 11. Third grade student Lauren has Autism Spectrum Disorder and experiences some things a bit different from her friends….This book is part of a well written series for young kids on Autism and Asperger’s.”—The International Educator

“With each new story we get to celebrate Lauren’s successes in developing coping strategies that give her the comfort to endure typical childhood situations...Duck Days will captivate early readers with both the familiarity and distinction of Lauren’s circumstances and recognize that being brave is in everyone.”—CanLit for LittleCanadians

Duck Days is a heart-warming chapter book for early readers....Even if your young reader doesn’t have the same mountains to climb as Lauren, Duck Days and the other books in the series, are a good choice.”—Getting Kids Reading

“Everything Lauren does in Duck Days is very relatable to all children but this story also fosters empathy in those who do not have ASD….Books like Duck Days and the companion stories Slug Days and Penguin Days are important for your readers to access.”—Storytime with Stephanie

“I like to see how Lauren grows from book to book and becomes more confident in her abilities and tackles new challenges with the help of her family, friends, and teachers. As always with this series, the illustrations show both the events of the story as well as Lauren’s feelings.”—Canadian Bookworm

“I loved the Autism representation in this story....This is a great children’s book!”—Jill’s Book Blog

“I feel annoyed reading books like this because I can really feel the pain that Lauren goes through. I have had teachers who didn’t understand me, and behaved very passive aggressively in response to my autism.…These books show how many autistic children experience life.”Disability Rights UK, Aurelia (aged 11)


Other titles by Sara Leach

Other titles by Rebecca Bender

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