A TEENAGER from Tenbury who has both dyslexia and dyscalculia is on a mission to raise thousands of pounds for NHS Charities Together.
Neeko Hewson, 13, became a first-time published author with the release of ‘Abberley Hall: The Magical Clock Tower’.
All profits from her adventurous tale for nine to 12-year-olds will support NHS staff across the UK.
“I dreamt of writing a story to tell other children when I was nine years old, but I didn’t think it would be possible to create – let alone publish – a book because of my learning difficulties,” revealed Neeko, who is a pupil at Abberley Hall School in Worcestershire.
“My English teacher said: ‘Write what you know’, so I thought about the old clock tower at my school and what magic might be hiding behind its door. I started putting a picture book together; then, when Covid hit, I worked on my project even harder. I used my time in lockdown to work on my characters and the magical lands – painting pictures of them with my family. It became a book of more than a hundred pages, which I hope other children will enjoy. Covid was really hard for NHS key workers and so, through my book, I really want to raise money to help with their mental health.”
Over the course of two years, ghost writer Jude Lennon and illustrator Lisa Williams from publishing house TAUK Kids helped Neeko to develop her ideas during a series of Zoom calls and home visits.
She also received encouragement from her Learning Support Teacher Mrs Beaumont, as well as Headmaster Mr Besley, and her Art teacher.
“Albert Einstein had dyslexia and he could still do things!” said Neeko, who has a twin brother, Darcy, and a six-year-old brother named Anatole. “Even if you don’t understand words or numbers, you can do so much more than you think. You just have to follow your dreams.”
Proud father James Hewson, 46, said that the process of creating what Neeko hopes will be the first book in an ‘Abberley Hall’ series gave the family a positive focus during the pandemic: “Creating this book has been an amazing father-daughter bonding experience; it is something we will have in our family forever more.
‘When Neeko’s mum Francesca and I saw her initial picture book, we knew it had to be expanded to do it service. With her dyslexia and dyscalculia in mind, we wanted to give her confidence going forward as a young person that you do have choices – even if sometimes you have to work harder. We also wanted to expose Neeko to working with other people and making use of their skillsets, which is healthy both in life and in business. There is great strength in collaboration and I would like to thank everyone who has played a part in bringing this book to life.”
‘Abberley Hall: The Magical Clock Tower’ is available to purchase from galaxy-publishing.com
Donations to Neeko’s JustGiving page can be made at justgiving.com/fundraising/TheMagicalClockTower