A new book written by a six-year-old girl has been made accessible to readers with sight loss thanks to advice and help provided by Seescape, a visual impairment support charity in Fife.
Seescape worked with child author Eve Nairn-Magnante, who is now 14, on her book, Santa Steals Christmas!, which tells the story of Santa and his band of helpers seeking to unmask an imposter who has stolen the world’s Christmas presents.
Eve, who is autistic, started writing the book when she was just six, with help from her father Mark. She also worked with illustrator Nicholas Child, who drew the story and its various characters.
The book is available in a range of formats, including four different types of Braille, a British Sign Language version, an enhanced audio description, and a dyslexia-friendly paperback edition.
Free copies of the book are being given to schools, libraries, charities and hospitals. The charities who helped develop it will receive donations from the sales.
As Eve became more skilled as a writer, she and her father Mark were inspired to try to tackle exclusion in publishing by developing the project and publishing it for different audiences.
Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News, Eve said
“I think anyone should be able to access things that other people can access, and I find it unfair that books are written in the UK in a way that other people can’t read.”
Her father Mark added
“We are publishing a story we feel is truly for everyone. Eve imagined a world in which all children would feel seen and included and our aim was to ensure the story was available in multiple formats for everyone to access and enjoy.”
Finally, he expressed his thanks to Eve’s Primary 7 teacher at school, who, Mark said, helped nurture Eve’s writing talent, as well as let Mark know about what stories she was working on at school.
A range of charities have supported the book, and helped its development, among them Dyslexia Scotland, Scottish Autism, Deaf Action and sight loss charity Seescape.
Eve and her dad Mark worked with Seescape to ensure the book could be read by children and families with visual impairments. Two of their workers with visual impairments, Lindsey McDonald and Caroline Penman, read the book and gave tips about how to improve its accessibility.
Eve now wants to see the way books are published changed, so that they are more accessible to neurodivergent children, those with conditions including dyslexia and autism.