D-Day for Eye Can Write

12th July; this date has been highlighted on the calendar since January, before I handed in the first manuscript.  And now it is here – D-day for my book, Eye Can Write.                               
me and my book

At the weekend an extract from the book was featured in the Mail on Sunday, and on Monday there was an article about me and my book in the Daily Express.

Today you can see me on ITV’s This Morning (broadcast from 10.30-12.30) chatting to Holly and Phil about my book and the launch of my charity Teach Us Too, which is very exciting.  Now off to Channel 5 news.

This evening my book and charity are launched at Waterstones Piccadilly. I am honoured to be joined by Archbishop Justin, who will say a prayer and Sir Michael Morpurgo who will read an extract from my book.  If you didn’t manage to get a ticket before they sold out, we are hoping to record the event.

I hope you enjoy reading my book!

 

Double Launch

You wait for a year, then two launches come at once!

After a year’s hard work, my book is finally here.  And Teach Us Too is ready to be launched as a charity.

Almost exactly a year ago, while my friends were cavorting in post SATs frivolity, I was sat at home starting my book.  Optimistically, I envisioned completing the book by the end of that summer term, writing stories my mother had told me about my early life in her voice, and writing my story in my voice.  By July I had made some progress with my parts, had attempted and failed to write in my mother’s more colloquial voice, but was nowhere near completion.  So, in the summer holidays, in between all the fun and no work on holiday, I continued my story… but it still wasn’t finished.

Into the September term with the start of secondary school, and more school work, more homework, but still snatches of time for my book.  In the meantime, Mummy had reluctantly agreed to write the introduction, which she was mostly doing in my van parked in the secondary school car park – doubling up my care, so I could go to school.  Just before Christmas I completed my story, or so I thought.  Until I got it back from the editors.  Again… and again… and again.

So here it is.

book cover    _20180525_130956

 

Do come along to the launch, at Waterstones Piccadilly, if you can.  Amazingly, Michael Morpurgo is coming all the way from Devon to read an extract from the book, so it is anticipated that tickets will fill up fast.  Tickets are available here.

If you can’t make the launch, you can buy my book online or pre-order my book here.

My prayer is that my book will challenge assumptions based on outward appearances; something I have continued to campaign about – that all children should be taught to read and write regardless of their label.  To further this, I am giving all my proceeds from my book to the charity Teach Us Too, which will be launched at the same event.

I hope to see you there!

FestABLE

On Saturday I went to FestABLE, the inaugural National Festival of Specialist Learning, and co-presented a session on Teach Us Too.  Meeting with others trying to raise the standards in special schools in a collaborative way is so important to affect change for those in special education.

Throughout the day I met professionals and parents putting the educational needs of the child first, but the person I enjoyed meeting the most was in a wheelchair and had just completed a philosophy degree.  Inspired by my message, he endorsed my desire for all children to be taught to read and write regardless of their label.  So I left the festival with renewed strength for the task ahead and new hope for the future.

festable

 

 

Second Chance Meeting

Sometimes, before I could spell everything I wanted to say, I would meet someone in a one-off situation and be frustrated by my inability to chat with them; relying instead on looking them in the eye and smiling.  In September 2014, six months prior to spelling, I met one such person.  Here we are at the time:

archbishop-211.jpg

Never did I dream that I would get an opportunity to meet the Archbishop of Canterbury again.  But, yesterday, I was invited to Lambeth Palace for a glorious late afternoon meeting, and was able to have an interesting and in-depth discussion with the Archbishop about a range of topics close to my heart.  More wonderful still, all my family could come with me.

Joining the community for evening prayer in the Crypt was a beautiful end to an awesome day.

archbishop-2018-e1523043403864.jpg

 

 

Maundy Thursday

In preparation for Easter this year, I have spent some time immersing myself in some of the events of Maundy Thursday, and here is my first attempt at a sonnet.  Easter’s joy is all the more poignant having entered the darkness proceeding it.

 

Maundy Thursday

How can my master be my servant too?

Stooping, untying sandals caked with grime,

In tender strength his hands my feet renew,

His garment white is soiled in drying mine,

With laughter, celebrations fill the air,

Punctuated by sombre lifted cup,

Imbued new meaning to salvation share,

Away stole stealthy satan covered up,

He breaks, dividing bread the mystery,

Off’ring redemption’s sacrifice for all,

Into the darkness, hymns from slavery,

Up mount we climb in silence of nightfall,

Shall I my master all in this deny?

The rest may go, but surely Lord, not I!

© Jonathan Bryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shine a Light Award

What a day I had yesterday!  Travelling up to London on the train, we made our way to the impressive Strand offices of Pearson Clinical, which has an awesome panoramic view of London’s Thames landmarks. My hopes were also set high as I had been shortlisted for the Young Person of the Year at the Shine a Light Awards 2018.  Receiving the award from 2 previous winners, Gregor Gilmour and Jonathan Middleditch, was a great honour.  To have my work with my Teach Us Too campaign recognised by people in the field of speech and language therapy and education, feels like an endorsement of all I am trying to achieve for children yoked with labels that suffocate their learning.  

During the ceremony, a film was shared which was recorded at my school a few weeks ago.  As you will see below I have been blessed with an amazing bunch of friends.

 

The wait is over!

Overwhelmed by the response to the CBBC My Life Documentary, I want to thank the people who have contacted me and continue to support my campaign.

How did you watch it?  I gathered my friends and we cobbled together a big screen in the playroom.  Jollity filled the air and we whooped every time someone in the room appeared on the screen, and hollered ‘he’s 12’ every time the film said I was 10! To round off a perfect evening, my sisters made me a wonderful chocolate cake.

my life documentary

Don’t worry if you missed it, as it can be seen on iplayer for the next 28 days.

 

 


 

My Life Programme

Remember, remember the 5th… of February (it started well!)  Put the kettle on and sit down to watch CBBC at 5:30pm.  Filmed in November and December 2016, the crew followed me through confirmation, meeting the minister and spending time with Michael Morpurgo.  Watch the foretaste of the series below.  Enjoy!

Christmas Letter from the Desk of Jonathan

In September I started at Malmesbury Secondary School, where I am studying English, maths and science on a reduced timetable. Although I was very nervous when I began, I needn’t have been – I have made a great set of new friends, been accepted by the school community and love learning new things with inspiring teachers.

In the meantime my campaign for all children to be taught to read and write regardless of their label has taken me to speak at conferences in Leeds and Manchester, and the House of Lords. Teach Us Too continues to grow, with more plans in 2018.

All of this has kept me busy this term, but the reason I haven’t written many blogs is… writing! Every spare writing moment has been spent completing my book, Eye Can Write, which is due to be published in July 2018.

Below is a short extract from my book:

‘There are a number of reasons Christmas is my favourite time of year – the first is a pragmatic one, my body doesn’t mind being cold but causes me a lot of stress when it gets too hot, so the winter climate is perfect. Secondly, it means Daddy-time – not the usual quarter of an hour snatched between bath time and his evening meetings, but real Daddy-time, long afternoons, fact-filled forays into books, the ipad and outings. But before we can have our Daddy, there is the real reason I love Christmas. Sometimes, heaven and earth seem so close, they almost touch each other. This for me is the ‘magic’ of Christmas, and it’s not only for us children to enjoy, for Jesus came for us all. When heaven draws close to earth, it affects people’s behaviour, making them jollier, more generous and gentler.’

Happy Christmas to you all!

Christmas cake 2017

Christmas cake made by me, decoration designed by Susannah, decorated by Susannah, Jemima and me, shortly to be eaten by us all!