Today I received a very special book in the post, Ginger is a Hero, by Beth Webb. I plan to review it in the next couple of days but first wished to talk about its provenance.
It tells a story but there are no words, only pictures. People who cannot read, or who don’t like written words, are often very good at reading pictures. This book is published by a small, not for profit organisation called Beyond Words who publish books and provide services for adults with learning disabilities.
Each of their books tells a story, but they also let the reader tell their own story – the one they see in the pictures. This can tell a lot about a person’s inner world and their understanding of situations. There is plenty to talk about and each story explores feelings and reactions as well as giving information.
For someone who struggles with words there are barriers to getting the right health or social care and support. Even when a person with a problem reaches someone who can help, like a doctor, a social worker or a therapist, there can be communication problems and anxieties on both sides. By telling the story in pictures, each Beyond Words title gives people the chance to work together to explore different types of situations.
Ginger is a Hero is the first in a new Beyond Words series called Page Turners. These stories are designed to be read for fun, alone or with others. Ginger is a cat who befriends a young neighbour, much to the annoyance of the elderly lady Ginger lives with. Who wouldn’t want to read a story about a typically obdurate but adorable cat?
Everyone should have a right to read and enjoy books. With this new Beyond Words series readers who struggle with words are offered the opportunity to enjoy stories, as those of us avid readers of words can do.
As we celebrate the joy provided by books through initiatives such as Books Are My Bag, Super Thursday and National Poetry Day, may we remember that our education and abilities are privileges.