Halifax author launches new children’s book on the adventures of Grandad Wheels

Brian Abram with grandson Charles
Brian Abram with grandson Charles

A Halifax author has launched the first in a series of books which draw on personal experiences to tell the story of adventures of a grandson and his disabled grandad.

Brian Abram, 62, has launched ‘Charlie’s Big Idea!’, the first of five books in ‘The Adventures of Grandad Wheels!’ series.

Back in 2013 Brian was involved in an accident when he was training for a fundraising bicycle ride to Spain.

The incident left him completely paralysed from the waist down.

He spent a year recovering at Pinderfields Spinal Unit and will now always be a full-time wheelchair user.

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The idea for the book came when Brian wanted to help his grandson Charles, who was very young when he had his accident, understand why he didn’t walk like other grandads.

Family and friends suggested Brian write more and the idea for ‘Grandad Wheels’ was born.

The series comes in the wake of criticism that modern children’s books feature fewer children with disabilities than in the Victorian era.

In the last 12 months, only one of the top 100 best-selling children’s books explicitly refers to disability – something Brian hopes to change.

Brian said: "The message is there is definitely life after spinal injury. It’s hard, but different things reward you so much.

“The Adventures of Grandad Wheels!” are not about having a disability, but the fun and life to be lived in spite of it.

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"It would be nice to think we can start to see more children’s books cover disability in a fun, realistic and rewarding way.

"There’s a lot of potential for good to come out of this and I can’t wait to see Charles’ face when he sees us on the cover of a real book in a shop window!”

The book is illustrated by local artist Lynne Hickin who has already received high praise for her work on the book.

Sir Quentin Blake, the artist who illustrated Roald Dahl's books, describes the book as: "An impressive piece of work. I appreciated that Grandad was normal, and not the whiskered dotard that I would have been tempted to draw.”

All profits from sales of the book will go to the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) and Back Up; two charities working to improve the lives of people who have suffered a spinal injury.

The book is also dedicated to the staff at Pinderfields Spinal Unit who helped Brian during his year-long recovery in hospital.

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The book will be launched at the Leeds office of Irwin Mitchell later this month.

Ross McWilliams, Associate Solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, said: “We are delighted to be able to welcome Brian to our Leeds office for his book launch. Our I Am Able campaign puts the focus on ability and not disability, and Brian and his book are examples of this in action.

"All the profits are going to two fantastic charities and the books fill a real need in showing life post spinal injury and that people with disabilities are able to have fun too. It’s an important message we don’t see enough of and one we all need to hear.”

As well as planning to sell his books in conventional book shops, ‘Charlie’s Big Idea!’ will also be available directly from: www.grandadwheels.com.

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