Penguin acquires story of "severely autistic" Iris Grace

Penguin acquires story of "severely autistic" Iris Grace

Penguin has acquired the true story of a “severely autistic” little girl called Iris Grace written by her mother, Arabella Carter-Johnson.

Iris Grace tells the story of a “remarkable little girl” called Iris Grace who is severely autistic. For the first few years of her life Iris barely communicates at all, but when her family decides to get a therapy cat called Thula, the pair immediately bond and Iris begins to communicate with Thula in a way that she doesn't with anyone else in her life.

“But this isn’t the only extraordinary strand to Iris Grace’s story”, the publisher said. “As Iris grew in confidence she began to explore the world around her, and one day discovered painting. An extraordinary talent emerged.”

The publisher added: “Iris loses herself in her paintings. With Thula by her side, she will sit and paint for many hours at a time. Her creations are incredible and are now highly sought after – it’s hard to believe that Iris is still just six years old.”

Carter-Johnson is a photographer and the book features more than 150 images of Iris, Thula and her paintings.

Carter-Johnson said: “Iris’s heart-warming bond with Thula and the beauty of her paintings made the decision to write a simple one. I wanted to inspire other families and help the reader to understand how Iris sees the world and how we were able to reach her. Iris teaches me to notice and appreciate the intricate details of life; I have learnt to follow her and trust my instincts but above all to see how different is brilliant.”

Editorial director, Fenella Bates, added: “We are hugely proud and privileged to be publishing this extraordinary book. Arabella is a gifted storyteller and her photographs will transport readers into the remarkable world of Iris Grace and her devoted pet cat Thula. It’s a uniquely beautiful and spellbinding book, and I hope readers will treasure it for many years to come.”

Penguin will publish Iris Grace on the 25th February 2016.