Ebony Gilbert never meant to write a book about her son George, but now she is hoping it will help
children think differently about disability. The Bethnal Green writer released her self-published children’s book Seeing with My Heart last month after setting her mind to it during the 2020 lockdown.
George, an AmberPlus award beneficiary, was born with Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) – a rare genetic eye disorder meaning he has been blind since birth – and is both non-verbal and autistic. The book tells the story of Sid the snake, who feels like he doesn’t fit in because of how he looks. He learns to love himself as he is after meeting a blind boy.
Ebony, pictured above with her son, hopes it helps youngsters think positively about differences.
“I’ve always written, but have just been fearful of sharing my writing with other people,” she says. “I never set out to write a children’s book or one about George, but stumbled across this idea reading to him one night. One of the characters just evolved into someone like him.”
“I like books with a message and this seems to be having a real impact. My dream would be to see a copy of it in every school. We’ve all got our differences and if 10 kids read it and by doing so, think differently about disability, that is a success.”
Meanwhile, Ebony is thankful for The Amber Trust’s involvement with six-year-old George’s musical journey and paid tribute to AmberPlus practitioner Wendy for her work.
“Music is the love of George’s life,” adds the 39-year-old. “It is everything to him. He feels so much through music and gets so much joy from it.”
“The sessions we have with Wendy are something I look forward to as much as he does, because we are really limited when it comes to activities we can do with George. If I came into some money I’d pay for her to come every week.”
Seeing With My Heart, written by Ebony Gilbert and illustrated by Bex Sutton is available at Seeing with my Heart: Amazon.co.uk: Gilbert, Ebony, Sutton, Bex: 9781399901901: Books