I had my best day as an author in Bridgend, south Wales, two years ago.
I had just delivered an event to a group of so-called reluctant readers in a sports centre. A quiz. A talk about sports reading. Afterwards, twenty lads were letting off steam hammering a ball at a librarian who had volunteered to go in goal.
And I was talking to their teacher.
She turned a copy of my book, Scrum, over and saw the Dyslexia Friendly sticker on the back.
‘What does that mean?’ she asked.
I told her. Barrington Stoke publish books that have been designed with special font, layout and page-colour (along with editing) that helps readers overcome many of the problems that dyslexia presents.
The teacher pointed across at a boy. Rhys, she told me, was dyslexic He wanted to read. But it was very hard for him. It affected his self esteem, she said. A lot.
She called Rhys over, putting the book in his hands.
‘What’s this?’ he asked her. Then glanced at me, looking uneasy.
‘Look at it,’ she insisted.
Rhys opened the book, eyes glazed over already. But then something changed. He focused on the page in front of him. Then stared at his teacher.
‘Miss,’ he said, his mouth open, ‘I can read this.’
I’ll never forget that moment.