Tuesday 25 April 2023

Constantine, "Tiya and the Minotaur"

Congratulations to Constantine, University of Leicester MA Creative Writing graduate, who has just published a picture book, Tiya and the Minotaur!

is an autistic writer. He holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Leicester and his previous works include The Cats of Charnwood Forest and four episodes of the children 's TV series Pablo, which is available on BBC in the UK and Netflix worldwide.

About Tiya and the Minotaur, by Constantine

This picture book was written by an autistic writer for his autistic children.

Is this book only for autistic and neuro-diverse children?  No.
However. it has been made with them in mind. The artwork has been designed in such a way that readers on the spectrum, by and large, find helpful. For instance, throughout the work none of the characters have faces. Many people know that many autistic people find eye-contact uncomfortable; however, even when eye contact is not an issue, processing faces can add a significant load to an autistic child's ability to process. Interestingly when testing this book on both autistic and neurotypical adults and children, few even noticed the characters' lack of facial features and in the few who did, none found it an issue. The colours and scenes throughout are 'soft.' By this, I mean that even in that few brightly lit scenes, there is nothing 'glaring; or 'confusing.'  Whilst I love abstract imagery, it can be a stumbling block for young children and can even overload an autistic child trying to make sense of the scene.  

In addition, the author has noticed that there are many young advanced readers who still crave picture books with age-appropriate stories, but want something longer with a more challenging vocabulary. At the same time, there are older reluctant readers who need to be eased into reading but find novels intimidating or boring and need a hand to get back into the practice of reading for pleasure. To find an autistic child of say twelve years of age who is unable to read fluently and still like to have picture books read to them is not unusual.
It is primarily for them that this book has been created, though I hope the neurotypical of all ages will also enjoy it. 

From Tiya and the Minotaur

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