Paul Miller: My journey to writing and illustrating books for Deaf children

Posted on December 8, 2017

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I have been working in the arts industry for quite some time and I have worked on various projects throughout my career with my own company, ‘Rory Studio.’

You may have seen some of my previous work, like ‘Rory’s Teeth,’ ‘Gothrella,’  and the opening animation to the famous John Smith comedy show.

I have worked with the likes of Julia Donaldson on images for an exhibition about her bestselling children’s book ‘The Gruffalo,’ and the Driving Inspiration short film for the 2012 London Paralympics.

Today, however, I want to share with you a new passion of mine, which came about early this year.

I decided I wanted to do something different alongside my work, and make sure deaf children today can choose from a wider range of books which include a deaf character. This is something I would have loved to have access to when I was younger, but was extremely rare to find.

As a result, I have been working very hard (and very long hours) in the last 6-8 months to produce my very own children’s book. Coincidentally, at the same time, I was contacted by a separate author and asked if I could illustrate his book. So, just like that, I am now a proud producer of two children’s books!

The author I worked with is called Daniel Smith, who wrote a book called ‘There’s a Dragon in my House’, about a little girl and a dragon. Daniel and I first came into contact about 5 months ago, when he stumbled across some of my previous dragon illustrations. He liked those illustrations, and asked if I would be interested in illustrating his book. Let’s give you an idea what the book is like:

One cold winter’s night, when the moon shone bright, I woke with a JUMP in a terrible fright!! So I hid under the covers, as frightened as could be, and whispered to myself, ‘THERE’S A DRAGON IN MY HOUSE, COMING TO EAT ME’!!

What happened to the little girl after that? You’ll just have to find out for yourself!

The second book, which I wrote and illustrated myself, is called ‘The Gingerbread Witch’.

This is a story about a pair of young twins, Anders (deaf) and Aurora (hearing), and they share a very special bond. They come from an old Scottish mystical village called Oban, where children have been disappearing for generations.

One day, the twins happen to find themselves at the centre of the mystery, when they come across an enchanted artefact. Can they solve the mystery? What is the artefact, and how will it help them with their adventure? And will the strength of their special bond defy the odds?

Children’s illustrations and comic books were a big part of my childhood, which is why I’m still passionate about my work today. But I never saw many stories or comic strips that contained, or had any relevance to deafness, deaf people or deaf culture. This has influenced my work, as lots of those have deaf leading characters.

For me, it’s important that deaf children have equal opportunities to read a wider range of books, and to see/enjoy the normality of having a deaf main character.

I hope you and your children enjoy the story. This won’t be the end of the road; I aim to produce a series of stories featuring Anders and Aurora, so keep your eyes peeled for the next big adventure!

 

The books are on sale now, buy them by clicking here.

Find out more about Paul’s work at http://rorystudio.com/

Paul Miller is a Deaf British Sign Language user, and is founder and Director of Rory’s Studio and Surface Area Dance Theatre.  Hi work involves Illustration, animation, writing, theatre producing and directing. He is passionate about creating writing and illustration for children’s books, theatre plays and animated short films.

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