Off Goes Stan – a new story book

James Robertson, author, tells us about his new book about a boy with special needs and an incredibly special imagination.


A bit about myself…

My name is James Robertson and I’m a Key Stage 2 teacher at Riverside School in Bromley, one of the largest SEN schools in the country. I’ve been working at Riverside for six years, having the pleasure of working with some of the most incredibly inspirational children and families I’ve ever met.

Why I wrote a book

About two years ago, I began some research into different story books for children about special needs. To my surprise, there were very few children books on the topic and even fewer relating to children with more profound disabilities. Through my experience working in an SEN establishment, I’ve come to learn that these children, much like children in mainstream educational settings, absolutely adore stories. It was then that the thought occurred to me: “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a story book about child with disabilities that had some sort of super power!!” And ‘Off Goes Stan’ was born!

A bit about Stan, the main character

Stan is a 10-year-old boy with profound and multiple learning difficulties and attends a special needs school. Stan has no verbal communication and uses a wheelchair. To many, it may seem that Stan is incapable of appreciating things like stories and certainly wouldn’t have any understanding of different topics in the classroom….. But Stan is no ordinary boy….. Stan uses the experiences in the classroom to fuel his wonderful imagination and when he closes his eyes, he can travel to the places that he and his peers learn about in the classroom.

The idea behind the story

It’s really quite simple. I felt it was incredibly important that children in mainstream settings had a stronger understanding of children with special needs and understood they weren’t simply children in wheelchairs. They were children with imaginations. They are children with dreams. They might not learn or communicate in what many would consider the typical fashion but that certainly doesn’t prevent them from enjoying and appreciating stories and experiences like any child would. I also wanted this story to be appreciated by families of children like Stan, to reassure them that their child can dream like Stan does in the story.

What people think

Reviews include: “It’s such a heartwarming, exciting, and fun story for children.” “Really enjoyed this book! It is refreshing to have the main character with a disability, showing that children with special educational needs have unique views on learning. I hope Stan is able to have more fun adventures in the future!” “As a parent of a child with a disability, it really warmed my heart to think that my child may experience things in the same way as the boy in the story.”

Buy the book and find out more

Off Goes Stan has been released by the publisher Austin Macauley and can be bought from the publisher or on Amazon. To spread awareness of the book I aim to visit many schools, both locally and nationally, in the coming months and share the story of Stan. I also have Off Goes Stan pages on Facebook, Instagram and a website. I hope you all enjoy reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
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