Celebrity author David Walliams shares his passion for storytelling with vision-impaired superfan Lauren Storey, 12, in a new Guide Dogs film released this week.
The two book lovers met face to face following Lauren’s popular online review of Walliams’ book Blob for World Book Day last year. This prompted an interview in which Lauren asked the star some burning questions, including what inspired him to write and which of his characters is his favourite.
Despite having sight loss, Lauren is a self-professed bookworm thanks to Guide Dogs’ CustomEyes service, which helps children with sight loss read the same books as their friends by producing bespoke large print versions of popular titles. There are over 4,000 published books available to children and young adults, with works ranging from Dr Seuss to The Hunger Games, Harry Potter to Shakespeare and even revision guides and text books.
Each book is tailor-made to suit individual needs including the best font, font size, spacing, paper colour and binding. In Lauren’s case, her books are formatted to have size 36 Arial bold font on white paper.
Lauren’s bookshelf is currently filled with 40 CustomEyes books and her next reading conquest will see her tearinginto a personalised 10 volume set of Herman Melville’s literary classic Moby Dick.
With 80% of a child’s learning taking place using vision, Guide Dogs helps provide the correct support to youngsters living with sight loss, ensuring they are never left out of life and they can fulfil their potential. Walliams’ support of CustomEyes comes at a time when childhood sight loss is on the increase – today there are over 35,000 children and young adults in the UK living with sight loss – and is fuelled by his commitment to getting more children reading across the country.
On meeting her favourite writer, Lauren Storey from County Durham said:
“The Boy in The Dress is one of my favourite books so it was incredible to meet David and do my first celebrity interview with him! My friends and I can’t wait to read his new book The Ice Monster – I’m so happy CustomEyes is able to let me read the same things as them.”
Nigel Betts, CustomEyes National Development Manager at Guide Dogs, said:
“Lauren sets a great example of how sight loss doesn’t have to impact a love of reading and it’s brilliant to have talented writers like David Walliams get behind our CustomEyes initiative. It’s a service that not only provides valuable reading materials and textbooks for classroom learning, but also books for pleasure that will fire up imaginations and young minds.”