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Sudbury man's new children's book aims to encourage creativity and raise awareness of autism





An enchanting new children’s book is encouraging youngsters to explore their imagination.

Composed by Sudbury resident Bob Darvell, The Boy who Painted Rainbows highlights the benefits of boosting young people’s creativity, while raising awareness about autism, a developmental disorder.

The protagonist, Jojo, is based on an autistic child, Rocco Kigoo, whose creative flair inspired Mr Darvell to craft the tale.

Bob Darvell has written a new children boo about a young boy with autism. Funds generated from the sales will be donated to supporting the NHS...PICTURE: Mecha Morton .... (34336947)
Bob Darvell has written a new children boo about a young boy with autism. Funds generated from the sales will be donated to supporting the NHS...PICTURE: Mecha Morton .... (34336947)

“He’s obviously going to be a clever little lad when he grows up, and he was in my head when I wrote the book,” said the 67-year-old.

During a series of vivid dreams, Jojo embarks on a magical adventure with a group of mythological creatures, before being assigned the task of planting a sacred tree to preserve both the laughter and tears of children.

Jojo’s trusted friend, Almar, who is a unicorn, guides him through his magical quest, with the ultimate goal of saving the meadow tree from being destroyed.

Mr Darvell said he conjured up the vivid imagery in a dream-like state.

“My most creative time is at about 6am, when I start to wake up,” he said. “It’s during those moments when my mind is most active and the ideas come to me.”

A recurring theme of nature runs through the book, which is a reflection of Mr Darvell’s time in France, where he lived for more than a decade with his wife, Pam.

“I used to walk for miles and wander through the forest,” he said. “I would see wild boar and stags – I loved every minute of it.”

Reflecting on his own childhood in Sudbury, where he grew up with two sisters, Mr Darvell said it was disappointing that fewer youngsters seemed to explore the outdoors due to the increasing role of technology.

“When I was a child, I spent hours in the river finding newts and pikes,” said the father-of-two.

The book has been illustrated by Sudbury artist Caryn Noad.

“She captured the story exactly,” said Mr Darvell. “I was over the moon; I had a tear in my eye because the images are perfect.”

Hartest author and former hostage Terry Waite, pictured, is among a group of individuals who have pledged their support to the project.

“When he was a child, his mother always read him a story in bed and he said the book looked very good,” said Mr Darvell, of Orchard Place.

Having suffered a series of cardiac arrests, Mr Darvell has decided to donate £1 from each book to help support NHS workers.

“They’re wonderful,” he said. “Absolutely incredible – and that’s who I want to help because they saved my life.”

The Boy who Painted Rainbows will be available at S&K News kiosk.