It's hard to imagine a more inspiring read for your summer holidays this year. Jonathan Bryan, who has severe cerebral palsy and was locked inside his own mind for the first nine years of his life, has written a life-affirming book, Eye Can Write - A Memoir of a Child's Silent Soul Emerging, that will change the way you think about your own life. Jonathan, who couldn't speak or communicate for the first part of his childhood – he also had profound and multiple learning difficulties, chronic lung disease, a curved spine, and a transplanted kidney – has already achieved more than most of us achieve in a lifetime.
At the age of ten he started a campaign Teach Us Too, calling for all disabled children to be taught to read and write despite their label and collected more than 250,000 signatures in support. He was even honoured by Princes William and Harry for his efforts last year when he received the inaugural Diana Legacy Award at a ceremony at St James's Palace, when he commented: "Prince Harry chatted with me which was the highlight of the day."
Jonathan met Princes Harry and William last year
Yet, Jonathan was overlooked by the education system due to his many disabilities, until his mother Chantal taught him to read and write using a spelling board. He has proved a talented creative spirit since. "Books have nourished my mind and prevented mental decay during my years of silence," he says in his memoir. "Trapped in cerebral palsy, I run within the pages: skipping, laughing, exploring. I have inhabited the scenes of authors' pictures and woven them with my imagination. Words have been my portal into another world. And now the mantle was passing on to me."
Jonathan made his first foray in the world of writing when he penned a poem about Easter that was read out on Clare Balding's Radio 2 show – and now his memoir is in the top 100 books on Amazon. He also attracted the attention of children's author Michael Morpurgo, who has written a foreword to the book.
Jonathan has written a life-affirming book
"A writer of great emotional and intellectual depth," he says of Jonathan. "His words tell us so much about our universal human resilience, our capacity for understanding, our longing to communicate. Jonathan has opened the door for us into his world, and reached out his hand to us in his writing. When we take his hand as we read, he is not locked in any more. And neither are we. We join him in his journey, he joins us in ours." Even Bear Grylls has commented: "Jonathan's story is such a powerful one - and light, love, and compassion shine from everything he does. It is an honour to call him my friend.'"