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Disabled children inspire father's superhero story
A FATHER has written his first novel telling the story of a disabled superhero after being inspired by children with disabilities.
Frank Lambert, 50, wrote Napoleon Xylophone with the help of children from mobility charity Whizz-Kidz (corr), who told him that there were no disabled superheroes for them to emulate.
The novel follows 15-year-old Napoleon, who has a walking disability and is almost confined to a wheelchair, as he searches for his missing grandfather in the underworld of Newcastle with the help of a ghost called Slink and his only friend Ezzy.
The book has received a number of positive reviews, particularly from disability charities who have praised it as recommended reading.
Mr Lambert, from Darlington, organised workshops with Whizz-Kidz, which provides wheelchairs and mobility equipment for young people, as part of his masters degree in creative writing and asked the children for their input about life with a disability and what they wanted to see in a superhero.
The charity is close to Mr Lambert’s heart as his 13-year-old son, Michael, suffers hereditary spastic paraplegia and receives support from the organisation.
Mr Lambert said: “The initial inspiration came from my son after he asked me to name disabled superheroes and I could only think of Professor X, from X-Men.
“As part of my degree I had to organize workshops in a subject that meant something to me so I approached Whizz-Kidz and they loved the idea.
“When I started I thought I would just write a short story but the kids at Whizz-Kidz gave me so many amazing ideas. I wanted to create a hero they could look up to and give them a different kind of voice.
“The book is not on its soap box about how tough it is being disabled but it does look at issues facing disabled people every day, such as starting relationships or using public transport.
“My son is really chuffed with the result and all of the kids who were involved are so proud of the end result.”
The book, which is aimed at teenagers and young people, is available in e-book form from Amazon and Waterstones online. All proceeds will go to Whizz-Kidz.