An Essex father was inspired by his child’s illness to become a writer. Darren Garwood’s five-year-old son, Jackson was diagnosed with Krabbe disease, “a genetic neurological condition which causes the degeneration of mental and motor skills,” aged just one. The life expectancy for children diagnosed is just two-years-old so Jackson has already beaten the odds by reaching his fifth birthday.Jackson’s father, Darren was inspired by his son’s strength in the face of adversity to write books featuring him as a superhero. “There are not many books for disabled kids and I wanted to show that it doesn’t matter what your abilities are – you can still dream,” Darren told the BBC.
His first book, Jackson Saves an Owl was published in September last year, sold thousands of copies and was stocked in high street retailers. The book which is illustrated by Carl Osbourne tells the story of a superhero who during the day is weighed down by his disability but by night takes to the skies where he hears a call for help and swoops in to the rescue.
Darren explained that the idea for this first story came from a conversation he had with his wife. “My wife asked if I thought Jackson dreamed or not and I thought that I hoped he does, because he isn’t able to do so many things during the day. That was where the idea that in his dreams he is a superhero came from.”
Now, Darren Garwood is back with a second book featuring his brave son as an eco-warrier superhero this time! The new book which will be published in October this year is called Jackson’s Solution to Pollution and tells of Jackson Superhero’s efforts to save the environment. Darren Garwood hopes that it not only serves as a great story for his son to see himself in but also inspires a generation of ‘green’, environmentally conscious children.
Darren Garwood has also created a story when disabled children can see themselves reflected on the pages, he told the BBC that he’s received letters from other kids telling him they look forward to bedtime when they can “be superheros like Jackson.”
Darren Garwood and his wife Rebecca also have a daughter Seren (2) and another baby on the way so there was another reason he wanted to write these books about Jackson. He said, “Jackson isn’t going to be around forever and I want [our other children] to know who he is. It is a little legacy for him.”