Australian Author and 8 year Old Boy Diagnosed with Autism Shine

Top Quote Shine is a children's book collaboration between Australian author Justine Edward and 8 year old illustrator Karl Gabriel who has been diagnosed with Autism. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) December 16, 2013 - Australian author and educator Justine Edward has teamed with 8 year old Karl Gabriel to create the children's picture book 'Shine'. Justine said "I wanted to create a book which focused on Karl's abilities rather than his challenges. I wanted people to see him as I see him; a young boy with incredible potential who just needs the opportunity to shine."

    Justine first met Karl's mother, Sanya, through a parents group and they have been close friends ever since. "Sanya has been very open in sharing their journey" Mrs Edward said. The idea for Shine came after a series of conversations Justine had with Sanya in regard to Karl's schooling. Justine felt 'compelled' to write a book which would not only inspire Karl to see his own potential, but would encourage others to see it too.

    After writing the manuscript Justine emailed it to Sanya and asked if Karl would be interested in illustrating it. "He inspired the book" Justine said "so it was really important to me that he illustrate it". Sanya helped Karl to relate the words to images which were familiar to him. These include the sun, children playing outside a house, a butterfly and some musical instruments. One of the pages features the words "Ready, set go" which is a phrase that Sanya uses to get Karl going in the mornings.

    Justine does not like the word 'dis-ability' instead preferring the word 'dif-ability'. "Dis implies a removal of ability or no ability" Mrs Edward said "whereas dif-ability is much more accurate in that it implies differing abilities". Although diagnosed with Autism as well as a severe speech delay at 3 years of age, Karl's mother describes him as similar to any other 8 year old boy. "He is a gorgeous, happy, loving and innocent child with energy galore" Sanya said. He loves playing outside with his older brother and on his ipad.

    "I wanted to show people what Karl can do" Mrs Edward emphasized. "Too often the focus is on these kid's challenges. We need to start seeing and encouraging their abilities and talents."

    Shine was published by Balboa Press and is available online through their website as well as on, Barnes and Noble and The Book Depository. Justine is also encouraging people to 'try before they buy' by reading a free copy available on her website.

    Shine's central message is if you believe in yourself then anything is possible. And Karl has certainly proven that.

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