Peterborough mum illustrates book to raise autism awareness from a young age

A Peterborough mum has illustrated a children’s book which aims to raise autism awareness among primary school children.

 Hayley Evans, 37 from Hampton Vale, Peterobrough, has illustrated the self-published book, written by her sister Leo Johnson from Barry, South Wales.
It has been launched this April during Autism Awareness Month

‘My Big Brother’ is a rhyming picture book, told from the perspective of a young girl who learns what makes her autistic brother amazing.

It sets familiar scenes within a family environment that children with autistic siblings would experience. From apparent irrational behaviours to fixations on particular interests, the girl goes onto learn why her brother displays these characteristics.

Hayley has a vested interest in this subject matter and explained why she felt it was important to release the book this month.

“My nephew is autistic and it took a long time for my niece to understand why her brother was so ‘mean’ to her,” she said. “Through my nephew I have learned that autism is something to be celebrated and embraced. So, when better to release a book like this than during a national awareness month?”

Hayley is a mother of two and runs the tattoo studio, Ink Imaginarium, in Peterborough and has commissioned many private artworks over recent years. More of Hayley’s work can be found at

April is autism awareness month with many local and national charities campaigning to raise awareness of neurodiversity. One charity in particular, AP Cymru – based in Tongwynlais, South Wales – will benefit from £1 from each copy sold.

Hayley explains: “AP Cymru provided help and support to my sister’s family throughout and beyond the diagnosis process, as they do for so many other families. Leo has done a lot of fundraising for them in the past, and I wanted to do my bit to support my sister, her family and the charity that has made such a positive difference to their lives.”

She added: “I have illustrated the book in a playful way, but diversity and inclusion are very important to me, so I have tried to make sure that the illustrations reflect this too. I’m a tattoo artist by trade, but when my sister told me she had written a children’s book and asked me to illustrate it I was over the moon.

“This is the perfect way to support my family, and the autistic community as a whole.”

Her sister Leo is also a mother of two and a qualified special educational needs teaching assistant, currently working as a day care nursery assistant. This is the first book that she has published.

‘My Big Brother’ will be published through Amazon Direct Publishing and available to purchase for £8.99, worldwide, later this month.