LAYLA Reid is just seven years old but she has already had her first book published. The youngster decided to write a book about epilepsy for other children because of her own experiences with her mum Sarah.
Mrs Reid has suffered from epilepsy since she was seven years old, suffers from seizures regularly, and wrote Epilepsy Book For Kids to help other youngsters understand the condition. The 31-year-old said: "I remember when Layla was little she got very upset when she saw me having a seizure."
Layla, a pupil at Staple Hill Primary School, now knows what she has to do to deal with her mum's seizures. Mrs Reid was looking for a book for Layla to help her understand epilepsy and found there were plenty of books aimed at those who have epilepsy – children or adults – or information about it for doctors. However there was none for those who have relatives who suffer from it.
Mrs Reid said: "The book's message is 'You are not alone, there are other people like you'." Layla, who lives with her mum, dad Mark, 36, and her sister, Lauren, in Soundwell, took it upon herself to make her own book. "I feel proud of myself and happy that it's going to help a lot of children out there,"' she said. Mrs Reid said: "Layla was sat at the kitchen table and always seemed to be writing. She was always going around with a little notebook and pen. She showed me what she was doing and I thought it was brilliant, a really good idea."
The book shows what someone should and should not do when someone is having an epileptic seizure through words and illustrations. The young author said: "I liked writing and drawing the pictures." Mrs Reid said: "The main thing is to raise public awareness of epilepsy and if we can help anyone or save anyone's life, we'll be pleased." Wanting to get it published, Mrs Reid eventually contacted publisher John Adler, of Pomegranate Books, who said: "I was very taken by it, I thought it was a brilliant idea." Mr Adler consulted with Epilepsy Action and Young Epilepsy, charities that provide information and support for epilepsy sufferers.
The book is fulfilling its purpose already, as a woman had a seizure in front of Mrs Reid recently and afterwards wanted to buy Layla's book when she heard about it, as she also has a young daughter who may want to find out more information.
Layla plans to use her book to teach her sister, Lauren, how to handle their mum's seizures when she is older. Mrs Reid added: "We're really excited for Layla that her book is published, and really excited that we can help other people."
The book is available through book shops and online at www.pomegranatebooks.co.uk.