Swansea author Jon Roberts’ new picture book series, Lilly and Myles, follows the adventures of Lilly, a young girl on the autism spectrum, and her assistance dog Myles.

The first book, The Torch, sees Lilly and Myles venture out of Granny’s seaside home to explore after Lilly finds a handy torch. Together they discover a range of wildlife living in Granny’s garden and on the coast, but when Lilly wanders off into a cave on her own she is overwhelmed by the loud noises and can’t find her way out of the cave until Myles returns to save the day. 

Inspired by the real-life experiences of Jon’s daughter, Kya, who is also on the autistic spectrum, The Torch provides an insight into life with autism and enables teachers to discuss some of the characteristics. 

Along with being a useful teaching aid, this book is also great at presenting the role of assistance dogs to children and how they can be used to help someone with autism. The story also helps children understand how to treat assistance dogs and the importance of not distracting dogs like Myles.Jon’s gentle adventure story is accompanied by brilliant illustrations from Hannah Rounding a freelance artist and illustrator based in Cardigan, who worked with Jon on his previous four picture books focused on autism, disability and celebrating difference.

The book is completed with a range of charities and organisations who provide advice and support for people with autism, with a portion of the royalties going towards the work of Dogs for Good and Dogs for Autism. Jon Roberts said:“By featuring Lilly and Myles in this children’s book, I hope to promote greater understanding and acceptance of autism and the role of assistance dogs in supporting individuals with this condition. The story might also help to promote empathy among children and encourage them to be more inclusive and supportive of their peers who may have autism or other disabilities.” The Torch has already received high praise from those involved in organisations and charities that support children on the autistic spectrum: 

To see the joy, calmness and support a well-trained assistance dog can bring to children and people with autism constantly warms my heart.

Stephen Brooker, conductor, musical supervisor and ambassador for Dogs for Autism

An excellent choice for parents, teachers and caregivers seeking an enjoyable and educational tool to teach children about autism and assistance dogs.

Hazel Lim, multilingual autism specialist

The Torch truly shines a light on the beautiful relationship between an autistic child and their assistance dog… A heart-warming read.

Dr Carly Jones MBE FRSA h(DS)c

The first in the Lilly and Myles Series, The Torch, published by Graffeg, ISBN: 9781802584103, will be released on July 13, 2023, priced at £7.99. It will also be available as an eBook.