Dad writes book for son with speech difficulties

Robbie Blackhurst, a businessman and dad, wrote Silent George, inspired by his son.

author working dad language difficulties


Silent George follows a gorilla called George as he embarks on his first day of school. George lacks confidence, is shy and also struggles with his speech. Inspired by his son, who has speech and language difficulties and with support from Speech and Language UK, it was written by Robbie Blackhurst to comfort and inspire families who can’t find their voice.

Why did you write the book?

I wrote this book for my son, George, and I’m so excited to see how it will be received by other young children who need support with their confidence and their families. ‘Silent George’ is an endearing tale for any child who can get nervous about starting school and struggling to find their voice.

Silent George is my first independent offering and follows a timid Gorilla called George who struggles with his speech and confidence as he embarks on his first day of school. On his journey, George meets a number of characters who help him develop his confidence and find his voice.

Thanks to the support and guidance of Speech and Language UK, I hope the book acts as an inspiring story to share with any young child who might be nervous about embarking upon new milestones within their lives. With this in mind, I’m going to donate 50% of the profit to the amazing national charity.

What was your personal experience writing the book?

Writing Silent George was quite a therapeutic experience as it helped me put down on paper the worries I had for my son, George.

I was thinking about George a lot when writing the book, and the issues and frustrations he would face when he started school.

I wanted the other characters to be fun, and so I thought of what characters always fascinate my kids when I take them to the zoo. I remember them being really inquisitive about the slow moving sloth, and also excited by the colourful parrots flying over their heads in the bird enclosure. This then influenced the animals that I chose in the story.

I found the first half of the book really easy to write (up to the point where he arrived at school), but struggled when writing George’s interaction with the characters on the way home. I didn’t just want him to help them, but to really explain why each animal he met should not think or behave the way they do – which was hard to wrap up in rhyming couplets.

How did you find writing the book/its release?

It is surreal to see the book selling and thinking of parents reading something I wrote for my son to their children.

I remember the first time I overheard someone else reading the story to their little girl on a school playground when I was picking my children up at home time. It put a smile on my face to hear how engaged her children were with the story and the questions they were asking about George the gorilla and the animals that he meets.

I’m a successful Liverpool-based businessman, author, and most importantly, a dad, and my mission is to help families of children who are struggling with a range of issues, with particular interest in speech and language and self-confidence. Through my writing, I’m aiming to address the challenges children face in a noisy and complex world.

Behind my work is a passion for helping children who might be nervous about embarking on new milestones in their lives.

A recent report by 1.7 million young futures, from Speech and Language UK, found that at least 1.7 million children – almost one in five school-age children – are now estimated to be behind in talking and understanding words.

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