A Vancouver Island author is hoping his book about a stuttering child will help others with self-acceptance in the future.
The book I Talk Like a River, written by Royston-based author Jordan Scott, follows the story of a young child who struggles with having a stutter.
The story resonated with U.K. pop star Ed Sheeran, who says he had a stutter when was a child. I Talk Like the River was featured on the BBC’s CBeebies Bedtime Stories, read by Ed Sheeran as a result.
Scott says the story was inspired through his upbringing, as he struggles with a stutter himself. He says his stutter led him to write at a young age, beginning as a poet.
“As I kid my stutter was a lot worse than it is now, so there was something about being able to be silent and being able to express myself on the page rather than speaking,” said Scott. “So, I was really drawn to those quiet worlds where I felt I had more power and control about how I sounded.”
Scott says he was fortunate to have supportive friends and family to help him, allowing him to talk the way he could.
Early poetry writings described his stutter, according to Scott, who says he wanted to honour his father’s gift.
The story follows a journey he took as a young boy, with his father helping him accept his speech by telling him he talks like the river.
“I wanted to honour that gift that my dad gave me by telling me that the way I speak is like the way water moves,” said Scott. “I also was kind of hoping to [show] my sons so that they would have a better understanding of how their dad speaks.”
Having a stutter made things difficult for Scott growing up, causing him a lot of anxiety and feelings of being alone.
Learning that his book had been read by Ed Sheeran was a “very surreal” and unexpected experience for Scott, who says the book has been very well received and is being translated into 18 different languages — something he didn’t imagine in his “wildest dreams.”
“It’s been really remarkable to see that and to see how many people who stutter or know someone who stutters and want to understand it.”
I Talk Like a River took around three years to write, according to Scott, with illustrations by Sidney Smith. He says he hopes it will help others accept the way they talk, but also give others an understanding of the world of someone with a stutter.
“I just hope that people have a different understanding of stuttering,” said Scott. “The more powerful part of the book is the child returns to school and stutters.”
“I think it’s important for people to know is that sometimes stuttering isn’t something that can be overcome. Sometimes people have to live with it, and I want people to see stuttering can be beautiful as well.”
He hopes that children see themselves in the book and know that the way they stutter is natural and they don’t have to feel alone.