Author, 11, launches autism campaign and celebrates debut book

Young author Tianna Okechukwu at an event for her debut book at Ipswich County Library

Young author Tianna Okechukwu at an event for her debut book at Ipswich County Library - Credit: Jess Coppins

Suffolk's youngest author enjoyed an "amazing" reception to her debut book at a well-attended event at Ipswich County Library.

Tianna Okechukwu, 11, a student at St Joseph's College, has published 'Hamsters Don't Get Lost, They Go On Adventures' aimed at supporting children who are grieving the loss of a pet.

The story, written when she was just 10, is inspired by her own pet hamster Chewie, who actually died two days before Saturday's event.

Tianna Okechukwu with her mum Corina, dad Chino and brother Vlad. The family are supporting the Autism Anglia charity

Tianna Okechukwu with her mum Corina, dad Chino and brother Vlad. The family are supporting the Autism Anglia charity - Credit: Jess Coppins

Ipswich resident Tianna, who previously attended Copdock Primary School, also used her platform at Ipswich County Library to launch her campaign for the charity Autism Anglia.

Her brother Vlad, eight, is profoundly autistic and attends The Bridge School in Ipswich.

At the event, which was attended by about 80 people including Mayor of Ipswich Elizabeth Hughes, Tianna read her 32-page illustrated book to a captivated audience.

Her mum Corina, who is also an author, said "it was amazing".

"We are very, very proud of her and a lot of children came. It was quite a big turnout. We were very, very pleased."

Tianna's library event was attended by about 80 people

Tianna's library event was attended by about 80 people - Credit: Jess Coppins

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Tianna added: "I enjoyed it. We all wore Autism Awareness T-shirts."

The student wrote the book about her hamster Chewie after he went missing from his cage. He returned two days later, but it made her think about the children whose pets never come back.

Corina, 48, added: "She wrote it and it was amazing. I couldn't believe it, and it was so beautiful."

Tianna is donating 20% of her Royalties to Autism Anglia, an independent charity that provides care and support to autistic children, adults, and their families in the region.

Tianna with her brother Vlad, who is profoundly autistic, and dad Chino 

Tianna with her brother Vlad, who is profoundly autistic, and dad Chino - Credit: Jess Coppins

Corina said: "We moved here about six years ago from London. To us, it was a shock how in a rural part of the UK autism and anything like mental health doesn't get a lot of funding."

The library is also receiving a donation from the event, where people could buy signed copies of Tianna's book.

Suffolk Libraries have also organised several signing events for Tianna in October to celebrate Black History Month, as she wishes to empower other black young girls. 

Tianna signing a copy of her debut book 'Hamsters Don't Get Lost, They Go On Adventures'

Tianna signing a copy of her debut book 'Hamsters Don't Get Lost, They Go On Adventures' - Credit: Jess Coppins

The youngster is already writing her second book in the series called 'Cats Don't Get Lost', which will be out next year.

'Hamsters Don't Get Lost, They Go On Adventures' is available from all major retailers. 



 

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