A TEENAGER from Little Sutton has illustrated his first book to raise awareness about the challenges people face with autism.

Will Hawkes, 16, will launch his new book 'Hal and the End Street' at an event on March 27 at Concept Corner in New Brighton to coincide with World Autism Awareness Week.

Written with the help and support of Liverpool-based children’s author Jude Lennon, the book fulfills one of Will’s life-long dreams and it’s hoped it will be the first book in a series of many.

Set in the 1970s the story follows the adventures of 13-year-old Hal, who has autism, and the difficulties he faces on a day to day basis.

Having being diagnosed himself with autism at the age of six, Will grew up learning to read and write with books.

Wirral Globe: Will Hawkes

He said: “There were no books with heroes or lead characters that were like me.

“This made it really difficult for me to relate and identify with characters in books.

"For a long time I’ve wanted to address this issue and publish my own book which will help other children with autism feel more included.”

Will, a student at Greenbank School in Northwich, developed the concept for the book some time ago but only set to work last year on bringing it to life.

Jude has written books on topics such as dragons, astronauts, football and road safety but this is the first book she has written for a slightly older audience.

She said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be involved with this project and delighted Will chose to work with me.

"The characters, characters names and most of the ideas have come from Will but we’ve worked together to create a really engaging book.

“The reader gets to choose how the story unfolds for Hal and I think many children but especially those with autism will relate to the challenges faced by Hal.”

Will’s mum Jane Hawkes is the founder of the 'Awesome About Autism' campaign and over the years has attempted to raise greater awareness of autism.

Jane said: “The real challenge for this book is to increase awareness and understanding of autism.

“Things have improved over the years but there is still a long way to go.

"Hopefully, this book will highlight some of the daily challenges, experiences and emotions that those with autism go through.

“Without understanding, autistic people and families are at risk of being isolated and developing mental health problems.”

A Kickstarter campaign launched by Will and Jude raised more than £700 in less than a week to help fund printing costs of the book, which has been published by independent publisher Team Author UK.

Those backing the campaign with a financial pledge will have their name added to a list of supporters in the book.

There will also be a pre-launch event at Write Blend Bookshop in Liverpool, on March 24, at 2pm.

For more information about Hal’s Books visit the website www.halsbooks.co.uk