A new children’s book with images drawn by a 15-year-old girl with Asperger’s syndrome will help young people express themselves, the author claims. Former teacher Rob Cowely and high school student Karmen collaborated on “Red: A Manx Dragon Called Rufus”. The plot centers on a dragon who struggles to fit in with the others until he discovers his singing voice. Mr. Cowley believes that the readers would be inspired to “find their own voice and a place in the community.” Income from the book will benefit the mental health association Isle Listen. The organization already works in secondary schools on the island but has recently expanded its reach to include primary schools.

Karmen, who created the book’s digital drawings, has been using illustrations as a creative outlet since she was a child. Asperger’s syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder defined by repetitive habits that makes it difficult for individuals with the condition to socialize with others. Working with Isle Listen was a “natural fit” for Mr. Cowely, who had first-hand experience with the mental health issues that young people encounter during his time as a teacher. “I like the fact that they’re going to use the book to get youngsters talking because it’s got that right message in a nice friendly atmosphere to start exploring some of the issues with them.”