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'Ever since we came home with Thula, this precious magical kitten has cast a spell over Iris. They sit beside each other as Iris paints, and new doorways to communication have been opened, doors we had previously feared might be locked forever.' Iris Grace is six years old and severely autistic. For the first few years of her life she barely communicated at all - she hardly ever looked up when her parents walked into a room, she rarely smiled or spoke. Her mother Arabella despaired - Iris seemed to be trapped in her own world, unreachable. Then one day the family decided to get a cat, Thula, with whom Iris had an immediate affinity. She appeared to open up and communicate with Thula in a way that she hadn't done before. The little girl who seemed to be lost in her own world slowly blossomed. Iris is an extraordinarily gifted artist who sees the world in a profoundly vivid and visceral way, and with Thula by her side, she will sit and paint for hours. This book isn't the story of a genius or child prodigy (although Iris is almost certainly both of those things), this is the story of how a remarkable bond between a cat and a child saved a family. Beautifully written, readers will be spellbound by the story of Iris Grace and her devoted pet cat Thula.
Arabella Carter-Johnson is Iris Grace's mother and a professional photographer. In 2008, she and her husband Peter-Jon settled in the rolling hills of Leicestershire where Arabella grew up. Arabella and Peter-Jon's daughter, Iris Grace, was born in 2009 and their lives changed forever. Arabella has documented their journey through diary entries and photographs and now tells Iris's story in her first book.