Bolton author to launch children’s novel aiming to tackle autism stigma

A woman from Bolton has written a book with the aim of changing the narrative and understanding around autism.

Hafiza Issa’s first children’s novel “Earmuffs to the Moon”, quickly sold out during its pre-launch.

A dispensing optician by trade, mother of three Hafiza, from Astley Bridge, has drawn on her real-life mother’s perspective to produce a story about “bravery, self-discovery, wonder and awe”.

It is a celebration of the universe through the eyes of Sara, an autistic girl who has dreams of shooting into space.

The book outlines the reasons why autistic children adopt certain behaviours and highlights the ways in which neurodivergent youngsters may experience sound, sight, and touch differently.

The Bolton News: Earmuffs to the Moon back cover and blurbEarmuffs to the Moon back cover and blurb (Image: Hafiza Issa)

Hafiza, 41, is passionate about raising awareness of autism by educating young children and their parents on the condition.  

She said: “We need to change the narrative around autism at a grassroots level.

“It’s more difficult to change an adult’s mind but it’s not with children.

“It’s about changing the mindset towards autism. It’s a neurodivergence rather than neurotypical.

“People act like it’s a disease but it’s just a different way of thinking.

“If we can change that then autistic people will be more accepted in society.”

On the back of the books pre-launch success, Hafiza is inviting the Bolton community to attend a launch event.

The official launch takes place today, Saturday, October 29, at Fun Valley on Blackburn Road.

The Bolton News: Hafiza Issa reciting some of her poetry to school childrenHafiza Issa reciting some of her poetry to school children (Image: Hafiza Issa)

Award-winning speech and language therapist Sophie Hutton who heads up The Nest – a specialist provision for children with additional needs in Smithills – has been announced as the special guest for launch.

READ MORE: The Nest wins Nursery World award for ‘Inclusive Practice’

She said: “It’s a book that highlights the differences in children, particularly those with sensory processing disorders. They are represented in this book.

“That enables parents to speak to their children about these things and the children can identify with the characters.

“It opens up that dialogue, and for additional needs in general to be less of a taboo subject.”

The Bolton News: Sophie Hutton working with children at The NestSophie Hutton working with children at The Nest (Image: The Nest)

There will be 100 books will be available during the event and the opportunity for personalised messages and book signings.

A selection of refreshments will also able available during the launch, which will take place from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

Residents, businesses and organisations across Bolton are all welcome at the family-friendly, free-to-attend event but pre-registration is required to guarantee entry on the day as numbers are limited. To register, visit

For more information about the official book launch of “Earmuffs to the Moon”, visit

If you have a story or something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at or DM me on Twitter @lewisfinney18

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