THE STORY of how a schoolgirl with a stammer finds the courage to speak out is proving to be a hit in Swindon.

The book, ‘How to be More Hedgehog’, has been sent to all 73 primary schools in the town to highlight the challenges that people with stammering face.

Swindon Stories, which is part of the National Literacy Trust, agreed to provide funding for copies in schools after being approached by Alex Ford, a speech and language therapist from the Specialist Stammering Service, in Swindon.

She believes that representation like this is really important because one in 12 young children is thought to go through a phase of stammering, with boys more likely to be afflicted than girls, according to the NHS.

“The book gives a great insight into what a young person who is stammering might be experiencing in school,” said Ford.

“It’s a story of hope and shows that the problem doesn’t have to define you.

“It’s so important for stammering people to be represented in literature in such a positive way,” added Ford, who said her own daughters have been “gripped” by the book.

The book's author Anne-Marie Conway, who also wrote the award-winning children’s novel, ‘Butterfly Summer’, has reacted positively to her book being used for good.

“I’m thrilled that schoolchildren in Swindon will have the opportunity to read ‘Hedgehog’.

“It’s a book that tackles so many issues that affect young people but ultimately celebrates the idea that it’s okay to be different,” she said.

The book, which is aimed at nine to 12 year olds and published by UCLan, has been shortlisted for the Spark! School Book Awards which is voted on by primary school children across the country.

Another book about stammering, ‘The Boy who made Everyone Laugh’, by Helen Rutter, has been distributed to every Swindon secondary school.

Charities which provide support and advice include the British Stammering Association, Action for Stammering Children and The Fluency Trust.

They can be contacted at the following websites -, and and