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Brian Tashima, a musician who lives in Vancouver, Washington, is writing a seven-volume science fiction fantasy book series that features a character with autism. He’s writing the series because his 17-year-old son, Torin Tashima, who has autism, asked him to.

Torin Tashima with his dad, courtesy Brian Tashima

When Torin was 12, he was into reading books like “Harry Potter,” “Percy Jackson” and “The Hunger Games.” Torin turned to his dad one day and asked him to write an original sci-fi. Tashima agreed and decided to use his son as inspiration.

“With these books, I really wanted to emphasize the positive aspects of being on the autism spectrum and create a character that saved the day with his special qualities, not despite them,” Tashima told The Mighty via email.

The books follow 16-year-old Joel Suzuki, who has Asperger’s syndrome, as he deals with bullies, school work and fantastic adventures to new worlds. Tashima molded the protagonist after by his son, whose skills, to his dad, are like superpowers.

courtesy Brian Tashima

“When he was just a toddler, he basically taught himself how to use a computer,” Tashima told The Mighty via email. “He figured out how to do things on it that I didn’t know how to do myself. He could memorize long strings of numbers and solve puzzle games meant for much older children. He was also able to notice tiny details in things that no one else seemed able to see, which ended up being the inspiration for my protagonists’ primary superpower.”

Tashima wrote the draft of the first book in four months and then spent over a year rewriting and revising it before “Secret of the Songshell” came out in July 2012. Book two, “Mystery of the Moonfire,” took about three years and came out in October.

Tashima says his books have so far been received well by the autism community, and he hopes to keep writing them to inspire young adults like his son.
“My main goal with this book series is to give people on the autism spectrum a literary hero they can call their own, someone who can help boost their self-esteem while also providing readers from all walks of life with a fun and entertaining story and raising awareness in the process,” Tashima told The Mighty.
courtesy Brian Tashima

A portion of the proceeds from book sales go to Autism Empowerment, a Vancouver, Washington-based nonprofit Tashima serves on the Board of Directors for.

h/t Oregon Live

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