Edinburgh International Book Festival – Event 1



‘You can… be brave, be beautiful, be clever, be strong…’ Follow the story of an independent and inspirational group of children as they grow up and discover what they want to be in You Can!, the wonderful new picture book from author Alexandra Strick and Steve Antony.

PAMIS Art for Well-being Group participated alongside the authors as they shared their stories, and artwork, inspired by the book, at The Edinburgh International Book Festival.  It was an incredible moment for these storytellers and artists as they are seldom included and almost always never considered. The book festival and PAMIS have been working together to address this for the last few years and this year the event was fully inclusive and YOU CAN was the perfect book to achieve this.

Stories help us make sense of the world, they entertain us, they teach us, they engage and connect us as human beings. You Can is a beautiful, inclusive and uplifting book about what children can achieve. It also gives children and young people a framework to have their voices heard, to be listened to, and acknowledged for what they can achieve. PAMIS say that people with profound and multiple learning disabilities are our best educators and they truly are.  Inspired by the book the group created their own personal  illustrated stories and there is something incredibly empowering about the title of their work, I CAN.   The title I CAN says so much more than I like or I enjoy, it really does gain your attention and you hear the voice of the person coming through. The words I CAN captures an awareness that almost commands action.    For people with profound and multiple learning disabilities it is time to say I CAN, and time for society and services to say YES, WE CAN. Too often we hear NO, WE CAN’T, followed by a list of barriers about what WE CAN’T do and why WE CAN’T do it but it feels now is the time, to say, You CAN, I CAN, and together WE CAN.  Thank you PAMIS artists and thank you Alexandra Strick and Steve Antony for presenting together to show what you can all do.

Artists from the PAMIS Art for Well-being Group who created the story and illustrations during their art class with tutor Ashlynn Wardle.

Rachel                                             Fiona                                                     Helen



Neil                                                                               Jack and Anna





Cover Page:
• Art materials by Jack supported by Ann-Marie and school staff
• Art materials by Fiona support for Anne

Page 2: I Can as younger self
• Karate – Jack
• Sing along – Helen
• Do fun – Fiona

Page 3: I can as younger self
• Swim – Jack
• Splash – Rachel

Page 4: Art
• Paint – Jack
• Collage – Helen
• Paste – Fiona
• Colour – Neil
• Create – Rachel
• Draw – Anna McBride
• They also all made their frames for their images

Page 5: I can at current age/grown up
• Play instruments – Helen
• Listen to music – Rachel

Page 6: I can at current age/grown up
• Play video games – Jack
• Shop till I drop – Fiona
• Ski – Neil


The artists would like to thank the following people for all the help in producing their stories:

Ashlynn Wardle, PAMIS Art for Well-being Group tutor.

Parents and school staff

Support staff.

Catherine Jones from the Edinburgh International Book Festival for her excellent choice of book and for  being an inclusion champion.

PAMIS for promoting our work

Pat Graham for tirelessly working to promote literature and books for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and without her efforts we wouldn’t be where we are today.

If you would like to share your artwork or stories inspired by the book see the links below:

Main website: www.theyoucanbook.com