Wellington's newest published author dropped out of Hutt Valley High School after failing his English exams two years ago.
Soon after leaving, Lucas Chisholm discovered the reason he had struggled at exam time - he was dyslexic.
Now his new children's book, Meet Mr Mr Sunny!, provides an insight into what goes on inside his mind.
The 45-page book was illustrated by his artist mother, Jutta Chisholm, who has meticulously recorded his thoughts on canvas.
"The story is a simple one," Lucas, 20, said. "It is about Mr Sunny, a 'flargie' who can never refuse a polite request."
Flargies are cartoon characters who inhabit the colourful world of Flargie City. He is already working on his second book, on another flargie called Glustee.
"Glustee's a ‘Hey, I'm getting paid for being in this book, right?' type of character. He's an always-up-to-something type of character."
He said that, after dropping out of school while resitting year 12 English, "I felt like a bit of a failure. They were tough times."
But there was an upside. The flargies had their beginnings in doodles he did during English lessons.
It took his mother about a week to draw each page, he said. "There were times when we drove each other mad. She was great.
"It's about looking into the pictures, not at the pictures."
Father Phil also helped publish the book, saying he was keen to see Lucas's mind on paper. Dyslexia Foundation managing trustee Esther Whitehead said the book spread the message that it was OK to be dyslexic.
"It is Lucas's journey which is important to this story. He has chosen to express himself through the characters in his book.
"Lucas's book will show kids who have dyslexia, through his descriptive talent, that they too can achieve."
Lucas's dad pointed out Bill Gates, Albert Einstein and Agatha Christie were all dyslexic.
- © Fairfax NZ News