Young readers will learn about the importance of a smile in James and the Amazing Gift

Nicola J. Rowley hopes that her new picture book will inspire a love of reading  – and smiling – in children aged 3-7 years

The protagonist of Nicola J. Rowley's new picture book, James, has an amazing gift. He loves to smile. He also has an incredible ability to make everyone he meets, smile too. But one day, whilst he is at a garden centre with his mummy, he sees an elderly lady who does not want to smile. She is sitting in the corner with her purple hat pulled down over her face. She is all alone. James has to work really hard to get her attention. Will he be able to make the old lady feel as if she is no longer just by herself?

Inspired by her son, Nicola has written James and the Amazing Gift to help instil a love of reading to children. “It makes me incredibly happy to see the enjoyment my son gets from turning the pages, learning new words and going on special adventures, and I'd love to create the same for other children,” says Nicola. Focusing on happiness, positivity and how to make others feel good about themselves, it is a picture book unlike any other in the market.

James and the Amazing Gift uses beautiful illustrations to highlight how a smile can go a long way to impact upon the lives of others. As well as trying to inspire a love of reading in young children, Nicola also aims to raise awareness of the loneliness of elderly people, especially at Christmas time. For every book sold, £1 of the proceeds will be donated to the UK charity Contact the Elderly, which tackles loneliness amongst older people.

“I look forward to working in partnership with them to raise awareness about the increasing number of people who will find themselves alone over the festive season,” says Nicola, who has wanted to be a writer ever since she can remember. She has worked nationally and internationally as a Journalist, Radio Newsreader, TV Producer and Reporter, before moving into a career in Communications. Nicola also runs her own successful photography business, specialising in children and families, weddings and commercial imagery. She is available for interview on request, and review copies of James and the Amazing Gift are available on request.

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Alexa Davies

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