John, from New Brighton, regularly regaled his delighted granddaughter Sofia Lily Rose with fantastical tales filled with fairies, magic, and talking animals. Sofia especially enjoyed it when her real-life dog Koby was featured, so John made him a recurring character in his stories.
After several years of bringing joy to his granddaughter with his rhyming tales, John decided to take a leap and write a children's book and an accompanying audiobook, with the hope that other children would also enjoy the stories.
After months of hard work and helpful feedback from 7-year-old Sofia, John finished his book, Sofia Lily Rose and her Magical Prose, the first of what he hopes will become a series of children's books.
John didn't stray too far from his original stories, as the two main characters are a little girl named Sofia Lily Rose and her faithful dog Koby (who speaks with a Geordie accent). The written format, however, did allow John to create beautiful illustrations so he could bring the magical friends in his head to life on the page whilst the audio format brought to life the accents of his French cat, Russian crab, and Italian fly characters.
John filled the book with positive messages about the importance of being kind and protecting the environment, and he dedicated the book to Smile Train with the aim of raising awareness of cleft lip and palate.
To promote Sofia Lily Rose and Her Magical Prose, John and Sofia have read the book in local schools, bookshops and libraries across Merseyside and Tyneside — including John's first school in Hebburn, which he left 50 years ago.
To John's delight, the same stories that always made his granddaughter smile are delighting other children as well. John said, “I have personally read it to more than 1000 eager listeners now, and the children absolutely love it — we've received great feedback and interest in further stories.”
John added, “We have decided to make a donation from the proceeds of the book to Smile Train, as it's our favourite charity and the book itself is about making children happy. The book has generated loads of great vibes in our region on so many fronts — all great publicity for Smile Train!”
If you'd like to learn more about 'Sofia Lily Rose and her Magical Prose', check out the publisher's website. Or, if you're feeling inspired to raise funds and awareness for Smile Train, just like Sofia Lily Rose and John, check out the Get Involved section of our site.