Nadia's got a new phone and she won't put it down for anyone. Not even Hamid.
Charmingly illustrated in full colour, this endearing, laugh-out-loud tale of an increasingly frustrated owl's seemingly unrequited love is the perfect gift for those social media addicts who have become a little too attached to their mobile devices, and who can just about tolerate a good dad joke.
Mobile phones aren't just a distraction for cute little owls, of course. I wrote this treetop romance on my own smartphone on my journey into work. I once missed my stop because I was so preoccupied with it. I've also walked into pedestrians, many of whom were similarly absorbed. It's so annoying when people are glued to these tiny screens, not looking where they're going, isn't it? Well, this is the point of my story. Research suggests around half of us are so attached to our phones that we even use them on the toilet. I certainly spend an awful lot of time on my device (my phone, not my toilet). Too much time. It's become an extension of my very being.
I am Nadia. You may well be Nadia. If not, you'll almost certainly know a Nadia. My story might be for them.
This is where our story began. A gift bought for my friend Nadia in a Hokkaido hotel back in 2017, from a very talented carver called Mr Keishi Sugimoto. My son loved his carvings, and has one in his bedroom.
Look around you. If you've been looking around you for as long as I have, you'll have noticed that society and the way we interact with one another - or not - has changed. Here are a few posts from social media which illustrate this.
Ever experienced phantom vibration syndrome?
... was perfectly encapsulated at an interdisciplinary talk held on 11 March 2019 at Jesus College's Intellectual Forum, part of the Cambridge Science Festival. This thought-provoking event was streamed live – click here for the entire broadcast, and it's also worth checking out #miserabletech on Twitter.
Hatching a plan...
On the surface, LOOOOOL! looks like a children's story, and it will appeal to the kids in your life because of Beth's endearing artwork. She is the 18-year-old student who has worked around her studies over the past year, painstakingly humouring such observations as "I think I've found an inconsistency in Hamid's toenails" or "wormy's missing his poop on page 30". Not only did she do all that she was asked, she added flourishes of her own. Take, for instance, the headtorch worn by Nadia's brother once night falls. Or the twig caught up in Nadia's ruffled feathers on the back of her head. Both were unsolicited. While Beth's never done anything quite like this before, we think she has a great future, but you can make up your own mind about that. Either way, Nadia is a grown-up and her story is the perfect gift for those screen addicts in your life, young or old.
The evolution of Nadia
Illustrating a book was as new to Beth as writing one was to me, but she learnt really fast.
How much did you notice?
Did you find our movie-style Easter eggs?
See the clues below, the last of which will help you with wormy's puzzler on the final page of our story.
What happens to the ivy?
The seasons don't change overnight, so why on earth has this happened?
Which book is Nadia's brother reading?
He has excellent taste.
What is wormy's act of revenge on Nadia?
He seems to get hangry all of a sudden.
Which emoji does Nadia send?
Sometimes it's easier to tell someone how you feel through the medium of text. Especially when they've flown away...
The expression 'lol' has been in use for far longer than you might think, but it has taken on different meanings over the years. It still means different things to different people today.
Whether you laughed out loud at our story or not, why not show lots of love for different people today by supporting those in desperate need?
Any profits arising from the sale of this publication will be donated to Hand in Hand for Aid and Development (HIHFAD), a UK-registered foundation that has been at the forefront of humanitarian aid provision in Syria and neighbouring countries since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011.
Established by a group of British-Syrians, HIHFAD has grown to become one of the leading humanitarian actors serving Syrian communities in Syria and neighbouring countries.
Today HIHFAD has an extensive network of staff working on the ground in Syria. This not only allows the foundation to work in short-term emergency provision, but also engage in long-term projects which allow Syrian communities to regain the dignity necessary for them to rebuild their own lives.
Hand in Hand for Aid and Development
UK Charitable Incorporated Organisation #1176805