A children’s author has vowed to send struggling families a free copy of her book for Christmas.
Samantha Baines has asked people on Twitter to send her their address so she can post them a pre-wrapped copy of one of her books for children to open on Christmas Day.
Ms Baines said she realised the books on her shelf would “be much better in the hands of some children”.
She told the PA news agency: “I was sitting down, doing some Black Friday shopping and seeing all the deals that were coming up… And I just thought ‘I don’t need this stuff’.
“Some families are really struggling and I’d hate for a child to wake up on Christmas morning and have nothing to open.
“But also, you know, the pressure that those parents feel to make… I’m not a parent myself, but my children’s books are comedy books so I love making kids laugh.”
Ms Baines has already received messages from 25 people asking for a free copy of one of her books, The Night The Moon Went Out and Harriet Versus The Galaxy.
Both books feature a female protagonist who wears a hearing aid on their adventure.
The characters get tangled up in a range of wacky situations, from catching sock-munchers and helping aliens to teaming up with a talking owl to try and turn the moon back on.
The 34-year-old’s characters are partly inspired by Ms Baines herself, who wears a hearing aid.
“It’s so nice when I’ve been able to make a connection with someone in a classroom full of children where they feel seen in my book,” she said.
“I thought, well they’re just here sitting on my bookshelf… And then that’s at least something that a child will get to open on Christmas Day.
“I just thought I’d send out a tweet and see if anyone took it up.”
Ms Baines called the reaction online “amazing”.
She said: “A lot of people have got in contact and said, ‘Can I pay for four copies of your book that you can then send to people?’ so I’m working with the Big Green Bookshop for that.”
The Big Green Bookshop runs a scheme all year round where strangers can donate the cost of a book for someone else to have.
Based in Kent, Ms Baines has inspired other authors, including an American writer who has pledged to do the same for families in the US.
“I didn’t expect it to get quite as much attention as it has,” she said. “It’s great because an American author called Tracey Edingfield said she’s happy to send her books to people.
“I’ve had people from all over the UK (get in contact), and then I’ve also had people from America and Australia contact me.
“It’s just Christmassy, isn’t it?… It’s about spreading the Christmas cheer.”