LeBron James’ accolades on the court are legendary – three NBA championship rings, four-time MVP, 16 All-Star Game appearances. Now, as a children’s book author, James is making an off-court move that could propel him even further in the hearts and minds of his youngest fans.
HarperCollins Publishers announced a two-book deal with the Los Angeles Laker star starting with an August release of his debut picture book, I PROMISE, to be followed next year by a middle-grade novel, reports Entertainment Weekly.
James, 35, and father of three children, said he was inspired to create a story where every child could see him or herself. The picture book is illustrated by Nina Mata.
“Books have the ability to teach, inspire, and bring people together,” James said in a statement, according to EW. “That’s why these books, and the opportunity to get children and parents reading together, mean so much to me. Most importantly, we wanted to make sure these stories are ones that every single kid can see themselves in. I PROMISE is powerful in that way and I can’t wait for people to read it.”
I PROMISE is described on HarperCollins’ website as “a lively and inspiring picture book that reminds us that tomorrow’s success starts with the promises we make to ourselves and our community today” and “has the power to inspire all children and families to be their best,” reported PEOPLE magazine.
The book gets its name from James’ I Promise School in Akron, Ohio. The NBA superstar founded the elementary school in 2018, aiming to give a stable learning environment to at-risk kids.
The LeBron James Family Foundation started the I Promise Network in 2011. It has since grown to more than 1,400 Akron students in sixth through 11th grade, who receive mentoring, college and career preparation and family support from the foundation.