20th October 2020
A big welcome to our guest blogger, author of Oh No Bobo!, Donna David. Here Donna talks about how she became a children’s author and how writing fits in so well with her RAF family life….
I love books. I always have. I love the way they smell, the way they look, the way they take you on limitless adventures and I love the way they make you feel.
I’m sure many of you will know that pursuing your own career when your partner is in the military can be tricky to say the least. When my husband was posted to Cornwall, I had three young children and I lived nearly five hours away from my family so there was no help with child care. For a long time, I didn’t even think about getting a job.
But, when my husband spent eight months in Afghanistan, I started thinking long and hard about what I wanted to do. A friend asked me, ‘What do you enjoy doing?’ My answer was, of course, reading. That’s when I started thinking about how to make a career out of this passion (I also mentioned that I LOVE sport, but being in my 30s by then, we both knew that I was unlikely to make the Olympic team any time soon).
At this time, I was reading dozens and dozens of children’s stories. My children loved being read to and I was quickly learning what worked well in a children’s book and what didn’t. I was gathering experience every single day without even trying. That’s when I decided that I was going to write for children.
Writing is such a convenient job. I write when my children are at school. I write when they’re at gymnastics or athletics or dance. I write when I’m waiting for my car to be fixed or for a doctor’s appointment. I write whenever I get a spare ten minutes.
Having said that, it is very tricky to make a living from writing. I wrote dozens of picture books in that first couple of years, none of which were published. I attended several courses and chatted to as many industry professionals as possible, but still I had no book deal. However, in 2018, I had an idea to write picture book to teach very young children about consent and personal space. It’s such an important topic and really needs addressing before children become teenagers. Children are clever and even three or four year olds understand that you can’t hold hands with a friend or play with their hair or give them a kiss if they don’t want you to.
That’s how Oh No, Bobo! came to be. Bobo is an orangutan who is a bundle of joy and energy. However, he sometimes forgets the rules of personal space and he upsets a lot of his jungle friends. But, when the tables are turned, he soon realises the importance of consent and, importantly, he learns to apologise.
Oh No, Bobo! has been out since April now and I’m so excited to seeing it in the hands of readers. The reception for it has been brilliant! My next book, Farmer Llama, is out next year and I’m currently working on a super exciting series of picture books as well. It took me a long time and I faced dozens of set-backs but, eventually, writing for children has turned out to be the perfect job.