Today I am delighted to share with you Donna David’s picture book debut, ‘Oh No, Bobo,’ illustrated by Laura Watkins. Bobo the Orangutan is on the hunt for a perfect pillow so he can have a good night’s sleep. He is sure his friends won’t mind helping him in his quest, so he helps himself to the odd feather and a tuft of hair without asking. Despite his friends saying no, Bobo is confused when they are cross. But when he meets Elsie an enthusiastic elephant who decides he would make the perfect pillow, he realises first hand how it feels when someone doesn’t listen. Donna has created a gentle but powerful story that explores the theme of consent, this is a must have for any school and library. We can clearly see how the animals feel when Bobo refuses to listen and invades their space, taking their things without their permission. Stunningly illustrated in a vibrant palette by Laura, the illustrations have the perfect balance of humour and thoughtfulness which brilliantly convey this important message to children.
To celebrate the release of this book, I have a special guest post from the author Donna David on her writing process.
My Writing Process – Donna David
If I had to describe my writing process in two words, they’d probably be ‘Not Ideal’!
Like lots of people, I get up in the morning and get the children off to school. Some days I head off to work as a Library Assistant at a local prison and very little writing gets done on those days. If I’m not working, then I try to get out for a run where I might ponder a new story idea or a plot problem. Then again, I might stick my headphones in and listen to a completely non-writing related podcast.
When I get home, I have my breakfast, do a few odd jobs and sit down at my computer for a full day of writing. Except it’s now midday. How did that happen?
Before I start writing, I make it my mission to read the WHOLE of the internet: Emails, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, BBC News. Then I break for lunch.
Word count so far: zero
Finally, by about 1.30pm, I’ll start writing. This gives me a full 90 minutes before I need to pick my son from school so I have to make it count!
It makes you wonder how I ever got a publishing deal, doesn’t it?
Luckily, I mostly write picture books so creative time doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be sat at desk. I spend a lot of time in the car thinking about my writing. I might be mulling over feedback from my awesome agent or from my excellent critique group.Sometimes, I might not be thinking of writing at all and some inspiration might pop into my head. It could be something I hear on the radio or see on one of my runs. It could be something a child says to me or a slogan I see on a T-shirt. Inspiration is everywhere. And if I feel like I don’t have any ideas, I ask a friend to give me a random word and I write a story about it. Some (many) of the stories I write like this are spectacularly bad, but they get the creative juices flowing and someone wiser than me once said that no written word is ever wasted.
‘Oh No, Bobo!’ was inspired by the monumental #metoo movement. I was desperate to write a story about consent but I wanted to get it right. I wanted my text to be a learning tool but also a fun and vibrant story and that’s a tricky balance to strike! As a result, the story went through many forms over many, many months.
With wonderful illustrations by the ridiculously talented Laura Watkins, I couldn’t be happier with how ‘Oh No, Bobo!’ has turned out. I’m so happy that he’s swinging his way into the world as my debut picture book!
Thanks to Donna for this really insightful guest post. I like to indulge myself in a fair bit of daily procrastination until I actually get any words written, so I’m glad that’s not just me who gets easily distracted.
Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for more reviews and guest posts.
Thank you to Donna and Quarto for inviting me to join in with the blog tour. ‘Oh No, Bobo!’ is available to buy online now or try ordering from your local independent bookshop.