readBC ~ David J. Smith

We think British Columbia is a pretty special place to live and also a great place to create wonderful children’s literature. readBC is a series of short interviews introducing our readers to our authors and illustrators and their craft. Read the complete series here.
For a list of books created and set in British Columbia, visit this page.

David J. Smith
Region: Vancouver, South Coast & Lower Mainland

When did you know you wanted to write or illustrate children’s books?
My first children’s book was not originally intended to be a children’s book! If The World Were A Village came out of my grade 7 classes, and all I ever thought was that it would be a fun activity to do with future classes. But then it became a book, and people started asking “what’s next?”

What is one piece of advice, or one thing you wish you had learned earlier, about creating children’s books?
There are simply no guarantees. It takes courage to lay your insides out for people to examine and sneer over. But that’s the only way to give what is your unique gift to the world. I have often noted that it takes thin skin to be a writer; but thick skin to seek out publication. But both are needed — the extreme sensitivity on the one hand and the hippo hide against criticism on the other. Send your inner critic off on vacation and just write the way little children play. You can’t be judge and creator at the same time.

If you could take a children’s book character for ice cream, whom would you invite?
Eloise. At her hotel in New York.

What are you working on now?
Putting finishing touches on my new book, This Child Every Child: A Picture Book for Children about the Rights of Children. Publication date January; already endorsed by UNICEF, so big shoes to fill.

What are your favourite procrastination techniques?
Isn’t it time for a nap? I work best under pressure. I’ll get a fresh start in the morning.

To learn more about David’s work, visit his website.
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