Niki Daly

What books did you read when you were a child?
I can't recall my parents reading books. The stories I heard were those told around a dinner table. The literature I got was from comics.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
One who gets thrown in at the deep end but survives because they are loved. Someone like Pinocchio?

What is the best thing about reading?
Getting lost in good story, of course. But I also love the feel of a book, its smell, the paper. And it must have pictures!

What is your all time favourite book?
The Little Bookroom by Eleanor Farjeon and illustrated by Edward Ardizzone.

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Play. Children become extremely animated and expressive during play. Especially, if a parent enters into their world of 'make believe.'

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
None. Typical of many working class parents, they were too tired just feeding and clothing us to concern themselves with our school work. But early on, I discovered that I could entertain my family with my funny drawings. And that they did appreciate.

How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
As an author who has visited many schools over the years, I've read to scores of children. It's the best way to test stories and also learn what gets a child attention, and what bores them. Stories that reflect the lives of others opens a window onto worlds beyond family, culture and prejudices, while fantasy reinforces the inner life of a child.

Niki Daly was born in South Africa in 1946. He has won numerous awards for his writing and illustrations since his first publication, The Little Girl who Lived Down the Road (1978). He is currently working on the fourth title, Fly High Lolo, in his Lolo series published by Janetta Otter-Barry Books. Niki has been nominated as a candidate for the 2020 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

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