Welcome to #MeetTheAuthor!
Meet James Davies, Author and Illustrator of Children's Books
"I’m an illustrator and author originally from the deepest dampest Wales, but I now live in London with my partner and three needy cats. I’ve been an author and illustrator of children’s books for about thirteen years, and now happily work as an illustrator at Yoto. When I’m not drawing, I love stomping around the woods, eating carbs and trying to play guitar."
Q: Tell us about the series. How many books are there and what are they about?
A: The Meet the… books are all about renowned civilizations and people from the past. There are four books in the series, covering Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt, and Pirates! They’re short, snappy and funny introductions to history for readers 5 and up, featuring all the key facts: Who was Blackbeard? Was The Mummy's curse real? Where did the ancient Romans go to the toilet? All the essential knowledge a budding historian needs!
Q: What inspired you to write the series Meet the Ancients?
A: I have always loved history, but like many people, I struggle to remember dates, names and places. History books can be so dense and overwhelming, so I wanted to write about these incredible civilizations in a way that was easier to digest than a dusty encyclopedia.
Q: Share a memory of stories/reading in your childhood - why is it special to you?
A: The stories my mum told me when I was young still stick with me today! We delved into fantastic books by David McKee, Roald Dahl and Michael Rosen, full of repetition, rhymes and hilarious words. Titles like Not Now, Bernard were read over and over and everyone in my family can still recite them. Reading together with my siblings was an influential part of my childhood. The stories and pictures I saw then continue to inspire me every day to create new characters and silly adventures for them to embark on.
Q: What was your favorite subject in school and why?
A: Definitely history! I loved art lessons, obviously, but I always found learning about history so fascinating. We can learn so much about ourselves by looking back at what came before us.
Q: What’s your favorite character from your stories and why?
A: I have a special love for the gods and monsters of ancient Greece. I love how human and imperfect they are - always making mistakes and having a bit of a sulk. My favorite character to write about in Meet the Ancient Greeks was the strong and brave Heracles. Retelling the story of his heroic adventures was so much fun. From fighting multi-headed sea beasts to shoveling a LOT of horse poo, he overcame every challenge he faced. Super inspiring.
Q: If you could visit a time in history, where would you go?
A: I can tell you where I wouldn't like to travel to: the pirate-filled 1700s. They sound like dangerous, smelly times. I think traveling to Egypt at its peak would be fascinating. Seeing the iconic pyramids and the mighty Sphinx in their full glory must have been amazing. Nice weather, too!
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