Q&A with Nicola Davies

“Lots: The Diversity of Life on Earth” is a stunningly beautiful book with detailed illustrations and facts that will increase your appreciation of the world we live in and our part in maintaining and plant and animal diversity of this planet. We were lucky to sit down with Nicola Davies, the author of this beautiful book to understand a little more about how this book originated, the process behind creating this book and what we can expect next from Nicola.

Enjoy!

1. You have been fascinated by animals since you were very young. What were some of your jobs prior to becoming a children’s author?

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated by animals and plants and my job choices have almost always reflected that. I did a zoology degree at university and did many internships and studentships studying animals in the wild, geese, bats, humpback sperm and blue whales. I worked as a presenter for the BBC natural history until and starting writing scripts…which was my way into books.

2. Your children’s books are all about animals in nature. How did it all start with your very first book?

Well they aren’t ALL about animals and nature. I’ve also written about refugees, war, disability, grief, children’s rights and child slavery! But about 2/3 of my books are about my primary passion, nature. My first book for children was a picture book called big blue whale. I had been asked to be a scientific consultant on it but the writer just kept on getting it wrong and in the end, the publisher just said ‘Oh, why don’t you write it?’

3. How did the idea for LOTS – The Diversity of Life on Earth come about?

Diversity has always fascinated me – the factors that create it are hot topics of scientific debate and now its role in maintaining the healthy ecosystems that support all life on earth is known to be crucial. So it just seemed obvious to me that children should know about the single most important and precious thing on earth which is the weft of life that holds us all.

4. How did the process between you and Emily Sutton, the illustrator, work when creating this book together?

Emily is the most incredible artist so she needs very little from me! I give her species references for each page – latin names so there can be no confusion. I find as many relevant and accurate visual resources for her as possible and then she does her wonderful thing. 

5. What would you like families to get out of this book?

A sense of awe a sense of wonder, and a sense of the urgency of the crisis which faces biodiversity and by extension human life 

6. What’s coming up for you next?

I finished a very long novel for older children and adults in lockdown. It’s called The Song that Sings Us and it conveys many of the environmental message that I have put into my shorter work over the last 20 years, but delivered by means of a fast-paced exciting adventure story. A lot of my time this year is going to be spent trying to make sure this story reaches the widest audience possible. On my desk right now however is another picture book text for Emily….Here’s a sneak preview of the cover of the The Song that Sings Us illustrated by my lovely friend Jackie Morris.

Cover of “The Song That Sings Us”

Thank you to Nicola for sharing with us.

You can find this fantastic book in our current 6 month membership. Join us now to enjoy this book along with a parent guide and a play activity that will get your kids discovering, learning, playing and talking!