Bernadette Dawson is a mother of two boys who lives in London, England. She has worked in pre-schools for the last 24 years, meeting some of the most brilliant and intriguing children. She loves to see the world through children’s perspectives, to have fun and develop a wide range of vocabulary. She has read thousands of books to children, so writing has not only allowed her to follow her passion, but it has been helpful to collate her own experiences of reading stories to be able to turn this into something children will enjoy and want to repeatedly re-read.
Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?
I work with children so I play every day; through play, I can see children’s rich imagination. Pre-schools provide so many resources and are in tune with the children’s current interests. This inspired me to write a book about a child entering their pre-school to explore their imagination through play.
How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?
I felt very emotional and I had butterflies observing my children holding my book—that image will forever remain in my mind. I attempted to slow my eyes down as I glanced at each page, but it was not possible, I was overwhelmed.
Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?
I love to read books to children and watch their little faces beam with anticipation during the story. I always adapt stories and use character voices to bring stories to life. I have always had stories running through my mind, so I decided to write one down, and now I am here. Stories that are told through rhyme are always popular, and support language development. I love the story The Hairy Toe by Daniel Postgate, Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough, and of course The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, with many more to mention.
What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?
I worked in a chemist as a bouncer, I was about 4’5”, I wore a huge adult man’s white coat, and was told to stand at the door to stop shoplifters. I also worked in a bakery for two years on weekends and during school holidays. I love to raise money for charity; I recently walked with my family from London to Tipperary in Ireland to raise money for two charities. This August I will be helping raise money for the Little Princess Trust, which raises money to make wigs for children with cancer.
What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?
The most rewarding part has been observing the children react to my story, watching them chuckle, gasp, smile, and focus. I have children repeating my story back to me. That is better than winning the lottery!
If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?
I would love Rocket Man by Elton John, Imagine by John Lennon, and the children’s favourite—the Five Little Men in a Flying Saucer song.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?
To extend vocabulary by repeating and predicting the text. My perfect reader would be anyone who needs to laugh, needs a distraction, or usually struggles listening to stories.
What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?
I have just finished writing my second story, which is not yet published, and I am halfway through my third idea.
How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?
I loved my experience with Atmosphere Press—they were all so kind and professional. I would highly recommend them!