Do you have a favourite picture book as an adult?
I remember when I started visiting the children’s section of a bookshop at the start of my writing career there was a book that made me rethink what picture books could be. NO! by Marta Altes. I love the illustrations and the clever but simple story. I also am a huge fan of books by Bob Shea; they’re all incredibly stylish but funny and goofy too. And a current favourite is the dreamy Little Fox by Edward van de Vendel and illustrated by Marije Tolman.
What impact do you hope this book will have on the children who read it?
Well, ﬁrstly I hope they enjoy it! And want to read it again. I hope that they can relate to the characters, and I think it’s a book that champions creativity so I’d hope it might inspire a few potential writers and artists too.
How would you encourage teachers and librarians to use this book in the classroom/library?
I’m currently touring schools reading the book and it’s lovely to come together as a class, just like in the book, and create something together. It brings up discussions about friendship, kindness, and supporting friends through hard times. I think because we hear the story from the friend, we can open up questions on why David is not feeling himself, and how he feels at diﬀerent parts of the story.
The message behind The Boy with Flowers in His Hair could be interpreted in multiple ways. What do you believe the message is?
I have heard a variety of interpretations and I’m so happy that I have. My favourite pieces of art can be interpreted in diﬀerent ways. When I was writing it I had thought about David losing the ﬂowers as a kind of depression or illness. Something that can’t be explained or easily ﬁxed. And it’s why one of my favourite parts is when it reads, “David seemed back to how he was before. Almost.” Because sometimes the biggest things can’t always be “solved”.