Featured Storyteller Interview: Caryl Hart, author of children book 'How to Catch a Dragon'

Caryl Hart is a children's book author of many wonderful bestseller books including' How to Grow a Dinosaur' and 'Lunch on a Pirate Ship'.

Ever since we read 'How to Catch a Dragon', my little 4 year old and I fell in love with Caryl's imaginative storytelling.

So much so that when I decided to create a Knight Quest Storybook & dress-up box I knew that 'How To Catch a Dragon' was the perfect book for this combo.

I was lucky enough to connect with Caryl recently and she was so excited to see her book included on our storybook & dress up box. This certainly made our day. :)

Caryl was even lovely enough to take the time in answering some questions about how the idea of 'How to Catch a Dragon' came to mind and also sharing a bit about her story.

 

How did the idea come to mind for your book ‘How to catch a dragon’ ? 

How to Catch a Dragon is the fifth Albie book and for this story I wanted to go with a medieval theme. In most stories about knights and dragons, the dragons are cast as the bad guys so I wanted to turn things around and portray dragons as creatures to be loved and treasured. And also that bravery isn’t just about wielding a sword, it can come from friendship and determination to make a difference.

What was the inspiration for the illustrations? 

The illustrations for all the Albie books have been created by the super-talented Ed Eaves. Somehow Ed seems to be able to see into my mind, and creates images that perfectly match my own vision for the books! As to where he gets his inspiration from, you’d have to ask him!

How did you get into writing children books? 

I first started trying to write stories for children when my own daughter came along, over 20 years ago now. We spent a lot of time at the public library and I was astounded to discover the vast array of picture books available to us. I’ve always loved writing but never thought of it as a job in itself until that time. I felt that writing children’s stories might be something I could do. As it turned out, writing picture books is a lot harder than it looks, but with a lot of tenacity, some self-belief and plenty of determination, my first book was published ten years later.

What was your favourite children book growing up?

I loved the Miffy books by Dick Bruna, but my favourite was a story about a little brown dog called Snuffy, by the same author. Snuffy finds a little lost girl and carries her home to her mummy on his back. I desperately wanted to be that little girl!  When I was a bit older, I loved Enid Blyton’s Famous Five stories and also books of riddles and rhymes.

Is there a character in a book that you wanted to be or liked dressing up as, when you were growing up?

I wanted to be George from the Famous Five. She was the only interesting female character I knew and reading about her strength and courage really inspired me.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I haven’t had any formal training to be a creative writer. I studied biology, conservation and evolution theory at university.

Should we be on the lookout for a new book coming out soon?

I’ve had two new books out so far this year, Mini Monsters Can I be the Best? Illustrated by Tony Neal, and Meet the Oceans illustrated by Bethan Woollvin.

Next month I have the first book in a brand new series for preschool children called Sonny Says MINE! illustrated by Zachariah Ohora and in May I have the third book in my When a Dragon series, which is going to be the super-adorable When a Dragon Meets a Baby, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw.

Finally, in August it’s the eleventh Albie book – How to Track a Sabre Toothed Tiger – illustrated, or course, by the amazing Ed Eaves.

So there’s plenty to look forward to!

Which would you choose if you were stuck on an island: coffee, chocolate or wine?

Oh chocolate. Definitely! I don’t really drink coffee and wine really doesn’t agree with me!

Have you ever visited Australia before? And if so, where was your favourite place?

Yes! I spent around six months in Western Australia, near a town called Merredin when I was in my twenties. I stayed on a couple of different farms and did a few different jobs including caring for an elderly lady and working in a beauty salon. I stayed with the beauty salon owner’s family way out in the bush, which was an incredible experience. Her daughter was ten at the time and we became life-long friends. She now lives in Melbourne and has children of her own.

 

Caryl has some amazing free fun activities on her website revolved around the stories on her website!

Check it out: https://www.carylhart.com/about/book-activities