Meeting new authors is always top on my list of fun things to do. And as a parent, it’s rare I meet children’s authors. Today, I’d like to introduce Daniel Williamson, who has created a line of educational picture books to teach kids new languages in a fun and new way.
Daniel Williamson was born in London and earned a scholarship to attend Bembridge Private School on the Isle of Wight, largely due to his advanced English writing skills. During his teenage years, he articulated in theater, band, and choir. After attending Nottingham Trent University, he began traveling the globe to such locations as The Taj Mahal, The Great Wall of China, and Christ the Redeemer.
After the birth of his daughter Carmela, his passion for writing was re-ignited, and after a brief spell script writing he turned his attention to children’s stories due to the inspiration he gained from his mother Jacqueline’s Montessori nursery and his own volunteer work at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
His current titles include the Look at me I’m learning series, which focuses on teaching young children the basics of a new language through colourful picture books. Currently languages include French, Spanish, German, Italian, Polish and Brazilian Portuguese with many more language books and rhyming picture books already under development for 2020 and beyond.
What inspired you to write children’s language books?
I had already written a few rhyming picture books when a friend pointed out to me that she couldn’t find one decent picture book to help her cousin teach their son Italian. At this point I had a light bulb moment. I did some research and found this was true for all languages pretty much. There were bilingual books out there but they mostly looked like boring text books and not endearing to young children. I decided if I could make a series that started with the basics of language in a colourful and playful way this would be a great gateway for any parent wishing to introduce their child to a new language.
Are you fluent in any languages?
Languages were always my favourite subjects at school where I studied French, German and Spanish for a combination of 15 years. I’ve been learning Brazilian Portuguese for the last 2 years. Would say I’m more conversational than fluent in all 4 which is why I used professional translators for my books.
Do you have any other languages you’d like to cover?
The series currently has 6 languages covered with 4 more arriving within the next 6 weeks. What I love about this series is that the possibilities are endless and if there is demand for new languages I aim to fulfil it. I have a great model in that the story and artwork template are complete donee languages just need to be translated professionally and then it’s effectively cut and paste. I also believe 100% that there is potential for the whole series to be back-translated and go global and so I am looking for the right literary agent or publisher to help me achieve that.
What age group are your books best suited for?
The subtitle reads ‘A story for ages 2-8’ but I’ve heard of children as young as 1 and as old as 10 enjoying the books. Even some adults have bought them in order to teach themselves the basics!
What were your favorite children’s books growing up?
I think everybody has that one picture book as their go to growing up. Mine was Not now Bernard by David McKee. An absolute classic which is still held in high regard today. After that it was Roald Dahl all the way, I couldn’t get enough of his creative characters, funny words and simply beautiful stories. Even 30 years later I think he is still influencing me in my writing as whenever I have a quirky moment I smirk and think about him.
What are your dreams for your book series?
I want this book series to help as many parents as possible to enjoy introducing their mother (or father) tongue to their children. Learning a language should be fun and so I’m hoping to bridge the gap with the colourful artwork. As mentioned I want this series to grow and grow and reach every corner of the globe. To have the series back translated and receive messages from people in every continent telling me how much the children enjoy them. Growing this global ‘family’ of readers will also give me the opportunity to share my other stories with the world and hopefully spread a lot of happiness along the way.
Will you always stay within the children’s books or do you have plans for any YA or adult novels?
I believe I will stay within picture books and YA. First I wish to expand my language series, then I have 3 more picture books written that just need the artwork finished. I’m also currently in the planning phases of a YA fantasy series with a talented artist with some fantastic and original ideas so looking forward to pushing my boundaries.
To order any of Daniel Williamson’s langue books for kids, you can shop now HERE.
To keep up to date on all of Daniel Williamson’s work and be alerted when he releases new work, visit him on any of his platforms.