‘Catch them Young’ – this is one of the widely used axioms that I like. I really like this phrase because of its accuracy. The best time to frame the human mind is when it is still Young.
The things that happen in the formative years of most individuals have a bearing on what they become in the future. Little wonder why one of my favourite books of all time is ‘Oh the places you will go’ by 😋. That book is a must-read for every child just as is School Friendship Solution..
The parents of my guest today are doing exactly that. They noticed Dara’s passion for writing and encouraged it. This has led to her becoming one of the youngest authors around.
Let’s Meet The Author – Dara
I’m Dara Oginni and I’m 12 years old. I live with my mum, dad, siblings and dog in Kent.
What do you care about?
I care about my family and friends. I also love my dog Nala, whom I got a few months after this book came out! Nala makes me laugh every day.
I also care about making a difference. It doesn’t have to be mega-scale, but it could be as simple as giving someone some encouraging words if they are downcast or just really need it, or emptying both layers of the dishwasher if my brother is feeling ill.
I care about writing short, fun, stories and playing with my friends, siblings and dog (Nala likes to cause trouble sometimes!). I love to play the cello and dance too.
What are you passionate about?
Making a difference in the world can be really simple and brightens others’ days. We can all do this!
I care about equality.
Tell us about your book – School Friendships Solution
My book is centred around children of my age. It’s about children going to school and sometimes why they can be reluctant about it. There could be so many reasons! The work could be hard or, in Amy’s case, there could be a student(s) who might seem a little intimidating, but they really aren’t and are just misunderstood.
School can be hard sometimes, you face many obstacles every day! My book helps you to understand that you can get through them, if you face your fears, be bold and stand up to your problems, then they’ll eventually fade away! Every problem won’t go immediately, though, it takes time. School takes time. School takes patience. But, school is great and an amazing place to be. It’s your second home.
On her inspiration for the book
I saw how difficult it could be to join a new school, so I guess I decided to write and draw pictures about that! I wasn’t actually planning to publish it though, but here we are now!
What has changed in your understanding since writing this book 2 years ago ?
Around 4-5 years ago, when I was 8-9, I started writing this book. I have been writing short stories since I was 6, a lot of those about fairies, mermaids and princesses. Me writing was just as natural as my love of reading.
This book was just written for fun, and I wanted to just cure my boredom during the school holidays. I wasn’t planning to go public with it or publish it at all! I originally wrote them in short books on paper, (each chapter in the actual book was a book in its own right originally) and I drew all of the pictures myself (I’m an avid artist). I was ten when I showed my parents and things got serious.
A year and a half later, after a lot of admin, my book finally got published on the 28th of February 2021!! I was so excited!
However, then, the book didn’t hold much meaning for me. Sure, it was about a girl who moved school and was feeling out of place, but it didn’t hold much power. For me, it was just a funny, slightly weird book that I just found myself working on.
Now, I realise just how special it is. My lovely book holds so much potential! I can’t wait to see how Amy develops further and I’m sure that you can’t too.
Do you intend to write more books?
Yes! Definitely. I’m looking for inspiration.
How do you think it resonates with kids now?
My book resonates with kids with the way it’s set. Things have changed A LOT since I wrote my book, so rapidly. So, while in-person bullying is still a problem, cyberbullying is a huge one too!! Many people (including me-yes, I’m admitting it) spend a lot of time on their devices, which isn’t good for your mental health or well-being. It’s a lot easier to say mean things to someone behind a screen than in person.
Unfortunately, Cyberbullying is a serious problem and it’s getting normalised now too, whenever I go on YouTube there’s always got to be a troll in the comments who just wants to pick a fight with someone. You won’t know who the person is, where they are and how old they are, which can make you feel scared and/or intimidated. Some people can be really mean. It can be worrying for kids. So while Amy was being bullied physically at school, I hope to add cyberbullying to one of the situations that she has to deal with as her character develops and she grows.
I feel like this is so important for young kids to know and tell someone. Sometimes, it can be difficult, annoying, and sometimes even embarrassing. But, it’s the best decision, and much better than to let the person continue to make you feel insecure or make you fire back. An adult will know how to properly block or report the person, and you can go on with life. You can put it past you. After all, you don’t know what someone is going through, as seen when Sapphire reveals why she was being so mean to Amy. Plus, you’ve always got your friends behind your back, like Kelly and Sivanthi are always right behind Ava.
If you had 30 mins to speak to kids in any part of the world what will you talk to them about?
If I had 30 minutes to speak to kids about my book, I’d ask them how much they relate to it. School Friendship Solutions is a book that is meant to empathise with young kids and understand how they are feeling in some circumstances, so I want to make sure that it is doing just that.
I’d also want to speak to them about how their journey at school has been, and whether it’s changed for the better, and also whether after reading my book, they could understand different points of view more and could handle situations slightly easier. This news would be great to hear!
What advice do you have for kids that are being bullied?
My advice is that:
1. Try not to listen to it. The mean things they say aren’t true!
2. Write all of it down, and then throw the piece of paper in the bin.
3. Tell someone. It could be a parent, teacher or a friend. Never go through it in silence.
4. Don’t see yourself as the problem. It’s not you!
5. Some bullies are bullying to feel better about themselves. If you feel safe enough, try and talk to them.
Any tips for Young budding writers like you who don’t know how to go about it?
Seek inspiration! Talk about topics from the heart. Think about what you like. Draw mind maps to see what is easiest, or consider a challenge! Draw pictures to set it to life; it will help you plan it out more easily.
What do you do in your leisure time?
I read (A LOT). I also love watching TV. Even sleeping or listening to calming music are forms of relaxation for me.
What will you like to do in future?
That’s a good question. I will always write as my side job. I fluctuate from job to job quite often, but I’ve had my heart set on being a doctor and/or a (Movie) director for a while now. Hopefully, I can manage that!
The sky is only just the beginning our dear Dara, thank you for your time. I look forward to reading more of your books.
Thanks for reading guys, I’ll leave you a quote from Dr Seuss’ Oh the places you’ll go. Remember, age is just a number, no matter how Young or how old you are, there’s nothing you cannot achieve. Go for it.
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.
You won’t lag behind because you’ll have the speed
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.Oh the places you’ll go by Dr Seuss
SCHOOL FRIENDSHIP SOLUTIONS available in Nigeria at :
Online : https://rhbooks.com.ng/product/school-friendship-solutions/
Instore : WALK-IN STORE LOCATIONS: Rovingheights Bookstore.
LAGOS MAINLAND – 28, Ogunlana Drive, Surulere.
0810 979 5365.
LAGOS ISLAND – Landmark Event Center, Oniru, Victoria Island.
0913 906 9792
ABUJA – CVS Plaza, 145, Ademola Adetokunbo Crescent, opposite Oti Carpets, Wuse 2.
0902 666 6195
2 Ezimgbu Link Road, Off Stadium Road ( Mummy B Road, 500272, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
*IBADAN: Available soon at The Booksellers Limited
52 Magazine Rd, 200284, Ibadan, .08078496332
Also available in the UK on:
AMAZON(+ KINDLE EDITION) : https://www.amazon.co.uk/School-Friendship-Solutions-Dara-Oginni-ebook/dp/B091ZDGJ6V
WHSMITH : https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/school-friendship-solutions/dara-oginni/paperback/9781800461871.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjw6pOTBhCTARIsAHF23fI48IOPm0bsbSPIMmn2G-mjfkHrV92ZY011XEZtZKmeQ76IlVZBrSMaAo9pEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds