Dimity Powell, author of Pippa, answers some questions about her book. We thank her and Ford Street Publishing for this interview.
What do you hope readers will take away from their experience with Pippa?
I hope older readers and adults sharing Pippa’s story are able to recognise the need to let go and allow smaller humans the room to stretch their wings and explore their worlds without constant correction and worry. Growing up and all it entails from trying new foods for the first time to starting school to accepting your first job, is fraught with uncertainties but if we don’t preserve and take the leap out of our comfort zones from time to time, how else are we going to make some of life’s best and most unexpected discoveries? This is one of the main concepts I wanted to convey; that taking chances and exploring new ideas from time to time is okay and can develop a healthy sense of self and one’s own capabilities. Pippa is also a fun, adventurous introduction to homing pigeons which I hope appeals to the younger audience and helps allay the sometimes unwarranted bad press pigeons generate.
What is your favourite part of the book?
I really love the spreads where Pippa first experiences the sensation of flight; slicing and twirling through the air, completely heedless of where she is or where she is going. ‘First time’ feelings are irreplaceable. Uniquely special and unrepeatable. I think both the text and Andrew Plant’s illustrations really capture that sense of unfettered freedom and joy. That and the wickedly wonderful falcon spread where Pippa is in danger of becoming someone else’s dinner! The way the falcon dives off the page straight into your face is exhilarating. It makes kids jump with surprise.
What has been one of your biggest challenges or risks you’ve had to face?
I’ve been lucky enough to survive quite a few risqué experiences from crossing the Atlantic Ocean (twice) and cruising through the Bermuda Triangle to back-packing through some questionable parts of Portugal (and being followed by would-be robbers). Sometimes though, it’s the less obvious situations that pose the greatest challenge like writing a picture book story that’s part full of your heart and hoping others will treasure it as much as you do. The risk that they won’t and your heart will break a little is always present but not enough to make me quit. Although I have to say, Bungee Jumping was an extreme example of taking a leap of faith for me! And I’m not even scared of heights!
Read Romi Sharp’s review of Pippa