An Interview with… Rachael Davis

In my Writing 4 Children slot in issue #245 13 Jul 2022 of the UK national writing magazine, Writers’ Forum, Rachael Davis explained to me why books that break stereotypes are important for young children.

She explains representation is so important in children’s books. Rachael revealed the first time she saw herself reflected in a picture book was in Luna Loves Library Day by Joseph Coelho and Fiona Lumbers.

“It was an incredibly emotional moment for me and inspired me to try writing for children myself. For me, creating characters young children will identify with stems from finding your voice. Your unique life experiences will be relatable to a child somewhere and by tapping into your inner child, you can reach them through the stories you tell.”

Rachael Davis

Her debut picture book I am NOT a Prince, illustrated by Beatrix Hatcher, is an inclusive, rhyming fairy tale for the 21st century that challenges gender stereotypes. On a misty lagoon in a fairy tale land, young frogs wait patiently to be turned into princes. When Hopp refuses to be kissed and turned into a prince, the magical frog sets off on an adventure to prove you can be whatever you want to be.

I am NOT a Prince by Rachael Davis and Beatrix Hatcher

I am NOT a Prince is full of universal characteristics and emotions which readers young and old can relate to. This unique picture book is about not having to conform to stereotypes and being proud to be yourself. She hopes will realise that, regardless of gender, race, upbringing and societal expectations, it is okay to be yourself.

Rachael revealed that before the idea for I am NOT a Prince came to her, she had known for a while that she wanted to write a story about being proud to be yourself.

“I wanted to write a story that was inclusive to as many children as possible. I hope lots of children can relate to it, including the LGBTQ+ community.”

Rachael Davis

She explained one of the most important things to remember when writing books for children that have a big theme, such as breaking stereotypes, is that first and foremost you need to write a captivating story. Unless it is an information book, the message should not be overpowering the plot.

While I am NOT a Prince does offer children an accessible way to start a conversation about gender stereotypes, it can also just be read as a fun twisted fairy tale that empowers children to be themselves. If you read the book carefully you will notice that I haven’t used a single pronoun in the book, for any of the characters (not he/him, she/her or they/them). It invites the reader to draw their own conclusions about gender expectations.

Rachael Davis

Her advice to other children’s book writers is that when trying to write for children, originality is key. If you are new to writing, twisting a traditional tale can be a great place to start. You can take confidence from the fact that the original story beats (plot points, the highs and lows) are working well: no soggy middles or pacing issues to be seen. The fun comes in looking at how you can twist the story beats to add even more impact.

However, as fun as it is, finding a knock-out twist can be incredibly tricky. Market research is really important because there are lots of brilliant twisted fairy tales already out there and you need to find your own unique angle. What she loves most about writing for children is that you have the opportunity to write a variety of different types of books.

You can find out more about Rachael and her school visits at and follow her on Twitter @RachDavisAuthor and on Instagram @RachDavisAuthor

To read the complete feature you can purchase a copy of #245 13 Jul 2022 Writers’ Forum by ordering online from Select Magazines.

To read my future Writing 4 Children or Research Secrets interviews you can invest in a subscription from the Writers’ Forum website, or download Writers’ Forum to your iOS or Android device.

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