Comedian and author David O’ Doherty, whose books for children include Danger is Everywhere: A Handbook for Avoiding Danger, had over 250 pupils at Lionwood Junior School in raptures as he entertained them with the ins and outs of ‘dangerology’.
Mr O’ Doherty’s hilarious and highly interactive talk covered such essential survival tips as knowing how to spot the hidden dangers in books (beware the scorpion on page 9!), to vampire teachers, children who are really aliens, and traffic lights that turn into jellyfish!
During the session Lionwood Junior pupils also had the opportunity to put their own dangerous scenarios to Mr O’ Doherty, as well as to share some of their favourite jokes and to ask him questions about his books and being a writer.
Mr O’ Doherty told the pupils that he had started writing from the age of 9 as he wanted to read more books that appealed to his own quirky and imaginative sense of humour.
Speaking after the event, Mr O’ Doherty said about his books for children:
“I think I really enjoy lying! The key to these books is you have to be of an age where you are able to go, ‘Oh hang on, this guy is a wally!’ You remember the term wally we used to have, which implied just a silly grown up? We don’t really have an equivalent of it now. I am trying to bring the wally back. So it’s to give kids the confidence to be able to read a book and be like: ‘This guy is off his head! What’s going on here?’ and I quite enjoy that. It’s probably a really bad thing to take into schools, but it’s some sort of critical thinking I suppose.”
Commenting on the recent launch of the Get Norfolk Reading campaign, he added:
“We’re confronted by reality the whole time, be it 9 year olds having Instagram, whereas a book is another world that you can go into that is away from all of the stress and pressure that you might be feeling in your life. If you can get kids to appreciate that it can be a really nice place where they can go and decompress from the world. The hard part, and this is where libraries and schools come in, is finding the one book that gets kids into reading. I sincerely believe that there is a book out there for everyone and once that door opens to you then there is a universe behind it.”