B. D. Harris | Children's Book Author and Illustrator
B.D. Harris is a writer and publisher, living in Cape Town, South Africa. His first book, seven: an anthology, was our debut publication. His latest publication is The Brave Turtle, a book commissioned and inspired by NSRI. Although usually embedded deep in fantasy, his writing embraces a kind of imagination that draws out real human stories of hope, fatherhood, family, and a spirit of humanity.
"Harris has a kind of magic in his writing fingers which makes [seven] a lovely book for children. Not quite a novel, not quite a collection of stories, filled with surprise and delight, with suspense and relief, illustrated with wit and imagination, it marks the start of a very promising career." - Imraan Coovadia
Why do you write?
Harris: I enjoy it, that much I can say. I love imagining what I used to see the world like as a child. Drawing on that innocence to depict the imaginary in everyday life is wonderful.
When did you start writing?
Harris: I grew up in George and, as a small town boy, it was necessary to find something that would occupy my free time. I could only climb the tree outside so many times. So, I began to read, write and draw (and quite a bit).
I wrote my first short story in Grade 2. It was a terrible spin-off of a Goosebumps novel that I'd only read the back page blurb of in our local library, but the experience left me wanting to grow into a writer. After studying a BA in English and Classics, I soon realised that storytelling has a far greater reach than only written words. In fact, my love of illustration began to feed my writing and vice versa. I illustrate for the same reason that I write now, and that is to tell a specific story of specific intention.
My love for God has left me in wonder of how children see the world, and trying to understand their viewpoint more and more. That's why my style tends to reflect this exploration most of the time. That perhaps they are all the wiser for being so innocent, and how wonderful that is.
What is the power behind a story?
Harris: What always comes back to me is a memory of travelling along the N2 as a kid, and to pass the time my dad would make up a fantastic story each trip. I was engrossed every time, and almost every single story he told us is still with me today. They weren't epics and he's never even written them down, but they impacted my imagination so much. Those moments are when I first began to understand the power of storytelling.
Children's Books by B. D. Harris
seven: an anthology
Step into the marvellous world of B. D. Harris’ tales for children and adults alike. Seven illustrated short stories magically explore fatherhood and loss, and amongst his fantastic beasts, curious littluns, or troublesome train tales, you’ll find yourself beginning to imagine the most wonderful new worlds.
The Brave Turtle
The Brave Turtle (illustrated by Megan Bird) is an illustrated children's chapter book of family, bravery, and instilling a great respect for our country's wild waters.
Late one night, Sam rolls off her bed and splash! Her entire room has flooded! Not just her room, but the whole house is filling up with water as the world floods outside. Confused and cold, Sam is rescued by a wise, little turtle called Neville, who takes her along the beautiful underwater highway, teaching her the ways of this watery world.
'Water isn’t cruel nor kind, but if you manage to keep your head, then the water will keep you,’ Neville repeats to Sam through their epic adventure across the newly formed oceans, meeting all sorts of interesting creatures along the way, to find and rescue Sam’s parents, now washed somewhere downstream.