Grab a cuppa and sit down with Dr. Annika Smith - author of Fun in the Sun

February 20th, 2023

Follow Dr Annika Smith on Instagram - click here > @drnikkiderm

Where did the inspiration from your book come from?

My work as a dermatologist, passion for skin cancer prevention along with being a mum of little ones. The book was conceived one sunny weekend when my son, then 18 months old, proceeded to put sunscreen, hat and sunglasses on Mummy and then himself, before heading outside. I realised it was purely because he had seen it done so many times before that it was habit. He also took great joy in initiating it all by himself. It reinforced that instilling and modelling sunsafe behaviour from an early age lays the foundation for lifelong sunsafety, which can ultimately save lives. Sun exposure is responsible for the majority of skin cancers, and exposure in early life is critical to determining future risk, particularly when it comes to melanoma.

What is your favourite childhood book, that most influenced you as a writer?

Oh I had lots of favourite books as a child. Anything Beatrix Potter was on high rotation. I am reliably told by my father my favourite was “Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes. I suspect that’s where my love for rhyme first began! I fell in love with children’s books all over again with my own children. I love a good rhyme, good theme and beautiful illustrations. I love Emma Quays work.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

To be honest this all came about rather organically but I loved it. English was my favourite subject at school and naturally I loved writing and still do!

How long did it take you to write your book?

The initial book outline was written in late 2019, the rhyming verse took time to hone as did bringing the book to life.

What is the most challenging thing about writing?

This was a joy to work on. Making it relatable, relevant and fun when it comes to children’s books! I suppose the challenge with this particular book was ensuring the key elements of sun safe practice were reinforced in a fun way, using rhyming verse and a beachside adventure to introduce these concepts to children.

What do you hope young readers take away with them after reading your book?

I hope this book highlights the key elements of sun safety in a fun way, entwined in a beachside adventure and shows that fun in the sun is much better when you protect yourself from the sun (and that it’s actually easy to do!) I hope the book reinforces the power and beauty of nature- the force of the sun while beautiful, is one we must respect.

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