About the Author and the story so far!

Samira Harris

Samira Harris is both the author and illustrator of Freddie Fox. Samira trained in fine art, achieving a BA Honours in drawing from The College of Arts, London. Her career in illustration developed after working with the Harry Potter cover illustrator Cliff Wright on his book 'The Magic of Drawing'.

 

Samira is a secondary school teacher who has taught art to children for 20 years. Within her career she has been very touched by the huge number of children that face extreme life challenges from refugees to those living in abusive situations. This is why Freddie Fox is a hero's tale which deals with serious issues such as persecution, disfiguration, bullying, depression, forced displacement and loneliness. These sorts of serious themes are present in so many epic stories such as The Lion King to Finding Nemo and despite the huge topics covered, the Freddie Fox story overall is uplifting and playful and enjoyed by children from the age of 3 upwards. 

Samira wrote Freddie Fox to inspire the courage in everyone to keep going when times are tough,  to have strength to just take one step at a time, to believe in yourselves and maybe even have hope in the bigger hand of fate being there to support us when most needed. 

Samira wrote the book in rhyme because it is fun! Writing in rhyme is like writing a soundtrack... it gives the story rhythm and pace which often engages children who have short attention spans, who may find focusing on bigger paragraphs difficult (this is often the case for children who have been through challenges and may have holes in their education). It is also fantastic for children who struggle to read as it develops phonemic awareness.

 

Samira chose to make the book like a cartoon book, with bright colourful illustrations, that carry lots of details so children can enjoy it again and again. The style of the illustrations reflects the mental experience of the lead character Freddie. So when everything is harmonious the pictures feel balanced and harmonious, when things are overwhelming or chaotic the illustrations become fragmented and deconstructed.

 

Samira broke the rules of doing a large format 36 page illustrated book, because her favourite childhood books were Tintin and Asterix, cartoon books that were both easy enough and advanced enough to be enjoyed throughout her childhood. Like her favourite books Freddie Fox is 90 pages long but she also chose to make it into a size that is easy for a child to hold; A5 landscape.

 

This book was an ambitious idea that developed over many years... to start with she went to schools and read the story to children and found they loved it! Next she started working on illustrations. This caught the interest of an independent film studio called the Visions Channel who engaged the musical talents of Tim Cross (known for Tubular Bells, The Adverts, T.V.Smith) who recorded Samira telling the story and then wrote a musical score for it to sit in.

 

Tim was so passionate about this piece of work he would sleep in his music studio with the soundtrack looping and wake up in the morning and shape the work to perfection. Unfortunately it was his last masterpiece as he died shortly after. Ramsay James of The Visions Channel (a company dedicated to bringing positive and inspirational messages to the world) then put Tim's outstanding soundtrack to Samira's illustrations and made a beautiful narrated film. 

Samira finished the book then took the film on the road, going to arts and music festivals with a show made by technical wizard, Larry Lush who projected inside a 360 degree inflatable dome!  The children lay on cushions watching the story play out around them with Samira dressed as a fox inspiring them to playfully engage with shadow fingers and fox sounds! In 2020 during the corona pandemic Samira decided the film needed to be available to children worldwide and put it onto YouTube. 

You can email Samira with any comments or questions at: 

samira@samiraharris.com

 

Samira with original book illustrations