Naadia Kidy, Damilola Idowu (Dami) and Anette Wilms are quite the creative team. Naadia trained as a fashion and lifestyle journalist at the University of the Arts London. Dami is a young talent with Autism Spectrum Disorder who creates whimsical drawings that come from his joyful heart. Anette Wilms is an art director. Together they created the children’s book, The Wiggle Woshers and Their Stolen Hearts, self-published through Naadia’s publishing house, Durban Milk.
Tell us about The Wiggle Woshers and Their Stolen Hearts
Our book is the story of a collective of beings, The Wiggle Woshers, who carry their hearts on strings above their heads. When they love each other and are kind, caredust, a magical dust that makes them happy, is released from their exploding hearts. One Wiggle Wosher has no caredust and steals all the others’ hearts in an attempt to have the magical caredust for himself.
It’s a story of forgiveness, rehabilitation, redemption, friendship and its responsibilities.
What inspired you to write it?
I’m a creative sort of creature so something involving art and words is always on my radar. Old sketchbooks from my time at art school and surrealism. And, of course, this wonderful place in childhood where magic still exists. My faith, Islam and the teachings of kindness, provided a backbone for the story. Meeting Dami, my illustrator, really sealed the deal.
Who’s your illustrator and why was he perfect for capturing the spirit of your book?
My illustrator is 20 year old Damilola Idowu (Dami). I met him at youth work project teaching SEN students art and fashion. We’ve been working together for the last five years on techniques and working on the book. His visual eye is so naturally bent to surrealism, whether that’s intentional or happenstance and he just creates these characters that are both nostalgic and foreword thinking at the same time. His breadth of characters supported my desire for inclusivity to be part of the underlying theme.
Who is the ideal reader and how do you see the book being used?
Children from all over the world! I see the book being used as a colourful and magical place for younger children and a way to practise reading and exploring themes and morals for the older ones.
What’s the message you want your readers to take away after reading the book?
Kindness is our answer.
Every day the relevance of the book changes. I got sent a picture of it being read to Syrian refugees in a centre in the UK and that completely melted me. I also am acutely aware of London’s huge problem of young adults and children being involved in crime and being victims of crime. We’re fighting huge battles as caregivers, parents and society in that we are living in an incredibly tough time for children.
We’d like our readers to act in kindness. We’d like our readers to see that even small acts of deviance can be fixed by helpfulness and stability. We’d like our readers to see that difference isn’t scary or a need for marginalizing. Those who are different may have gems within them that we don’t even know about.
Do you have a proud moment, inspirational story, or moving fan feedback you’d like to share?
I think the refugee centre was quite a proud moment. Also, when Dami saw our advert – so his drawings that had been turned into animations by the team at Obese Aesthetics – I think he was hugely moved, and that got the weepies going again. I love seeing children in other countries enjoying the book and having my family being proud of me.
Purchase the book and find out more:
- Wiggle Woshers Website
- @wigglewoshers on Twitter
- @wigglewoshers on Instagram
- Wiggle Woshers Facebook Page
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