Adeola Sokunbi

Destiny Ink: Sleepover Surprise
Adeola Sokunbi

About Author

Destiny Ink: Sleepover Surprise is Adeola Sokunbi's first book for children. Adeola is both a writer and illustrator, and an obsessive doodler and lover of fantasy stories. She also writes her own graphic novels. She studied Computer Visualisation and Animation at Bournemouth University and now lives in London, working for an animation company.

 

Interview

Destiny Ink: Sleepover Surprise   (Nosy Crow)

June 2024

Destiny Ink is thrilled to be having a sleepover - but then begins to worry about this first experience until a furry hamster and a surprising little monster help put things right.  Author and illustrator Adeola Sokunbi introduces her first children's book, Destiny Ink: Sleepover Surprise.

Review:  "Destiny is beautifully drawn with a lovely feelgood storyline and equally relatable illustrations." - Amanda, ReadingZone.com       

Read an extract from Destiny Ink: Sleepover Surprise

Adeola Sokunbi on doodling, childhood memories, and representation in children's fiction

"All young readers deserve to see themselves, their families and communities positively represented in the stories they read."

 

1.    Hello Adeola, thank you for joining us on ReadingZone. Can you tell us about yourself - what you love, what you loathe, and what brought you into writing for children?

I'm a writer and illustrator based in London with a love for doodling and fantasy stories. I loathe noisy eaters. I'm drawn to writing and illustrating for children because I wanted to create the kinds of stories I wish I had growing up - fun, relatable tales with diverse characters. Alongside writing, I work as a senior lighting & compositing artist at an animation studio.


2.    What inspired your new series about Destiny Ink, and what happens in her first story, Destiny Ink and the Sleepovers?

Destiny Ink was inspired by the idea of what if...what if what you drew came to life! In Destiny's first story, she is invited for a sleepover at her best friend Olivia's house but gets nervous. With the help of her vivid imagination and loyal pet hamster, Fuzzy, she ends up facing her fears and having a great time with the help of a certain little monster. While Destiny isn't based on anyone specific, I tried to make her warm, imaginative and relatable.


3.    You make Destiny a doodler, which you've described as a passion of yours, too. How else does art figure in your life?

Doodling is definitely a passion of mine! I do it sometimes even without realising. Over the lockdown period, I drew a giant doodle on my mum's kitchen wall. I've got a degree in computer animation, which is a very different skillset from illustration, but there are some transferable artistic skills which have helped me with my illustration work.

Creating the illustrations for Destiny Ink was so much fun - I wanted them to really bring her world and imagination to life in a visually engaging way for young readers.


4.    Sleepovers bring such a range of challenges for young children - how did you approach this story to help children feel reassured?

I approached the sleepover story wanting to validate the worries many kids feel but also show them that facing your fears usually works out okay in the end. I tried to balance the bits that might feel scarier with plenty of humour and warmth. I'm a big fan of sleepovers! Although, I do enjoy sleeping on my own most of all.


5.    What gave you the idea to bring in a small monster - and a hamster - to help Destiny change her perspective of sleepovers?

Since the stories spring from Destiny's imagination, it felt natural to conjure up a little monster to represent her fears. But I also wanted to ground things with her real pet hamster Fuzzy as a comforting, funny sidekick to help her find courage. Animals are so good at providing support.


6.    What's your favourite moment for Destiny in this story?

The spread at the end where Destiny and Olivia fall asleep with all their doodles spread out in front of them is definitely my favourite. I'm really happy with how it ended up looking and I really enjoyed drawing all the monsters.


7.    What else do you have planned for Destiny; do you draw on your own childhood for these ideas?

I create these stories collaboratively with Storymix and drawing childhood memories is a big part of creating Destiny's world! In upcoming stories, Destiny will face other childhood challenges like stage fright and feeling left out, which are feelings that I felt many times growing up as a child!  I didn't actually start going to sleepovers until I was well into my teens so 'Kid-Adeola' is living vicariously through Destiny in this book!


8.    You've created Destiny Ink's stories with Storymix, which focuses on inclusive children's stories. Is representation of black children like Destiny and her family in fiction important to you as an author?

Representation is hugely important to me. Growing up, I rarely saw myself reflected in books, and I'm glad that things are improving in that respect all the time but there is still work to do. I think it can be damaging for children to feel excluded from books because of the lack of representation. All young readers deserve to see themselves, their families and communities positively represented in the stories they read.


9.    Where and when do you do your best writing? What are you writing currently?

I do my best writing on a weekday evening, sitting at my desk with my instrumental playlist playing on Spotify. I'm currently working on Destiny's second adventure, which involves a talent show...


10.    And what kinds of things do you enjoy doing when you're away from your writing notebook?

To relax, I love doodling, reading, playing games and spending time with my loved ones.

 

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