Six-year-old British girl Bella Jay Dark promises to keep writing books. Her motivation? "I like that I can inspire people," she told Khaleej Times.

Bella, who published her first book at the age of 5, is the Guinness World Record holder for being the youngest female author. She said her classmates have now begun writing because of her.

“I have a friend whose name is Poppy,” said Bella. “She has started writing stories and she told me she did it because I write. I was so happy. She hasn’t published it, but she is writing.”

The young girl is in the UAE to participate in the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) along with her nine-year-old sister Lacey and their parents after publishing her second book Snowy’s Birthday Party. Both her current book and her first book — The Lost Cat — are based on her own cats. While addressing a group of students, Bella explained what her books are about:

According to Bella, her latest book teaches that friendship is more important than things. “It is about a birthday party and how people must learn to put their friends ahead of everything else,” she said. Part of it is inspired by her own close friends' circle of six girls.

“We play together,” she said. “Sometimes we pick daisies or sometimes we just play on the concrete when it is raining.”

Bella not only writes her own stories, but she illustrates them too, as well as taking a ‘hands-on approach’ to the layout of the book, choosing to hand-write her books rather than typing them on the computer.

“She is a very determined child,” said her mother, Chelsie Syme. “She knows exactly how she wants the book and its pages to look like. So, we keep going back and forth with the publishers until she is happy.”

According to Chelsie, she and her husband, Myles Dark, had no plans to get Bella’s book published, but she took her own initiative. “We were going to a book fair to support a family member when she took copies of her work to the fair,” said Chelsie. “Once there, she walked up to a publisher and told them she wanted to get her books published.”

Since then, Bella has constantly worked on her books with the third one expected to be released later this year. “It is named Snowy and the Lily Pad Frog,” she said. “But I can’t tell you anything more about it. I also have an idea for my fourth book.”

Reading, a lifelong hobby
According to Chelsie, Bella was pretty young when she developed an interest in books. “We have always read books together,” she said. “But I never imagined that she would be writing them one day.”

Bella's favourite book is from the series Diary of a Wimpy Kid but what makes her happiest is when kids in her class pick up her books during reading time at school. “They sometimes fight over who gets to read it and it makes me very happy,” she said.

Bella says that what she loves the most about writing books is being able to translate her ideas into books. “I get to choose what happens in it,” she said. “I get to choose what it is called. If I ever get bored of writing cat stories, I might start writing about dogs.”

Her first book, The Lost Cat is also available in English, Dutch, German, and Swedish.

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