5-year-old girl from UK becomes youngest author

‘The Lost Cat’ was published on January 31, 2022 by the Ginger Fyre Press and has since sold over 1,000 copies.

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Bella J Dark’s ‘The Lost Cat’ has already sold over 1,000 copies

London: At just 5 years and 211 days, Bella J Dark from Weymouth, United Kingdom became the world’s youngest person to publish a book (female). Titled ‘The Lost Cat’, Bella’s book tells the tale of Snowy, a cat who gets lost after venturing outside alone at night, says the Guinness World Records.

‘The Lost Cat’ was published on January 31, 2022 by the Ginger Fyre Press and has since sold over 1,000 copies. “The record was previously held by Dorothy Straight (b. 25 May 1958), who was six years old when her book ‘How the World Began’ was published by the Pantheon Books in August 1964,” Guinness World Records (GWR) said.

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Bella revealed that she got the idea of ‘The Lost Cat’ from one of her drawings. “It started off as a picture. My daddy said I could make a book and a story came from the picture,” GWR quoted the child.

According to her mother, 27-year-old Chelsie Syme, Bella has always had a great imagination and has been writing short stories “from as young as three.” Thus, it didn’t come as much of a surprise when Bella said she was going to write a book.

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Bella spent “about five days” writing the entire story. She also illustrated the book by herself (with the exception of one picture at the end drawn by older sister Lacie May). Bella hopes her book will “teach children not to go outside on their own at night time”.

“In order to be eligible for this Guinness World Records title, the book must be published by a commercial publishing house and at least 1,000 copies must be printed and sold,” the GWR website says.

After meeting an interested publisher at a book fair, Chelsie assisted Bella with tasks such as “dealing with proof copies and things being changed”. “I was happy for her and I just love getting involved and giving attention and praise to everything she does,” Chelsie told GWR.

Bella was inspired by some of her favourite books such as What the Ladybird Heard, Splat the Cat and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Just as Bella was influenced by these books, she hopes that other young writers will take inspiration from The Lost Cat. Her advice to aspiring authors is to “write a story that comes from you”. Bella is reportedly writing a sequel of Snowy’s story.

According to GWR, the youngest person to publish a book (male) is Thanuwana Serasinghe (Sri Lanka), who was 4 years 356 days old when his book Junk Food was released on 5 January 2017.

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