All About Dan Smith
Growing up, Dan led three lives. In one, he survived the day-to-day humdrum of boarding school, while in another he travelled the world, finding adventure in the paddy fields of South East Asia and the jungles of Brazil. But the third life he lived in a world of his own, making up stories . . . which is where some people say he still lives most of the time!
Dan writes action-adventure-survival stories for younger readers. His books are often set in wild and unusual places, and feature characters who have to face their fears and make difficult decisions in order to survive.
My Friend The Enemy
Summer 1941. For Peter, the war is a long way away, being fought by a faceless enemy. Until the night a German plane is shot down over woods that his missing dad looked after before he went off to fight. Peter rushes to the crash site to see if there’s something he can keep, but what he finds instead is an injured young German airman. The enemy. And helping him, seems like the right thing to do . . .
My Friend The Enemy – Reviews
‘Bombing raids, a crashing German plane and an encounter with a Nazi soldier – what could be more exciting?’ Kirkus Review
‘This book grabbed me from page one . . . highly recommended.’ The Historical Novel Society.
‘ … an exciting, thought-provoking book.’ The Bookseller.
‘This book is of the same calibre as The Machine Gunners, and the James Holland Duty Calls volumes … positively outstanding.’ Waterstones Bookseller.
My Brother’s Secret
Germany, 1941. 12-year-old Karl Friedman is looking forward to joining the Hitler Youth, like all boys his age. But when his father is killed, his rebellious older brother Stefan shows him things that leave his faith in The Fuhrer shaken. What does it mean to be a good German? What does it mean to wear the mysterious flower sewn inside his brother’s jacket? Who is the real enemy?
My Brother’s Secret – Reviews
‘The quiet themes of patriotism, courage, and compassion are presented through believable characters, gripping suspense, and an unflinching look at the lengths some will go to in order to retain control. A heartfelt look at coming of age in a time of war.’ Kirkus Review
‘My Brother’s Secret is a well-written page-turner and a must for both boys and girls aged 10 and over. Adult readers will learn something too. Highly recommended.’ Historical Novel Society.
13-year-old Oskari is sent into the cold wilderness on an ancient test of manhood. He must survive armed only with a bow and arrow. But instead, he stumbles upon an escape pod from a burning airliner: Air Force One. Terrorists have shot down the President of the United States. The boy hunter and the world’s most powerful man are suddenly the hunted, in a race against a deadly enemy.
Big Game – Reviews
‘This fast-paced page-turner will appeal to fans of action-packed plots and is recommended for reluctant readers.’ School Library Journal (USA)
‘The characters were brilliant and were portrayed well. The plot was excellent and kept you engaged. I would give this book five out of five stars.’ Lovereadingforkids.com – Eloise Mae Clarkson, age 12
‘Dan Smith is one of the best authors of the 21st century, and he has written a piece of magic! In my opinion he is one of the best writers ever. This book in three words; Danger, Action, Survival!’ Lovereadingforkids.com – Kurt Simpson, age 10.
Kidnapped and drugged, Ash wakes up on a remote tropical island. His mum – a genetic scientist – has been imprisoned and infected with a deadly virus.
Where is he, and what’s he doing there? He sets out to cross the jungle to find out and rescue his mother. Soon he realises he’s quicker and sharper than before. But why are the animals watching him, and how can he use the jungle to his advantage?
Boy X – Reviews
‘Intense, captivating, and distinctive.’ Kirkus Review.
‘… an action-packed jungle thriller … Suspense fans will be captivated by the twisting, turning plot of this thriller.’ School Library Journal (USA)
‘This is a ferociously fast-paced story, with classic sci- and techno-thriller influences, like John Wyndham and Michael Crichton, worn lightly … A must for James Dashner fans – or anyone who likes nail-biting tales of action and courage.’ Middle Grade Strikes Back.
When Zak’s plane crash lands on Outpost Zero, a small Antarctic research base in one of the most isolated places on Earth, he discovers a cold, dark, nightmare. The power’s out and the people who live there have disappeared. Worse, as he searches for answers, bizarre visions suggest a link to something else – deep beneath the ice – which only he can understand . . .
Awards and Successes
Dan has been published in more than 20 countries and nominated for over 15 awards. His books include the WW2 adventures My Friend The Enemy (longlisted for the Branford Base Award), and My Brother’s Secret (USBBY Outstanding International Book 2016). His novel Big Game, was published in over 25 countries, and accompanied the action adventure film starring Samuel L Jackson. His most recent novel, Boy X, won the Essex Book Award, the Coventry Inspiration Book Award, and the Phoenix Book Award. It has just been shortlisted for the RED Award.
Dan’s School Visits
Dan’s books are best suited for boys and girls aged 9 and up, so Years 5 to 8 are ideal, but Dan has visited many schools and his visits have included children from Year 4 up to Year 9.
As long as a suitable space can be provided, Dan is happy to speak to groups of any size, though prior notice of audience size is always helpful.
What does Dan need?
Dan’s talks always require the use of audio and visual equipment. A PowerPoint enabled laptop, a projector and screen, and audio, are always necessary. If this is not possible, Dan is happy to discuss it further and try to make alternative arrangements.
What to expect
A school visit often begins with an assembly style presentation to a large group, followed by one or two workshops for smaller groups.
An assembly style presentation involves Dan delivering a talk to the students, followed by Q&A, and a book signing. Dan uses pictures and video to talk about his unusual childhood of jungle adventures, climbing volcanoes, fishing for piranhas, looking after great apes, and meeting all manner of wildlife and people – including some very colourful characters! He explains some of the reasons why books and reading became important to him, investigates where story ideas come from, and gives some insight into the inspiration behind his books.
If a school has particular requirements, Dan can tailor his talk. For instance, he has written two novels set during WW2, so if a school is studying that period, he can concentrate on those books, talk about his research, share sights, sounds and smells of the time, discuss the facts he discovered, and bring along some of the WW2 memorabilia he has collected!
Dan’s workshops highlight different aspects and techniques of creative writing – from ‘Finding Your Character’ to ‘Best Beginnings’ or ‘Tips and Tricks’ to ‘Air Raid Survival’. But if a school is keen to concentrate on a particular aspect of writing, or wants to run a series of workshops, Dan will look at developing workshops that suit.
Testimonials from previous visits
‘What a great day – Boys and teachers have been feeding back 100% appreciation.’ Northcote Lodge, London.
‘His presentation was very engaging and Dan’s open and honest style of speaking and interacting with the pupils meant that three hundred children went away brimming with enthusiasm for writing!’ King’s Priory, Tynemouth.
‘. . . you also seemed to strike a chord with some of our more reluctant readers; one of them told me that she’d only ever read one book and she said “I don’t do books, but this looks really interesting…..I’m a big fan now…I think he’s awesome…I loved it, I actually did!”‘ David Young Community Academy, Leeds.
‘Dan also told us how important reading is for all sorts of reasons and, in Dan’s case, as a source of ideas for his stories. I am delighted that he was able to inspire so many students to try his books.’ Broxbourne School, Herts.
‘Dan talked about his unusual childhood living abroad, his adventures living in a jungle, climbing volcanoes and fishing for piranhas. The students were keen to investigate where story ideas come from, and gained a unique insight into the inspiration behind his books.’ Lord Lawson Academy, Beamish.
‘He has such an open and responsive manner with young people; he clearly loves being around them and tries to find common ground from which to open a conversation. I am delighted that he is our Patron of Reading: he is a welcome presence in school for staff and pupils!’ King’s Priory, Tynemouth.
‘ . . . he told us about living in Indonesia and the Brazilian rainforest. He actually made me think about what it would be like to live in those places. He is extremely adventurous, has a great imagination, and I admire him. Boy X sounds really good and I, now, can’t wait to read it. I hope Dan visits again soon.’ Nicole, Heworth Grange.
‘The boys were enthralled by Dan’s tales of sitting in the crater of an active volcano, fishing for piranhas, contending with the most poisonous spider in the world in one of his childhood homes, and encountering snakes, scorpions, ants, armadillos and jaguars.’ Merchant Taylor’s School.
‘Everyone had a great day. I’ve had nothing but positive comments from children, staff and parents all day. Some of the Y6 children brought in stories they’d written at home last night – so there’s instant impact!’ Horton Grange, Blyth.
‘It was great, my favourite part was when we did the writing workshop, thank you for an amazing day!’ Connor, Year 6
‘Thanks Dan for coming into school, I loved hearing about your adventures and books.’ AJ, Year 6
‘Hi, you came to my school today and it was such a privilege. I found you as an inspiration and have asked for a few of your books for Christmas!’ Holly, Year 7
‘Hi Dan, I really want to read your books, they look so interesting and cool.’ Izzy, Year 6.
‘U were at my school today. It was amazing.’ Macie, Year 6.
‘Boy X is amazing and gave me a brilliant idea for my own book that I’ve been writing. Thanks for being an inspiration.’ Liv, Year 7.
‘Hi. You came in to see us a few days ago and I really enjoyed it. You inspired me a lot and I am starting to write my own story.’ Rebecca, Year 7.
‘Thanks for the inspirational advice. It’s lovely getting ideas from a real author. ’ Kandie, Year 8.
‘Hi Dan, read the 4 pages of your book and it hooked me in right away, thank you for your amazing book, you came to our school today and it made my day.’ Ben, Year 6.
‘Hi, I was at Trent College on Wednesday and it was AMAZING and truly inspirational.’ Ellie, Year 6.
‘Hi, I was at the library on Tuesday, and you were amazing!!!!’ Annalisa, Year 7.
‘I’d just like to say a big thank you for paying a visit to our school today, you have really inspired me to read more books.’ Cole, Year 7.
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Dan, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org