MacKids Spotlight: Pari Thompson

MacKids Spotlight: Pari Thompson


Can you tell us what inspired you to write GREENWILD? Where did the idea first come from?

I’m lucky enough to live near Kew Gardens, a huge botanical garden in London, and I’ve always loved walking through its magnificent glasshouses. Some of the plants there are stranger than fiction – tiny hairy pink bananas, giant lily-pads big enough for a person to lie down on, and poisonous flytraps that sense movement in the air around them. I’ve always thought that plants are a little bit magic, and I wanted to take that idea and run with it. What if plants really WERE magic? What would a magical garden look like? Writing Greenwild was an opportunity for me to explore that world and make it feel real.

As this is your debut, what did you learn about your writing process? Is it linear, character driven, written with ideas in mind or made up as you go?

This is a great question! I’m currently writing the sequel to Greenwild, so it’s something I’m thinking about a lot at the moment. I tend to have a broad overarching structure in mind from the start, but I like to have freedom to move around inside this, as the best ideas often arrive while I’m in the middle of writing. And the characters definitely drive the story – they have firm opinions about what’s going to happen!

Do you have a favorite scene in the book? Tell us a little bit about it!

I love the scene where Daisy first meets the Five O’Clock Club. She’s still new in the Greenwild, and the Club are a group of kids who meet every day in a tiny glasshouse in the woods to exchange news and snacks. There’s Indigo, a boy who can speak to animals; the Prof, a girl genius; and Acorn, the youngest and bravest of them all. This group of friends is central to the sense of found family and community that Daisy experiences for the first time in the Greenwild. Plus, the Five O’Clock glasshouse has a tree that grows milk chocolate!

With such an excellent tie-in to climate activism, how do you hope this book will be used in classrooms and libraries? 

I wrote Greenwild as a love letter to the beauty of the natural world, and a rallying cry to protect it. I hope that the book will help children to feel slightly less powerless in the face of the unfolding climate crisis, by acknowledging that although our forests and oceans and under threat, there is always hope and things we can do to help. Having said that, the last thing I want to do is preach or impose messages on young readers as they navigate a crisis created by previous generations.

I hope the book will be used in classrooms and libraries to tell children: you matter, you are brave, you are important, your voice deserves to be heard, and you can make a difference.

Tell us about a library, librarian or educator who made an impact on you as a child (or as an adult!).

I had a wonderful high-school English teacher called Mrs. Addison who used to sneak things into our lessons that weren’t on the syllabus – mostly poetry. It was always done in a slightly clandestine way, which made the poems feel incredibly exciting, like we were being let in on a great, thrilling secret. It gave me a life-long love of reading and poetry, especially Keats, Wordsworth and Emily Dickinson.!

What advice would you give to aspiring young writers?

Try to write what gives you joy and makes you feel happy – that way, writing won’t ever feel like a chore. Also, remember that very few writers have the luxury of calling writing their day job – at least not to start with. Greenwild was written in the evenings and weekends around my full-time job, and I find that even an hour a day can make a difference!

What was your favorite book when you were a young reader?

This is such a hard question! I was a real bookworm as a child, so I have a huge number of favourites, from The Hobbit and Narnia to Tom’s Midnight Garden and Journey to the River Sea. But I’m going to go with Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, because I reread it so many times. It’s the story of a girl called Sophie Hatter, who is put under a spell that turns her into an old woman. In order to undo the spell, she has to seek the help of the ill-tempered, charismatic wizard Howl, who lives in a moving castle that hovers above her town. The book is funny, witty, unexpected, and completely original. I’d recommend it to anyone, young or old.



Pari-Thomson 1

Pari Thomson is an Editorial Director for picture books at Bloomsbury Children’s Books. Half Persian, half English, she has lived in many places, including India, Pakistan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Belgium. She studied at Oxford University and now lives in London, not far from Kew Gardens. Follow her at @PariThomson on Twitter.



Greenwild by Pari Thomson
On Sale 6/6/2023

The thrilling first book in the most extraordinary new fantasy series from debut author Pari Thomson.

Open the door to a spellbinding world where the wilderness is alive and a deep magic rises from the earth itself . . .

Eleven-year-old Daisy Thistledown is on the run. Her mother has been keeping big, glittering secrets, and now she has vanished. Daisy knows it’s up to her to find Ma—but someone is hunting her across London. Someone determined to stop her from discovering the truth.

So when Daisy flees to safety through a mysterious hidden doorway, she can barely believe her eyes—she has stepped out of the city and into another world.

This is the Greenwild. Bursting with magic and full of amazing natural wonders, it seems too astonishing to be true. But not only is this land of green magic real, it holds the key to finding Daisy’s mother.

And someone wants to destroy it.

Daisy must band together with a botanical genius, a boy who can talk with animals, and a cat with an attitude to uncover the truth about who she really is. Only then can she channel the power that will change her whole world . . . and save the Greenwild itself.

“The start of a dazzling series about a girl’s determination to find her mother, Thomson’s debut blooms with gorgeous wildlife descriptions that shape Greenwild’s world-building and its diverse inhabitants… aspiring young explorers will happily spend time in this emotionally gripping adventure.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

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