Bella J Dark split image

Have you ever walked through a library and dreamed of seeing your own story on the shelves? 📚

Bella J Dark from Weymouth, UK decided to make those dreams become a reality! 🤩

At the age of 5 years 211 days, she is now the world’s youngest person to publish a book (female).

Bella wrote and illustrated a book titled The Lost Cat, which tells the tale of Snowy the cat. 🐱

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

Bella Dark holding The Lost Cat book

Bella first got her idea for 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.”

Bella’s mother, Chelsie Syme, said that Bella has always had a great imagination and has been writing short stories since she was three years old! 

“I wanted to be an author and I like drawing and writing.” – Bella J Dark

Bella Dark writing

Bella spent “about five days” writing the entire story, in addition to drawing and colouring all of the pictures (except for one drawing on the final page by Bella’s big sister, Lacie May).

The Lost Cat is about Snowy, a cat who gets lost after going on an adventure alone at night. 🙀

Bella wrote the story to “teach children not to go outside on their own at night time.”

The Lost Cat cover

Before Bella, the youngest female to publish a book was Dorothy Straight (born 25 May 1958), who was six years old when her book How the World Began was published in August 1964.

Bella was inspired by some of her favourite books such as What the Ladybird Heard, Splat the Cat and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

The Lost Cat now joins them on children’s bookshelves around the world. 📚

Bella’s top tip for other young authors is to “write a story that comes from you.”

Bella Dark smiling

When she’s not writing books, Bella enjoys reading, swimming, playing ‘teachers’ and playing on her tablet. 🏊

With a sequel to The Lost Cat already being worked on, we can’t wait to read Bella’s next book!

What trouble will Snowy get into this time? 😹

Did you know?
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.