Behind the Book: Davina Hamilton

A few days ago we surpassed 1000 followers on Instagram, so it’s time for a celebration! We’ll feature several authors over the next few days who are partnering with us for giveaways.

Up first is journalist and London native, Davina Hamilton, who has written two books: Riley Can Be Anything and the follow up Riley Knows He Can. I saw summaries of Riley Knows He Can on several bookstagram pages, so I was excited when Davina reached out to partner. We had the opportunity to read Riley Knows He Can, which follows Riley as he prepares for a stage play at school. Riley is nervous, but his big sister provides him with the encouragement needed to calm his anxiety. Every times his nerves start to reappear, Riley repeats the affirmation, “I can do this, I can!”

We enjoyed reading Riley Knows He Can because it provided a positive example of a young boy of color affirming that he could tackle his biggest fears. With the support of his sister and parents, Riley learned to affirm and believe in himself.

Both Riley Can Be Anything and Riley Knows He Can are available for purchase on Davina’s website. For a chance to win a copy of Riley Knows He Can for yourself, head over to our Instagram and Facebook pages for details.


  • What inspired you to become an author?

I was a full-time journalist for 15 years and throughout much of that time, I often said I’d like to write a book one day. (That seems to be an ambition of most journalists I know!) In 2016, I just decided to go for it and as I have two children, I made the decision to try my hand at writing a children’s book. I ended up writing both my books – Riley Can Be Anything and Riley Knows He Can – within about a month. It all took off from there.

  • What was your favorite book(s) as a child?

To be honest, I wasn’t a massive book buff as a child. I remember reading a couple of books from Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five series, which I enjoyed. But it was when I hit my teens that I enjoyed reading more. I joined my local library and made full use of my library card to borrow all sorts of YA books about friendship and romance!

  • What was the last non-children’s book you read?

The Book of Night Women by Marlon James

  • What impact would you like for your books to leave on the children’s literature community?

I’d love for my books to be recognised for doing their bit to offer a positive representation of Black identity. It’s well documented that books featuring Black characters are underrepresented within the overall landscape of children’s literature. So I’m glad to be among the legion of authors who are redressing this balance with books that reflect the diverse and multicultural world we live in. 

  • Tell us a random fact about yourself that we wouldn’t know from your website or social media pages.

I used to play the drums in my high school band. Considering that was over 15 years ago, I’d love to sit at a drum kit and see if I’ve got any drumming skills left!  


Many thanks to Davina for being a part of this series! If you’d like to keep up with her work, please visit her Instagram for updates.

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