It’s my stop on the blog tour for Llama on a Mission by Annabelle Sami with illustrations by Allen Fatimaharan. I am delighted to be hosting a guest blog by Annabelle.
This laugh-out-loud series featuring a magical llama has a super important message about standing up for yourself and finding your voice (literally). Llama on a Mission is the second book in the series (following on from Llama Out Loud) and is perfect for fans of Sam Copeland’s Charlie Changes into a Chicken series.
With the help of her loud guardian llama Levi, Yasmin has finally found her voice, but her mission has only just begun. She is determined to use her new-found confidence to help her friends, starting with turning Levi back into his true guardian llama form and getting him back into Seen Not Herd – the secret society of guardian llamas. What better way to prove this than by helping Yasmin’s new friend Ezra tackle the biggest challenge of all – the struggles of school life! But it won’t be easy with Levi constantly wreaking havoc and getting Yasmin into trouble!
Over to Annabelle to tell us about Yasmin’s Journey…
When I started writing the first Llama Out Loud book, I wasn’t sure what the story was going to be or where it would end up. I wrote the first three chapters just for fun, with a young British Pakistani girl protagonist in this big loud family and simply thought, ‘What’s the weirdest creature I could pair her with?’ The answer was, of course, a talking toy cockney llama called Levi. I had no idea it was going to turn into a whole book about finding your voice and standing up for yourself. Even more surprisingly for me, I didn’t know that a book called Llama Out Loud would make me realise just how powerful being quiet can be.
It was important to me that even though these are funny adventure books, Yasmin’s journey has an important message behind it. It’s the same in all the books I write, I always try and include three things: humour, diversity and heart. That’s something that I really wanted to continue with the new book, Llama on a Mission. Yasmin is speaking out loud now, but she’s really on her own personal mission to learn how to communicate with other people; her family, friends at school and Levi. Though it isn’t explicitly stated in the books, Yasmin definitely experiences symptoms of anxiety, especially around speaking her truth when it isn’t going to be well received. She has to learn how to assert herself to follow her passion for art whilst being respectful to her parents, which is something that I’m sure a lot of children, but particularly second-generation kids, can relate to. Levi’s advice is (as usual) to be loud, stubborn and demanding, whereas Yasmin would prefer to go along with her parent’s wishes and sulk in privacy. Learning how to communicate and relate to others is tough, even for adults, so I didn’t want to provide an easy ‘answer.’ The resolution for Yasmin though lies somewhere in the middle of loud and quiet, where she’s able to communicate her needs in a way she feels comfortable and empowered to do – through her drawings.
Levi, of course, has a personal mission of his own in the book – to keep his guardian llama license! This mission involves magical transformations, close supervision from Mama Llama, a men-in-black style suit and sabotaging science experiments. But you’ll have to read the book to make sense of all of that!
I hope that the children, and adults, that read Llama on a Mission laugh a lot at the silly antics. I definitely had fun writing the laser tag showdown scene and the chase scene with the secret agent llamas on motorbikes! But I also hope they enjoy Yasmin’s journey and the message of the series: that standing up for yourself and good communication doesn’t mean being the loudest in the room.
Thank you so much, Annabelle, “humour, diversity and heart” are my three favourite qualities in a book, and I am looking forward to book 3!
Published by Farshore, 29 April 2021
Don’t forget to drop by the other stops on the blog tour!
I am very grateful to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book. This voluntary feature contains my honest opinion.