Meet Little Badman
Published on: 11 March 2019 Author: Emily Drabble
The hilarious Humza Arshad, of Diary of a Badman fame, speaks to us about his new book Little Badman, the difference between writing comedy for adults and children, and the importance for children to see themselves reflected in the books they read.
Why did you decide to write the story of Little Badman? (please tell us about Diary of a Badman here, as not all readers will know of him!)
I'd been doing a YouTube series called Diary of a Badman, and the series really resonated with young people everywhere, especially with the Asian community who hadn't seen themselves represented in any kind of realistic light on TV. For once they saw a character they could relate to and channel has gone to get some views. 96 million views but I'm not counting...It was always in the back of my head about what a younger Humza Badman would be like, what is his world like, his friends and everything around it. I partnered with my writing partner Henry White and created the Little Badman world the first book is called Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties. Basically we have sent Badman back to school. We wanted to write the funniest book ever and also a book starring an Asian kid and his family, growing up not many books I found had characters in them I could relate to and this is a book I would have loved to have read as a kid.
You're a comedian for adults, so how much of a challenge was it to make sure your jokes and dialogue were suitable for a younger audience in this book? How did your collaboration with Henry White work in creating and writing the story?
When Henry and I first collaborated on material for older audience but as tastes go, we both love crazy, out of this world. laugh out loud humour. Henry knew the comic world so it was a dream working with him on this. It was a lot of fun working together on Little Badman, we have the same sense of humour, but he's a lot better at spelling then me!
Among all the many laughs in this book, there's some quite serious reflection on parenting and how to be true to yourself. How important was expressing that message for you?
Ultimately we want it to be a fun, silly, adventure story but yes it's always good to get in some messages to kids about being yourself, following your passions, family values and respecting your elders.
Were you a very amusing child a bit like Little Badman?
Amusing, annoying, I don't know. I was always making people laugh when I was a kid, that's what I was good at, that's why I became a comedian. Yes Little Badman is little Humza.
What effect do you think not seeing someone a bit like you in a book had on your reading as a child?
I know it's probably not the right thing to say honestly not seeing someone in a book that looked like me definitely meant that I didn't read many books growing up. I read Roald Dahl, Harry Potter but maybe if I had found a book with an Asian kid on the cover I might have read more because I would have found books I could relate to. You know, someone that spoke about gulab jamun's and shalwar kameezs' might have got my attention!
What's your next book going to be about?
Henry and I want to send little Humza on another crazy adventure, where he'll cause havoc, make a mess, get told off but learn something new about himself. Watch this space...
Want to learn more about Humza and Little Badman? Watch Humza talk some more on Puffin Books' The storymakers show below: