Meet Matt Bond, Devon man and author of the fantastic Farmer Jack & Friends book series. Through his books, Matt aims to inform and inspire children about farming and the British countryside. Here Matt tells us a little about the inspiration behind the books and why he feels it's important to get children more connected with farming.
What was your inspiration behind the books?
My inspiration for the books has been my own countryside capers. Growing up on the family farm and working in the agricultural industry there is never a dull moment. I have always been surrounded by tractors and big machines, so its fair to say I’m a bit of a tractor nut. I probably shouldn’t admit to this, but we have names for all our machines, and treat them like one of the family. Just like in the books, Farmer Jack is talking to Harry Horsepower and the rest of the team at the barn giving them their jobs for the day, that’s how it is on our farm. So, I thought it was about time I shared my passion for farming and tractors. For my books I wanted to create some cool characters that children can relate to, with some fun stories about modern day farm life.
Why do you feel it’s important to get children more connected with farming and the countryside?
It’s very important to get children connected with farming and the countryside. After all what’s the one thing we can’t live without? Food. Where does our food come from? The land. Whether that be from a commercial farm or your own little veg patch, nature can give us everything we need to survive, if we look after the land and educate children as to where our food comes from.
What kind of feed back have you had on the books so far?
The feedback has been really positive and encouraging. It’s been great visiting some of the local Agricultural shows and meeting people face to face who have already bought a book. It is a wonderful feeling when you know that your book has made a little one happy; and of course, we have lots of fans named Harry. I would like to think that these books appeal to everyone and not just children from a farming background.
What’s next for Farmer Jack & friends?
What’s next? Well so far, I have written and published two books, “Hello Harry Horsepower” and “The Breakfast Club” with the help of my amazing illustrator Alison Lingley. The books have so far been doing very well and I’m always being asked when the next one is being released. There’s lots of avenues to explore with Farmer Jack & the gang, however there is no imminent release of new material. With a busy full time job on the farm and a very young family it’s been difficult to get stuck into the next book. Hopefully Alison & I can start work on new material soon.
If you could spend a day with one of Farmer Jack’s friends, who would it be and why?
I love all my characters, but if I had to spend a day with one of them, then it would have to be Major. I based Major on our big Fendt tractor, he’s like a trusty old friend. The comfort inside the cab is amazing, it’s like sitting in your favourite armchair all day listening to your favourite radio shows. Whether you’re out early in the morning or working past midnight, Major will always get the job done and never let you down.
Buy the books to follow the adventures of Farmer Jack and Friends on Shady Acres Farm.