Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family
I’m Sally Darby, founder of Mums Like Us – a network for disabled mothers. MLU is a facebook group exclusively for disabled mothers. I am also trying to open up the conversation about disability and motherhood @mums_like_us on Instagram and www.mumslikeus.org. I live in the Midlands with my husband and two beautiful and bonkers daughters who are 2 and 5.
What is your daughters’ favourite books?
The eldest currently adores Matilda by Roald Dahl. She loves that Matilda is smart and mischievous… a bit like her! The little one loves the Winnie the Witch books by Valerie Thomas. She has learned to say, ‘witch,’ and she loves repeating it as she points to every picture!
Which book do you most like reading to them and why?
I am severely visually impaired and so struggle to read to the girls. My eldest is reaching the age where she can read to me and her little sister which is amazing. She loves reading and enjoys the Oxford Learning Tree books she is given by her school. Books for smaller children have larger print (like ‘Fox’s Socks,’ by Julia Donaldson) so I can read to her more easily. We all love audio books and listen to them in the car as a family. It would be wonderful if more children’s books were published in large/giant print or audio versions.
What was your favourite book when you were a child?
Some of my earliest memories involve my Dad reading me The Witches. I remember laughing hysterically as he told me in a funny voice how, to witches the children smelt like “fresh dogs droppings!”
What do you look for when shopping for a new book for your child?
I just love the new wave of books about inspirational women such as, ‘Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls,’ and, ‘Fantastically Great Women who Changed the World.’ These have both had a very powerful impact on my eldest. I love books that are inspiring, entertaining, and beautiful to look at.
What would you like to see more of in kids’ books today?
My daughter recently brought home a reading book from school that had illustrations of a child in a wheelchair. The fact that she was in a wheelchair was not part of the story. I was delighted and impressed to see this but it needs to happen more. So many of the children’s books we look at feature illustrations of white, able bodied, nuclear families. Diversity in children’s books is essential to inspire young people. For disabled children or those with disabled parents, recognising themselves and their lives in literature is a must. This is how they will learn to love books and know they are for them.
My name is Sally Darby. I am the founder of Mums Like Us – a network for disabled mothers. I created Mums Like Us because, as a disabled mother myself, I felt isolated and in need of a place to discuss my experiences with people who understood. I have MS, am severely visually impaired and have significant mobility issues. Mums Like Us is now an online community discussing the issues that are faced by disabled mothers. There is a friendly and supportive Facebook group which is exclusively for disabled mums. I am also trying to open up the conversation with a wider audience on Instagram @mums_like_us and at www.mumslikeus.org.