Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family
My name is Suzanne Hemming and I live in South East London with my husband Rich and our daughter Thea who is 5. Before having Thea I worked in the TV and film industry, but now I’m a children’s author.
What is your daughter’s favourite book?
Well I do hope that one of my books would feature highly in Thea’s top ten of favourites! Over the years she’s made requests for many of Julia Donaldson’s; we went through a stage where we read Rosie Revere, Engineer every night; and lately she really loves reading The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak.
If you’re a fan of books with strong female characters then this new one from Suzanne Hemming (author of ‘She’s Not Good For A Girl, She’s Just Good‘) is definitely for you.
The story is about a young princess called Florence who has her heart set on becoming a great engineer. She has the brain and the ambition but she has one problem – her father, the King, says that instead of pursuing her dream career she has to marry a Prince and have babies.
Young Flo is devastated. She has no problem with Princes and babies but she also wants to be a great engineer and the King says she can’t do both. She flees the palace and bumps in to her old babysitter, who sits and listens to her woes. The lady tells her that you always have to be who you are, not who other people think you should be. She shows Flo a picture of her wedding day (where she married a Princess) and says that when you follow your heart, some people will accept who you are and some won’t but what matters most is that you are always true to yourself.
The star of this story is a little girl called Florence who shows promise at all things sporty from a very young age. Spotting her potential, her father nurtures her abilities and together they have lots of fun practising running and throwing.
However when Florence starts school she is immediately faced with prejudice. A little boy called Frank tells her that girls are rubbish at sport and that boys are better and stronger. He tells everyone that it must be true because this is what his dad says.
Enraged, Florence challenges Frank to a race after school. Can Florence prove that boys and girls are equal or will Frank’s outdated opinions win the day?
This is an empowering book about gender equality with something for both girls and boys to enjoy. The intelligent rhyme is coupled with gorgeous illustrations (by Jacquie Hughes)and the message is one that I wish we saw more of in children’s literature today. Girls are strong enough and smart enough to look after themselves!