I’m Steph. I live in southwest London with my husband Jorge, our 2-year-old daughter Emilia and a lazy cat called Oakley.
I’m a freelance social media strategist and content creator with a focus on small businesses in travel and the visual arts, plus a wonderful charity that advocates for disability inclusion. I’m from New York, but have lived in London for 12 years. Jorge is from Spain. He’s a garden designer, manages a local garden centre and teaches garden design to university students.
What is your daughter’s favourite book?
Emilia’s favourite book is one that I dug out of a box in my parent’s attic last year. It’s called I’m Not Sleepy by Colin and Jacqui Hawkins. It was written in 1988 and was one of my favourite books when I was a child.
The story is about a baby bear and mama bear. The mama bear says it’s time for bed and the baby bear comes up with lots of excuses why he doesn’t want to go to sleep. He wants to play with his toys, needs a drink of water and is simply not sleepy. Mama bear keeps telling him to go to sleep, but when his last excuse is that he needs a cuddle, she gives in and goes to him. Then he finally falls asleep. Emilia always gives me a cuddle when mama bear gives baby bear a cuddle at the end.
It’s a British book, which was amusing for me as an American kid because it uses words that we didn’t use, like “wee”, “biscuit” and “mummy”.
Amusingly (or not, let’s be honest…), Emilia is queen of bedtime excuses and night wakings, so she may have taken baby bear’s antics as inspiration… she obviously relates to the story!
Which book do you most like reading to her?
One of my favourite stories at this age is Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury.
It’s a very simple story that celebrates the differences among babies across the world, all from diverse cultural backgrounds. Each baby is the same, though, in that they all have ten little fingers and ten little toes. And each child is loved.
It boils down the complexities among us in a way that very young children will appreciate and understand. I’d love to see a version that is inclusive, in some way, of children with limb differences, but still, it’s an important message. Books can play a role in helping kids find their similarities and connect with each other.
What was your favourite book when you were a child?
I read and loved so many books as a child that it’s hard to say which was a firm favourite. It was constantly changing. Goodnight Moon was one of them. I’m Not Sleepy was another. When I was a bit older, I loved a lot of Dr. Seuss stories and Rupert Bear books.
Who is your favourite illustrator and why?
Difficult one! Illustration really brings a story to life and sets the wheels of imagination in motion. Julia Sarda from Barcelona is near the top of my list. She uses wonderful rich colours and adds an incredible amount of detail into her work. I also love the intricate paper cut illustrations crafted by Helen Musselwhite.
What do you look for when shopping for a new book for Emilia?
We read to Emilia every day, so I try to make sure that she has a wide variety of topics in her collection that can teach her something positive about the world and herself, with books that champion kindness, compassion and curiosity.
I try to find stories that feature female characters who are strong, creative, adventurous, independent and intelligent and those that put a different spin on gender stereotypes.
I also look for books that incorporate diversity and inclusion in every sense of the word, in race, religion, culture, ability, body type, family composition, etc, in a natural way. Some books approach these topics head on, but I think it’s also really important that she has plenty of books that simply incorporate diverse characters in an effortless and natural way that actually represents real life.
Jorge also reads to Emilia in Spanish.
About Stephanie Sadler
Stephanie is a freelance social media strategist and content creator.
She helps creative and passionate small businesses become more visible in our digital world and to connect with their audiences through social media, writing and photography.
Her current clients focus on travel, the visual arts and disability inclusion, but she would also love to work with children’s brands and entrepreneurial parents.
You can visit Stephanie’s website here: http://www.littleobservationist.com/
Stephanie is also a fine art photographer and you can buy her work on Etsy.