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AUTHOR INTERVIEW: EMILY JOOF

 

OUR FAVOURITE THINGS. THE STORY OF HOME IN THE GAMBIA AND SWEDEN

 

Title: Our Favourite Things. The Story of Home in The Gambia and Sweden.
Age:  3-6 years
Publication Date : 9th August 2020

 

 

AUTHOR: EMILY JOOF

EMILY: One evening, as I stood by the sink chopping cucumbers, my daughter came over to interview me.. Mum whats your favourite color  she said..
Purple I replied and definitely yellow too. Red and pink, shouted Louis, from behind my legs, eager to join in.. Mine is blue.. blue and rainbow colors are the best, Ella chimmed in.

My turn? I asked, what is your favorite food? Domoda and sushi!!  Ella replied bouncing in excitement at the thought. Chips, Soupa and köttbullar!  Louis yelled out with biggest grin ever. I laughed out loud at this intercontinental menu my kids had conjured up in a flash.

Okay, last one.. whats your favourite place? I asked quietly. “ Where the sky fans are.. grandpa Aniels’ house with all the fruits and the park with aunty Yollie..” Right , I smiled..how about you Louis..whats your favouirtie place.?" “With you mama, I wanna be with you.”

In that moment Our Favourite Things was born. I saw my kids reflecting such a big part of me. I have many homes. I find it easy to create new homes.
After so much travel throughout the years, I have parts of my heart in London, Paris, Lucknow, Stockholm, Khartoum, Banjul, Los Angeles and D.C. All these places hold my memories of growth, of joy, pieces of belonging and the people I love. Through my children’s answers to this silly game, I saw them bring their worlds together in one breath. They too, are citizens of the world who love french fries, Gambian Domoda and quintessential Swedish meatballs.

My daughters favourite places were Gotland; the stunning island in Sweden with powerful wind turbines, Grandpa Aniels’ house in The Gambia with its millions of fruit trees, lizards and experiments she could discover with him and aunty Yollies’ park in North London.

My children are a norm of their own, like millions of kids globally, they will see the world through their own lens. They will speak several languages fluently.
They will belong in several spaces simultaneously.and that is just fine.
In fact, its more than fine.. it is brilliant.

EMILY: I did not face any major challenges with this story. Our memories and discussions at home were really the perfect blue print for me to write.

EMILY: I hope that readers begin to explore the concept of home, heritage and belonging. A country or place does not always determine what we call home.  Louis, my son articulates this so beautifully with all the grace and intelligence a 3 year old can have. When I asked him where home is he replied:
"In your arms , that is the best place I will ever be" The people we spend our time with, the feeling of peace and love, the feeling of being enough..that is what we define as Home.

EMILY: When I am not writing I am often doing mom-stuff! my life right now is very focused on balancing work, writing books and motherhood.  

Motherhood is an active thing for me, something I engage in beyond keeping the kids clean, happy and fed. I try to help them explore, try new things, challenge our norms. It is fun to grow with your children because I am constantly learning new things myself.

EMILY: Yes! I am working on two new books at the moment. The first book is focused on introducing the United Nations Conventions of The Rights of the Child to very young children.  

The Convention is an incredible piece of legislation, it is the most ratified treaty in human history. It safeguards children's rights and we need to make sure our children own these rights, know these rights and live these rights, right from the start.  

It occurred to me more than once that people often feel like diversity and inclusion are simply things we strive for out of the goodness of our heart when in fact it is a human right, entrenched in law and I want children to be able to know their rights and advocate for it.

I am also working on a something completely different.. A book about Ballet!
My son and daughter both adore ballet and we are writing a beautiful story about strength, softness, perseverance and kindness.

Lastly, w
EMILY: Our favorite things is available at mbife.com

Thank you Emily Joof for sharing with Mocha Books and our readers. 

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