Interview sponsored* by Simeen Hussain
The Children’s Book Review | August 22, 2015
The Children’s Book Review: The Girl Who Didn’t Share is a tale about friendship, sharing and happy endings. Before we talk about your book, can you tell us about yourself and how you came to be an author?
Simeen Hussain: I was born and raised in Bangladesh. After finishing high school in Dhaka, I moved to Washington D.C. to attend Georgetown University where I studied Economics and International Relations. I then moved to London to study Law and was called to the Bar of England and Wales. I practiced Criminal Law in London for several years before moving back home to Dhaka where I started to practice at the High Court of Bangladesh. After getting married in 2008, I moved to New York with my husband. After I gave birth to my first daughter, I attended Fordham University to study for a LL.M in International Law and then I took the N.Y. Bar Exam. Soon after, I was pregnant again with my second daughter. We then moved to Miami.
It’s funny how life is. After all the studying and travelling, my greatest life lessons come from my two children. Having the opportunity to stay at home and raise my two girls (ages 4 & 11 months), I learn something new every day. This is how my book, “The Girl Who Didn’t Share” came to be.
Which five words best describe The Girl Who Didn’t Share?
Colorful, thoughtful, read-aloud book.
Your 4-year-old daughter was the inspiration for the story. Will you talk to us a little bit about how she inspires your writing?
Every day moments with my children inspire me. My 4 year old has stories, questions, opinions, all of which inspire me. If I could, I would write a story every day based on what happened that day. There is nothing more wonderful than seeing the world through the eyes of a child. From sharing to listening to helping, I have a story that all parents can relate to.
How long did it take you to write the story and can you describe your writing process?
I am a spontaneous writer. However, having a preschooler and a newborn, I had very limited time slots when I could work properly. It took me a couple of weeks to finalize the manuscript. I would work on writing my book when my older daughter was at pre-school and I was at home nursing my little one. I was most productive either late at night or very early in the morning (when they were both asleep). I can be quite methodical. I had a strict upbringing. I think that’s the reason why I have a high regard for discipline both in my professional life and in parenting.
I remember reading out my initial draft to my three-year-old. The second she looked bored or distracted, I knew I had to fix it. I knew I got it right, when she asked me to read it again.
The objective of The Girl Who Didn’t Share is to teach little ones the importance of sharing. How did you decide on “sharing” as the value to tackle in your first book?
I love to read bedtime stories to my girls. Some nights I would make up stories. I remember my three-year-old was having trouble sharing toys at her pre-school. So I made up this story about a little girl who didn’t share. She cried as I told her the story and in the end, she promised me that she would always share. And she still does.
Beyond sharing, what else can kids take away from a reading of your book?
In my opinion, “The Girl Who Didn’t Share” is a tale about friendship, caring and sharing. It not only delivers the message about sharing, it also teaches little ones to care about how they feel, how others feel, how their actions make others feel. The conversation with Pepper’s mommy is the same one I had with my daughter. So it also touches on a child’s relationship with his/ her parent.
What do young readers and parents have to say after they hear or read it?
So far the reviews have been amazing. Most parents and teachers of preschoolers have told me that the book is the perfect length, given the limited attention span most preschoolers have. The other day, one of the boys from my daughter’s class came and complained to me that one of the girls was not sharing with him and suggested that I read my book to her. Other mommies have said that the story was both delightful and helpful. Sharing is a common issue most parents of preschoolers have to deal with. So far I have successfully connected with a lot of parents.
Who created the colorful illustrations and how much input did you have over the overall presentation of the book?
I was fortunate to find a talented, young illustrator in Indonesia. I worked very closely with him. I chose the color palette, background settings and also emailed him a photo of my daughter, who is the inspiration for Pepper, the main character in the book. He did a remarkable job and I intend to work with him in the future.
What’s next for you? Do you have any more children’s books in the pipeline?
I am already working on my second book. Like I said, I get my stories directly from my daughter’s life experiences. I look forward to sharing them with you soon!
Learn more about the book here.
The Author Showcase is a place for authors and illustrators to gain visibility for their works. This interview with Simeen Hussain about “The Girl Who Didn’t Share” was sponsored*. Learn more about marketing books and finding an Author Showcase book marketing plan that is right for you …
Hello Simo, may I have a signed copy xx.