Today we’re talking to Ruth Flynn. Ruth has created a truly inspirational book introducing children to some extraordinary women in history. Discover who and the story behind the creation in our interview.
Tell us about your book?
My book is an introductory biography for children about Royal, Bold and Warrior women who ruled countries in Africa. They had a vision of what their dynasties would be and stood up for what they believed in. These women changed the trajectory of their kingdoms, people and their futures. In The Extraordinary Women of Destiny you’ll find women like Princess Yennenga who formed her own Empire after wanting to choose her own destiny and marriage! The Pharaoh Hatshepsut, who was pronounced the first female Pharaoh of Egypt who ruled like a man in a man’s world. The Dahomey Amazons who were warrior women who protected the king and their nation. Then you have women like Perpertua and Felicity who showed great loyalty as friends and were each other’s strength in times of adversity. This picture book has 15 extraordinary short stories of strong women.
Why did you want to write this story?
Not much is openly known about African history from centuries ago up until modern history. Also not much is known about Africa’s positive connection with places like Europe and Britain. I wanted to highlight the women from these eras and to encourage little women who read my book that they can also achieve what they set out to do. I believe girls need examples of strong women to help build their self-esteem.
I have confidence that this book will help young girls’ identity as young women. Plus their understanding of women’s places in history and leadership. Even against all the odds of having women as rulers at the time, these women fought for what they believed in, and ruled with dignity and pride. In reading these stories I hope to boost the confidence of the children who are reading them. Plus affirm that they can reach their goals, they can achieve their dreams and they can become leaders in their own right. Being Royal can be available to every child.
What's been the best reaction from a reader so far?
The best reaction is that adults are buying my book for themselves to read as well as children. Although the book was originally meant for children, there are many adults who are interested in learning about the women my book as well. A lot of the history in this book is not known by the majority of people. I like that this book not only brings adults and children together in reading but also different races, eco-social groups and backgrounds. This children’s book gets people from diverse experiences talking.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My spark of inspiration grew when I started looking at my own family history. Then wanting to make the connection with Africa when I had the results of my DNA test. I wanted to know the history of these places. As I had once learned about black history when I was in Primary School and I wanted to learn about trendsetters who changed the course of time and the history we have now.
Then I also found out that I not only have a connection with Africa but different countries around the world. If that blend can be found in one person how many other people have a connection to different parts of the world and wouldn’t it be nice to learn about world history from a different perspective. This has inspired me to start The Dynasty book series. I will be starting with the continent of Africa and travelling through the world to allow other unknown parts of history to become well known.
What's the most fun part of being an author?
I believe it is the idea of a story in your mind and the enjoyment of it unfolding, in writing, on the page. Words, words, words are an amazing addition to our everyday lives. They allow you to express yourself in many different ways. There is always more than one word for a meaning, e.g. connotations for the word love. I am always looking to express myself and have racked up a number of notebooks. At present I have so many ideas for stories, for poems etc and can’t wait to have them as a final product like the Extraordinary Women of Destiny.
What's your tip for parents to encourage reading?
I think parents could encourage their children’s fun of reading books by taking them exploring in places like museums, art galleries and exhibitions. There is always something relatable to children there as there are always books to read on every topic. Also there are activity packs to complete or some form of play that children can get involved in. I recently came across the Bloomsbury website where they have activity packs to go with different children’s books for different age ranges. I also plan to do an activities pack of my book for children to enjoy. This will assist with their comprehension skills and knowledge of the book.
What's your favorite book of all time?
The Chronicles of Narnia- The lion, the witch and the wardrobe is the first book that encouraged me to write myself. I remember my Primary School teacher reading it to us as a class and at home I wrote my own version of it. Like the story there were four of us, my two brothers and sister. I pretended that our entry to our magical world was the cupboard in the hallway. I even drew my own pictures for it. This book started my world of dreaming that other worlds could exist. The teacher who read it to me recommended for my mom to take me to the library in my School report (I cherish that report till this day). It broadened my horizons for reading diverse books of children and people in other lands.
Ruth Flynn is a Teaching Assistant for Visually impaired children. She has a passion for writing and has always wanted to become a writer for children and young adults. Ruth was first inspired by the heroes and heroines of black history at primary school. As an adult, after researching her family tree, Ruth learnt more about the people, Kingdoms and Empires of Africa. This led Ruth on her search for positive role models and a history of the people she wanted to share with children around the world. The author particularly wants mothers, fathers and guardians to be able to explore this history with their children. This is the first in the Dynasty book series.
Where to Next?
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