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New local author tackles the gender gap in children’s fiction

Cinderella? The prince doesn’t even recognise her once she’s changed out of her party dress, yet one shoe later she’s agreed to live happily ever after!

A new arrival in the world of children’s fiction takes to task the traditional male and female roles portrayed in many books for younger readers.  ‘She’s Not Good for a Girl, She’s Just Good!’ is the first book by East Dulwich based author and mum-of-one, Suzanne Hemming.

She’s Not Good for A Girl, She’s Just Good! tells the story of Frank and Florence, following the former’s preconception that Florence can’t be good at sport because she’s a girl.  It aims to inspire both boys and girls to believe that their gender does not determine their activities and choices in life.

The book hits the shelves as equality issues continue to hit the headlines; the UK’s advertising watchdog is preparing to ban adverts that promote gender stereotypes while the BBC has come under fire for its lack of highly paid female stars.

Written in rhyme, She’s Not Good for A Girl, She’s Just Good! has its roots in Hemming’s blog about life with her toddler, Baffled and the Button Pusher, in which she found herself increasingly questioning the male and female stereotypes that are part of everyday life.

She’s Not Good for A Girl, She’s Just Good! is illustrated by Jacquie Hughes, and self-published by Hemming, who set up Thea Chops Books for the purpose.

Commenting on the venture, Hemming says: “While entertaining and part of our history, many of the traditional stories we read to our children are outdated and irrelevant in a world where equality is top of the agenda.  More than that, words are powerful and the messages we send to our children now will form their characters and stay with them forever.  I want my own daughter to grow up feeling she can be whatever she wants in life – and this seemed a good place to start.”

When asked, illustrator Hughes said, “I was so pleased when Suzanne first approached me to work on the illustrations for her book (as a new project is always pretty exciting) and when I read the text I was totally charmed by the theme of the story.  Without being at all heavy-handed the rhyme puts over such an important message and challenges stereotypical ideas about what girls (and boys) ‘can’ and ‘can’t’ do. “What’s not to like?” I thought to myself!  Oh…and what a great character feisty little Flo is to draw!!

She’s Not Good for a Girl, She’s Just Good! costs £6.99 and is available to buy from amazon.co.uk local retailers and online at Thea Chops Books.

About Thea Chops Books and Suzanne Hemming

Thea Chops Books began life when blogger and mum-of-one, Suzanne Hemming, noticed the lack of children’s books that presented males and females as equals.  She never intended to become a publisher, but her commitment to the cause of equality coupled with the possibilities of the self-publishing process meant one thing led to another…

She’s Not Good For a Girl, She’s Just Good!’ is her first published book.

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