Author Spotlight: Segilola Salami

Name: Segilola Salami

Book: My latest book is called Yetunde: An Ode to My Mother. My other books are Learn to Count in Yoruba and Yetunde: The Life and Times of a Yoruba Girl in London.

What is your ethnicity? I am Nigerian, Yoruba

Where are you from/ Where did you grow up? Was it a diverse community? Were you exposed to other cultures? I am a Nigerian-Brit, started life in Nigeria, moved to London as a teenager and yes London is super diverse

What led you to authoring a children’s book? What were you doing before you wrote your book? I didn’t plan to become an author, it sort of fell into my laps . . . I was a pharmacist in a previous life :D

What was the inspiration for writing your book? My little girl

Is there anything from you personal life that influenced the characters in the book? With my latest book, I wanted to honour my mom who had passed away a few years ago. Being a mom makes you value yours even more and as mine is no more, I wrote what I think would show her how I felt about her

Why do you think exposure to other cultures is important for young children? The world is such a small place now and key to surviving in it is having an understanding (no matter how small) of the people that share it with you

Why is representation of all colors and backgrounds important for children to see? As children, things they see today, shape their behavior tomorrow. Children need to see themselves reflected in the things that they read and in the things that they watch. If a child never sees himself in any form, either consciously or unconsciously, the child may question his place in the society. Also just as important is how the child sees that representation of him/herself . . . are they only negative or are they positive representations?

What do you want children to get from reading this book? I want children from a diverse background (eg Nigerian/African/African descendants etc) to see a representation of themselves, I want them (and others) to learn a little about the Yoruba culture, I want them to see how to balance belonging to two different cultures, i want them to know that irrespective of how many times their mommies (and mommy figures) tell them off for being naughty, she absolutely loves them

Learn more about Segilola Salami by visiting her website and purchase the book at amazon. You can also find her on twitter and Facebook or her podcast.

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