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
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.
"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.
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.
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.