Daddies and Daughters Stick Together is a dream come true! I wrote this book for representation of all kids, especially kids that look like my daughters, and for all fathers, especially Black fathers like my husband. This book is a celebration of the love between daddies and their daughters. In this blog post, I would like to answer some questions about the book. These are my responses to a list of ask-the-author questions. I’m so excited to share this book with you all and the background of the journey to get here! Thank you for reading!
1. Tell us about your husband. What makes him a great Dad to your girls and partner for you?
My husband’s name is Alhassane (or Hassan for short) and he has a twin sister! He is an entrepreneur, husband and proud girl dad who loves spending quality time with his family. He is generally a quiet person but has a vibrant and funny personality when you get to know him. What makes him a great partner and dad is how he selflessly throws himself in his duties – he takes them very seriously. He is there every morning to wake the girls up and get them ready so that I can either sleep in or take my time getting ready for the day. I have never heard him say he is too tired to give the girls a piggy back ride or throw them in the air and catch them. He also makes me a better mom because he makes parenting easier by taking so much off of my plate.
2. In the book, Diari and her little sister Fatima get to spend the day with their Daddy. During this day they cook, dance, learn and play. What are some other fun things that your daughters enjoy doing with their Dad?
Diari and Fatima honestly love everything they get to do with their dad, no matter how small it is. I will say, however, that their dad reading to them and giving them piggy back rides is at the top of their list!
3. This book’s message is so loving. What was your relationship with your father like growing up?
Growing up, I had the best relationship with my dad! I looked at him the same way Fatima and Diari look at their dad. One of my favorite childhood memories was sitting in our veranda next to my dad reading a book while he read his newspaper. He used to wear glasses and I was so exited when I received my own glasses because I felt like we were twins. My dad never said no to me so that should tell you why I loved him so much. I was a daddy’s girl through and through!
4. It’s clear from the book’s narrative that your husband and his relationship with your daughters was the inspiration for this book, but what inspired you to want to become an author?
Honestly, being an author was not actually something I dreamed for myself until this story came to me. It is safe to say that wanting to tell their story is really what inspired me to push through and become an author.
5. The illustrations play an important role in demonstrating the happiness and joy we see in the girl’s interaction with their dad. Tell us a little about how you collaborated with illustrator Nandi L. Fernandez to develop them?
Nandi L. Fernandez is a wonderful illustrator, concept artist, and animator. She grew up in Uganda, Zambia, and Liberia, where her love for travel, art, and exploring different African cultures was nurtured. Her background alone made me feel connected to her and ultimately, working with her was a breeze. After sharing the script and ideas with her, the first step was drawing and defining the images of the characters. After that, we created the rest of the illustrations for the script before moving forward with colors. Throughout the process Nandi kept communication open and was extremely open to feedback. In the end, we were all very pleased with the final product.
6. Will you be writing more children’s stories in the future, and if so, will the next one be about family as well?
Absolutely! I think it is super important to keep the conversation going surrounding fathers and their roles in their children’s lives. The next story will continue with that narrative but with a different main character. No worries, Diari’s character will still be part of the story.
7. What were your favorite books growing up?
I grew up in Guinea, Conakry where we spoke French. Some of my favorite books were “Le Petit Prince” and “Mamadou et Bineta.”
8. Who did you write Daddies and Daughters Stick Together for?
This book was written mainly for boys and girls ages 3-6, but with kids of all ages in mind. Our bonds with our dads start from the moment we’re born! While the book emphasizes the relationship between a dad and his daughters, the main purpose is simply to highlight fathers who play their part. Whether the dad lives in the home or not, as long as they are present and doing an amazing job, that’s all that matters. This book is also for kids who may not have their dad present but they have a father figure who goes above and beyond for them.
9. What do you hope readers take away from reading this book?
I want readers to see themselves in this book! I want them to not only cherish their relationship with their dad but also use this as ways to come up with fun ways to spend time with their dad. Also, I want parents reading this to their kids to see the power in working and supporting each other.
10. Did you always know you wanted children? Daughters?
I always knew I wanted to have children, and daughters for sure. I was the kid who loved babysitting and taking care of other people growing up.
11. At what age did you become a mom?
I became a mom at the age of 21 so I would say I kind of grew up with my firstborn, Diari. That’s why it was so important for me to co-author this book with her! She taught me everything I know about motherhood. And through her lens, I’ve come to admire my husband as more than my partner, but as a dad too.
12. Do you have any siblings?
I have an older sister and a younger brother!
13. Before writing, Daddies and Daughters Stick Together, did you girls have a favorite children’s book that was their go-to for bedtime?
My girls love the books, Hair Love, Little Leaders, and Dear Black Child.
I’d love to keep the conversation going! Please reach out to me if you have any other questions or just if you’d like to share some of your stories! To get a copy of Daddies and Daughters Stick Together, vidit any book retailer, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, etc. Thank you so much for your support!