Stephanie Stansbie's new picture book, This Girl Can Do Anything, is a bold and funny look at being an adventure-loving girl. Stephanie has been a children's books editor since the 90s and an author since the noughties. She adores editing and writing in equal measure and has always worked on illustrated books. Stephanie lives in Oxford and enjoys yomping about with her family and friends, and playing capoeira.
Hazel Quintanilla has been drawing since she was a little girl, when she used to carry a pencil and a small notebook around in a cute furry bear face bag bought for her by her mum. She also carried cheese strings in it! She really loves dogs and illustrating with bold colours and cute shapes. https://www.hazelquintanilla.com/ Instagram: @quintanilla.hazel
This Girl Can Do Anything (Little Tiger Press)
This Girl Can Do Anything, by Stephanie Stansbie and illustrator Hazel Quintanilla, is a celebration of girls with a lively, empowering young girl Ruby at the centre of the story - Ruby who 'can do anything!'. A beautiful picture book to share with young girls and one to reach for on International Women's Day!
Author Stephanie Stansbie tells us what inspired the book, and shares a reading in this video:
1. What kinds of books do you enjoy writing?
I enjoy writing all sorts of picture books - from rhyming, 'I love you' texts, to daft adventures. But This Girl Can Do Anything is particularly close to my heart as it's funny but has an important message at its core.
Picture books are not easy to write: they're more akin to poetry or a joke, as every word counts. I often write multiple drafts - sometimes only a few words from my first draft end up in the book.
2. What is your latest picture book about?
This Girl Can Do Anything is about a young girl who knows what she wants and knows who she is. She's empowered (in part by her parents) to set her own boundaries and believe in herself. But she's also just a really funny character who'll make you laugh!
3. What inspired the idea - and is Ruby based on a child you know?
I was asked by my publisher to write a book on empowerment and thought I'd write about a timid girl finding her voice. But instead Ruby burst out! She's hugely influenced by my daughter.
4. What would you like your young readers to take from the book?
I'd hope they'd feel inspired to try new things, to persevere when they fail, to stand up for themselves and to ask for a hug when they need one! But mostly I'd like the book to make them giggle.
5. Although is this picture book as much for adults as for children, in encouraging us to see young girls free of classic stereotypes?
Absolutely. This book celebrates all the very different ways you can be a girl, so I hope it debunks some of those stereotypes. Picture books are wonderful because they have two totally different audiences: children and adults. My aim is to appeal to both, through the story and the humour.
6. What do you think of the illustrations by Hazel Quintanilla, and her depiction of Ruby?
Hazel is very talented - she captures the incongruity between the text and art beautifully, which is what makes the illustrations so funny. Ruby's expressions and body language are a total joy! I'm extremely lucky to be both an editor and author so I was involved in the art direction of this book, alongside my fabulous designer, Giselle Hayes.
7. What moment of Ruby's enthusiasm / activities stands out for you?
One of the first scenes I wrote was Ruby climbing up to a treehouse that has a sign saying 'No girls allowed'. I love that Ruby uses the sign to get a leg-up to the top!
It's hard to pick a favourite spread, but it's probably the spread where Ruby decides to add baked beans to the family's spaghetti. Her parents are much more yielding than I'd be in that situation and Dad's expression always makes me laugh - he's actually finding it pretty tasty!
8. What would you like children to celebrate on International Women's Day, and what activities can you suggest for them?
I'd love children to celebrate all the wonderful, powerful, and extremely wide-ranging facets of being female. Reading books that celebrate amazing women from history and around the world is a great way to discover new role models and ideas.
9. Do you have any more picture books like this planned?
I do indeed! I'm currently working on the next book in the This Girl series, which will be published in 2023.
10. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I've just bought myself some roller skates, which has been quite hilariously undignified so far! And, when I can, I like to sew and go for long, galumphing walks.