... in our new collection! Swedish children’s book author Sarah Sheppard tells us everything about the collaboration and how she became a dinosaur expert, and shares her tips on inspiring a love of reading in children!
Hello Sarah! You write and illustrate non-fiction books for children, such as the popular “Dino Deluxe”. What’s the best thing about your job?
Everything, to be honest! It’s such great fun to dig really deeply into a subject – and then draw and write about it, sharing all the exciting things I’ve learned with others.
Why have you chosen to write books for children?
I simply write about things that I personally find exciting and interesting, and I’m probably fascinated by many of the same things as children! My publisher once observed that I have the same interests as the average five-year-old.
Many of your books are about dinosaurs, but you haven't always been a dinosaur nerd. What did you do before you started writing books?
I worked as a graphic designer, and before that I was art director at an advertising agency.
Why did you start studying palaeontology?
It was actually by chance! My friend suggested we take an evening class at Stockholm University. We applied to various courses – literature, the history of ideas, art – but we didn’t get into any of these! Instead, we got accepted on to “Dinosaurs, 10 credits” at the Department of Geological Sciences.
“My publisher once observed that I have the same interests as the average five-year-old,” reports Sarah Sheppard.
At the university, I was most surprised by the insight that birds are living dinosaurs. That was still quite new info at the time. But apart from that, the best thing about dinosaurs is that they never cease to surprise you. New fossils are constantly being found, on average one new species a week!
How can we inspire a love of reading in our children?
Read together every evening – the best moments of the day!
Keep books piled everywhere at home, so they’re easy to access and attract young readers. Stock up on new books often! Go to the library and borrow lots and preferably different kinds of books – picture books, non-fiction books, comics, chapter books. Encourage your child’s specific interests. If they like mosquitoes and lorries – try to find books about mosquitoes and lorries. And be a good role model: let them see you curled up on the sofa reading a book!
A gang of your dinosaurs can now be found here at Polarn O. Pyret. Tell us about the collection!
PO.P represents quality and childhood to me. I can't imagine a better context for my dear dinos – truly a dream collaboration!
The collection has been created by the super-talented design team at PO.P, based on the illustrations in my dinosaur books. I’ve been involved in the discussions about which dinos to include, and about colours and details. The process was great fun and I was never worried about how the collection would turn out! I knew right away that Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops and the others were in very safe hands.
You’ll find our roarsome friends from “Dino Deluxe” on colourful garments for both younger and older children.
Which garment in the collection is your favourite?
I truly think everything is wonderful! The prints are fantastic, with lots of different dinos and jungle plants. I also adore the yellow sweatshirt with the black and white Therezinosaurus, where you can lift a flap and see the skeleton! And the dark blue top with Tyrannosaurus, of course. It’s also available in adult sizes, so I’ll be wearing mine all the time now. And the hat too! Although it’s only available in children’s size, it fits me as well, I’ve tried it!
You already had a special link to Polarn O. Pyret – tell us more!
I grew up in the 1970s and wore loads of PO.P clothes myself (thanks, Mum!), including a dark blue corduroy jacket (with the Mickey Mouse logo on the sleeve) that I remember very well. But most of all, I remember my beloved red striped long johns! I lived in these, they were my absolute favourite garment, I wore them all day, every day. I don't actually ever remember wearing trousers, even when I went out (but I hope I did!).
When I had children, a lot of their clothes came from PO.P. And of course, all three of them had striped long johns!
Finally: What will your next book be about?
The world’s dangerous and amazing animals!