An Interview with She Leads Africa

Oladoyin Oladapo is the author of the “Girl to the World” book series which consist of four chapter books and four picture books for children below 12. These books share values essential to girlhood; intelligence, curiosity and self-esteem while highlighting the diverse world around us. They are more than learning about differences instead, they are fun and captivating to read like traditional children’s stories.

This is because after spending six months in a local elementary school with her team, Oladoyin discovered that children that age are not as concerned as we were about learning about developmental concepts such as culture and values. So if her team wanted to get children to read, they had to mask all the educative material with fun and exciting stories.

This led them to create the “Girl to the World” book series which empower children but are still fun to read. The series teaches children but not are not textbooks. Oladoyin believes that the content children consume at this age moulds their future; her goal is to expose children especially girls to different cultures.

Read on to find out how Oladoyin Oladapo is helping girls reach their maximum awesomeness through the celebration of culture, girl power and universal concepts like arts, friends, family, fashion, sports and school.

Tell us a little about yourself and your writing background?

I am from Nigeria but live in the USA. My family migrated to the States when I was very young, so that was where I had most of my education. I studied sociology with education concentration and political science with international relations concentration. Around my junior year, when I first got the “Girl to the World” idea, I was studying gender and inequality in education and I think that a lot of that really formed the idea. I however planned on making multiple things with the idea; thus toys and animation etc. The first prototype I made with this idea wasn’t a book. I had to try out other things until I finally decided to start with a book, which was a great idea I must say. With regards to my writing background, I never had professional experience in writing. But I was always doing creative writing among others in school which gave me some experience in this field. So when the time came to write the books, what I did was to put together what I knew and I guess I did the best that I could.

You said you and your sister read a lot when you were young, which books had the most impact on your life? Would you say reading so much at a young age ignited this passion to write the Girl to the World series?

My sister and I read a lot, I remember reading the Bible a lot when I was growing up. At that young age however, I wasn’t able to understand the Bible so I was given the picture Bible which made it a lot easier to understand. In terms of actual storybooks, our dad would take us to the library all the time. We spent an entire summer reading Chicken Soup for the Soul. I mean we read the entire series of that book just like the Babysitters Club, the Magic Treehouse, Junie B. Jones and Captain Underpants series. I really enjoyed Captain Underpants because it was an easy read and I loved the pictures and how funny it was. Also I believe that because I read so much, I had the confidence that I could write the book even though it was something I never planned on doing.

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