A WEARSIDE artist has drawn on her own experience for a new children’s book.
Illustrator Holly Sterling, who graduated from the University of Sunderland, has had her first picture book published, 15 Things Not To Do With A Baby, written by Margaret McAllister.
Holly, 27, said: “My dad’s Jamaican and my mum is English, so it is something that is really close to my heart. With 15 Things I didn’t necessarily intend it to be this way, it is a representation of my own family – the dad character is black and the mum character is white.
“Subconsciously, you draw on your own experiences and, whether you’re writing or illustrating, that’s what makes it real. For me, representing different ethnicities should be a natural thing. As a child I didn’t have books that represented my own background, so it’s a nice turnaround.”
The book, published by Frances Lincoln, is a silly tale pointing out the pitfalls of lending your baby to a kangaroo, or planting your baby in the garden, but Holly has a serious point behind her choices.
She added: “We have had quite a lot of amazing reviews, which is totally overwhelming at this point in my career, but the diversity has been picked up on. It is quite a forward step because it’s just a family – it doesn’t matter which country they are in, this is just normal life, especially in today’s society.”
The 27-year-old, who is also a karate instructor and recently set up her own club in Durham, was born in Dublin but grew up in the south of England, before moving to the North East to study illustration and design at the University of Sunderland.
Holly has several new projects lined up, including a first chance for her to be illustrator and author on new book Hiccups, and she is keen to continue to represent different parts of society in her own, authentic style.