Six Questions with Sadé Smith
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Sadé Smith is a Canadian children's book author of Jamaican descent. She loves to write stories that will allow your imagination to take you away. Her books often involve food and recipes with colorful illustrations to capture the vibrancy and beauty of the Caribbean islands. In addition to writing, Sadé is also a design technologist who practices the skilled trades of carpentry, flooring and home renovations. She loves travelling to anywhere with a beach and she enjoys fruits. She is very passionate about literature and she writes books of representation for young readers. Granny’s Kitchen is her debut children’s picture book illustrated by Ken Daley. Her second book Julie and the Mango Tree, illustrated by Sayada Ramdial, will be out on August 8, 2023. Visit Sade's website to learn more about her and her work.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to write for young readers?
I realized I wanted to write for young readers ever since I was in grade 3. I had a teacher who would create mini booklets for the class and we would write our own stories and illustrate them as well. We would make our own books and share them with the class. I always had a big imagination and I loved telling stories. I didn’t know I wanted to be an author and have my books published until 2016. I woke up one day and said to myself "I should put all these stories in books for the world to read instead of just keeping them in my head."
2. What three things bring you joy?
Three things that bring me joy are my two sons, the beach and music. My kids are full of life and they always make me laugh with their hilarious personalities. We have the most fun together in the summer and on weekends. The beach is my favorite place to be. The sand between my toes and the warm water brings me peace. If I could live there, I would. Music is my way to escape from any problems, even for a little while. When music is playing, nothing else matters at that moment.
3. What are you working on? What’s next for you?
Currently, I am working on my second book called Julie and the Mango Tree, illustrated by Sayada Ramdial. It is pretty much complete, we are just finishing up the last-minute touches and it will be out in August. This book is beautifully illustrated and I can’t wait for everyone to see and read it. Just a warning, you will get very hungry after reading it.
4. Where did you get the idea for Granny's Kitchen? What was your inspiration?
Granny's Kitchen was inspired by my own grandmother and my younger sister in the kitchen. My sister would always ask our grandmother to make breakfast and one day, my grandmother decided to teach her how to make it herself. I wanted to incorporate my Jamaican background into the story, so I used Jamaican breakfast recipes instead of bacon and eggs. I thought it would be a fun way to teach children about Jamaican culture and also bring some nostalgia for parents who read the story as most can relate to being in the kitchen with their own grandparents.
5. If you read this book to a room filled with kids, what message would you want them to leave with?
I would want kids to know that if they try and don't succeed, try, try and try again. That is the moral of the story. And, even if you don’t get it perfect the first time, that’s okay, you can always practice until you get it right. Practice makes perfect and as long as you tried your best, that’s good enough.
6. What’s a particularly striking or memorable reaction someone has had to this book?
Many adults who have read Granny's Kitchen tell me that the story brought back great memories they had with their own grandmothers in the kitchen when they were younger. The story brings a sense of nostalgia and they appreciate the good times that the story makes them remember about. I'm so glad I was able to bring back those great memories for them with this story.