Featured Interview With Vanja Skoric
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born and raised in former Yugoslavia, now Croatia, and wanted to become a journalist because they were ones exposing all the injustice daily. I ended up studying law and volunteering in civic initiatives, and ultimately became a human rights lawyer. I lived in different places and lately, I live with my family near Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. We have two kids, age 10 and 5, and many spiders in the house that my kids like to consider pets!
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
My mom used to joke I was “swallowing books” as a child. In a local library, they had to upgrade me to adult’s section before officially allowed, because I read all the children’s books several times already. I used to steal my Mom’s (adult section) books from the library and read them while I was pretending to do homework for school! So my love for books and reading goes a long way back. I never thought I would write something, though, unsure if I have anything interesting to say. But my children started asking questions, and those demanded answers I couldn’t just invent in a second – I had to put it on paper.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
Among others, I love fantasy books, and writers like JRR Tolkien, L. Carol and his Alice in Wonderland, Patrick Rothfuss, Kristin Cashore for young adults, and similar. I also get inspiration from children’s authors who bring in activist perspective, like Dr. Angela Sadler Williamson with her book My Life With Rosie (about Rosa Parks). Sometimes adults may feel that issues are too complicated for children to handle. The good news is that all the small steps and actions make a difference. I hope this book will inspire honest conversations and dialogue about experiences, fairness, emotions – including anger and frustration – and what opportunities are there for children to do something about that.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
It all started with real life questions from my daughter, a curious and incredibly observant girl who, like many children, is eager to know why certain situations arise, even if they feel unfair.” In the book, the main character, Tasha, feels confused when boys tell her that soccer is not for girls (as it happened to my daughter and I’m sure, many other girls). She wonders, “Why do people say that girls shouldn’t do certain things?” She is curious: has it always been this way? Tasha’s dad tells her a story about women and girls fighting for their rights. In the book, I connected direct experiences with important historical events to help my and other children understand the power of activism and how to cope with the change. I invite curious children to come with Tasha to find out more about activism!
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