Local author works to bring the world to children

Author and local librarian Stephanie Fazekas-Hardy, who writes under the name S.F. Hardy, has written four children’s books.

Stephanie Fazekas-Hardy says culture is at the heart of her books. The author and local librarian, who writes under the name S.F. Hardy, has written four children’s books.

Fazekas-Hardy says she started writing when she was a child. She says it helped her when there were things she could or didn’t feel comfortable discussing.

As an adult, she wants to tell stories about travel, animals and culture.

“Like a Salad” by S.F. Hardy explores nuances in skin tones through the eyes of children.

“My first book ‘The Empress’ New Hair,’ is loosely based off of my experiences with my hair,” Fazekas says. “Growing up in a beauty salon and watching women, and just the emphasis placed on my hair and how people react differently to me depending on how my hair is — whether it’s curly or straight, long short.”

Hardy’s book “Dancing Monkeys in My Soup” is more complicated than the title suggests. There are monkeys — finger monkeys, even — but there are also dances and foods from Peru.

“I don’t have a connection to Peru,” Fazekas-Hardy says. “I would like to go one day.”

“Peru was selected as I started doing my research on the pygmy marmosets. Not only did ‘Peru’ rhyme with soup — because I came up with the title first … I love dance and I love food. So I started to research the pygmy marmosets and learned that one of their habitats were in Peru. … And as I started to research Peru more I learned about the Afro-Peruvian dances. So it all kind of like just came together.”

Jabbar, the frustrated hero of “Dancing Monkeys in My Soup” is also the star of Fazekas-Hardy’s new book “Bush Baby, Buh Baby Go to Sleep.”

“He’s going to different continents, different countries on different continents and encountering animals that we normally don’t hear about,” Fazekas-Hardy says.

In the new book, Jabbar is in Kenya and trying to get to sleep when nocturnal bush babies take over his room.

“So there’s a little jingle ‘bush baby, bush baby go to sleep; mama doesn’t want to hear a peep.’”

Fazekas-Hardy explores the behaviors and sounds the animal makes and the culture of the environment around them.

She says her mission is to cultivate a joy of reading – as an author and as a writer.

“Reading is my drug of choice. And so I try to share it with everybody.”

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  • Sascha Raiyn
    Sascha Raiyn is Education Reporter at 101.9 WDET. She is a native Detroiter who grew up listening to news and music programming on Detroit Public Radio.