Anupa Roper is an author from Leicester, who this year released her book Sparrowlegs.
Based around positive body image for children, we caught up with Anupa to find out all about it.
Tell us a little about Sparrowlegs and how the idea came about…
Last April, when a year of lockdown would have seemed like a crazy idea, I decided to start an instagram page around the topic of body image. It was only ever meant to be a little distraction (something just for me, so that I wouldn’t go stir crazy home learning with the children who are 10 and 11!) I was given the nickname ‘sparrowlegs’ at school by my PE teacher and it was the perfect name for my account; a chance to embrace the body I am in.
It’s all based around positive body image for children, how important is it in these times for children to hear these messages?
It’s super important in these times with more and more social media influence on the young. There is a direct correlation between time spent on social media and negative body image. Therefore, educating the young on how to love the skin they are in, to also realise that their appearance isn’t the most important part of them and acceptance of differences in themselves and in others, is key.
You’re from Leicester yourself, what are some of your favourite things to do/places to go in the city?
I love Leicester, it always has been and always will be home to me. There are so many things I have loved doing in this amazing city, from the days of roller skating in Granby Halls (yes, I am that old!) to going to ‘Last Friday’ at the LCB (yes, I do still like to think I’m down with the kids!), from bowling at Superbowl to visiting the escape rooms at Clue HQ and bouldering at Social Climbing. My family and I go to The Curve every New Years Eve to watch a show, one of our favourite traditions. Leicester also has some beautiful places to discover; New Walk and it’s museum, Bradgate Park, Beacon Hill, Broombriggs Orchard, Fosse Meadows, Croft Hill, the list goes on…..
How did you find the process of writing the book?
‘Sparrowlegs’ is a story based on me so it was easy to write! It wasn’t my plan to write a book but I knew it would be a great way to send an important message. I have actually discovered a love of writing and also wrote a chapter about my body image journey for a collaborative book.
Did you write it during lockdown, and if so, how did you find it to stay creative during that time?
My book was written last summer and to be honest, lockdown has given me the opportunity to be so much more creative than usual and become an author! This isn’t something I would ever have imagined but having freedom in my routine allowed the creativity to flow.
What are the main messages people will take away from the book?
The main character in the book, Sparrow, learns that foremost she needs to love herself, she realises all of the amazing things that her body can do and that her beauty lies within her. These are the 3 main messages; we must love the skin we are in, our bodies are absolutely amazing and who we are is far more important than our appearance.
Good question! Well, I’ll let you in on a secret (but shhh, don’t tell everyone!), there is a second book written! I would love to publish a few books around the topic of body image, so that conversations can start early on. I have a few other projects in the pipeline but you will have to watch this space.
Where can people find out more?
My instagram handle is @miss_sparrowlegs. I have a FB group (Sparrowlegs) for parents, carers and teachers where we are learning how to support the young with their body image. My book for under 7’s is available on Amazon and The Book Depository – the story of a sparrow who learns to love the feathers she is in.