By Leslie Lindsay
10-Year-Old Girl Uses Imagination and Vintage Fashion to Emulate Female Icons
A lesson in using creativity and learning at home.
~BOOKS ON MONDAY| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~
My 15-year old daughter, Kate, regularly states she wishes we lived in a large, Victorian home with an attic filled to the rafters with vintage clothing. Girl after my own heart. I think she’d get along great with Sasha, the 10-year-old author of LEGENDS FROM MOM’S CLOSET (BCH, May 19, 2020). When this book came across my desk, I knew I had to share it.
Here’s the quick take: Sasha Olsen was forced to spend a summer indoors because of rainy weather, but she refused to spend all her time in front of a screen. Instead, she read through a stack of books detailing the lives of famous women throughout history. From Frida Kahlo and Audrey Hepburn to Billie Holiday and Joan Jett, Sasha’s imagination began to run wild as she learned about these accomplished and creative women who had become legends.
Soon, Sasha was in her mom’s closet picking through her clothes and her grandmother’s vintage pieces to dress up like all the women she had been reading about. In LEGENDS FROM MOM’S CLOSET, Sasha recreates the looks of her favorite female icons, from dresses to lipstick to hairstyles. She also offers highlights of their lives that she learned about while reading.
Complete with photos of the looks she created and tips for other young girls on how they can emulate these iconic women, LEGENDS FROM MOM’S CLOSET will inspire kids to use their creativity at home, spending time to delve into the lives of truly remarkable people from the past to learn a thing or two about what it means to be legendary today.
But first, join me in conversation with Sasha Olsen:
Hi Sasha. Welcome and congratulations! In your book, Legends from Mom’s Closet, you share tidbits about and dress up like legendary women you read about during a rainy summer spent indoors. A lot of kids your age would spend a rainy summer watching TV or playing video games. What made you decide to start reading books about famous women?
Well, I actually love to read, especially biographies. I don’t usually spend a lot of time
using any devices. I didn’t specifically start reading books about famous women, but I
started looking around for books to learn more about legendary people. I just happened
to meet these iconic women through their amazing stories and spending a day in their
Who did you most enjoy reading about?
My favorite legend to read about was probably Frida Kahlo! I felt like she had a very
inspiring story. She had a lot of difficult times in her life, but no matter what, she
worked hard to achieve her dreams and become an artist.
There are so many things we can learn from past role models and history itself. What are some of the biggest lessons you learned from getting to know all of these female legends?
I learned many lessons! Most of all though, I learned that women are super strong.
Women work very hard and can get through anything that might stand in their way of
achieving their goals. Women are so inspiring!
I love your creativity and willingness to ‘try-on’ new looks and roles. What ultimately inspired you to use your mom’s clothes and your grandmother’s vintage pieces to recreate all of their iconic looks?
Actually, I just went into my mom’s closet and started trying on her shoes and dresses.
This was after I read about Frida Kahlo. So, I just got the idea to try and dress up as her! I
thought my mom might be really upset with me for playing with her things, but she
loved the idea. If the legend was wearing something like I really couldn’t figure out
where to get, I would call my grandma for advice. Most of the time, she had exactly
what I needed!
Who was your favorite legend to dress up as and why?
Definitely Yayoi Kusama. I love her bright artwork, and I was able to get even more creative to dress up as her!
There are so many strong, creative women in art–and history–how did you decide which legends to include in LEGENDS FROM MOM’S CLOSET?
Well…I didn’t choose them beforehand. I just started to read about people who I didn’t know much about yet and it ended up being all women! After, I just decided to share them in this book.
Your other passion is the environment. Can you tell us what you learned about vintage fashion versus ‘fast fashion, please?
When I was started my movement Iwantmyoceanback and this project, I was doing a lot of research during that time. I wanted to know more about what are the biggest things that pollute our oceans and cause problems for our planet. I found out like clothing is one of the biggest ocean pollutants and some fabrics, like polyester, have plastic in them so it breaks down and hurts our sea animals. After finding this out, I realized that it’s very harmful to buy fast fashion because people just buy the clothes and throw them away soon after. It inspired me to learn more about vintage and how we can buy secondhand instead, and just reuse clothing!
Ultimately, what do you hope your readers take away from your book?
I hope readers learn how important it is to let your creativity run wild! But I also want other kids to know that we can get inspired and have fun while also learning new things and growing our knowledge. It’s also very important that we learn more about how fast fashion affects our oceans and that we stop it! We need to win the war against fast fashion to help save the planet.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the book or what you learned while writing it?
I just want to share that this book project is super special to me! It means a lot, and I worked very hard on it. I hope that everyone enjoys my stories and experiences dressing up as these legendary women. Most of all, I hope readers try it themselves and that it inspires them to think outside the box! I learned a lot from reading and getting to know these women, especially that we can do anything if we believe in ourselves.
For more information, to connect with Sasha Olsen via social media, or to purchase a copy of LEGENDS FROM MOM’S CLOSET, please visit:
Book Details: Best for children in grades 2-3, hardcover with photos and illustrations, 116 pages.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sasha Olsen is an author, environmental activist, ballroom dancer, bookworm, pianist, and enjoys anything artistic. She always finds new hobbies and things to do, which usually ends up in her trying to juggle everything. She lives with her family in Bal Harbour, Florida, where she also spearheads the conservation movement “I Want My Ocean Back.” Legends From Mom’s Closet is her first book.
ABOUT YOUR HOST:
Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012). Her work has been published in Pithead Chapel, Common Ground Review, Cleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The Waking, Brave Voices Literary Magazine, Manifest-Station, and others. Forthcoming photography to appear in Up the Staircase Quarterly and Another Chicago Magazine; poetry to appear this summer in Coffin Bell Journal. Leslie has been awarded as one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.
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[Cover and author image courtesy of PRbytheBook and used with permission. Frida Kahlo image retrieved from on 5/6/20]