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Every mother hopes that she will be able to gently guide her daughter as she grows, helping her to meet her full potential. And with this in mind, Sarasotan Sheba Matheu wrote a children's book called The 10 Secrets Of Being a Lady, an enchanting story that revolves around a mother encouraging her daughter, Ava, to believe in herself.  

"As the mother shares her secrets, she discovers more about the responsibilities involved of becoming the mother she hopes to be," Matheu says. "The daughter learns more about becoming a lady, which will forever shape her expectations for herself, as well the manner in which she expresses love, and her ability to receive love from others." 

And as if that weren't incentive enough to pick up a copy, Matheu is donating 25 percent of the proceeds from 10 Secrets of Being a Lady to Girls, Inc. You can find it at Molly's, at Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com

Here, Matheu shares the inspiration for the book and the best piece of advice she received from her mother. 

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Tell us, what inspired the book?

My six-year-old daughter Amina inspires me every day to wake up and be my best self. I know that she will mimic everything I do, both consciously and subconsciously. I started writing because I wanted to raise the bar of reading and writing in my own home. Quiet reading with my family provides the needed quality time necessary for us to connect on many levels. 10 Secrets of Being a Lady is a gift to my daughter, which comes from my heart.

How was Amina involved?

I wanted to spend time with Amina, and this was the perfect project for us to work on together. Together we searched for various concepts, but one theme that kept coming to the forefront of our conversation was manners. Our family discussions often focused on the characteristics of being ladylike. What better way for a six-year-old to grasp the concept then through visual storytelling?

And the main character in the book, Ava, is modeled after Amina.  

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What was the hardest part of writing the book?

It was hard to have just 10 words of wisdom, which is why we even added a bonus one at the end. All of them are important to help make better life decisions and learn to be your true, best self.

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How do you envision mothers and grandmothers sharing this book?

As a mother, one of my favorite things to do with my daughter is to read with her. I love to watch her learn and understand what engages her curiosity. 10 Secrets of Being a Lady is intended to be read together with the entire family. The topics are relevant and can be used to spark many discussion points. We read and discussed one point every day while writing it. There are vocabulary words used to encourage discussion and learning. I created it for the tw0-year-old and the 82-year-old to enjoy.

What was the best piece of advice your mother passed on to you?

One simple piece of advice I received helped me identify characteristics I needed to embody. I had to identify these qualities first, so that I could develop into the woman I hoped to become and be received by others as such. 

Also, “If you want to be treated like a queen, you must carry yourself like a queen.” My mother told me that.

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New York to her core, our fashion editor and style blogger Heather Dunhill found her fashion calling early. With a passion for all things stylish, she’s perpetually on the quest for what’s new and next. Follow Heather on your favorite social media--Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter--or sign up for email alerts for her Sarasota Magazine Style Watch blog at heatherdunhill.com

 

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