Swannie Batista. Photo Courtesy of Swannie Batista
Bestselling author Swannie Batista chatted about her children’s book “Everything is No No!”
Background on book
This book is about a toddler named Ricardo. This fun and colorful book will teach your little one a valuable lesson. This book is about encouraging your toddler about good behavior, setting boundaries, and developing a positive healthy attitude toward values, patience, and codes of behavior. Saying, “no” to your child is often necessary to protect them from harming themselves while they are in the exploratory phase
Swannie Batista is a mother, wife and entrepreneur, and legal professional who became a mother for the first time in 2020 to her son Ricardo. Having the flexibility to spend time with him, she was compelled and inspired to do many new things in light of her baby boy. She began to write down all his milestones, most challenging moments, and different behaviors by stages.
Her book “Everything is No, No, No” was written when her son turned about 12 months and began to walk and explore the household on his own. He would touch and try to climb everything in his path. While Swannie understood this was just a phase, she began to tell him not to touch or not to do certain things. Upon him hearing the word, “no” so often, he too, began to say, “no” to things he knew he could not do. Swannie knew at that moment other parents could relate and decided to write a short story about her very curious little boy Ricardo.
Swannie has written several other children’s books with important lessons about self-love, nutrition, and learning about colors. She thought this would be a hobby as she enjoyed documenting things about her son but now has become one of her passions.
Before becoming an author, Swannie had been in the legal industry for about 15 years. In 2018, she co-founded an all-women-owned firm called Paralegals for the Community. In 2021, she was awarded and named on the BronxPower List for being one of the most impactful and influential people in the borough.
Your book ‘Everything is No No No!’ has been very popular with readers of all ages. Can you talk a bit about what inspired you to write this rather amazing book?
‘Everything is No No No’, was inspired by my firstborn and only child, Ricardo. In lieu of “toddling,” as he began to walk, run, touch, and become a little bit more independent, he also became very curious.
I was always under the impression that this behavior came early as he had not even turned two. While at home, both my husband and I are very liberal, so Ricky gets to play, dance, run, and pretty much do whatever he wants.
However, this toddler stage also came with tantrums. As he explored, I used the word, “no” for the purposes of disciplining him not to limit him. He also learned how to use his index finger as a gesture to say no to me when he was doing something wrong.
Which I thought was so hilarious, but also led me to believe that although he was so young he understood somewhat what right and wrong were. I had never been around too many children, but enough around many parents, who had expressed frustration when their children were or are currently in this stage. At that moment, I knew I had to write about it and share Ricardo’s chronicles.
You have a successful business and you are a successful author, as well as being a parent. How do you manage to do all of it so well? Do you have some secrets for parents you can share with us?
As a woman, mother, wife, leader in the community, there are a lot of challenges but rewards that come with wearing so many hats. Time management is key. Time management truly helps me prioritize my personal and work to ensure enough time is allocated to complete my projects. Every day, I write down a To-Do Do List that has two columns, work and personal.
Everything is better written down. As we get older, I realized we truly cannot rely on our memory. Anytime, I have to make a call, whether it’s a follow-up, to schedule an appointment, I do it. Since my commute daily, is an hour to and from work, I take that time, to unwind, meditate and also be productive.
Every minute counts. Also, having a support system at home, a fan of all your moves is always super helpful. The true secret is that no matter how tired you are, how late you get home if you truly want to get something done, you will get it done. Oftentimes, I get home after 8 PM, and I still cook a full meal for my son. Manage your time well, and you will feel so accomplished.
Writing a book is not for the faint of heart, requiring a lot of hard work, and sometimes a bit of introspection. While writing ‘Everything is No No No!’ did you learn anything new about yourself?
Since I was a young girl, I always kept memory books, old essays, and scrapbooks. Writing this book made me realize, how much I love storytelling. But telling stories that are relatable.
Sometimes, your story truly can help someone else overcome their current state or struggles. It’s almost like a sense of hope, that certain things are temporary. Being a first-time mother, who had her son throughout the Pandemic, I had to learn everything on my own, especially patience.
Having a little boy around who you have to be responsible for, share your space with, not be able to do certain things because you have to think of this other little human. I realized how much I have grown as a person. How patient I have become and how much I have embraced every milestone and every phase he has gone through since being welcome into this Earth.
A good story is all about the setting, the descriptiveness, and the raw energy that captivates, all coming together to have the reader turning the pages effortlessly. Your book includes all of them, what is one of the keys that you find is critical when getting into the writing zone.
My biggest challenge was writing the book in its true form. Meaning, I did want to share this story as it is based on a true one, Ricardo’s. The word, “no” when heard or said is interpreted as a negative. So when writing it and finishing the story, I wanted to ensure to not use words that are negative. I wanted parents to relate. I knew that some may agree or disagree with this approach.
My biggest success was putting it together along with the beautifully talented, Magdeline Cuff, who is the Illustrator of this publication. She truly captured every scenario and brought it to life. Receiving positive feedback from family and friends was the biggest accomplishment for me.
What is the most interesting feedback you have received from a fan?
Everything No No No has been trending since the day it went live on Amazon. So many family and friends, have purchased it and shared it with other parents, schools, daycares because they find it so fun and relatable.
A lot of people, have asked if am I sure I did not write this book about their child. Which is hilarious to me. I thought I was the only one with a super active and curious toddler at home.
‘Everything is No No No! has been a hit with readers so I have to ask – do you have another book in the works you can tell us about?
I have three more books I have written before Ricardo was born and after. My true focus is centered around valuable lessons. The second book I will be publishing is called Nina The Swan. It’s about a Swan, who has trouble loving herself because she looks different than her family members and the community, Lilypondville (a made up village where she lives).
She, later on, learns self-acceptance and self-love. It’s a beautiful book for readers between the second and sixth grades. Ms. Cuff is also the Illustrator and she used more subtle watercolors to portray the beauty and magical creatures Swans are.
“Everything is No No No!” is available on Amazon by clicking here.