Inspired by the awesome sports stars that grace our world, Bounty Parents sat down with Sydney-based illustrator and author Phillip Marsden to talk about why every child should own a copy of Boss Ladies of Sport, which features female athletes who worked hard to achieve their dreams.

You started drawing sports star on your social media for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. How did this evolve into getting a book published?

That’s right, I began drawing them just for fun, with no idea of where it might lead. A friend was loving the series and suggested I pitch it to some of her pals in the publishing industry. The good folk at Hachette leapt at it and next thing I knew we had a book on our hands!

Why do you think Boss Ladies of Sport is an important book?

I think it’s important for young women and girls to see diverse role models that look like them and that they can look up to. I also hope, with it being written and drawn by a male, it can encourage or normalise the championing and empowerment of women by boys and young men (aka Boss Lads).

Why ‘boss’ ladies? As in ‘cool’, and leaders, and strong? Or something else?

All of the above! It most definitely comes from an expression in my native Scouse [Liverpool] of something cool/impressive being boss (“That’s boss, tha’!”), but also relates to the fact that these women are leaders in their fields. They are bossing it.

Phillip Marsden hopes Boss Ladies of Sport will encourage the championing of girls and women by boys and men.

Who are your favourite Australian sports stars? 

Like the rest of Australia, I am obsessed with Ash Barty! Her drive, focus and skill are unparalleled, but she’s also so down to earth at the end of the day. Patty Mills is unreal on the basketball court, he blew me away at the Olympics. And you can’t talk about Aussie sports stars without mentioning the great Dylan Alcott. Again he’s not only really, really good at tennis, but he also uses his profile for awareness and inclusivity, like a boss.

Have you met anyone featured in your book? If not, if you could only meet one, who would it be and why?

On the day the book came out I randomly saw Sam Kerr at a cafe in Sydney! But by the time I had gone to grab a copy of the book to show her she had left! So, I’d love to remedy that. But c’mon, how can I pick one?! They are all incredible and if I met any of them I would be so in awe I would probably forget how to speak.

Where can fans follow your artwork and illustrations?

The main event is probably Instagram @phillipmarsden, but you can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and even TikTok.

When is Boss Ladies of Science coming out? Will there be more to follow in the series?

It will be out in August 2022! It will feature a diverse range of contemporary female scientists who are all researching and discovering amazing things, from COVID vaccines to photographs of Black Holes. There aren’t other books planned yet, but if Sport and Science sell lots and lots of copies (hint, hint ;)) maybe we can expand the series!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Just a big shout out to all the day-to-day Boss Ladies out there. You don’t have to be a sporting superstar to be great at what you do and to do it with empathy and compassion – mums do it all the time!