'A book like Wonder makes you want to embrace life - and its diversities': Monica Valrani
The CEO of Ladybird Nursery on her reading preferences
What book(s) are you reading?
Right now, I am thoroughly enjoying Elon Musk by Ashley Vance, as it has given me a great insight into the technology space. Musk is truly an inspiring entrepreneur and his insatiable drive is admirable. He truly makes you feel like anything is possible to achieve.
A book that changed your life?
I am a mother of two boys and a book that had a significant impact on me was Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. It is a controversial memoir written by a Chinese mother about her strict parenting style. She believes that arming children with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence prepares them best for the future and a strict, disciplinarian style produces the best results - as opposed to the style of parenting that we are used to, where it is important to nurture and respect a child's individuality. Her story was very heartwarming, as she struggled with her daughters - one of whom continuously rebelled against her.
For me, parenting has always been about having a balance, so the book made me think. It is so hard to get it right with your children, especially as they pass through the teenage years and the pressure to succeed increases year on year.
Your favourite literary character?
Christopher Boone from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Christopher is a 15-year-old boy who probably has Asperger's Syndrome, has a pet rat, only drinks strawberry milkshakes and does high-level math problems. He appeals to me because he is unique yet so bright.
Name one underrated book.
Wonder by RJ Palacio. It's about a 10-year-old boy with a rare medical facial deformity attending a mainstream school for the first time and the personal challenges that come with it. It's such a heartwarming story of learning to appreciate people that are different to you and seeing life through a different perspective. It makes you want to embrace life and the diversity of people that come with it.