I'm Sophie, author of the award-winning Agent Asha trilogy and founder of children's media company, Bright Little Labs.
I'm interested in all things STEAM, education and entrepreneurship.
I used to be a baby
When I couldn't be a baby anymore, I became a lawyer, then a techie, author and entrepreneur. I'm the founder of Bright Little Labs, a kids media company backed by Warner Bros. Discovery and Bethnal Green Ventures. When I'm not writing, I'm CEO-ing.
Before Bright Little Labs, I worked with Code Club, Google and the Department for Education to introduce the computing curriculum in primary schools across England, and that’s where my love of tech - and its intersection with people - really took shape.
I wrote the Agent Asha spy series
Which my mum says she loves and my dad has never read. Before I tell you about the series, here's the worst review I ever got: "This book has so much going for it! I couldn’t wait to get into it! But I was completely let down by the constant cheap and utterly unnecessary fart jokes."
Back to Agent Asha: It's a STEM spy series published by the brilliant Walker Books, bringing coding to life in a spy narrative. The books are mapped against key National Curriculum Computing concepts for KS1 and KS2, such as algorithms, conditionals, and debugging.
I'm not afraid of robot overlords...
By 2050, at least 50% of the jobs we know today will be automated. By 2051, we might be working for robot overlords. Or we might not... who knows? What we do know is that the digital skills gap is global, growing and exacerbates social inequalities... Fewer girls take computer science now than 10 years ago + only 14% of the STEM workforce is BAME.
I wanted to do something to help all kids to become creators, not just consumers of technology. And I know that to 'be it' you have to 'see it'. Through my work as a play therapist with kids charity the Place2Be, and my late nights spent learning about the history and impact of Sesame Street, I came to understand the power of stories to inspire the next generation. And so the journey began...
... and I care about diversity in our media
You should too, it's pretty bad. In 2022, 25.2% of characters in kids TV shows were people of colour, (vs 57.4% of the U.S. population)*., in 2021, only 9% of UK children's books featured a main character from an ethnic minority, vs 14.9% of the UK population, and 0% of princesses are coders.
Brace yourselves for a thrilling induction into the high-tech, secret world of the Children's Spy Agency! We kick off with a journey that spans science, secrecy, a global outlook and gadgets. But remember, spy-gear aside; it's the sharp minds and quick wits that truly make a top CSA agent.
Spies-in-training start here with essential digital literacy. From guiding robo-Sophie in crafting the perfect jam sandwich to sketching our agency's otter using simple shapes, we dive into sequencing, conditional statements, and decomposition. It’s an adventure in learning that’s as messy as it is delightful.
For a spy, the digital footprint should be as discreet as a whisper. We venture through the realms of FARTs (facial recognition tech) and FAKEs (unravelling misinformation), learn the art of CamoDazzle (staying invisible to cameras), and pick up crucial skills to keep our data under wraps. It's not just about staying secret; it's about staying safe in the online world.
Imagine a robot twin, coded by you, to do the boring bits of life while you're off saving the world. Perfect, right? But there's a twist: what if your twin's 'brain' is trained on stolen data, or biased information? Is it still cool? And how will we teach it to make decisions between right or wrong? In this workshop, we'll pseudo-code a twin while exploring the pressing ethical questions that shape the future of AI.
Keynotes & Panels
When I'm not in spy mode, I'm sharing insights on panels and delivering keynotes on the frontlines of entrepreneurship, education, artificial intelligence and creativity.
Navigating the startup journey has been a whirlwind, from the intricacies of securing Series A investment, to growing a dynamic team and developing new products in the media space. Being a company founder is something I'm particularly proud of given the odds: in 2022, companies founded solely by women garnered just 0.9% of the total capital invested in venture-backed startups in Europe.
My talks explore the creative journey, the beauty of not having all the answers, and the power of learning from failure. I delve into the future of jobs, the evolving landscape of education, and the critical role of media literacy in our digital age.
The Agent Asha Books
Agent Asha: Mission Shark Bytes
We follow Asha - an 11-year-old girl from London - who has just been recruited by the Children’s Spy Agency, one of the most high-tech agencies in the world, and now must save the world from killer sharks… all before bedtime. The book covers the core concepts of computer science: logic, sequencing and critical thinking. Shark Bytes was shortlisted for the prestigious Royal Society Young People's Book Prize, the CRIMEFEST Award for Best Crime Novel for Children, the Little Rebels Award for radical fiction for young readers. It has been recognised as the 'Best Coding + STEM Toy' by Tech Advisor and the Sun, and was honoured with a spot on England’s Nationwide 2022 Summer Reading Challenge 📚.
Agent Asha: Operation Cyber Chop
The saga continues as our fearless coder Asha is thrust into another whirlwind adventure. Tasked with untangling the mystery of CyberOaks, the new-age tech trees threatening her beloved park, she's out to prove that not all that glitters is gold. Through her mission to preserve nature's beauty, Asha learns how to stay safe online, spot fake news, and ultimately, to question the system🚨
The next book is all about ethical AI. Watch this space!
Here's a jammie video
Want to learn more? Get in touch.
📘 If you'd like me at your school or book related event, please get in touch with Yvonne at Authors Abroad - email@example.com
🎤 For keynotes, panels and 🍕 pizza, please contact me directly - firstname.lastname@example.org
✨ If you want me to work on something glitzy and creative, please get in touch with my agent Emily Talbot at United Agents - email@example.com