Jackie French

Jackie French was the Australian Children's Laureate during 2014-15. 

Photo credit: Kelly Sturgiss.

Jackie French is the best-selling author of over 170 books, including the iconic Diary of a Wombat and Hitler’s Daughter.

French was presented with her Magpie Award, the symbol of the Laureate, at a ceremony at the National Library of Australia in Canberra on 27 November 2014 by actor, director and former Play School presenter Rhys Muldoon.

She took over from the inaugural Laureate – a position shared between Alison Lester and Boori Monty Pryor – in January 2014.

The theme for French’s two-year term as Australian Children’s Laureate will be ‘Share a Story’.

Working extensively with the media throughout her Laureateship Jackie will advocate for:

  • the right for every child to be guided to the books they’ll love;
  • wider support, both in person and financially, of literacy and library projects for young people;
  • the children’s literature industry to be seen as a vital part of Australia’s economy.

In January 2015 Jackie was also awarded Senior Australian of the Year.

"There are a million ways to share a story. To read to a child on your lap; to have a child read to you while you cook dinner; to read to the dog when it has to go to the vet to calm it (or you!) down; to join a storytelling session at your library. You can also tell your grandchildren what life was like when you were young over the phone or Skype or read to thousands of people via video conferencing. Stories tell us who we are. They teach us empathy so we understand who others are. They give us the power to imagine and create the future. – Jackie French

Jackie French has written over 170 fiction and non-fiction books.  Her writing career spans 25 years and includes 248 wombats, 3,721 bush rats, 36 languages and over 60 awards in Australia and overseas.

Jackie has been a full time writer for over twenty years, and she is acclaimed in both literary and children’s choice awards. She is passionate about history, the environment and the conservation of wildlife and our planet. Jackie is also dyslexic, and is a strong advocate for the rights of children with learning difficulties.

Diary of a Wombat, created with Bruce Whatley, is one of Australia’s best-loved picture books. It has been on bestseller lists across the world, with a still increasing number of awards and translations. Jackie’s acclaimed novel Hitler's Daughter has spent a decade on most of Australia’s children’s choice award shortlists, and has also won the 2000 CBC Book of the Year for Younger Readers, the UK Wow! Award, a Semi Grand Prix Award in Japan and has been listed as a "blue ribbon' book in the USA.

Monkey Baa’s production of Hitler’s Daughter: the play won both the Helpmann and Drover’s Awards and toured the USA in 2013.  Monkey Baa have also adapted Jackie French and Bruce Whatley classic picture book, Pete the Sheep.  Pete the Sheep: the musical, will open in March 2014.

Jackie French's Laureate Project – The Share a Story Calendar

Jackie French is passionate about inspiring children to 'Share a Story' during her two years as Laureate. She believes that 'stories tell us who we are. They teach us empathy so we understand who others are. They give us the power to imagine and create the future.’

If you would like to be involved in Jackie's project here are some possible activities to inspire you: shareastoryproject.wikispaces.com

Visit Jackie French's Share A Story calendar here.