Somehow with a newborn, a toddler and a career in international affairs, Canberra author Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern has found time to create an acclaimed children’s book series.
The first title, Charlie’s Adventures … in Hawaii was published in 2017. This year, de Rose-Ahern released a follow-up, Charlie’s Adventures … in South Africa that was recently shortlisted for the 2019 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards.
“It came about when I had my daughter; I’ve always wanted to write children’s books and then I was surrounded by them from reading to her,” she tells Canberra Weekly.
“I also realised life is short and you should go for your dreams so I just started to put my work out there.”
Her books contain a number of references to de-Rose Ahern’s life and experiences.
“My grandfather loved to travel and that’s why his name is Charlie. It’s based on his story as well as my love of travel.”
The location of Charlie’s follow-up adventure in South Africa was chosen because that’s her husband’s country of origin.
“I learned a lot about his culture and the whole idea of the rainbow nation, and I think that’s something Australians can relate to with multiculturalism,” she says.
“It’s about getting children to learn more about the world and realise that even though there are so many differences between cultures, we are still all so similar.”
de-Rose Ahern says she’s only able to manage writing on top of her other commitments due to the support she receives from her family and Canberra’s writing community.
“The Canberra Writer’s Centre have been great advocates for my work … With the fellowship they gave me in 2017, I got the opportunity to go to Hawaii and read my book.
“It was just really lovely to see how the people there really connected with the story, and that I was portraying their culture in a respectful manner meant a great deal.”
Later this month de Rose-Ahern will share her story at the Canberra Writer’s Festival, and in a series of upcoming Libraries ACT author talks.