How do you contribute to the education of kids?
I write stories that I hope children will love. If they love my stories, they will learn to love books and they'll learn to read easily.
I also talk to parents a lot about the fun and importance of reading to children in their first five years of life which is an important back-door way of educating children. My latest book is 'Hello Baby' and I have a new one coming out later this year called 'The Goblin and the Empty Chair.'
Where did you go to school?
I grew up in Africa so that's where I went to school.
Please tell us about your family
I was one of three daughters and I am the eldest. My husband and I have one child, a daughter who is 38. She is a Labour MP in South Australia.
What are your hobbies?
Cooking, gardening, reading, exercising, and having coffee with my friends.
What was your first job?
Teaching English to disabled children in Africa.
What is your most unforgettable personal experience?
Having a baby.
What do you value most in life?
What is your favourite Australian destination and why?
My home address is my favourite destination because I travel so much. I just love being home by the beach in Adelaide.
What are your career highlights?
There are far too many to mention! But here are two career highlights: Having 'Possum Magic' published in 1983; and in 2009, winning the Australian Book Industry Award for best book for young children: 'Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes'. I was also very excited when I was promoted and became an Associate Professor at Flinders University.
What is your best overseas experience?
There are too many good experiences to mention! My worst overseas experience was being charged by an elephant in Africa!
What do your books offer readers?
My books offer noise, comfort, humour, happiness and a good feeling about being Australian.
I was born in Melbourne, grew up in Zimbabwe, went to drama school in London in the mid-sixties and came back to Australia in 1970. From 1973, I taught at Flinders University, training people to be teachers until I retired in 1996. I have been one of Australia's best selling writers for 26 years!
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Get Ahead Kids® Sep/Oct 2010