Jackie French: 2015 Senior Australian of the Year


Jackie French: Senior Australian of the Year

Though at just 61, she is surely too young to be called ‘senior’, Jackie French has today (25/1/15) been named as the very deserving recipient of the Senior Australian of the Year. French has called on fellow ‘seniors’ to volunteer in their own family and the wider community to tell stories of their childhoods to keep spoken history alive. Jackie French is a true champion of story and of children’s literature and her dyslexia has never ever held her back with this – I love that a dyslexic author is one of Australia’s top authors, our Australian Children’s Laureate and now our Senior Australian of the Year. How awesome is that?


At this point, let me gloat and say that I have visited her amazing garden and eaten her amazing food in her amazing house – see here for my tour.

Jackie French deserves every bit of gushing I give her. She deserves bouquets of flowers (native), baskets of organic produce, buckets of compost, hi-fives from wombats, cluck, cluck, CLUCKS from chooks and a standing ovation from parents and teachers for the gift she has given to our young people. Jackie French has given our children (and many an adult) over 140 gorgeous books. Jackie is a masterful storyteller and champion of children’s literature. Her historical fiction is in my opinion her greatest achievement; I have never read historical fiction so powerful. My 85 year old nan is a great reader of historical fiction and a harsh critic…and Jackie French would be one of her favourite authors (trust me, this is high praise indeed!).  Jackie French’s writing career has so far spanned 25 years, 248 wombats, over 140 books, 36 languages and more than 60 awards in Australia and overseas. Her books have sold almost 2.5 million copies globally.

If you do not already own at least 20 Jackie French titles – below are a few of my favourites. Click on covers to purchase for your home, school or library collection.

Adult Novels


Upper Primary – Secondary – YA

(NB – I really don’t like age categories. Some of these books do contain mature content and are for an older audience so check suitability…and adults will enjoy them as much as teens…just ask my nan!)


Jakie French - Refuge

I urge every single person IN THE WORLD to read ‘Refuge’. It is SUPERB. My full review is here.

Jackie French - Walking The BoundariesJackie French - A Rose For The Anzac BoysJackie French - A Waltz For MatildaJackie French - The Girl From Snowy RiverJackie French - Down The Road To GundagaiJackie French - Pennies For HitlerJackie French - OracleJackie French - Nanberry

Non-Fiction/Gardening/Chooks/Self Sufficiency/Sustainability


Jackie French - Let The Land Speakjackie-french-s-chook-bookMore about ‘The Chook Book’ in my post here.

Jackie French - The Secret World Of Wombats

Jackie Frenchs Guide to Companion PlantingJackie French - Backyard Self Sufficiency

Picture Books

(Age range varies…check individual titles)

Jackie French - Good dog Hank

Jackie French - The Hairy Nosed Wombats Find A New HomeFull review of ‘The Hairy-Nosed Wombats Find a New Home’ is here.

Jackie French - Baby Wombats Week(2)Jackie French - Wombat Goes To SchoolJakie French - Diary Of A WombatJackie French - The Tomorrow BookJackie French - Queen Victorias UnderpantsJackie French - Pete The Sheep Board BookJackie French - Josephine Wants To DanceJackie French - FloodJackie French - FireJackie French - Dinosaurs Love Cheese

Jackie French - A Day To Remember(2)


Middle Primary


Jackie French - The Book Of Unicorns

Jackie French - Hitlers DaughterJackie French - Gorilla GrabJackie French - Elephant Alert

Jackie French - Weevils War And WallabiesJackie French - Tom Appleby Convict BoyJackie French - The Horse Who Bit A BushrangerJackie French - The Goat Who Sailed The WorldJackie French - The Donkey Who Carried The WoundedJackie French - The Dog Who Loved A QueenJackie French - DingoJackie French - The Camel Who Crossed Australia

Senior Australian of the Year (60 years and over)
The Senior Australian of the Year Award recognises those Australians aged 60 and over who continue to achieve and contribute. The award commenced in the International Year of Older Persons in 1999.
The Senior Australian of the Year Award is sponsored by the Department of Social Services. 

Australian of the Year website.


The titles of each book takes you to the Australian based online bookstore Booktopia. You can also compare prices on Fishpond and Bookworld for Australian purchases.If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here. Purchases clicked through from the Children’s Books Daily site result in a small commission. Commission is used in part to maintain Children’s Books Daily and to support community groups which connect children with books.


  1. Fire and Flood are such beautiful and gut-wrenching books. I had a weather-themed month with Dear Boy and these were great when we both got sick of books about rainbows. It let us talk about extreme weather and how some years both of these things can be happening in Australia at the same time. Love.

  2. I just LOVE Jackie’s Writing right from when I was little! 😀
    I got “To Love A Sunburnt Country” for Christmas and devoured it. Well done to Jackie!

  3. I love what Jackie is doing -“French has called on fellow ‘seniors’ to volunteer in their own family and the wider community to tell stories of their childhoods to keep spoken history alive”. how freaking awesome is that xx

  4. Jackie French is such an inspiration, as a gardener and example of low impact living, and as a prolific author. I first came across her books while studying teaching at uni and have bought more than a few over the years. I’m loving sharing her writing now with my own kids. My 10 year old loves the silliness of the Cafe on Callisto series and is a big reader of her historical novels, my 7 year old is enjoying the Stories to Eat with… series, and my 3 year old is in love with the Diary of a Wombat books. Backyard Self Sufficiency is probably my favourite. So jealous you’ve visited her garden! It’s on my bucket list 🙂

  5. I had a wonderful morning with Jackie when she visited school…..had always been in awe of her from the Burkes Bakyard days.
    A wonderful person who the students actually listened to and liked.
    Would love to visit her garden as well….

  6. yes, Jackie is a total legend! I work with Book Links – the Centre for Children’s Literature and we recently had to spend some time at the Lu Rees National Children’s Literature Archives gathering material on Jackie. Then we had to go visit her at home. And wander through the gardens, up the creek, pick and eat fresh peaches from her trees. We even ‘had to’ spend an evening with some wombats. And can she cook?!?! I look forward to returning to her home to do more work/research. Yes, that’s what I’ll call it


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