Wombat Books Blog

Wombat Books blog is the place to keep up to date with all the goings-on in the world of Aussie kid's books.

In Conversation with the Mum/Daughter Team about their Latest Picture Book

What inspired the story behind Chandani and the Ghost of the Forest?DSC00087

Rosanne: We saw children forced into labour when we lived in Pakistan. Some children worked from necessity for a small wage as they wouldn’t have eaten otherwise. But this picture book is a voice for those children who are sold into domestic labour and their suffering is unheard. The charity, Compassion, states 168 million children are trapped in child labour. This is almost 11% of the world’s children.

Lenore: Stories may have a message but they are meant to be enjoyed. When my youngest daughter was 5, her favourite animal was a panther. She so wanted to have a picture book about a panther and a little girl.

Why did you think it was important to collaborate as a mother/daughter team?

Lenore: I so enjoy working with my mum. The opportunity to collaborate with her on The Wish Giver and Chandani has been such a privilege. For these projects, I've had the idea and wrote the first draft and then my mother waves her magic wand and transforms the story into a work of art! Together we have created special memories working on these projects that have knit us closer together as friends.

Why do you think people should listen to fables in today’s current political climate?

Rosanne: Originally, fables were often written to show how to live morally. In today’s society most people believe morality is outdated and people should just do what they think best as long as they are not hurting others. Even though Chandani’s story doesn’t have an obvious moral like the older fables, I do believe that it is not moral to enslave children; it’s not moral to mistreat children and it isn’t moral to trap and kill endangered animals.

Do you believe you have a Ghost of the Forest watching over you?

Lenore: Yes, to me The Ghost of the Forest is a symbol of God in some ways. He is constantly watching over us. He doesn't always take our painful situations away, but He sure does lead us through them and helps us to make hard decisions and teaches us to be overcomers rather than remain victims. He gives us the strength we need to stand up for what is right.

IMG 0814 minWhat is your connection to the Himalayan Mountains? 

Lenore: I saw these mountains every day through the windows of my boarding school. The backyard of the boarding house was a forest, which was the inspiration for the setting of Chandani.

Rosanne: We lived in the Himalayan foothills in Pakistan when we were aidworkers. We often took the children higher in the mountains during school holidays. It was beautiful and we saw not only the Himalayan Mountains but the Karakorum Mountains and, in the distance, the Hindu Kush guarding Afghanistan. It was the amazing meeting place of three major mountain ranges, containing many of the highest peaks in the world.

What can we do to end child slavery (aimed for children)?

Rosanne: It is a human right of children to be safe, have a home & parents, education, medical help and be able to play. We need to show that not all children have these rights.

We can tell people about this by writing stories and drawing pictures.chandani med72

We can raise money to rescue children from forced labour.

We can write letters to governments to make stricter rules to stop slavery.

Lenore: To end slavery, we need to become more aware. Through awareness, change can happen. We need people who are willing to stand up and be a voice for those who aren’t being heard. In the case of domestic labour, the families need help and education to escape their poverty so that there is no need to send their children away to work. In the West we have so many resources: so much wealth. If we could only share what we have … what a world we could have! 

Chandani and the Ghost of the Forest is available to pre-order now.

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Wombat Books chats with the busy Supermum and author, Aleesah Darlison

Aleesah Darlison PicThere are so many books out there detailing how parents should do their so-called ‘job’. But is there really a manual to ‘great parenting’? 

When my first child was born, I used ‘Baby Love’ by Robin Barker as my bible. It got me through some long nights and many confusing days. But a manual for great parenting? Different people will find help from different books, I suppose. At the end of the day, you have to remember that each child is an individual and so will offer up their own challenges, joys and rewards that can’t always be boxed up neatly in a book. Sometimes, you’ve got to trust your instincts and do what you think is right. As long as your actions stem from love, you should be okay.

 

What is the most important thing about parenting for you?

Maintaining positive, open communication with my kids. Having them know that I love them above all else and receiving their love and respect in return.

 

Do you ever find that your kids can have unrealistic expectations of you as a ‘superhero’ parent?

Love it or hate it, being a parent is about being a superhero in your kids’ eyes. Parenting is one of the most difficult, confusing, selfless, endlessly wearying things you’ll ever do in your entire life. Luckily, it’s also the most wonderful, rewarding, fun and amazing thing you’ll ever do too. I’m glad I’m a Supermum to my kids. They’re pretty super in my eyes too.

 

daddyshopsmallHow does your family spend their Father’s Day? 

We usually go out for brunch, have a lovely meal together and maybe a walk along the beach. It’s relaxed and easy-going. The important thing is that we’re all together. We might throw in a few presents for my husband, but he doesn’t expect much and is happy just being with us. I like my kids to make a special card for their dad, which shows in the making and in the text of that card how much they love him. Those cards are kept forever – they go into their scrapbooks so they will always have them.

 

Why did you write The Daddy Shop? 

The Daddy Shop is a humorous look at children’s often literal, sometimes fickle, viewpoint on parents and their ‘availability’ to satisfy every child’s need. Many parents – not just dads – have to work and this does impact their children, especially if there’s a special event on the horizon that the parent can’t attend. The Daddy Shop is designed to unite working parents and their children in a fun way and to engage them in discussion about family relationships, the importance of making time to be together and, of course, to get families reading together.

 

The Daddy Shop is available from 1 August.

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