Australian author Jackie French has been named the 2015 Senior Australian of the Year
French was presented with the honour at a ceremony in Canberra on 25 January, where she spoke about the power of a book to ‘change a child’s life’.
‘If you want intelligent children, give them a book. If you want more intelligent children, give them more books,’ she said.
French added: ‘I have never come across any child who cannot learn to read, autistic, Aspergers, a child with no eyes, I have come across no one who cannot learn to read.’
French is the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2014-15 and the author of over 140 books for adults and children. Her books, including the bestselling Diary of a Wombat (HarperCollins), have been translated into more than 30 languages, and she has been awarded more than 60 literary prizes for her work.
French has overcome dyslexia and been commended for her work as ‘a tireless advocate for children with learning difficulties’. Beyond books, French is a director of The Wombat Foundation, which raises funds for research into the preservation of the endangered northern hairy-nosed wombat.
Jackie French authored an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on 23 January 2015 Richest Australia Day legacy for family is to tell your story - any story to children