Jackie French AM is an Australian author, historian, ecologist and honourary wombat (part time); 2014–15 Australian Children' Laureate; and 2015 Senior Australian of the Year.
Jackie was born in Sydney grew up on the outskirts of Brisbane, and is still not dead. She has lived for more than 40 years at the top of the gorge in the Araluen Valley, where her ancestors lived too. Only one school she attended burned down. This was not her fault.
Some of Jackie’s books have sold millions of copies and won over 60 awards in Australia and internationally. Others were eaten by the wombats.
Instead of hobbies she has: written over 200 books; built a house and power system; planted thousands of trees; eaten lunches with friends; read to her grandkids; tried to find her glasses; eaten dark chocolates, whatever fruit is in season and the odd feral species (some are very odd). She coined the term ‘moral ominvore’ to describe her diet. There is a dispensation for dark chocolate.
Jackie has studied over 400 wombats and been the (almost) obedient slave to a dozen of them. She is an enthusiastic cook married to an enthusiastic eater. If you visit do not bring cake. It is the duty of a guest to eat. Lots. Then eat some more. If you are worried about calories hike up the mountain and look for endangered species. But you will find more on a bush mooch than a bush walk. Watch out for the eight species of snake. Don’t worry. They’ll also be watching out for you.
Jackie writes for adults, young adults, and even younger humans, on history, ecology, and her award-winning historical fiction for all ages, but... write just one picture book about a wombat and no one lets you forget it. Ever. Please do not mention Diary of a Wombat or the word ‘prolific’. Or the story of how her first book was accepted because a wombat had left its droppings on her typewriter as, after 25 years of repeating it, she is bored.
Jackie is also dyslexic and patron of literacy programmes across Australia with a wide and deep – if accidental – experience in learning differences and methods and their outcomes for students, as well as a passionate advocate for equal-opportunity education. She still can't spell.
The Rights of the Child Reader
1. Every child has the right to learn to read, with the methods they need to do so
2. Every child has the right to access the books they need; for pleasure, learning, empathy and to grow their brains
3. Every child has the right to read books in their mother language, about their own culture
4. Every child has the right to say, ‘This book is boring. May I have another?’
5. Every child has the right to be given books that are free of racism and hatred
6. Every child has the right to access the extraordinary heritage of the written knowledge of humanity
Every adult has the right to know the children of this planet are being given the tools of literacy and the power of books to change the world and ensure our future.
The Turtle and the Flood (with Danny Snell)
A companion title to the best-selling The Fire Wombat, this is the story of Myrtle, a small turtle who, by heading uphill, tells the other animals that a flood is coming
You can preorder a copy here.
In 1917 sixteen-year-old Jean McLain is working as a post-office assistant in England. But when she wins a national Morse code competition, the British army makes a request Jean cannot refuse – to take a secret position as a signaller in France.
Based on true events, this story of adventure, courage and unshakable loyalty restores women and girls to their place in history that the authorities tried to erase...
You can order a copy here
She's faced danger and adventure when Herstory sent her to the past to witness girls' bravery in the incredible feats left out of 'histories'. Now Ming asks Herstory for another time-travelling quest – this time, one that is less confronting.
Ming finds herself in relative luxury, heading to an unknown destination on a ship carrying royal Saxon sheep, travelling with the girls who care for them. What do female shepherds have to do with history? And is it even possible for sheep to be royal?
As Ming knows only too well, change is never easy, so how can one girl – and a sheep – change the world?
You can order a copy here
Books coming soon
Coming March 2024
From bestselling author Jackie French comes a compelling story of murder, mystery, and mutiny on the high seas - and a love so intense it can overcome two different cultures.
You never know what the sea will give you ... or what it will take back.
You can order a copy here.
Get in touch
I love hearing from readers but can't answer all the emails immediately. If you need help with a school assignment, please check out my FAQ page. It may have the answers you seek. If that hasn't helped, have a browse here, here or here.
If you need to get in touch with me directly, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have publicity or media enquiries, please get in touch with Emma Holifield at
For more information on the terms of Zoom talks, see the Bookings page.
I may take a few weeks to reply to mail. Please write to:
PO Box 63
Braidwood, NSW 2622
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I acknowledge the dhurga People of Yuin Country, past, present and future, custodians of the land on which I live and write, in love and gratitude
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