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Jackie French 2023-2024
The Great Gallipoli Escape
Jackie French


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.


New Releases 

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Ming and Ada Spark the Digital Age

Ages: 8+

The fourth book in the best-selling Jackie French historical series that places girls centre stage.


Ming Qong is convinced that girls have changed the world throughout history.

History's sister, the mysterious Herstory, believes that the more you know about the past, the better you can understand the future. And so she now sends Ming to work as a maid in an isolated English mansion to see a girl change the world in 1829...

You can order a copy here

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The Sea Captain's Wife

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.

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The Turtle and the Flood (with Danny Snell)

Ages: 3+

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 order a copy here.

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Secret Sparrow

Ages: 12+

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

Books coming soon

Coming July 2024
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Pete the Sheep 20th Anniversary Edition, with Bruce Whatley

Ages 3+

A special anniversary edition of the popular modern classic. Celebrating twenty years of Australia's favourite sheep, Pete.

Shaun the shearer doesn't have a sheepdog.

He has Pete.

And Pete is no ordinary sheep.

From Jackie French and Bruce Whatley, the award-winning duo behind the bestselling Diary of a Wombat, comes a story about what can happen when you do things... a little differently.

You can preorder a copy here

Coming August 2024
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Hitler's Daughter 25th Anniversary Edition

Ages: 10+

A special anniversary edition of a modern classic. Winner of the CBCA Book of the Year for Young Readers.


The bombs were falling, the smoke was rising from the concentration camps, but Hitler's daughter knew nothing of this. All she knew was the world of lessons with Fraulein Gelber; the hedgehogs she rescued from the cold; and the exciting visits from her beloved father Duffi...

Until the day she is taken to her father's bunker in Berlin...

You can preorder a copy here

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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 have publicity or media enquiries, please get in touch with Maraya Bell 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: 


Jackie French

PO Box 63

Braidwood, NSW 2622

I'm no longer able to send written replies to letters or enquiries – there are too many requests for me to manage. If you need a reply, please add a phone number or email address to your letter.

Permission to Use or Copy Material

Under the conditions of publishing contracts, permission to use or adapt material must be sought from the publishers, not the author. Please contact the publishers rather than myself.  


I'm also not able to give permission for any images to be used, as the artists and the designers who have worked on each book also hold the copyright for their work. They should be contacted directly, as well as the publishers.  


If in doubt about whether you need permission to copy material, phone or email The Copyright Agency for free advice.


I do hold the rights for theatrical or film adaptations of my work, and so can give permission for those.

Stay in touch

Sign up!  Expect a newsletter once a month, with news about the wombats, my books and latest recipes. For past editions of the newsletter, have a look here.

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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

The Australian copyright Act 1968(the Act) allows 10% of the number of words on this website to be reproduced and/or communicated by any educational institution for its educational purposes provided that the educational institution (or the body that administers it) has given a remuneration notice to Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) under the Act.


For details of the CAL licence for educational institutions contact:
Copyright Agency Limites
telephone 02 93947600


Except as permitted under the Act (for example for the services of the crown or in reliance of one of the fair dealing exceptions ie fair dealing for purposes of research or study, no part of this website may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, communicated or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission. All inquiries should be made to the copyright holder.

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