Jo Saunders here. I live on the glorious Gold Coast with my teenage son and school teacher husband. And yes, I’m another school teacher! I’m an English as a Second Language teacher, visiting 5 different state schools where I give specialist support to a whole bunch of gorgeous kids from all over the world, who now call the Gold Coast home.
As you can imagine, I’m passionate about language and about the best ways to help my kids master the English language and successfully navigate their way around the primary curriculum. It’s a huge challenge for them and I never cease to marvel about how quickly they pick it up. Many of my kids have had very limited education in their own countries, or have had little or no access to quality children’s literature. So one of my greatest pleasures is to see their eyes light up when I read to them from one of my many favourite picture books. Picture books are obviously ideal since limited language skills pose much less of a barrier to understanding. We always have so much fun with books and I love to create lessons for my kids based on a particular picture book theme.
My 15-year-old son has also been the guinea-pig for the stories I have created for him over the years. These stories arose during my attempts to get him to switch off his overactive brain and go to sleep! Whilst they had mixed success, I discovered a passion for story-telling. Last year, I finally summoned up the courage to do the Australian Writers’ Centre course in Writing Picture Books. I absolutely loved the course and became determined to really give it my best shot as a children’s author. So … here I am! My goal is to one day to be able to read to my students from one of my own picture books!