DREAM COME TRUE: Ellen Madden recently published her first children's book, Joseph was not Going to School.
DREAM COME TRUE: Ellen Madden recently published her first children's book, Joseph was not Going to School. Contributed

Debut book inspired by schooling journey

DYSART resident, library officer and author Ellen Madden is hoping her first published children's book - Joseph was Not Going to School - offers "solace” to young children when an older sibling starts school.

Ms Madden has recently finished a tour of the Isaac Regional Council libraries, including doing book readings, and said the story explores all the excitement of a child's first day of school from the point of view of the sibling who is staying at home.

She said it's based on the true story of when her eldest child - Molly, now aged 10 - started school and Molly's younger brother - Joe, now aged 8 - was "put out”.

"He was really sad and he missed her. So I hope this gives some solace to the kids who aren't going to school.”

The book would also be useful, she said, in helping to prepare the children who were starting school.

Ms Madden said she was keen to write more books, and while she was passionate about adult fiction, she was currently inspired by her own children to continue with books for young people.

"Having kids you have smaller windows of time and I am getting my inspiration from the kids. Writing picture books is a good place for me just now.

"And my youngest child Harry (6) is not mentioned in this book and I did promise him he'd feature heavily in the next one.”

Ms Madden, who grew up in Mackay, said that when she's balancing family life and her job as a writer she makes time to work - hopefully - every day or "definitely once a week”.

"I think of it like a job and make time to sit down and just see what happens when I'm at the keyboard.

"I feel like when I write I don't think too much about character and setting - it just kind of rolls out.

"It would be nice to do a mining town book so our kids feel special.”

Ms Madden said it's important for children to experience stories and reading out loud with others, and she enjoyed the time she spends re-reading books from her own childhood - such as Little Women which she is currently reading with Molly.

"It's such a lovely way to spend time with your child. It's sharing moments and it's really important.”

She said she would also like to demonstrate to young children, though her writing, that there are many future career paths for them, including the creative arts.

"Doing book readings at schools and kindys locally is important to me, because children and, especially girls in regional towns, have limited jobs to aspire to, with the male-dominated coal industry surrounding us.”

Ms Madden will be having a book reading at the Let the Children Play toyshop in Mackay on Saturday, June 29.

Joseph was not Going to School is available for purchase from Booktopia, online book stores or direct from the author at ellenmadden.com


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