About the Author
Jacqueline Harvey knew she wanted to be an author at a young age. She couldn’t say exactly when, but winning a minor writing competition as a teenager inspired her to think that maybe, sometime in the future, she might be able to write books.
It wasn’t until November 2012, that Jacqueline took the giant step away from a 20 year career in schools as a teacher, Deputy Head of Junior School and most recently, Director of Development, to become a full time writer. She is now one of Australia’s most popular authors, having sold over a million copies of her Alice-Miranda, Clementine Rose and Kensy and Max series in Australia and New Zealand.
Jacqueline Harvey’s bestselling Alice-Miranda series began as an idea for a picture book but it soon became apparent that this perpetually positive seven-and-a-quarter-year-old had a lot more to say. The series has been sold to the United States, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil, Hungary, Germany, Portugal and Russia and has been shortlisted for numerous children’s book awards in Australia including both industry and children’s choice. Alice-Miranda at School won the YABBA for Younger Readers in 2012 and Jacqueline has had an Alice-Miranda title on the REAL awards shortlist (YABBA, KOALA and KROC children’s choice awards) every from 2012-2017 and again in 2019. She has recorded the first five titles as audio books for Audible and the first animated feature film in partnership with SLR Productions, ZDF Enterprises, STAN and the Nine Network (Australia) was released in November 2019 with a second, Alice-Miranda: A Royal Christmas Ball coming late 2020. This year saw the release of a special hardback 10 year anniversary edition of the first book, Alice-Miranda at School.
The Clementine Rose series for younger readers has followed closely in the footsteps of Alice-Miranda’s success and has been sold to the United Kingdom and Brazil and is now also available in the US. Clementine Rose and the Seaside Escape was shortlisted for an Australian Book Industry Award (ABIA) in 2015 in the Younger Readers Category – the same year Alice-Miranda in Japan was also shortlisted in the Older Readers Category. Jacqueline’s first and only picture book, The Sound of the Sea was an Honour Book in the 2006 Children’s Book Council Awards.
The first book in Jacqueline’s latest series, Kensy and Max: Breaking News was released in March 2018 to great excitement and has been a constant on the bestseller charts. The second, Kensy and Max: Disappearing Act followed in September 2018 and the third, Kensy and Max: Undercover in March 2019. Since then she has released Kensy and Max: Out of Sight in September 2019 and Kensy and Max: Freefall in March 2020. Kensy and Max: Full Speed will be out in October 2020 and there are still more to come! The first four books in the Kensy and Max series have been sold to the United States for publication mid 2020. Jacqueline has recorded all of the books in the series as audio titles. Kensy and Max: Breaking News is currently on the shortlist for the Singapore Red Dot Book Awards 2020, the West Australian Young Readers Book Awards 2020 and the Yabba, KOALA and KROC awards (Victorian, NSW and NT children’s choice awards) for 2020.
Jacqueline was selected as an ambassador for the Australia Reads program in 2020 with the main event being The Reading Hour to be held in November.
She relishes any opportunity to get back into school and work with the children who inspire her writing. She is a highly experienced presenter, having delivered hundreds of talks and workshops at schools and festivals around the world.
Jacqueline is an ambassador for Dymocks Children’s Charities and Room to Read and is passionate about improving literacy outcomes for all children. She lives in Sydney with her husband Ian and Balthazar also known as Bally who used to be their Visitor Cat but became a permanent fixture a little while ago. Jacqueline is currently working on more Alice-Miranda and Kensy and Max adventures and has some exciting new projects brewing too. In her spare time, Jacqueline likes to play golf in exotic locations.
Q and A
Where do you live?
I live in Sydney, Australia. I spend a bit of time in Queenstown New Zealand as well.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
From the age of nine I wanted to be a primary school teacher. There were times when I changed my mind of course, as kids tend to do. For a while I thought being a brain surgeon was a great idea, until I realised that the thought of cutting someone open with a scalpel made me queasy, then I wanted to read the television news and be a journalist, and there was always the dream of being a writer (I just didn’t have any clue how to make that happen). So I always came back to the idea of teaching. I loved working with children and despite some of my own high school teachers discouraging me from that career path (that’s really sad I know), ultimately school was where I wanted to be. Once I started working as a teacher, I wrote a lot more and began to develop my dramatic skills. I think some days I’m a frustrated actress too!
What made you want to be a writer?
I was always a daydreamer and loved to tell stories. When I became a teacher I often wrote stories and poems and plays for the children in my classes and my desire to write books grew from there.
What are your favourite Books?
Heidi by Johanna Spyri, Matilda by Roald Dahl, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Forgotten Garden and The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. I also love Ian McEwan’s books and Tim Winton’s too.
What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Don’t talk about it, do it! In my twenties I spent a lot of time saying that I wanted to be a published writer. I didn’t really do anything about it though until I met the man who would become my husband and he said to me, ‘well you don’t want to die wondering’ and that was true. So I worked really hard with the goal of being published. It didn’t happen overnight and there have been lots of ups and downs along the way – but the fact that I now find my books in libraries and bookshops, being read by children in countries all over the world is a dream come true.
What do you love about writing for kids?
Children are so honest. I’ve had the most incredible privilege of being able to read my material to children for many years. I think in my early teaching days, some of the students would tell me what they thought I wanted to hear, but after a while – and much training about the benefits of honest feedback, they started to tell me what they really thought.
Where have you travelled to?
USA, UK, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Bali, Japan, Fiji, Dubai, Qatar, New Zealand and Australia.
What five words best sum you up?
Determined, empathic, hardworking, positive and talkative.
Article in the Sydney Morning Herald and syndicated papers
Roald Dahl’s Matilda may have her very own stage show but Australian author Jacqueline Harvey’s Alice-Miranda character has snaffled her first animated international television series
A modern-day Anne of Green Gables going by the multi-barrelled name of Alice–Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones is set to become the heroine of a new animated children’s television series.
Interview in the Daily Telegraph
Bookworms given insight into the mind of the author of the Alice-Miranda series
Jacqueline Harvey is known to let her creativity shine in children’s books, but last week some of her loyal, and some new, readers got a glimpse of her imagination in person.
Interview with Nicki Richesin, The Children’s Book Review USA
What inspired you to create such a determined and winning character?
Over my years as a teacher I have worked at some quite privileged schools with little girls who perhaps aren’t quite on the same economic stratosphere as Alice-Miranda but are very fortunate indeed. I think she’s the best characteristics of lots of children I’ve known.
Ten Terrifying Questions on the Booktopia Blog Australia
Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
To write entertaining and high quality books that children around the world genuinely enjoy reading.
Jacqueline is a passionate educator who shares her love of reading and writing with children and adults alike. A prodigious talker, she has always enjoyed telling stories and imagining the ‘what if’s’ of life. She is passionate about closing the gap between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous achievement in terms of educational disadvantage and works closely with several organisations including Yalari, The Indigenous Literacy Foundation and several schools in Central Western NSW. In October 2013 she became an ambassador for Room To Read. In December 2014 Jacqueline was named as a Dymocks Children’s Charities Ambassador.