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Mem Fox is an Australian author of gorgeous picture books for children. She is also passionate about reading aloud and travels the world to talk about the magic and the importance of reading to babies and young children.
Mem Fox lives in South Australia with her husband, Malcolm. They have a daughter, Chloë, and a young grandson, Theo. As I write this in early 2018, Mem has written 43 picture books for children and five non-fiction books for adults.
Mem's interest in children's literacy issues began when, as a mature age student in her early thirties, she studied children’s literature at Flinders University in Adelaide. During the course, she wrote the first draft of Possum Magic and her lecturer encouraged her to submit it to publishers. The book was rejected nine times before finally being accepted but it went on to sell over four million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling children’s book ever in Australia.
Possum Magic is now thirty years old and is still a wonderful book to read to children. As a teacher, it's one of our go-to books to read aloud, especially to students for whom English is a second language.
Mem went on to become Associate Professor in Literacy Studies at Flinders University where she taught teachers for twenty-four years. She retired in 1996 but still writes for children and travels the world to speak to parents and educators about literacy issues.
Mem's book about the importance of reading to children, Reading Magic, is a brilliant, easy-to-read book aimed at parents of young children. If you have children or are pregnant I really think it's well worth buying a copy. Most libraries in Australia will have it but this is a book you'll want to read more than once and it's not expensive to buy. I include a copy in all the book gift baskets I sell.
For a list of all Mem's picture books, click here.
You can also have a look at Mem's website here. It's full of interesting information about her books and how they came to be written, plus info about Mem herself and her ideas about children and reading. You can even hear her reading aloud from some of her books!
These two youtube clips feature Mem talking reading. They're quite short and worth listening to, particularly as Mem is quite an entertaining speaker.
In the first clip she talks about her childhood and her passion for reading aloud to babies and children of all ages.
In this next clip, Mem talks about the importance of reading aloud to babies and young children.