Jackie French and James Moloney in Conversation








Well-known Australian author, historian and Book Links patron, Jackie French spoke with author James Moloney on the importance of Holocaust education, or as James put it Holocaust awareness. Both are award-winning authors who have written books set against the harsh backdrop of the Holocaust.

The Holocaust was eighty years ago. James posed the question, ‘Why is it still relevant today?’

Jackie believes stories need to be retold to every generation or we lose them. Younger people don’t know who Hitler really was. So yes, we need to tell those stories because they should NOT be forgotten, just because they are in the past or because they are safely between the covers of a book.

‘How long does it take for something so horrific to be forgotten?’ James asks.

‘Only one lifetime.’ It’s one of the reasons Jackie writes about these difficult subjects. Humans are capable of great empathy, compassion and forgiveness. But children are not born with empathy, they need to learn it, and they can be taught it by books. Hatred is contagious, but so is kindness.

When asked by James about tolerance and acceptance, Jackie says it’s easy for us not to see, not to question. Every day we need to open our eyes to the things we don’t want to see. It’s easier to keep your own integrity when you’re with others who feel the same way, when you stand together. Like Book Links ~ it’s the links that matter, that make us strong. If we teach our children to be tolerant, they are less likely to be easily led by wrong ideas and hate.

Why do authors write books like Hitler’s Daughter and The Love That I Have when they know it’s going to be so hard on them emotionally?

For Jackie, it’s a story that’s biting the back of her neck. Jackie’s idea was based on true stories. Every character is based on a compilation of people and their stories. She always uses primary sources.

For James, something has fired him up, and it’s something he wants to put right. It’s like climbing a mountain, you need to be driven to keep going.  James wondered about the people who enabled this to happen. When researching for his book The Love That I Have, he read a lot of fiction and watched a lot of films on the Holocaust.

The challenge of Holocaust education is that the curriculum is already so full and teachers are busy. But for the power of story to be effective, we need to know about our past.

The vast majority of writing about the Holocaust is from the Jewish perspective but both Jackie’s and James’ books have non-Jewish protagonists. It provides a different point of view.

James asks, ‘Should we focus on the victim and the perpetrator, or the people in danger of being seduced by them?’ The focus has shifted in recent years to the people who carried out the evil, trying to understand why they did it. As he says, it’s more important to understand the butcher than the victim.

Jackie believes someone who is a victim or a perpetrator is always more than just that. So, don’t just focus on that part of who they are. Mr Hitler didn’t realise he was an ogre.

Jackie left us with comforting words. Remember we are the children of survivors. Cooperation and kindness are more powerful than hatred. Fitting words indeed for our time.

Blog: Jacqui Halpin

View the whole conversation on YouTube






Photos: Anna Byrd

Jackie French and James Moloney in Conversation





Tuesday 2 June 2020 6:00 PM at ZOOM Online

In this session Jackie French and James Moloney will be talking about the challenges of introducing Holocaust education to young readers.

Jackie French is the patron of Book Links and the 2014-15 Australian Children’s Laureate, 2015 Senior Australian of the Year, Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to literature as an author of children’s books, and as an advocate for improved youth literacy. Her novel Hitler’s Daughter won the CBCA Book of the Year: Younger Readers in 2000 and she followed that up with Pennies for Hitler in 2012 and Goodbye Mr Hitler in 2017.  In this series of novels Jackie poses the question ‘Do things that happened a long time ago still matter?’

Brisbane author, James Moloney, is one of Australia’s leading writers for children and young adults. He has published more than forty books across the age range from seven to seventeen and most recently a best seller for adults titled The Love That I Have. His YA novels, Dougy, Gracey and A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove received wide critical acclaim with the latter winning the CBCA Book of the Year Award. He has also written popular fantasies, notably The Book of Lies and the Silvermay Sagas. It is The Love That I Have which brings him to this forum. Equally suited to YA readers, the novel is set in a concentration camp during the final year of WWII and shows that the horror of Nazism wasn’t focussed solely on the Jews.

You may also wish to read some of their books prior to the event. Books may be ordered online from Riverbend Books who will be offering 10% discount for this event.

To register click here.
To participate, we ask you to make a tax deductible donation to Book Links as you register. We send the Zoom event link and password on the day of the event.

Book Links Mentorship 2020






In 2020 Book Links is again offering a mentorship open to Book Links members. Applicants are invited to submit a synopsis and the first two chapters or first 6000 words, of a work of fiction for either junior or YA readers, or 2 picture book manuscripts.

The mentorship will provide the winner with the opportunity to develop their early draft manuscript to a publishable standard with a professional mentor. Applications will be assessed on literary and artistic merit and developmental potential.

  • The mentorship is valued at $1000.
  • The mentor is Robyn Sheahan Bright.


  • You must have a completed manuscript which is not under consideration by any publishers.
  • Open to current financial members of Book Links Qld Inc.  If you are not a member and would like to join, click here.
  • Applications from emerging writers who have not yet published in book form, or who have published no more than two manuscripts via traditional publication, will be accepted.

How to apply

  • Pay the $15 application fee via Trybooking (+ .50 booking fee) by clicking here
  • Submit your work via email

How to submit

Please submit the following in a single pdf or Word document, via email to info@booklinks.org.au with the Subject line MENTORSHIP2020

A synopsis and the first two chapters or first 6000 words, of a work of fiction for either junior or YA readers, or 2 picture book manuscripts.

Include a cover page with Full name, address, phone number, email address, Trybooking ID (Found on the booking confirmation page)

Applications must be received by 9pm, 31 July

A longlist will be forwarded to the mentor who will make the final selection.

After the winner is announced Saturday 19 October, the mentor Robyn Sheahan Bright will then read the entire work (s) written by the successful applicant, and write an appraisal. She will engage with the applicant by phone, email or face-to-face for approximately 12 hours in order to offer advice regarding the development of the manuscript. She will offer advice not only on the manuscript but also on publishing prospects and avenues.

The Mentor

Dr Robyn Sheahan-Bright has operated Justified Text Writing and Publishing Consultancy Services since 1997, and is widely published in children’s literature, Australian fiction and publishing history. She has judged literary awards, mentored and offered editorial advice to writers, lectured in writing and publishing courses, and regularly assesses post-graduate creative writing theses for several universities.

Robyn writes both teachers’ notes and reading group notes for major publishers. She was inaugural director of and is a Life Member of the Queensland Writers’ Centre, and was co-founder of Jam Roll Press. Her publications include Paper Empires: A History of the Book in Australia (1946–2005) (2006) co-edited with Craig Munro. She has been Program Manager of the APA’s biennial Residential Editorial Program since 1999. She is President of the IBBY Australia Committee, and a member of the Board of the Australian Children’s Literature Alliance. She was recipient of the CBCA’s Nan Chauncy Award in 2012, and of the QWC’s Johnno Award in 2014.

Support your local book shops

Maybe you have a backlog of books to plough though while you are home, but with public libraries closed and most bookshops too, how do you lay your hands on the latest books?  Look no further than you local bookshops where you can order online and have them delivered. Many of these are Book Links supporters offering discounts, though I must admit not sure how that works for online orders. All have great children’s books in stock.

  • A Lot of Books (Ipswich) is offering free delivery on orders $50 and over.
  • Books@Stones (Stones Corner) is still open with normal opening times and offering free delivery to anywhere in Australia for all purchases over $30, until 30 April and free same delivery to Postcodes 4120, 4121, 4102, 4103, 4151, 4152 and 4169 if orders are placed by 3pm.
  • The Library Shop (SLQ) is offering free domestic shipping on all orders over $10.
  • The Little Book Nook (Palmwoods) You can order online, but still has a postage cost. Can order online (Click & Collect) and pick up at shop.
  • The Mad Hatters Bookshop is currently offering free delivery in our local area (Wynnum Manly & surrounding suburbs) on orders over $30.
  • Riverbend Books (Bulimba) Is offering tap ‘n’ go drive-through books—simply order over the phone or online and collect your books from the car park without even getting out of the car! Free delivery for 4171, 4170 & 4005. Free postage AUS wide on orders over $50.
  • Where the Wild Things Are attached to Avid Reader (West End) is offering free shipping on all orders in surrounding suburbs and free shipping nationally for all orders over $50. Now offering a drive by pickup service.

Also check out the Book Links Menu under Programs – Children and YA  to find resources for Young Writers and Illustrators, Writing Competitions and Reading and Listening Resources. The latter includes links to online stories and other resources.  Don’t miss the free digital book called Coronavirus: A book for children illustrated by Axel Scheffler of Gruffalo fame.

Events and News Update

I am sure you are all a little tired of hearing about events being cancelled and the impact on the Arts Industry as well as others.  It is really heartbreaking. For most authors and illustrators, they reply on income from school visits and events, so it has been really tough trying to reschedule rather than cancel events to continue supporting our book creators.

Thanks goodness we managed to squeeze in a wonderful Romancing the Stars at Iona College before things went really bad.

Unfortunately we had to cancel the Lucia Masciullo Young Illustrators workshop on the morning of the event, but have now rescheduled it to the start of Book Week in August along with the Brian Falkner Young Writers Workshop.  We hope the worst will be over by then and allow us to slowly return to normal. Other events have also been postponed with some still hanging in the balance.  Please check out the Bookings page for updated information on events.

Now for some positive news. Mia Macrossan over at Story Links has been judging the short story competition which was to be announced 2 April at the Narelle Oliver Lecture with Ursula Dubosarsky.  As this event is being rescheduled to September, the announcement will now be made via websites and social media, but in the meantime, check out the shortlisted authors.

The other piece of good news is that at the last Book Links meeting it was agreed to offer the Book Links mentorship again to our members. So in times of reduced activity in the community, here is something you can do at home.  Write!!!
PS is your membership up to date?

Because Write Links meetings cannot currently be held at State Library of Queensland, we are investigating ways to meet online. We’ll keep you posted about our progress.

Keep healthy everyone!

Jenny Stubbs