Claire Malone and her cat Marmalade lived in a little town beside the beach and near the mountain.
While visiting my in-laws in New Zealand (in a little town beside the beach and nestled in the foothills), I began to scribble the story of Claire Malone and her cat Marmalade. Claire was a little girl who was unhappy being by herself at home playing on her devices. She didn’t know how to change her online habits or how she could impact the world. But she kept writing letters on an old typewriter and sending them out into the world. She waited everyday for someone to answer. When Claire did eventually receive a reply, her world and her screen time were about to drastically change.
Claire Malone Changes the World was my first picture book manuscript and I was unsure how to revise it, but my good friend Cristy gave me some tips and I was away! I submitted my manuscript to European book publisher, Dixi Books and to be honest, I didn’t expect to hear anything back. Imagine my surprise when a few days later, I heard back from the commissing editor at Dixi Books. Not only did she love the story of Claire, but Dixi Books wanted to publish my picture book.
Dixi Books commissioned Alisa Knatko who is based in St Petersburg to illustrate Claire’s story. Alisa’s illustrations are whimsical and full of vibrancy and life; they capture the excitment of being a child. Alisa had somehow brought my words of Claire Malone’s story to life.
Back in Australia, I commissioned New South Wales artist, Emma Lisette Palmer to make clay figures of Claire Malone and Marmalade as speaking props for my visits to schools and libraries. And here they are:
Early reviews of Claire Malone Changes the World have been wonderfully positive and now it’s just a case of sitting tight and waiting impatiently until November when the hardcover book will be published.
Children often feel like they are powerless to have any real impact in the wider world, but Claire Malone uses her bright mind, thirst for knowledge, and love of writing to change her world in a positive way. – Nanci Nott