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Celebrating 1 year of Jessie & JoJo!

A heartwarming journey

One year ago, I had the incredible joy of releasing ‘Jessie and JoJo’, a tale that has hopefully warmed the hearts of readers young and old across the globe. As we celebrate its first ‘birthday’, let me take you on a journey through the highlights of its launch, the heartwarming interactions with young readers during school visits, the unforgettable bucket-list experience of meeting a baby joey in Adelaide, and the unexpected recognition by a young fan in a Costco aisle!

The launch - A magical beginning

The launch of ‘Jessie and JoJo’ was a momentous occasion that marked the start of a beautiful adventure. I often recount the inspiration behind the book and continue to hope that Jessie, JoJo and the Bother-bugs, affectionately remain in the hearts and minds of the children (and adults) that have read the book.

Spreading joy in schools - wonderful words.

The months that followed the book's release have been filled with incredible encounters with young readers during my many school visits. The student and teacher reactions to this story have touched my heart and reaffirmed the power of storytelling. Topics raised in ‘Jessie and JoJo’, and then discussed at the workshops, embrace:

·       Sharing worries (Bother-bugs)

·       Talking about feelings

·       Diversity and inclusion

·       Friendships, what is a good friend, and how to be one!

Some fabulously uplifting quotes and feedback include:

Year 4 student - in reaction to the question of what makes a good friend: “well that’s easy Mrs P, it’s having their back and looking out for them.”

Year 3 student - in response to being judged by your appearance: “it doesn’t matter what people look like, it’s about their golden heart.”

Year 6 student – “Jessie and JoJo is great for all ages because it’s about mental health, which everyone might struggle with at some point.”

Year 1 student – “Jessie was scared but we can help friends who are scared or lonely by taking care of them. The story told us about that. I loved it!”

These quotes stand as a testament to the deep connections children can form with characters and how stories can shape their understanding of the world.

Bucket list - meeting a baby joey in Adelaide, Australia (January 2023)

One of the most remarkable moments of my last year was the fulfilment of a lifelong dream: meeting a baby joey up close! ‘Kangaroo Rescue – South Australia’ made this dream a reality and holding baby ‘Robbie’ in his pseudo pouch was a true ‘bucket-list’ bonus. It was also a profound reminder of the magic that can emerge when we dare to follow our dreams.

Unexpected recognition - a Costco encounter!

As "Jessie and JoJo" resonated with readers, I found myself recognised in the most unexpected of places. While browsing the aisles of a Costco store, a man with his young son beside him stopped me:

"So sorry to disturb you…you're Mrs. P, right? You wrote 'Jessie and JoJo'! It's my son’s favourite story, he brought your book, when you visited his school. He reads it and looks at it often, especially when he’s feeling a bit sad!"

And so, a chat between the three of us ensued…

This heartwarming encounter served as a poignant reminder of the impact that stories can have on young minds and the unexpected moments of connection that arise from sharing them.

A year of magic and connection

As we celebrate the one-year milestone of ‘Jessie and JoJo’, I am filled with gratitude for the journey this book has taken me on. It's a journey of magic, empathy, friendship and the undeniable bond between ‘the characters’ and their readers. I hope that the characters have found a home in the hearts of readers, inspiring imagination, and kindness. As I look to the future, I am excited to continue visiting schools and libraries sharing the significance of Jessie and JoJo’s message.

Children’s Mental Health

Children’s Mental Health remains a priority in our midst - Munira Wilson, MP

Waiting lists for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services remain long. The work of ELSA’s (Emotional Literacy Support Assistants) and ‘Drawing & Talking’ practitioners in schools continue to support the needs of children’s well-being but are not represented in every school.

I will continue to campaign for the need for ELSA’s to be a mandatory role within schools (

Recognising and prioritising Children's Mental Health is paramount. By nurturing emotional well-being from a young age, we lay the foundation for happier, more resilient futures. Investing in mental health today will foster a healthier society tomorrow.

Let’s help children reach their full potential.

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