Jacaranda Snow

For more than eighty years, Jacaranda trees have been a living symbol of Australian children.

In the 1940s and 1950s maternity hospitals like Jacaranda Maternity Hospital in Caringbah, New South Wales, sent new mothers home with a baby and a Jacaranda seedling.

"Mrs Haxton would carry the baby to the car

followed by a nurse who carried

the mum's bag in one hand

and a Jacaranda

 tree in the other."

Reader recalls gathering Jacaranda seedlings for Irene Haxton's maternity hospital

Though there are no official hospital records, stories exist that the Royal North Shore and Mater hospitals in Sydney's north shore also participated in this beautiful ritual, as well as hospitals across the east coast. It is lovely to imagine that many Australian suburbs are graced with Jacarandas planted by mothers, and that these trees have grown-up alongside Aussie children.

In Catherine Greer's Sydney suburb, an elderly lady planted two Jacarandas beside her home over sixty years ago, commemorating the birth of her children. These are the Jacarandas the author and her husband shook to make 'Jacaranda Snow' for their Australian-Canadian sons. The beautiful trees were the seeds for the story, and as an immigrant, Catherine appreciated calling Australia 'home'.

What many people don't know is that three quarters of a million Australian children live in poverty.

Fact check: Are 2.5 million Australians in poverty and are one quarter of them children?

That's 17 per cent of all our kids, and yet they rarely see themselves in a picture book. Catherine believes 'that these 730, 000 children should be visible in the Australian literary landscape. For these Jacaranda kids, she wrote Jacaranda Snow'

Stories hold power and magic. Books can show children that their past and present is not a blueprint for their future. Like Jess in Jacaranda Snow, who believes good things can happen - 'not yet, but one day' - all our children can learn that they make their own dreams come true.

Inside the cover of Jacaranda Snow is a beautiful classical composition created by young-award winning Australian composer Alexander Lau. The piano score is reprinted in the book for musicians everywhere to enjoy.

Listen to Jacaranda Snow String Quartet

The illustrations portrayed in Jacaranda Snow are bought to life by talented award-winning French-Australian artist Helene Magissom

Taken from Notes for Parents, Teachers and Carers, Jacaranda Snow by Catherine Greer and Helene Magisson (Wombat Books, 2018)

Jacaranda Snow

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