Welcome to #TheQuickSixInterview with Jude Mullen!
It’s a pleasure to welcome Jude Mullen to the blog, to share her latest children’s book release; Jeffery’s Dress. This affirming story is about having the courage to take pride in yourself, and to honour those who showed courage to stand up for others, as well as breaking stereotypes and self expression. It’s a delight to get to know more about Jude and her empowering book. 🙂
About the Author
Reading and writing are Jude’s extra appendages. She writes for children firstly, to delight them, and secondly to help them to understand themselves and their world.
Jude Mullen is a former teacher and currently works in schools as an advisor and consultant in the field of Special Education. She has a strong interest in children’s social and emotional development. Jude believes that stories have many superpowers, and one of these is to help us all, adults and children alike, to explore who we are and how to grow as humans.
Jude is also very proud to be a judge for the annual ‘Tell Me A Story’ children’s writing competition, which gives her an opportunity to encourage and foster the development of young writers in her local community.
WHO wrote, illustrated and published this book?
Written by Jude Mullen. Published by Austin Macauley
WHAT is it about?
The story is about a young boy named Jeffery who is getting ready to march in a commemoratory parade, wearing the medals that were earned by his great grandfather. Jeffery is proud to be honouring his great grandfather’s bravery, but he is also feeling nervous because there is something else he wants to wear in the parade – a dress. Jeffery’s father helps Jeffery to understand what being brave and being proud really mean, while also reassuring Jeffery that it’s important to stay true to who you are, and doing that takes courage.
What is your favourite part of this book?
The most poignant part of the book for me is the response of Jeffery’s father after Jeffery has asked him if he can wear a dress in the parade. It’s an example of pure unconditional love of parent for their child.
WHEN did you begin writing this book?
When is its release / launch date?
It was released on 29th October, 2021.
WHERE did the inspiration for this book come from?
I was inspired to write the story as a way of breaking down the gender stereotyping that is sometimes inflicted on young children, whether it be through the clothes they are told to wear, the toys they are given to play with, the sports and activities they are encouraged to participate in, or through comments such as “only boys do that” or “that’s only for girls.”
I want children to know that there are many ways to be a boy and many ways to be a girl, and that the important thing is that they are comfortable about being themselves and expressing who they are, regardless of their gender.
WHY is this book meaningful to you?
I worry about the damage that can be done to young children when we impose limits or restrictions or judgements on them, that might give them a sense a shame. I’m hoping this book will gently raise awareness of the importance of supporting young children’s unique ways of expressing themselves, even if it’s a little different to the norm, so that they feel secure in who they are.
Why would its message resonate with readers?
It’s a heart-warming story that touches on the issues of gender stereotyping and acceptance of differences, in a candid but gentle way. It also connects the freedom that our younger generations have – to be themselves and to be proud of who they are – with our older generations who bravely fought to defend this freedom.
HOW do you feel about the illustrations / cover design? How do they convey the feeling or mood you envisioned?
I love that the illustrations are bright, colourful and engaging for young readers. The narrative doesn’t rely heavily on the illustrations, however, they do add meaning to the story. For example, the use of little bubbles surrounding Jeffery to show he is worried.
How have you promoted this book and how can we find it?
The book is available in Australia from Dymocks, Book Depository, Amazon and Booktopia. You can also purchase directly from me by contacting me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful story with us! 🙂