Mondrook’s most famous resident, best-selling author Di Morrissey, has lived a life packed with varied and wondrous experiences, but, she says, nothing surpasses imparting the joy of books and reading to children.
“First memories are intensely recalled, but the one that resonates more than any other book is that of my mother sitting close, reading me a bedtime story from a favourite book. She had a beautiful voice and I leaned in close as she pointed at an illustration,” Di says.
From then, Di was never without a book by her side.
“I loved the escapism, the strange places, dear friends, funny rhymes, new ideas and answers to questions I found in the pages of books. So by age seven it seemed quite logical to me that ‘when I grow up I will write books’,” she says.
Di has written 25 books for the consumption of her adoring adult fans – with a punishing schedule of one a year, apart from taking one year off when her mother died.
What many readers may not know is that Di has taken a foray into illustrated children’s books, with her first published in 2014.
She has just released her fourth illustrated book, Ula’s Magic Island, inspired by and written for her youngest granddaughter, Ula.
The books are exquisitely illustrated by Julie Sydenham, and published by Harbour Publishing House on the south coast of NSW.
The other three illustrated books are also written for her three older grandchildren, Sonoma, Everton and Bo.
“Once I had children of my own, and now grandchildren, I read to them from birth,” Di says.
“And my greatest joy has been to write a book for each of my four grandchildren, and seeing them find that key to open the door to the magic world of reading books. Of sharing stories, studying the illustrations, discussing the characters and adventures, learning something new and interesting as you turn the pages.
“So books mean many things to me. But the greatest joy is sharing the intimacy of escaping between the covers, snuggled up close, slowly turning the pages with a child you love.”