Mem Fox has written over 20 childrens picture books. She is considered Australias most popular
Jill Brelan says, Mem Fox is a true storyteller. Her books feature Australian settings and characters,
and are noted for using rhythm and rhyme, and repetition to present young readers with such themes as the importance of memories
and the power of love.
Born March 1946 in Melbourne Australia
At the young age of 6 months her family moved to Africa
and lived at the Hope Foundation Mission in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. (her parents were missionaries)
Her fathers name is Wilfrid
Gordon McDonald Partridge. (Sound familiar? Title of her second book)
She learned to write by drawing her letters in the
red earth, she graduated to writing on slates. She now writes using a computer.
1960 she moves to London, England to study
1969 met and married Malcolm
1971 daughter Chloe was born (Possum Magic is dedicated to her)
1983 Possum Magic
is published after being rejected 9 times. It was the best-selling childrens book in Australia selling half a million copies
She loves writing, but her first love is teaching.
1996 retired from teaching at Flinders University in
South Australia after 24 years in the School of Education.
I hope that more often than not I do succeed in writing the literature of liberation: liberation
from the tyranny of the attitudes and expectations that the world thrusts upon each of us."
Feathers and Fools.
I hope that more often than not I do succeed in writing the literature of liberation: liberation from
the tyranny of the attitudes and expectations that the world thrusts upon each of us."
Fox, Mem. Whoever You Are. New York: Harcourt. 2001. ISBN 0152164065.
Whoever you are,
Wherever you are,
There are little ones just like you,
All over the world.
Their skin may be different from yours
And their homes may be different from yours;
schools may be different from yours
Fox, Mem. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge.
A touching tale of a boy and his elderly friend, the book explores the nature of memory itself in a way that children
Koala Lou. New York: Harcourt. 1988. ISBN 0152005021.
"There was once a baby koala, so soft and round that all who saw
her loved her. Her name was Koala Lou. The emu loved her. The platypus loved her. And even tough little Koala Klaws next door
loved her. But it was her mother who loved her most of all . . . "
Koala Lou is well-loved by everyone, especially her
mother. But as the family grows, Koala Lous mother gets too busy to give her the attention that she craves. Koala Lou sets
out to win the Bush Olympics in order to get her mothers attention.
Fox, Mem. Sleeping Bears. New York: Harcourt. 1999.
Mama Bear lulls her six little cubs to sleep for winter with a personalized rhyme for each.
Fox, Mem. Sophie. New York: Harcourt.
1994. ISBN 0152771603.
Through foxs text and Robinsons illustration the reader hears and sees the love between grandfather
and granddaughter. Grandpa is there the day Sophie is born. As Sophie grows, her grandpa declines until one day grandpa is
no longer with Sophie. Once again Fox explains the circle of life to children in term that they can understand.
Fox, Mem. Possum Magic. New York: Harcourt.
This book is a wonderful example of a child's wonder at new experiences. The characters go on a journey
to discover the lessons of life. This story shows how you should always work on a problem until you find a suitable solution.
The pictures of the Australian animals are magic, and simple writing means the kids will be repeating it along with you after
one or two readings. This would be a great bedtime reading book for littlies and grown-ups to share.
Fox, Mem. The Magic Hat. New York: Harcourt. 2002. ISBN 0152010254.
"Oh, the magic hat, the magic hat! It moved like
this, it moved like that!..." as the hat travels on its way to a new head. Foxs engaging, rhyming text is full of energy,
rhythm, and motion, and little ones will enjoy helping you read the repetitive lines
Fox, Mem. Wombat Divine. New York: Harcourt.
1995. ISBN 0152014160.
"Wombat loved Christmas. He loved the carols and the candles, the presents and the pudding, but
most of all he loved the bush Nativity play. For as long as he could remember Wombat had wanted to be in the Nativity. Now
at last he was old enough to take part . . . "
It has a sing-songy verse, adorable illustrations, and a beautiful story-line
that is just not your "standard" Christmas story. Poor Wombat desperately wants to be a part of the Nativity play, but there
is just no part he is suited for - except - the most important part of all!
Fox, Mem. Night Noises. New York: Harcourt. 1992. ISBN 0152574212.
As Lily dozes by the fire, she dreams of how her
life has changed over the years. It is also a delightful way to assure young children that though family members and neighbors
may be old and seem very different, they have lived a life very similar. In our society, often the elderly are portrayed as
a burden and not a blessing.
Fox, Mem. Feathers and Fools. 2000. New York: Harcourt. 0152023658
Feathers and Fools a beautifully written and illustrated picture book that can be used to discuss conflict with any age
group. A group of peacocks lives near a lake of swans. The two groups are living peaceful side by side until one peacock notices
how different swans are from peacocks. The peacock goes back to the lake and tells the other peacock that they should fear
the swans, because one-day swans could overpower them. The peacocks begin to fear for their safety and arm themselves with
sharpened feathers. The swans notice the peacocks arming themselves for battle and make their own weapons. One day an innocent
swan flying over the peacocks lake drops a reed that he was planning to build his nest with. An innocent action set off the
war between the peacocks and the swans. The two groups fight till neither side has a survivor. In the end a new swan and new
peacock hatch from eggs, they embrace their similarities, and become friends.
Nicholas Wilton beautiful illustrations are strong vibrant block prints that bring visual life to foxs poetic words against
Fox, Mem. Sophie. New York: Harcourt. 1994 ISBN 0152771603
Sophie is a beautiful story about love, family, life and death. In very few words Fox tells the story of a relationship
between a grandfather and granddaughter over a span of years. Fox beings the story, Once there was no Sophie. And then there
was. Robinson strong illustrations tell a story of family love that visualizes emotions that Fox has left the reader to feel.
In all of the illustrations Robinson has focused on the hand of the many members of Sophies family. When Sophie is born her
hands are young and small, grandpas hands are old but still strong, As Sophie grew and grew, she is slowly growing larger
and grandpa is growing smaller. Sophies hands are slowly growing bigger and stronger; grandpas hands are growing smaller and
weaker. Until the day that grandpa is no more and Sophie is sad, till she has a child of her own. The story and illustrations
together tell the story of the circle of life, you are born, live, love, and die, a topic that explored in
many of her
Feathers and Fools and Sophie
I have been a pacifist since infancy. I must have been fed pacifism and anti-racism with my mother's milk.
Feathers and Fools and Sophie are exemplary example of Mem Foxs ability to weave a story thats core is to teach children
racial and ethical tolerance. Feathers and Fools address Foxs anti-war views in language that can be used in a primary classroom
handling conflict between two students, or with high school students learning why a government has decided to declare war
against another country.
In a speech Fox delivered at a huge anti-war rally in Adelaide, Australia February 16th 2003 she sad this about war, As
a writer of stories I ask myself what story we would like to tell to our children. How about a story of two kingdoms who so
fear and hate each other that they're about to wipe each other out? Instead of killing each other, they have a stunningly
intelligent and creative idea: they sit down together. They say to each other: 'Life is precious. Let us avoid death. After
all, we are brothers. Why do you fear us? How can we stop you from hating us? How can we make peace? Shake my hand. Come,
Her second passion is writing about the value of life of our senior citizens. In earlier books she has dealt with the sensitive
topic of grandparents living in nursing homes, and losing their memories. In Sophie, Fox tells the story of a familys love,
support, and the death of a family member. She writes about many topics that are taboo in our society. Topics that parents
seek out childrens books to sad and joyful event in their lives. Her writing style helps children understand the death of
a grandparent or why we at war with another country.
In both Books Fox tells stories that revolve around very sensitive
topics, but handled in language and illustrations that young children will understand.
Fox, Mem. Hattie and
the Fox. New York: Harcourt.
Before reading the book take the children on a picture walk where they will predict the event
in the story.
Have children pick out the part of the story that are fictional and real.
Make hand puppets and have the
children act out the story.
Fox, Mem. Koala Lou. New York: Harcourt. 1988.
Students can choose and animal from
the story to research where and how it lives in Australia.
Fox, Mem. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge.
Writing About My Bag of memories
First Grade Author Study
Lesson Plan on Australia using Mem Foxs books