Jackie French was born in Sydney and grew up in Brisbane, completing her education at the University of Queensland. In her early twenties she moved to a property in the Araluen Valley on the edge of the Deua wilderness, New South Wales, and later developed a career as a writer.
French's books for children and young adults have been well-received, winning many awards, including several from the Children's Book Council of Australia. Her works regularly appear on the Kids Own Australian Literature Awards (KOALA) and Young Australian Best Book Awards (YABBA) shortlists which are nominated by readers. She has spoken numerous times to groups of children and adults, and has frequently run writing workshops. Her writing and workshops often combine her concern for social issues with her love of nature.
French has published many gardening books and has been a columnist for Women's Weekly, Earth Garden, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Sunday Canberra Times. She appeared regularly on the television show Burke's Backyard.
French has been the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Children's Ambassador, and patron of several of organisations including Cool Club (an ACT library program to encourage children to read), At Home with Books (a program to encourage reading with foster children) and Wildcare (a project that looks after injured wildlife). She has also been a director of The Wombat Foundation.
French was the 2011 National Literacy Ambassador for National Literacy and Numeracy Week. In late 2013, she was selected as the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2014-2015.
'Following on from I AM JULIET (August 2014), this is the second title in a proposed new series for young people that focuses on the reinterpretation of Shakespeare's classic and enduring plays. Ages: 10+
'She is the girl who will be queen: Ophelia, daughter of Denmarks lord chancellor and loved by Prince Hamlet.
'But while Hamlets family stab, poison or haunt one another, Ophelia plans a sensible rule, one filled with justice and the making of delicious cheeses. Even if she has to pretend to be mad to make it happen, Ophelia will let nothing, not even howling ghosts, stand in her way.
'This is Shakespeares play, but with what might also have happened behind the scenes. And this story has a happy ending.
'From Jackie French, one of Australias most respected and awarded authors and the Australian Childrens Laureate and 2015 Senior Australian of the Year, comes a book that reimagines the life of one of Shakespeares most intriguing female characters.' (Publication summary)
'Horace is a very big horse with an even bigger heart. Every day he pulls the baker’s cart and helps Old William, Big Bill and Young Billy take bread, buns and other doughy delights to all the people in the town. But when a terrible flu makes everyone sick, who is going to deliver the bread to hungry families? ' (Publication summary)
'Many books have been written about the battles of Gallipoli; the men who went to war and what they faced, the letters, and the tears of those left behind. But this is a book about Gallipoli, the place, and what happened on Gallipoli Beach from April - December 1915. With beautiful and painterly illustrations by Bruce Whatley, this is a book that explores the beaches where the battles took place. In focusing on the actual place of war, the book will also examine many other aspects of WW1, from the soldiers and the conditions they fought in, to the civilians at home.This is more than a book about Anzacs; this is a book about and for all of the nationalities who fought at that cove, not matter what side they were on.' (Publication summary)