When I finished reading the book ‘Tracks,’ a 1970’s memoir about Robyn Davidson’s inspirational and courageous journey, across the Australian Desert with four, Afghan camels and her beloved dog, Diggity - I knew, I had a story to tell…
My story begins in India. After a failed marriage and several disastrous relationships behind me, I needed a complete change. Not a temporary change of scenery, like a fly-drive package around Tasmania’s B &B’s in a Budget rent-a-car, or a week of pure unadulterated indulgence at a five star luxury resort in Ubud, but something BIG! A real adventure: a cultural immersion, something life-changing that would plunge me into another world.
I registered with an international teacher’s agent in London and two months later, I landed an English teaching post at the Canadian International School, in Bangalore. My five senses exploded like a fire cracker! Intoxicated by the delicious spicy aromas, the rich myriad of colours and the raw beauty of the people, and the culture - I was hooked! The weekends couldn’t come around fast enough. It wasn’t unusual to find me totally absorbed in the famous children’s epic ‘The Ramayana’ or searching my ‘Lonely Planet’ for the next Hindu festival, in the early hours of the morning. The hardest part was deciding on which exotic destination to choose for my next holiday - Incredible India, it was indeed!
From the remote hilltop villages of the Himalayas, to the heady congested cities of the South, I was captivated by the legends, myths and stories which have been inculcated into the lives of children, by their parents and forefathers. I began writing my first children’s story ‘The Mountain Who Loved the Boy’ and have written several children’s picture books, such as ‘There’s a Monkey in the Cupboard’ and ‘The ‘oo’ of Uluru,’ as an unpublished author.
Three years later, my work became an intrinsic part of the adventure, as I was posted to the Middle East, to the enchanting land of Arabian princes, minarets, desert falcons and bedouins, as an English teaching advisor with the Abu Dhabi Education Council. During this time, I commenced a Master in (TESOL) at Azad University in Dubai where I became inspired to write for young EFL (English as a Foreign Language) children.
After completing a research project in Europe and at a college in China, I returned to Australia. Since then, I have been teaching ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students) programs at the Monash University English Language Centre, and developing (EFL) curriculum.
I enjoy writing children’s stories which are fun and educational, as well as mythological stories with moral touchstones which can teach children the values propagated by a different culture.
Children’s authors who have influenced me the most are Dr Seuss, for changing the way young children read with his humorous and whimsical verse and Alison Lester for her ability to encapsulate the lives of young Australian children, through her beautiful illustrations and writing.
Judith Barker - Submissions
- Mork’s Magical Mystery Tour by Judith Barker Jun - 2016