Gabrielle Wang is a children’s author and illustrator, who uses her books and role to create a greater understanding of different cultures and people in Australia. Gabrielle is also the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2022–23!
Transcript:[Gabrielle Wang:] It’s important to have as much representation of different people in my novels, because that’s what Australia is.
I’m Gabrielle Wang, and I’m a children’s author and illustrator.
I got into writing children’s stories because I loved art all my life and I love telling stories, and I love children.
I started out illustrating picture books. Didn’t get anywhere, didn’t get anything published, and basically gave up until I had a dream one night.
The dream happened to be about me growing up in a shop, living on top of a shop and my parents selling Chinese goods. All of a sudden, this story came about, and it became my first book, The Garden of Empress Cassia.
The main character was not Chinese at all, because I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself into being a Chinese-Australian author. But then I thought no. You know, I think it’s really important that I tell my story, because Australia is such a diverse, cultural place and we all need to tell our individual stories in order to show that everybody belongs here.
I think that it’s important for children to see themselves represented and also to include a mix of cultures in my work, because that will give children reading a greater understanding about whom we are and what we’re made up of.
Once there’s an understanding, once there’s a meeting place, then all the barriers get dropped aside. We all need to feel like we belong in a country—that’s what Australia is.
For Gabrielle Wang, respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual is an important Australian value.
Learn about the Australian values.