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Gwendolyn Gray has held a number of jobs over the years, mostly in health services, but at heart she is first and foremost an artist. Lately that passion has driven her to write beautifully illustrated children’s books.
Soon after starting a Certificate IV in Community Services at TAFE NSW, Gwendolyn was inspired to combine her love of art with a growing love for writing books that help children manage challenges life may throw them. These include bullying, separation anxiety, making new friends and adjusting to new environments.
Launching today, her second book is titled Bucket the Naughty Duckling’s First Day at School – well timed for the beginning of the new school year. She wrote her first book in the series in April, titled The Watery Tales of Bucket the Naughty Duckling. Her publisher has asked for another three.
Gwendolyn says, “I am an avid fan of Beatrix Potter, I have loved her since I was little. I had no plans to write my own books when I started my TAFE NSW community services course last year, yet a couple of months into it I wrote my first.
“I live on a large lagoon on the boundary of town in Casino and one day I was looking at the water and the amazing birdlife and thought maybe I should write a story about it. Then the story just came to me.”
This latest book tells the tale of a little black duckling named Bucket who has a tough first day at school when he is ridiculed by the other duck students because he looks different. Throughout the story Gwendolyn beautifully illustrates through pictures and words the tools children can use to adjust to new situations and deal with bullies, such as learning to face them with self-confidence and self-acceptance.
“I was a pretty outgoing person but going to TAFE built on that, built on my strengths and showed me my weaknesses. Building on my strengths gave me more strength in believing in myself - I believed I could do anything I put my mind to. It was so invigorating and empowering for all of us in the class,” she says.
“I launched the first book in August and had a huge response, had over 90 people turn up to the launch and sold over 100 books that night. It basically happened by itself.”
Gwendolyn’s community services qualification, from TAFE NSW Casino, mothering her own two children who are now adults and many years of work in the health services sector have provided her with a well-informed perspective to help children deal with emotionally and mentally challenging situations.
Parents and caregivers can take advantage of the knowledge she has built over the years by sharing her books with the children they love. Visit www.gwendolyngrayart.com for further information.
For more information on TAFE NSW courses visit www.tafensw.com.au or call 131 601.
Media contact: Kristy Sheppard, TAFE NSW Media & Communications Business Partner, 4923 7784 or 0407 450 860.