Children's Laureate Jackie French speaks to tens of thousands of students every year – but there is a particular group of teenagers that have stayed in her memory. They were studying Romeo and Juliet at school.
-They hated it,' she recalls. -Then they saw a movie version. They cried. They loved it.'
Shakespeare's words are meant to be brought to life, and in I Am Juliet, the incomparable Jackie French brings a new dimension to the lovestruck Juliet Capulet. The story switches between Rob, the thirteen-year-old boy that is the first to play the role, and Juliet herself.
In an age where women had little power over their own lives, Juliet made her own decisions and French has portrayed her as a strong young woman who knows her own mind.
-Juliet does the unthinkable for the time,' she says. -She asks Romeo to marry her. She plots, she schemes; she has the courage to face almost death and a dark crypt, then real death. The last words of the play are not 'Romeo, and his Juliet" but 'Juliet, and her Romeo".'
Jackie French is an award-winning writer, wombat negotiator and the Australian Children's Laureate for 2014-2015. She is regarded as one of Australia's most popular children's authors, and writes across all genres - from picture books, history, fantasy, ecology and sci-fi to her much-loved historical fiction.
I Am Juliet
Harper Collins Australia
Author: Jackie French