Come-By-Chance farmer and author Cathie Colless was in Moree on Thursday to share her two books with both young and old members of the community.
On Thursday morning she did a reading of her children’s book ‘Yum Yum … Where Does It Come From?’ during Moree Community Library’s Storytime event, then in the afternoon she gave a talk about her adult’s book, ‘Diamonds in the Dust’.
Ms Colless first published ‘Yum Yum’ in 2012 as a response to a survey conducted by the Primary Industries Education Foundation which found that Australian children don’t know where their food comes from.
So, along with her daughter Emily Colless, Cathie wrote the rhyming tale which enables children to make a connection between various fresh produce and the animals and plants that produce them.
The Colless women then enlisted the help of their friend Deb Murray who illustrated the book.
“We did it because we saw a need,” Ms Colless said.
“As farmers I felt we had a responsibility to try and educate. We did it because we believe in the concept.”
Six years since it was first published and ‘Yum Yum’ is still being sold and enjoyed by children around the country, including the group in Moree who enjoyed reading it with Ms Colless on Thursday.
“Kids love rhyme,” Ms Colless said.
“It’s very popular with early childhood teachers, grandparents who have city grandchildren and as a baby gift.”
Meanwhile, Cathie’s second book ‘Diamonds in the Dust’ was published last year as a tribute to the women of rural and remote communities.
It shares the stories of 10 rural women who were chosen not for their ‘specialness’ but for their representativeness of women in isolated communities throughout Australia.
“I have a love of writing and I attended some writing workshops in the drought as a distraction,” Ms Colless said of how ‘Diamonds in the Dust’ came about.
“I needed a project within that and I’d always had a great admiration for women in the bush who are amazingly capable and resourceful and largely unacclaimed, but happy.
“To bring to notice what women in the bush do I chose 10 women, who each have very different stories.
“As special as those women were, they represent all Australian bush women.”
Not originally intending to write a book, once she’d found 10 women
After finding 10 women, many of whom she didn’t know, willing to share their stories, Ms Colless was compelled to write ‘Diamonds in the Dust’.
“It was an incredibly humbling experience to have women open up and share their stories with me and then prepared to have people read them,” she said.
“I didn’t set out to write the book, initially I just thought I’d see what happened. I then felt I had a responsibility to do something with those stories.
“I’m sure people will get something out of reading them.”