Jo Crowley is an Australian author, mother of four, and primary school teacher. Jo is the creator of “Colour My Story,” a series of books that use storytelling, colouring and conversation to help adults connect with children during change and difficult times.
It wasn’t that long ago we were moving house with our children and I was searching for ways to explain what was going on to our anxious 3 year old. I remember sitting with her to explain the move and all I got were big eyes and silence, so that night I decided to write our own moving story.
The next morning as we read the book and coloured-in the images, the blank stares were replaced with a conversation. At just 3, she listened to the story and asked questions as we coloured-in together. Some of her questions I answered immediately and some I needed to find the answers for, they ranged from “What colour is the truck”, “Who is going to drive the truck”, to “Can I pack a box”. None of the questions were things that I would have guessed. I loved seeing her engage with the book, read it to her brother, take it to preschool for show and tell and sleep with it next to her bed.
Our 3 year old followed the story carefully during the move and on the day the move was complete and as we waved goodbye to the removalists she said “Where’s Harry, (the dog). I said “He’s at Gran and Grandad’s, at the farm”. She said “No! In the book, the dog comes next”. That was my big aha moment, Yes that was the last page of the book but unfortunately driving the 8 hours to pick up the dog was going to have to wait a few weeks. In that moment I realised she was using the book like a guide to help her understand what was going to happen next.
With this in mind I started to think of other titles, I could write to help families through change, I used my knowledge as a teacher and Mum to write a Starting School book, Starting Preschool book, Mummy is Having a Baby and The New Baby Moves In. I launched Colour My Story in 2009 with these 5 titles.
Since then I have written 2 more books, a placement book for children in care moving to a new foster/kinship/residential home and a trauma book to help adults connect with children who are having a tough time after experiencing trauma.
I love creating resources to connect adults and children and I love hearing stories of what adults discover when they are really present with a child.
For me we have moved 8 times with our children both within and outside Australia, that has meant moving houses, changing schools and making new friends, with each move I have always tried to take a little guess at what my children will be worried about and I’m always wrong. Every time there has been something that that my children were concerned about that I only learned by colouring and connecting with them.