When Neighbours star Madeleine West was a child, she wanted to tell stories, perform and perform other people’s stories.
Now the actress, author and SuperMum-of-six has written a series of children's books and the reason she was inspired to do so will shock you.
A few years ago, Madeleine's young daughter was being bullied at school.
While watching her child go through this experience, Madeleine wasn't sure exactly how to handle it so went in search for resources that could help her talk about these issues.
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“I see it all the time, children are exposed even if it’s not first hand – it’s a parent, it’s a relative, it’s a friend of a friend, exposed to all sorts of things especially bullying and needs to be addressed at a young age," she said.
"I was really getting stuck in finding solutions for this – there were no books they could read in class to teach them how painful words can be. When I asked their teacher, she said, 'in this age group there is nothing' and to me books hold all the answers to all of the world. They are the key to the universe.”
“I thought right, I’m going to create a nine-year-old character who is something to aspire to and also the kind of girl that they want to be like and also have as a friend.”
With this, Madeleine set out to create the stories of Lily D V.A.P, a 9-year-old method actor who each week in drama class, takes a walk in the shoes of the characters she plays.
“Lily D is 80% autobiographical, she’s another 10% my children, and then another 10% is every kid out there who dreams big and sees the world more positively," she said of the series.
The main aim of these books are to in still respect and kindness in children irrespective of their colour, their creed, their social status.
“As a mum, it’s so difficult to answer some of those hairy questions," Madeleine said. "There are so many taboo topics that kids are exposed to and curious about that are not being represented in educational tools. There is just no outlet for it."
"I wanted to tackle some of the issues that arise like sportsmanship and the bigger issues such as same-sex marriages, death, illness. I try to cover all of those and it’s good to see the world through a positive lens, which is what Lily does. I think it’s something to be celebrated and I think we all should be doing this, especially as adults.”
Madeleine rose to fame as Dee Bliss on Aussie soap Neighbours and lucky for her super fans (us included), we will be seeing a lot more of her and Dee this year.
Madeleine has also featured in some of Australia's most popular dramas, including a new TV series, where she plays her most complex character yet!
The first three Lily D V.A.P books will be available from May 1 and is a must read for children and parents alike.
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