Meet the Author – Jo Carson-Barr

We’re delighted to hear from New Zealand picture book author Josephine Carson-Barr about her life as an author and bookseller.

Created 3 March 2023

Thanks for the opportunity to share a little bit about our family book business.

I, Jo, am the author, marketing and admin.

Simon Barr,  one of my adult sons, is an animator and graphic designer and he does our illustrations. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to work with him on these books.

Rod, my husband, is our fantastically friendly salesman, going into early childhood centres to read our books to the children.

When Rod goes in to read stories he goes as ‘Wacky Wod’ with a funny squashy toy in his hat called Oscar. The kids love it when they have to yell for Oscar to come out from under hat so story can begin. 

These books have given me and Rod the opportunity to travel around New Zealand for the past six years, living in our caravan and visiting early childhood centres and schools showcasing our books. 

Here’s a brief summary of our current book line-up.

Waata the Weta: Can He Find The Perfect Home? has been one of our most popular books because it is very different. It is created in a type of comic format with 48 pages of full colour illustrations. Teachers often purchase this book for their reluctant readers which is wonderful. Waata is a very cute weta who is not scared of anything BUT also does not scare anyone.

The Chair Series feature the adorable Nicholas who is very human. I think this is why children like him so much. His behaviour makes them laugh and the illustrations can portray him as being a bit over the top.

The Sava Chair (pronounced Save a) is a fun teaching tool to learn  about recycling, renewing, rubbish cleanups, etc. 

One of Simon’s ideas was to add the blackboards as a feature at the end of each story. These showcase facts about some of the ideas in each of the books. For example, the blackboard in The Sava Chair shows Aunty Em’s Top Tips to Save the Planet.