Not everything you’ll read in these pages is true.
Some of the people here don’t always tell the truth.
They promised they would, but they don’t.
Just thought I should warn you.

Ludo Simpson

Book cover - Help Around The HouseA long time ago I studied for a degree in Canberra, and the place has fascinated me ever since. The biggest industry there is hope for the future, but much of the time its main product is disappointment.

Older people sigh and say that's how it'll always be. But what about younger people? Is there anything they can do to help inspire Canberra's parliament industry to turn out the product range we need? Including a top-quality future in an attractive range of models with new improved fairness, opportunity?

That was my starting point for this story. I chose for my hero a boy who prefers helping and encouraging to blaming and name-calling. Which makes him fairly unusual in Canberra and, increasingly, elsewhere. Ludo is also brilliant at making friends, which means he doesn't have to go it alone. If I was setting out to encourage our Members of Parliament to increase their productivity and humanity, Henry and Carla are just the friends I'd want to watch my back and keep me smiling.

Of course it's not just Members of Parliament who need help and encouragement, we all do. I think a lot about how the world looks to young people today and how they feel about their future place in it. My work gives me the opportunity to listen to many of them talk about this - their hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties. I think a lot about what we can offer them to help equip them for the challenges ahead as well as the opportunities.

This story has grown out of those thoughts and conversations. It's about a few serious things, but I've tried to make it funny and optimistic, which I've always thought is a pretty good way to approach the future, even a challenging one.

While I was preparing to write this book, my mother died. You'll probably spot a mother's love in this story, and a mother's grace, integrity, kindness and unwavering sense of fair play. Ludo's mother is a made-up character, but if you knew my mother, you'd know where those parts of the story come from.

Thanks Mum.


Book cover - Help Around The HouseHelp Around The House is available in bookshops and libraries in Australia and New Zealand, and online: