The inspiration for O in the Snow

Judith Barker and the inspiration for O in the Snow


Saddle up and join the Man from Snowy River on a galloping romp across the High Country with the fabled wild horses – the Brumbies. In Judith Barker's latest children’s book, The O in the Snow, inspired by Banjo Paterson’s The Man from Snowy River, children can experience the chase and thrill of the Brumby’s Run, and discover the birds and wildlife of the Snowy Mountains.  

Having spent several years living on a property in the Kiewa Valley, Judith often witnessed the stockmen mustering the cattle along the road towards the Bogong high plains, especially during the droughts and floods – it’s a major part of the heritage of the NSW and Victorian High Country.

This is the third book in a series of fun Australian phoneme-themed stories (for ages 5-8) focussing on the long vowels. Apart from developing reading skills, the books foster imagination, language and sound-spelling recognition. In The O in the Snow the reader can find six different spelling patterns with the long vowel O in different words throughout the story

Judith attributes Dr Seuss’ fantastical tales about faraway places to her love of writing children’s books. She’s an English teacher, a voracious reader and a modern wordsmith. After teaching phonemic awareness to children in Europe, the Middle East, India and China, Judith saw a growing need to support diversity in schools. The children would recall the sounds and manipulate the letters to make different words, but while attempting to master the many vagaries of spelling it became much more of a challenge.

While researching a Masters’ thesis in Phonemic Awareness, Judith began to use visual language in stories, so that children could make a holistic sense of the various spelling patterns. The repetition of the sounds and the coloured letters seemed to fully resonate with fun and meaningful stories.

After returning to Melbourne for the launch of her first children’s book, The Oo in Uluru, Judith won the 2019 Speech Pathology Children’s Book of the Year. She followed up her debut picture book with The Ee in the Deep Blue Sea, which was also shortlisted for the same award.

When Judith is not writing children’s stories or plays, she teaches meditation and movement therapy. She lives in Melbourne with her adorable Australian terriers, Nellie and Dusty.


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