Sofie Laguna on the Bond Between Brothers

Sofie Laguna on the Bond Between Brothers

Early in 2014 Peter Greste, the Australian journalist reporting for Al Jazeera in Egypt, alongside two other reporters, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, was accused of reporting false news and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood. Like many Australians at the time, I was painfully aware that Peter Greste had been kept in solitary confinement in an Egyptian prison before any charges had been formally made. Then later, that he was to serve a seven-year sentence, on charges that seemed without evidence.

By now heavily pregnant, I watched the ABC in grave concern as the journalist’s parents, Lois and Juris Greste, shared their fear for their son, expressing their hope that the international community might intervene. What most struck me around this time, was seeing Andrew Greste, Peter’s brother, in Egypt, to support Peter. I was deeply affected by witnessing how family might be there for each other. How brothers might try to rescue one another.

I wrote When You’re Older, in November of 2014, a month after giving birth to my second son. Peter Greste was still in prison in Egypt. I remember standing at the bottom of our steps, holding the new baby in my arms – and calling to my husband at work in his studio, ‘Marc, take the baby!’ I had a story to write! An idea had arrived and I needed to get up those steps as quickly as possible. An older boy longs for his newborn brother to grow older. Longs for the adventures that lie ahead.

I think these two strands are interwoven in When You’re Older. The Greste brothers, and my own two sons. This makes the picture book sound very serious – but it is just as much a book about wild adventure, beauty, nature, the imagination and expanding our horizons – as it is about rescue. Judy Watson, the illustrator of When You’re Older, understood all this perfectly. Judy has depicted the trajectory in the narrative – it’s forward thrust towards a wider world, it’s movement from pleasure and thrill to danger, and back to peace again. Her illustrations are full of colour and joy, and gorgeous detail. I am honoured and humbled that the words have inspired this talented artist.

Publishing this picture book, now seven years after Peter Greste’s release from prison – and dedicating it to my sons – has been a deeply rewarding and hopeful experience.

Buy a copy of When You’re Older here.

Sofie Laguna’s many books for young people have been published in the US, the UK and in translation throughout Europe and Asia. She has been shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Awards, and twice been awarded Honour Book by the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA). She is also a highly acclaimed author for adults. Sofie lives in Melbourne with her husband, illustrator Marc McBride, and their two young sons.



Heartwarming and Evocative: Read Our Review of When You’re Older by Sofie Laguna, illustrated by Judy Watson

Review | Our Review

1 March 2022

Heartwarming and Evocative: Read Our Review of When You’re Older by Sofie Laguna, illustrated by Judy Watson

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      Publisher details

      When You're Older
      Judy Watson, Sofie Laguna
      Allen & Unwin
      Children’s Fiction
      01 March, 2022


      Recommended for ages 4+.

      Beautiful, warm and evocative, this stunning picture book reveals an older brother's hopes for the amazing experiences he will share with his new baby brother - when he's older. A triumph of illustration and storytelling.

      Baby brother, I can't wait until you're older.

      Just imagine the adventures that lie ahead...

      An exquisitely illustrated and deeply joyful celebration of the bond between brothers. Join them as they explore the far reaches of this wild and amazing world, side by side every step of the way. From two highly acclaimed and award-winning creators.

      Judy Watson
      About the author

      Judy Watson

      JUDY WATSON works with a combination of digital and traditional methods to make art that explores colour, light and our connection with nature. She has won a Prime Minister's Literary Award, been selected for the International Youth Library's White Ravens catalogue, and been shortlisted for the CBCA Eve Pownall Award. Judy is married with two teenage children, a three-legged dog, several chickens and a changing array of foster cats. She lives and works in Frankston South.

      Books by Judy Watson

      Sofie Laguna
      About the author

      Sofie Laguna

      Sofie Laguna originally studied to be a lawyer, but after deciding law was not for her, she trained as an actor. Sofie is now an author, actor and playwright. Her books for young people have been named Honour Books and Notable Books in the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards and have been shortlisted in the Queensland Premier's Awards. She has been published in the US and the UK and in translation in Europe and Asia. Sofie's first novel for adults, One Foot Wrong, was also published throughout Europe, the United States and the United Kingdom. Sofie has written the screenplay for the film of One Foot Wrong, scheduled for pre-production in 2014.

      Books by Sofie Laguna


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