A tale of two friends

Jarrah and Mathilde today: The real-life friendship that inspired a new book.

The beautiful friendship of Castlemaine youngsters, Jarrah Podesta and Mathilde Cross, has inspired a new children’s book by award-winning author, Pip Harry.

Pip said the first spark for August & Jones came to her in 2019 after reading about 11-year-olds Mathilde and Jarrah in the Sydney Morning Herald ‘Two of Us’ column.

Jarrah had lost his sight to retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer, and Mathilde was his best friend and guide.

“I was struck by their beautiful, supportive friendship, resilience and courage,” Pip said.

“I mused that a middle-grade novel that could portray a bond like these two remarkable kids shared would be very special.

“A year or so later, I had a go at telling that story.”

The kids (who will turn 14 this year) have both read/heard August & Jones and loved it. They even made a few editorial suggestions that Pip was able to incorporate.

“Jarrah and I both think it is amazing to have been the inspiration behind this book, and we’re really looking forward to meeting Pip,” Mathilde said.

Pip is travelling out to join Jarrah and Mathilde in August to celebrate the release of the book with the Castlemaine community (10am at Castlemaine Library, Monday August 8).

All are welcome to attend the local launch and meet the author, Jarrah and Mathilde.