Each time we do another series of Celebrating Amazing Women, it can be a little overwhelming knowing where to start and focus our energy. You see, there are SO many fabulous women surrounding us and within our local community, and I mean a LOT, to the point where we can't possibly showcase all of these incredible women at once.
However, sometimes certain people waltz into your life that you know are particularly special. One such superstar that we've always wanted to put in the RO spotlight is Megan Daley. Megan is the voice behind the fabulous blog Children's Books Daily, a teacher librarian at St Aidan's Anglican Girls School in Brisbane, QLD and a busy mum of two gorgeous girls. Perhaps one of the coolest librarians around, Megan is passionate about children's literature and sharing it with young and old alike.
We were first introduced to Megan as a customer of ours through Instagram, when she started tagging us in her fabulous photos. We noticed the amazing work she does, how passionate and 'real' her writing is, and started to follow her journey (oh, and let's not forget she obviously has AMAZING taste in accessories...). Megan has been a part of our RO community for years now, so naturally we thought it was time to invite her to come and jump in front of our camera and tell us a bit more about her story.
Read our full interview with Megan below...
RO: Megan, was there a defining moment when you fell in love with literature and knew you wanted to spend your life immersed in it?
MD: That’s a really good question, I’ve not been asked that before! My mother is a teacher librarian and both my parents read aloud to us every.single.day. I was a tween around the time mum was at university studying teacher librarianship and I distinctly remember the influx of astonishingly good books into our home. It was in this period that I discovered the books that set me on the path to being a lifelong reader. Books like Dicey's Song, Came Back to Show You I Could Fly and John Marsden's iconic, So Much To Tell You blew my teenage angsty brain and I still hold these books amongst my 'Top Ten' books ever. This was definitely the time I fell in love with literature, but at that stage I don’t think it occurred to me that it was an option to work amongst such gorgeousness every day.
RO: What’s your favourite part about your job/s (you have a few!)?
MD: As a teacher librarian, my favourite part of the job is finding the right book for the right child and playing a small part in the literary lives of my students. I love being a part of giving young people the skills to be critical consumers of literature and lovers of words and images.
My favourite part of being a children’s book blogger is connecting parents with the right book for their child and creating an online community of people who adore all things children’s and YA literature; it’s such a fabulous place to hang out and meet other like-minded literary souls.
When I really look at it - I’d say that connection is the key for me in both jobs. I love connecting with people of all ages over books.
RO: The library you are currently at was voted Australia's Favourite School Library and you have won state and national awards for librarianship. What makes your library cooler than the rest? What do you do differently?
MD: Look – our school library is pretty cool I have to say. It was built as part of the Building the Education Revolution (BER) funding but what I think made our project different to many other library building projects that happened as a result of this funding was that our school management allowed teaching staff to be involved in the design process, so it really works as a space of teaching and learning. The same school management also sees the value in teacher librarians and what we offer the entire school community – so we have a great space, which is also staffed with trained professionals. To me a school library is at the very centre of creative and powerful school communities. Our library is there to serve the whole school community, it offers overwrought little minds refuge from a crowded curriculum, a cool escape from a bustling, steamy Brisbane playground, a place to inquire, wonder and be creative and a place to connect with quality children’s literature and engage with like-minded lovers of literature.
When I won the QLD Teacher Librarian of the Year and then the National Dromkeen Librarians Award at the end of last year I was overwhelmed and humbled, as there is some amazing librarians and teacher librarians in Australia! All I do differently to any of the other quality teacher librarians I know is squawk a little louder (which my family will attest to) about the importance of introducing young people and their parents and carers to the wonder of children’s literature and the joy of libraries.
Megan wears Stardust Lightning Bolt Earrings $27
RO: What does being part of the RO Community mean to you?
MD: I mentioned connection with like-minded souls earlier, and being part of the RO community is the same thing for me. When you find your tribe, you should love them hard and I love the people I’ve met offline who also love Ruby Olive products and I feel very at home with the online tribe you guys have formed; Ruby Olives pieces are vibrant, quirky and joyful so it makes sense that the people who form the RO Community are going to be of the same ilk!
RO: What first attracted you to Ruby Olive Jewellery and what is it about the brand that speaks to you?
MD: In about 2011, I remember seeing Ruby Olive pieces in a store at Paddington, Brisbane and wanting to immediately touch these little nuggets of resin and add these pops of colour to my wardrobe. The feel of resin has always appealed to me, it’s so flipping tactile and lovely and such a versatile material and I was quite taken with how Skye Anderton was using it to create these pieces of wearable art that were pretty out there in terms of colour and pattern but were still accessible…they are just so fun! I love that each piece of jewellery/art that Skye creates tells a story and when I found out that the brand was named after her grandmother I was totally sold and have been a devotee of the brand ever since. As a teacher librarian I clearly adore stories and colour is a huge part of picture book creation so it’s a natural fit for me and I have really loved aligning myself with a brand which is creative, ever-evolving and pushes boundaries.
RO: Is there one key piece of advice you’ve learned through hardships, or something that has helped shape who you are today, that you could share with the RO Community?
MD: Oh glory me you are so not making me stick to one piece of advice!
I lost my beloved husband and father to our two young girls, Daniel John Daley, in 2017 when he suffered a fatal heart attack. I have also lost a brother and my favourite aunt in the last few years and, as a family, our lives have been turned inside out and upside down and then stomped all over. It has been the most horrific time and we are still far from ‘okay’ but the girls and I are working hard to establish our new normal and to find the teeny moments of joy and colour in each day.
If someone you know has experienced the loss of a loved one, here is the pared down version of my advice:
Remove the phrase, ‘what do you need from me’ from your vocab. Just pick something you can manage and do that one thing. The grief-striken do not have the capacity to think of what they need, nor can they think of who to call for help when they need it.
Be in it for the long haul. The first few months, even the first year, the bereaved are surrounded in a bubble of love and meals. The second year, life carries on. This is completely as it should be, because life does indeed carry on, but for the bereaved life is changed forever. The text messages I get at 10pm at night saying variations of ‘we see you. We know you are hurting’ reduce me to tears and comfort me like nothing else. Continue to invite the bereaved to social events, understanding that they may say ‘no’ 100 times over before they say yes…because it’s incredibly hard to attend or commit to social occasions when your life is in turmoil and your emotions change every five minutes.
Add colour to the life of the grief-striken. Be it in the form of flowers, books, food or jewellery – colour given to me by people I love, and people I hardly know, has been such a blessing. My list of books on grief is here. On the days I am really not feeling okay, I often add colour and hope for the best. My hair might be more dry shampoo than hair and my clothes might be covered in dog hair but I honestly feel so much better when I put on some colour. I’ve struggled with ‘what does a widow look like’ but I’ve kind of also embraced the term ‘widow’ because I am one and I want to acknowledge Dan in my life as my husband…so widow-chic it is. Sigh…
Don’t be weird. I don’t think this needs further explanation. The bereaved don’t need weird on top of everything else.
I don't know about you, but I could listen to and read Megan's gorgeous words for hours. There's something so enchanting about the way she communicates, which would be one of the reasons why she has such a fiercely fabulous and loyal online tribe through Children's Books Daily. Thanks so much to the lovely Megan for taking the time to come and take some happy snaps, and for sitting down and chatting with us. If you've fallen in love with Megan's beautiful way with words above, or want to find out more about the fantastic world of literature, read more over on www.childrensbooksdaily.com
Our Chief Dreamer Skye talks all things life with Megan below...