Ben was preparing for another Christmas away from home when the Black Summer bushfires began to burn their way across Australia’s eastern coast.
As the bushfires continued to rage into the new year on an unprecedented scale, Ben, feeling angry, helpless and broken-hearted as he watched the devastation from across the ocean, sat down and put his feelings into words.
To My Country is an ode to the endurance of the Australian spirit and the shared love of our country. This gorgeous 4 colour book combines Ben’s heartfelt words with stunning illustrations by Bruce Whatley.
Ben Lawson grew up in Brisbane, one of five boys. He studied acting at NIDA and worked in theatre throughout Sydney and Melbourne. He has been based in Los Angeles since 2008 where he has acted extensively in television shows, such as Firefly Lane, Modern Family, The Good Place, Billions, Thirteen Reasons Why and Designated Survivor, and films, including Bombshell and No Strings Attached.
Ben misses being in the ocean at Noosa, eating chicken burgers in North Bondi and watching live music on balmy St Kilda nights, as well as a million other things he used to take for granted. To My Country is his first book.
Bruce Whatley took the plunge into picture books in 1992. Over 90 books later, he is a much-loved and much-awarded illustrator with beloved characters such as Wombat, a Very Ugly Dog and the Little Refugee seen on bookshelves across the world.
Image: To My Country – courtesy of Allen & Unwin
Note: In the true Aussie spirit, Ben and Allen & Unwin will be donating proceeds of To My Country to The Koala Hospital.