The new children’s book which explores issues faced by transgender people has garnered international praise.
“When we were growing up Tina was so much fun, she was such an involved, happy, really down to earth dad,” she said.
The story explores the dynamics of friendship, as Tilly comes out to the people around her.
The Australian author said she wrote the book for her young son Errol, as she felt that there was a lack of representation of trans parents and characters in children’s literature.
Jessica, a first-time author, teamed up with illustrator Dougal MacPherson to help bring the story to life, before they decided to self publish their book through crowdfunding.
‘Introducing Teddy’ struck a chord with the public who pledged more than $20,000 on Kickstarter – double what Jessica and Dougal were hoping to raise.
The project has since received international media attention and will now be published globally by independent publishing house Bloomsbury in June 2016.
“What’s really nice with little kids is when you read them a story that reflects your family, you know that they’re able to identify themselves in that story,” Jessica said.
Despite the book’s success, Jessica says she was terrified of showing Tina the book for the first time.
“Tina has been there for me so much while I’ve been writing this book,” she explained.
“I was really nervous of showing her the draft of the text the first time because I thought I want to get this right.”
However, Tina revealed that she couldn’t be happier with her daughter’s work.
“I just cried happy tears,” Tina said.
“It was wonderful, such a wonderful thing and such a beautiful positive book.
“It’s a book about difference and about accepting difference and I was so proud of her when I saw it and it’s illustration is beautiful and the story is really appealing.”
Tina also believes that the book has a strong message about being proud of and accepting ones identity.
“I think at some point you need to be honest with yourself and acknowledge the things that you hide or you feel shame about and just come out and be who you are and stand up and be proud,” she said.