From the Newsroom

Manager of The Book Warehouse in Grafton Jess Wood, proudly holds up a copy of The Lonely Jacaranda, a beautiful story about the iconic purple trees written and self-published by local author Russell Irving. Image: Emma Pritchard

Jacaranda book sales blooming

Emma Pritchard


An ambition to see more books celebrating and sharing the beauty of Grafton’s iconic jacaranda trees has blossomed into life.

Flicking through the pages of The Lonely Jacaranda, Manager of The Book Warehouse in Grafton Jess Wood is delighted by what she sees and reads.

Written, illustrated and self-published by Grafton author Russell Irving, The Lonely Jacaranda tells the tale of a little jacaranda tree, the first one to arrive in Australia from South America as a seed.

As she grows up in a strange new place, some of the local birds and trees laugh and make fun of her because she is different, while others come together to support her and be her friend.

The story explores themes of loneliness, alienation and bullying, and how the simple act of friendship and the value of caring for one another can help to raise spirits and encourage kindness and empathy.

Featuring beautifully painted pictures and colourful characters, The Lonely Jacaranda has been popular with customers at The Book Warehouse in Grafton since it first appeared on the shelves a few weeks ago, and both Ms Wood and Mr Irving are looking forward to sharing the story with tourists during the 2022 Jacaranda Festival.

“It is beautifully written,” Ms Wood said.

“The hardback and paperback editions are selling pretty well, and we’re proud have books by local authors on our shelves, especially when we now have a book about jacarandas”

The idea behind The Lonely Jacaranda first began to grow in December 2021 when Ms Wood attended the Mini Writers Festival at the Clarence Regional Library in Grafton, where she spoke about the lack of jacaranda books available for children.

Inspired and enthused by her impassioned plea, Mr Irving revealed he went home from the festival, put his other projects aside, and started to envision a storyline for a jacaranda book.

Within a couple of weeks and amidst a few sleepless nights, an outline for The Lonely Jacaranda had been created, and a few months later the first draft was completed.

Describing himself as very proud of the book, his third publication, Mr Irving said the story appeals to all ages and was created as an educational fable.

The local author also revealed he has formally written to the Jacaranda Festival Committee with regards to having The Lonely Jacaranda translated into Mandarin ahead of this year’s Jacaranda Festival when many Asian tourists will visit Grafton.

The Jacaranda Festival Committee recently told the Clarence Valley Independent they have received the request from the Mr Irving and will be reviewing it at their upcoming meeting.

The Lonely Jacaranda is available from The Book Warehouse, 89 Prince Street, Grafton, along with other works by Mr Irving.