Welcome to my place! I’m Biggles and I’m a good dog.

Welcome to my place! I’m Biggles and I’m a good dog.

Farmer Joe says so.

Meet the Biggles team right here… Apart from Farmer Joe, these are my favourite humans. Take a look, come on – ruff! They have mice to chase – hang on that’s me. They have jobs to do!

Favourite Thing To Do:

Helping! Ah, there she goes again – why does Cat roll her eyes every time I say that? Anyway, I know helping is meant to be ‘work’, but helping is what I do best. I love it mate, it’s tops! Other things I love: riding in the tractor, chasing mice, inspecting hay bales, sleeping in front of the fire in winter, and laying out on the back verandah in summer. That, at least, Cat and I agree on. She’s not bad you know…when you catch her on the right day.


(That’s me!)

Biggles is a brave Jack Russell who lives and works on the farm but he’s not your average farm dog, in fact, he’s quite extraordinary. Why? Because apart from being Farmer Joe’s best four legged friend forever (better than Cat), the sale of each of his books means a donation to an Australian charity who needs a helping hand. And giving a helping hand paw is what Biggles is all about.

What Other Creatures Say About Me:

“Go away” – Cat.

“Good dog, Biggles” – Farmer Joe.

“Biggles helps raise money for groups who support people like our Farmer Joe. In fact, every copy of Biggles Goes To Work means $1 donated to Berry Street, who help kids be safe, hopeful and thriving. Biggles shows children the rewards of resilience, positive mindset and a strong work ethic to solve problems. Through Biggles’ friendship with Farmer Joe, Biggles helps parents teach their children there’s joy to be found in helping others. We reckon Biggles is a lot like our farmers; tough but with a heart of gold and always ready to pitch in to help someone in need.” – Dr Vanessa Thiele, author.

Dr Vanessa Thiele

Psychologist and Author

I wrote Biggles Goes To Work to inspire my own children. I have one in particular who is a bit of a perfectionist, and moves away from challenges if he thinks he won’t be fantastic at something.

I want to support both of my children as they lean into life’s challenges with the self-belief and confidence to get through. And most of all, I want to encourage them to be helpful, respectful people who care about others. Biggles’ fun, funny and loveable character supports the growth and learning of my own kids.

His stories always showcase lifelong mindset/values like persistence, positivity, and of course – his terrier-like tenacity, and teach my two to lean into challenges and not doubt themselves. Biggles’ stories show the kids what it’s like to be of service for the sheer joy of it, and expands their emotional and social intelligence.

What I most love about Biggles’ stories is that they’re incredibly simple, and they’re fun – but they lead to discussions between adults and children that can be leveraged to guide mindset skills of our young folk. That’s the real power of Biggles.

What Other Creatures Say About Me:

“Thanks for making me famous, Vanessa! Good human!” – Biggles

“You should write the next book about me” – Cat

Favourite Thing To Do:

I love writing, reading, taking nature photographs, building cubby house forts in the lounge room, and playing hide and seek with the kids!

Favourite Thing To Do:

I love sitting with a clean paper and watercolours and bringing the beautiful woodland creatures in my imagination to life. I also enjoy experimenting with different illustration mediums and techniques, travelling to different corners of the globe, and playing with my two young children.

Jenny K Barnes

Artist and Illustrator

Jenny K Barnes is an artist living in Melbourne, Australia with her partner and two young children. From a young age Jenny loved drawing and painting and having left a corporate career behind has returned to the paintbrush to follow her creative passions.

What Other Creatures Say About Me:

“Great job painting me Jenny! It’s just like looking in the mirror!” – Biggles

“Draw me next!” – Lochie the Clydesdale

Vanessa and Jenny made a conscious choice to self-publish so they could partner with Drought Angels and contribute one dollar from every book sale to the registered charity supporting farming families affected by drought and natural disasters.

Inspiration for the story.

The Biggles Book series is based on the real Biggles who spent his life working on farms in the Author’s husband’s contracting business. The Author was so captivated by all the adventures he had that she vowed to write a book in his honour. What eventuated was a five-book series incorporating tales of altruism and work ethic, resilience, individual strengths, gratitude and friendship. The aim of the series is to delight young readers while instilling powerful life skills to enable them to flourish into their adult lives.

More from the Author

What do you get when you combine 15 years of studying positive psychology, resilience, and solution-focused coaching with a love of writing and then becoming a mum of 2 cheeky, small people? A children’s book inspiring positive mindsets, of course!
Since first learning of Attribution Theory, I was captivated. This theory holds the beliefs people have about themselves, and the reasons they attribute for their successes and failures, has a significant impact on their future performance. It’s the origin of the ‘you are what you believe’ movement.

Put simply, if a child believes they are “just no good at math”, the effort and perseverance they put into their math learning will result in an outcome that confirms they are no good at math. Failure will be seen as confirmation of a stable and uncontrollable deficit in ability, and lead to that child to giving up. Alternatively, if a child believes “I’m a hard worker, I can figure it out”, then they will engage in behaviours that enable them to achieve a better result. They are likely to improve and achieve over time, not because of initial intelligence or skill, but because they keep persevering until they master new abilities.
This is the theory that inspired research to investigate how we can leverage our knowledge of attribution theory to enable children to reach their potential.

According to Angela Duckworth, researcher, MacArthur Fellowship winner and TED talk speaker with over eight million views, grit is “perseverance and passion for long-term goals”. Duckworth’s research has revolved around discovering why some individuals accomplish more than other individuals despite having the same talent, intelligence, and resources. She has discovered that grit can be related to how much you can inspire yourself, access your passion, and sustain your motivation.

Carol Dweck’s work focuses on Growth Mindset, and she has shown that people can learn to adopt a growth mindset. Her research found that when students had a growth mindset; a mindset which perceives a challenge as an opportunity to learn rather than an obstacle to overcome, they responded with constructive thoughts and their behaviour showed persistence rather than defeat.

I started writing the Biggles book series because I was inspired by an amazing little Jack Russell who was owned by my husband and brother-in-law. Biggles was a feisty character who made friends everywhere he went and would never be defeated by any challenge – even snake bites and cranky kangaroos couldn’t keep him down. Who better to pave the way to emotional intelligence and resilience?

Biggles Goes to Work is the first in a planned series of picture books for children with accompanying downloadables for teachers and parents to complement the early learning framework. It also maps to the teachers’ emotional wellness framework. It’s a heart-warming tale of a farm dog who learns the joy of helping others. This book enables teachers and parents to start a conversation about working hard even when there isn’t an immediate reward. These conversations are an opportunity to positively influence the child’s beliefs about their ability and enable them to make the connection that working hard and helping others feels good and is valued by others.

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