Cel­e­brat­ing diver­sity

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ac­tress. “She was my role model, the one who told me I could do any­thing I wanted to do. She was only 20 years older than me, so I had an ex­pec­ta­tion that we’d be old ladies to­gether.

“You don’t cope,” she says. “Peo­ple have this idea that grief is some­thing you get over, but I don’t think you ever get over that kind of a loss. It’s sim­ply folded into your life and be­comes an un­for­tu­nate re­al­ity.

“Cer­tainly, hav­ing chil­dren is a big help. My mother was great, so it’s my re­spon­si­bil­ity to be the kind of mother that she’d been to me to my own chil­dren.” Moore’s book pays ho­mage to all moth­ers who come from dif­fer­ent coun­tries, cel­e­brat­ing the di­verse world we live in.

“My mother came to the US from Scot­land when she was 10 years old,” she says. “It’s a chal­leng­ing thing. In the US we talk so much about as­sim­i­la­tion, that we’re all mul­ti­cul­tural and we all as­sim­i­late, but that was not my ex­pe­ri­ence grow­ing up. My ex­pe­ri­ence was that my mother was very Scot­tish. She was only 20 when I was born and she hadn’t changed or be­come Amer­i­can­ised.”

The tales in the book are re­flec­tive of the ex­pe­ri­ences Moore had as a young­ster, hav­ing a ‘for­eign’ mum. “Peo­ple would say, ‘Why does your mom talk so funny?’ I knew that she was dif­fer­ent. She’d al­ways braid my hair, we’d eat dif­fer­ent kinds of food. Even some­thing as sim­ple as a mince pie, which we’d have at Christ­mas, other Amer­i­cans didn’t have.”

The 52-year-old ac­tress, who has lived in New York for 30 years, is no stranger to feel­ing dis­placed. She had a peri­patetic childhood, born at an army base in North Carolina, the daugh­ter of a para­trooper and later a mil­i­tary judge. The fam­ily moved to 23 lo­ca­tions, with Moore at­tend­ing nine dif­fer­ent schools along the way.

“I found it dif­fi­cult mov­ing around,” she ad­mits. “I mean, you are who you are, and your up­bring­ing shapes you. I’m happy with my life and the way things turned out. It made me more in­ter­ested in the world and gave me a tremen­dous ed­u­ca­tion. On the other hand, of course kids never want to move.”

Books helped the young Ju­lianne find se­cu­rity. She could take them with her and im­merse her­self in sto­ries wher­ever she was.

“They were my way of un­der­stand­ing, learn­ing about things, they were a con­stant com­pan­ion and a friend. In lit­er­a­ture you learn that you’re not alone, that we all have sim­i­lar feel­ings and ex­pe­ri­ences. It’s a great com­fort.”

She ad­mits that she wasn’t a con­fi­dent child. “I didn’t mind my [red] hair, but I just hated my freck­les. You wanted to have skin like every­body else’s, not pale and freckly.

“Kids would say things like, ‘Are you dirty? Do they go away?’ And I didn’t like not be­ing able to go to the beach and get a tan.”

This ex­pe­ri­ence in­spired her suc­cess­ful chil­dren’s book se­ries, Freck­le­face Strawberry – all New York Times best-sell­ers – with a mes­sage that chil­dren can over­come hur­dles.

Moore stud­ied drama at Bos­ton Univer­sity, work­ing as a wait­ress to sup­port her act­ing. Her ex­ten­sive

Moore’s book, which pays ho­mage to for­eign moth­ers, fea­tures vivid il­lus­tra­tions by Meilo So

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