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