Charley will turn 10 in August. She's a beautiful, easy-going soul, very attuned to other people's feelings and able to break through the most irresponsive and grumpy disposition and sweeten the foulest of moods, including my dinner-time rants and the regular indignant outbursts by her little sister - a godsend to a mother and a gift to a sibling.
She's not a girly-girl. Her hair is either bunched in a ponytail or loosely side-parted. Long denim shorts or black legging and T-shirts are her preferred dress for all occasions. She'd rather swim and go on adventures than shop or fuss with frills and potions. She plays soccer not netball. She won't wear a watch or do her nails or carry a bag or wear a jumper unless it's sub-zero. She relishes slap-stick humour and has her generation's easy affinity with new technology - happy as a clam with small screens, scroll buttons, arrow keys and animation.
Her very favourite book character at the moment is Molly Moon - orphan, a time traveler, master hypnotist, mind reader and eponymous heroine of five stories by British author, Georgia Byng.
Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism
Molly Moon Stops the World
Molly Moon's Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure
Molly Moon, Micky Minus and the Mind Machine
and the latest release, grabbed with glee from the book shelves of Big W,
Molly Moon and the Morphing Mystery.
According to one reviewer, they are profoundly moral children's stories about exploitation, character, and learning to care for people.
Perhaps Charly sees something of herself in Molly; I think I do.
Books by Georgia Byng