What is the Australian Children’s Laureate?
The Australian Children’s Laureate initiative was developed by the not-for-profit Australian Children’s Literature Alliance (ACLA).
Through the initiative, a children’s or young adult writer who has made a significant contribution to Australian children’s literature is selected to spend two years travelling around the country to promote the importance of literacy and to foster a love of reading.
There have been four Laureates over six years, with the inaugural role of Laureate being shared between Alison Lester and Boori Monty Pryor.
Below you will find information, resources and links for all the past and present Children Laureates. Click on a name to go straight to that author’s section.
- Leigh Hobbs (2016/2017)
- Jackie French (2014/2015)
- Alison Lester (2012/2013)
- Boori Monty Pryor (2012/2013)
Leigh Hobbs is an illustrator, artist and children’s book writer. He is the best-selling author of more than 20 books. His focus as Laureate has been ‘to champion creative opportunities for children, and to highlight the essential role libraries play in nurturing our creative lives’.
- The Big Book of Old Tom – Reading Australia full unit of work with assessment tasks and downloadable PDFs.
- How to draw Old Tom with Leigh Hobbs – a wonderful video from ABC Education.
The Garret podcast speaks with Leigh about his life as an illustrator.
Interview with author and illustrator Leigh Hobbs discussing The Big Book of Old Tom on ABC Splash.
During her time as the Children’s Laureate, Jackie advocated for teaching babies and children to read early. She was passionate about helping every child learn to read, including those with learning difficulties.
- Flood – a Reading Australia full unit of work with assessment tasks and downloadable PDFs.
- Helping Kids Create a Story – this is Jackie’s step-by-step guide to teach students how to write a story.
- How to get children reading – in this post, Jackie reflects on the challenges she faced going through school with dyslexia, and gives tips for turning children into readers.
- How to get kids to love writing stories
- A beginner’s guide to writing an essay
- How to make your stories better – once your students have the basics of creative writing, this guide will show them how to ‘fatten’ up their stories.
In 2015, Jackie was honoured with the Senior Australian of the Year award. In the video below Jackie speaks about her belief in the transformational power of reading, creativity and story-telling in the lives of young Australians.
Alison Lester is an award-winning author and illustrator of more than 25 picture books. During her term as Laureate she focused on the importance of Australian kids reading about Australian places and recognising their stories in books.
- Are We There Yet? – a Reading Australia full unit of work with assessment tasks and downloadable work sheets.
- This is My Place Project – although the project is now over, there are wonderful lesson ideas that explore the notion of ‘place’.
In this video Alison Lester explains how to start creating a book and the purpose of storyboards.
Boori Monty Pryor’s award-winning books tell stories of kids finding inner strength to overcome fears and challenges. While he was the Laureate, Boori championed the idea that children are more than just readers, they are storykeepers.
- My Girragundji – a Reading Australia full unit of work that includes assessment tasks and downloadable PDFs.
- The Storytellers Project – although the project is now over, the questions on the wiki will help students find their own story.
In this video you see Boori carrying out a workshop for students.
BONUS video: the inaugural laureates talk about how they work with children to teach a love for reading, writing and illustrating.