Posted on 27th January, 2016 by
The Australian Childrenâ€™s Literature Alliance (ACLA) is thrilled that its former Australian Children's Laureate, Jackie French, together with founding ACLA board member Ann James and Victorian sub-committee member Ann Haddon, have been recognised for their service to children's literature on Australia Day. All three will receive a Member of the Order of Australia for their work in childrenâ€™s literature.
Jackie French who was the Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureate from 2014-2015 will become a Member of the Order of Australia for â€˜significant service to literature as an author of children's books, and as an advocate for improved youth literacyâ€™.
Celebrated childrenâ€™s illustrator Ann James will become a Member of the Order of Australia for â€˜significant service to childrenâ€™s literature as an author and illustrator and through advocacy roles with literacy and professional bodiesâ€™.
Childrenâ€™s literature advocate Ann Haddon will become a Member of the Order of Australia for â€˜significant services to childrenâ€™s literature, as a fundraiser and supporter of Indigenous literacy, and to professional organisations.â€™
Australian writers have been overlooked in the Australia Day Honours for too long and Australian children's writers and illustrators have fared particularly badly, despite their contribution to Australian literary culture and indeed book sales.
TheÂ awards are wonderful recognition of the unrelenting diligence of our children's literature writers and illustrators and the tireless advocacy that has gone on to support our vibrant Australian children's book industry.
Hazel Edwards (OAM), an Australian author who has written 200 books, including the classic children's book There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake, was thrilled to see both childrenâ€™s literature and women recognised this year:
â€˜The hidden work of those who do the long term paperwork required for nomination in areas of the Arts which do not have a supportive corporate structure to do the administration, must also be recognised. Congratulations to them too.â€™
Ron Gorman, Chair of ACLA agrees: â€˜Australian childrenâ€™s literature is punching well above its weight overseas but it fails to garner much recognition at home. Iâ€™m not sure there is any other city which hosts not one but two award winners of the Astrid Lindgren Award â€“ the worldâ€™s most prestigious award for childrenâ€™s literature â€“ and Melbourne does just that with Shaun Tan and Sonya Hartnett. We are in a golden age of childrenâ€™s literature and so many people have worked hard, not only over the last year, but for decades to bring us to this point. It is terrific to see some of that hard work recognised.â€™
The new AustralianÂ Children's Laureate will beÂ announced on Monday 8th February.