The Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureate is an initiative developed by the Australian Childrenâ€™s Literature Alliance (ACLA), a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2008.
The Laureate's role is to promote the importance of reading, creativity and story in the lives of young Australians.
The Laureate for 2016-17 is Leigh Hobbs.
Australian Childrenâ€™s Literature Alliance
The Australian Childrenâ€™s Literature Alliance (ACLA) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, founded in 2008 to champion and promote the transformational power of reading in the lives of young Australians. ACLA is a collegial and inclusive organisation with representation from across the field of children's and young adult literature.
In 2014 ACLA secured DGR status.
ACLA's vision is to: enrich the lives of young Australians through the power of story.Â
ACLAâ€™s mission is to:
- Promote the value, importance and transformational nature of reading
- Influence the reading habits of Australian families
- Raise the profile of books in the lives of children and young adults
- Champion the cause of young Australians reading.
One of ACLAâ€™s primary activities is the development and management of the Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureate program.
Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureate Initiative
The establishment of an Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureate to promote the importance of reading is based on the successful implementation of this idea in the UK and US.
The Childrenâ€™s Laureate will be an Australian author and/or illustrator of childrenâ€™s and/or youth literature who is making a significant contribution to the childrenâ€™s literature canon of this country. The Laureate will be appointed on a biennial basis and will promote the transformational power of reading, creativity and story in the lives of young Australians, while acting as a national and international ambassador for Australian childrenâ€™s literature.
The inaugural Childrenâ€™s Laureate role for 2012 to 2013 is shared by two eminent and much-loved childrenâ€™s authors, Alison Lester and Boori Monty Pryor.
The second Children's Laureate role for 2014 to 2015 is held byÂ Jackie French, best-selling author of over 140 books, including the iconic Diary of a WombatÂ (illustrated by Bruce Whatley) and Hitlerâ€™s Daughter.Â
How is the Laureate selected?
The selection panel is made up of ACLA's established board representing industry leaders from all aspects of the childrenâ€™s book industry (literature development, libraries, schools, publishers, booksellers) across Australia. This includes representation from the Australian Society of Authors, the Australian Publishers Association, Books Illustrated and The National Library of Australia.
They also consideredÂ nominations from colleagues and affiliatedÂ organisations (Boards of CBCA, IBBY etc.)Â within theÂ industry by consulting with ACLA'sÂ extensive network of state subcommittees.
The selection panel for the 2014-2015 Laureate Jackie French were:
- Andrew Wilkins - Business Advantage, Wilkins Farago (VIC)
- Andrew Kelly - Wild Dog Books (VIC)
- Dr Robyn Sheahan-Bright - Â Justified text writing and publishing consultancy services, Australian Society of Authors and IBBY Australia Inc (QLD)
- Ann JamesÂ Â - Books Illustrated, Australian Society of Authors (VIC)
- Laurine Croasdale -Â Australian Society of Authors, Literature Live (NSW)
- Jane Covernton - Australian Publishers Association Children's Book Committee, Working Title Press publishers (SA)
- Maureen Brooks - National Library of Australia (ACT)
What are the criteria for selecting the Australian Children's Laureate?
- Has been published by an Australian publisher
- Is an Australian citizen and resident in Australia for the term of office
- Has made a significant contribution to Australian childrenâ€™s and/or youth literature, with recognised stature, a positive public profile and the respect of their peers
- Has proven ability to relate to and communicate well with children
- Is an articulate and media-savvy communicator
- Is willing to promote the transformational power, value and importance of reading and the importance of childrenâ€™s and youth literature in Australiaâ€™s literary culture
- Is willing to visit each state and territory at least once during the intended two (2) year term
- Agrees to operate in consultation with the ACLA Board in their programme/project development
The Childrenâ€™s Laureate is defined as an Honour.
Partners & Friends of the Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureate Initiative
ACLA would like to thank our funding partners, sponsors and friends for helping us make the Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureate initiative a reality.
Funding has gratefully been received from the Federal Government via the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Society of Authors, the AustralianÂ Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia,Â Bolinda Audio, CAGES Foundation, the Childrenâ€™s Book Council of Australia, the Copyright Agency Ltd Cultural Fund, the Department for Education and Early Childhood Development (SA) and the State Library of Victoria.
In-kind support has been provided by the volunteer ACLA board members, the Australian Booksellers Association, the Australian Society of Authors, Books Illustrated, the Childrenâ€™s Publishing Committee of the Australian Publishersâ€™ Association, the Australian School Libraries Association, Carclew Youth Arts, the Micador Group and publishers Penguin and Allen and Unwin.
If you would like to support the Australian Children's Laureate Initiative by offering financial, in-kind or volunteer support, please contact ACLA via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Laureate Patron: Noni Hazlehurst
Meet the ACLA Board
Ron Gorman,Â ACLA Chair â€“ Deputy Director AISWA, The Literature Centre, Board Member â€“ Fogarty Learning Centre, Edith Cowan University, Convenor â€“ Small Schools Collegiate Group. Ron Gorman is the Deputy Director of AISWA, a position he has held since 2008.Â Ron was the organisationâ€™s Senior Literacy Consultant and Projects Manager from 2000-2008. He is a former classroom teacher who taught in Victorian schools in the early 1980s, at Culunga Aboriginal School in Guildford WA in 1983, and at Lance Holt Primary School in Fremantle from 1984-1991. He was principal of Lance Holt from 1991-1999.
Dr Robyn Sheahan-Bright,Â ACLA Deputy-Chair,Â has operated justified text writing and publishing consultancy services since 1997 and has published widely on childrenâ€™s and YA literature. Sheâ€™s judged several awards including being inaugural chair of the judging panel for the Prime Ministerâ€™s Literary Awards (Children and YA) in 2010 and 2011.
She began her career as a childrenâ€™s librarian, later co-established a small childrenâ€™s publishing imprint, and was also inaugural Executive Director of the Queensland Writers Centre (1991-7), of which she is now a life member. Sheâ€™s currently a board member of the Australian Society of Authors, a member of the IBBY (Australia) Inc Committee, and president of the Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale Committee. She was recipient of the 2011 CBCA (Qld) Dame Annabelle Rankin Award, and the 2012 CBCA Nan Chauncy Award for Distinguished Services to Childrenâ€™s Literature in Australia. She looks forward as a member of the ACLA Board to assisting the Laureates in their important role of promoting the work of Australian creators generally.
Ann James was an art teacher who moved into designing and illustrating education publications before establishing herself as an award-winning illustrator of childrenâ€™s books. Ann particularly loves illustrating picture books and texts for young children. She has collaborated with many authors and publishers to illustrate over 60 books, many of which have been translated into other languages includingÂ The Midnight Babies, Little Humpty, Lucy Goosey, The Way I Love You, Â Sadie and Ratz, Chester and Gil and the Audrey series..
Ann, with partner Ann Haddon, established Books Illustrated in 1988. This gallery for book illustration now focuses on creating exhibitions promoting Australian picture books and their creators that travel throughout Australia and overseas - most recently in Italy, China and Korea. Together in 2000 they were awarded the Pixie Oâ€™Harris Award for Distinguished service to Australian Childrenâ€™s Literature. In 2003 Ann received the Dromkeen Medal awarded annually to an Australian citizen for work that â€˜makes a significant contribution to the appreciation and development of childrenâ€™s literature.â€™
Since 1996 Ann has represented illustrators on the Australian Society of Authors Committee of Management. She is a founding Board member of the Australian Childrenâ€™s Literature Alliance whose primary initiative is selecting and managing the Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureate/s. She lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.
Laurine Croasdale has had a long career in publishing, working as an editor, packager and consultant in both Australia and the UK. She has written scripts for the television show Hi5 and had over 15 fiction and non-fiction books published for children. Her latest book, iHarry, was released by Penguin in 2011. Laurine also presents workshops to schools via video conference with Literature Live! and tutored at the Sydney Writerâ€™s Centre and the NSW Writerâ€™s Centre.
Kim Kane writes fiction for children and young adults published in Australia and overseas. Before she commenced writing full time, Kim was an intellectual property and commercial lawyer in both private practice and for a listed company. Prior to ACLA, Kim was the Vice Chair of Express Media Inc. She also sat on the board of the Australian Teachers of Media (Vic) (ATOM).
Mandy Vandenelshout is a media lawyer with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.Â She assists program makers and journalists with defamation, contempt,Â contract, intellectual property, privacy and consumer law advice.Â SheÂ has also worked as the in-house lawyer for the ABCâ€™s Commercial armÂ dealing with all kinds of projects involving artists, authors,Â publishers and actors.Â She works with a number of communityÂ organisations including Primary Ethics.Â Mandy is also endeavouringÂ to learn the Chinese language!
The ACLA office Team
2016/17 Laureate launch and campaign manager
Mike is currently managing the Laureate program for the Australian Childrenâ€™s Literature Alliance. He has been a dedicated mediator of literature in numerous roles, including as a critic, curator and jury member (Prime Minister's Literary Award, Victorian Premier's Award). He was the Centre for Youth Literature program manager from 2002 to 2010.From 2011 to 2015 he was the program Manager of the Melbourne Writers Festival and director of the festival's Schools' Program. He curated the exhibition Look! The art of Australian picture books today for the State Library of Victoria.
After over a decade working with various multinational companies and top tier financial institutions, Nardine resigned from her position within the corporate sector to focus on her passion of transforming not-for-profits and charities from the inside out. She is passionate about streamlining processes and ensuring smaller grassroots organisations have sound governance, financial and risk management practices. Simply, attempting to bridge the gap between the two sectors. Nardine spends her time working at a crisis accommodation in Melbourneâ€™s north, meeting new people and innovative community projects through her consultancy, Riaki Consulting, and enjoys drawing and pretending to play the violin!
Geri has extensive experience in small business management. The past 12 years she has focused on working as a mentor and advisor to small business owners assisting in implementing management systems. Prior to this, Geri utilized her Fine Art Diploma to establish and lead a creative business, designing gift and homeware products. Geri is passionate about all children having the opportunity to learn to read and grow their enjoyment of reading books and illustration of stories.