The Australian Children’s Laureate is an initiative developed by the Australian Children’s Literature Alliance (ACLA), a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2008.

Author Morris Gleitzman is the 2018–2019 Australian Children's Laureate.

Morris Gleitzman, Australian Children's Laureate 2018–2019















The Laureate's role is to promote the importance of reading, creativity and story in the lives of young Australians.

Previous Laureates include Alison Lester and Boori Monty Pryor (2012–13) and Jackie French (2014–15) and (2016–2017) Leigh Hobbs.

Australian Children’s Literature Alliance

The Australian Children’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. 

ACLA’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.

ACLA’s primary activity is the development and management of the Australian Children’s Laureate program.

Australian Children’s Laureate Initiative

The establishment of an Australian Children’s Laureate to promote the importance of reading is based on the successful implementation of this idea in the UK and US. There are now also Children's Laureate programs in: Finland, Holland, Ireland, Mexico, Sweden and Wales.

The Children’s Laureate will be an Australian author and/or illustrator of children’s and/or youth literature, who is making a significant contribution to the children’s literature canon of this country. The Laureate is 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 children’s literature.

The inaugural Children’s Laureate role for 2012 to 2013 was shared by two eminent and much-loved children’s authors, Alison Lester and Boori Monty Pryor.

The second Children's Laureate role for 2014 to 2015 is held by Jackie French, bestselling author of over 140 books, including the iconic Diary of a Wombat (illustrated by Bruce Whatley) and Hitler’s Daughter. 

Artist and author Leigh Hobbs energetically fulfilled the Laureate role in 2016 and 2017.

How is the Laureate selected?

The 2018-19 Children's Laureate was selected by the Board of ACLA, representing industry leaders from many aspects of the children’s book industry, including literature development, education, writing and illustration. The ACLA board received recommendations from the following 24 organisations:

Australian Society of Authors

Australian Booksellers Association

Australian Library and Information Association

Australian Association for the Teaching of English

Australian Literacy Educators Association

Book Links QLD

Centre for Youth Literature, State Library Victoria

Children’s Book Council of Australia

Copyright Agency

Early Childhood Teachers Association

First Nations Australia Writers Network

IBBY Australia

National Library of Australia

Libraries ACT

State Library New South Wales

State Library South Australia

State Library Western Australia

State Library Queensland

LINC Tasmania

Northern Territory Library

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, WA

The Literature Centre, Fremantle

WestWords, NSW

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 children’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 media communicator
  • Is willing to promote the transformational power, value and importance of reading and the importance of children’s and youth literature in Australia’s literary culture
  • Is willing to visit each state and territory at least once during the intended two (2) year term
  • Agrees to work in consultation with the ACLA Board in their programme/project development

The Children’s Laureate is defined as an Honour.

Partners & Friends of the Australian Children’s Laureate Initiative

ACLA would like to thank our funding partners, sponsors and friends for helping us make the Australian Children’s Laureate initiative a reality.

Funding has gratefully been received from the Federal Government via the Australia Council for the Arts, the Copyright Agency Ltd Cultural Fund, the Australian Publishers Association, and the Australian Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia.

In-kind support has been provided by the volunteer ACLA board members, the Australian Booksellers Association, the Australian Society of Authors, Books Illustrated, the Children’s Publishing Committee of the Australian Publishers’ Association, the Australian School Libraries Association,  the Micador Group and publishers  Allen & 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 office.acla@gmail.com.

The Laureate Patron: Noni Hazlehurst

Alison Lester, Noni Hazlehurst and Boori Monty Pryor. Photo credit: Andre Castellucci

Meet the ACLA Board

Ron Gorman, ACLA Chair – Deputy Director AISWA, The Literature Centre, Board Member – Fogarty Learning Centre, Edith Cowan University, Convenor – Small Schools Collegiate Group. Ron Gorman is the Deputy Director of AISWA, a position he has held since 2008.  Ron was the organisation’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, ACLA Deputy-Chair, has operated justified text writing and publishing consultancy services since 1997 and has published widely on children’s and YA literature. She’s judged several awards including being inaugural chair of the judging panel for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards (Children and YA) in 2010 and 2011.

She began her career as a children’s librarian, later co-established a small children’s publishing imprint, and was also inaugural Executive Director of the Queensland Writers Centre (1991-7), of which she is now a life member. She’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 Children’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 children’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 including The Midnight Babies, Little Humpty, Lucy Goosey, The Way I Love You,  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 O’Harris Award for Distinguished service to Australian Children’s Literature. In 2003 Ann received the Dromkeen Medal awarded annually to an Australian citizen for work that ‘makes a significant contribution to the appreciation and development of children’s literature.’

Since 1996 Ann has represented illustrators on the Australian Society of Authors Committee of Management. She is a founding Board member of the Australian Children’s Literature Alliance whose primary initiative is selecting and managing the Australian Children’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 Writer’s Centre and the NSW Writer’s Centre.

Kim KaneKim 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).


Linkedin PhotoMandy Vandenelshout is a media lawyer with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. She assists program makers and journalists with defamation, contempt, contract, intellectual property, privacy and consumer law advice.  She has also worked as the in-house lawyer for the ABC’s Commercial arm dealing with all kinds of projects involving artists, authors, publishers and actors.  She works with a number of community organisations including Primary Ethics.  Mandy is also endeavouring to learn the Chinese language!


Bill Hanlon is a CPA accredited accountant and has worked in commercial organisations. He has also spent15 years working in the not-for-profit sector. This includes a volunteer position as a director on the board of a credit union rising to the position of chairperson over a 10 year period. Bill enjoys working as the Treasurer of ACLA, using his financial skills to assist in the important work of the Australian Children’s Laureate.

Bill, along with his wife, enjoys movies, travel and is a regular gym member.


The ACLA office Team


MikeShuttleworth_headshotMike Shuttleworth

Program Manager


Mike is the Program Manager for the Australian Children’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 2014-16, 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 also curated the exhibition Look! The art of Australian picture books today for the State Library of Victoria.


Nardine Keriakous

ACLA Office Manager


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 Melbourne’s north, meeting new people and innovative community projects through her consultancy, Riaki Consulting, and enjoys drawing and pretending to play the violin!