The Australian Childrenâ€™s LaureateÂ promotes the importance of reading, creativity and story in the lives of young Australians.
The Laureate for 2016â€“17 is author and artist Leigh Hobbs.
Leigh Hobbs â€“ Australian Children's Laureate 2016-17
Leigh Hobbs is the bestselling author of more than 20 books, including the iconic Old Tom, Mr Chicken Goes to Paris and Horrible Harriet. His subversive humour has delighted children for more than two decades.
The theme for Hobbsâ€™s two-year term as Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureate will be â€˜to champion creative opportunities for children, and to highlight the essential role libraries play in nurturing our creative livesâ€™.
'Libraries have played an enormous role in my life,' Hobbs says. 'Reading and exploring history and art is something I have been able to do because of libraries. Iâ€™m passionately interested in histories and cultures and I hope that through my work I can encourage children to explore and experience these things too.'
Jackie French â€“ Australian Children's Laureate 2014-15
The theme for Frenchâ€™s two-year term as Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureate will be â€˜Share a Storyâ€™.
'Stories tell us who we are. They teach us empathy so we understand who others are. They give us the power to imagine and create the futureâ€™ â€“ Jackie French.
Read about Jackie's Laureateship here.
Australia's Inaugural Children's Laureates 2012 - 2013
Much-loved childrenâ€™s authors Alison Lester and Boori Monty Pryor are Australiaâ€™s first Childrenâ€™s Laureates! Both are talented and award-winning storytellers who bring a wealth of experience and creativity to the position â€“ Alison as a renowned author and illustrator, and Boori as a celebrated author, performer, dancer and poet.
As the Childrenâ€™s Laureates for 2012 and 2013, Alison and Boori will act as national and international ambassadors for Australian childrenâ€™s literature and will separately visit every state and territory inspiring young people to tell their own stories and be part of an active literary culture for enjoyment, wellbeing and success in life.
This prestigious national honour is the culmination of the work by the Australian Childrenâ€™s Literature Alliance (ACLA) to promote the transformational power of reading, creativity and story in the lives of young Australians.
A new outstanding Australian author or illustrator of childrenâ€™s literature will be appointed as a Laureate in January 2014.
Why were two Laureates chosen?
ACLA Chair Marj Osborne explains, â€œWe are delighted to announce Alison and Boori as our joint inaugural Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureates for 2012 and 2013. In them we found not one but two incredible individuals with the creative and passionate spirit we were looking for, so we made the unusual but exciting decision to appoint both.
While ACLA Board Member and illustrator Ann James says, "Alison and Boori have a lot in common ... both are storytellers, and each has generations of storytellers behind them.Â They share their stories in a myriad of ways â€“ oral, performance, visual, written â€“ and both collaborate with other artists to bring their stories alive. Both place the land as a major character in their work , and importantly, both view children as real partners in their work. They are both inspiring, creative and passionate.
Which is why they both ended up neck and neck contenders for the inaugural Australian Children's Laureate (like this year's Melbourne Cup!). Then one of us on the Board said, 'Why don't we have two Laureates?' and we all agreed. Unusual, exciting! Typically Australian to go for breaking tradition."
Alison Lester is a popular and best-selling writer and illustrator of children's books, and has won many awards, including the Children's Book Council of Australia Picture Book Award for Thing by Robin Klein (OUP), and Honour Book for The Journey Home (OUP).
Boori Monty Pryor was born in North Queensland. His father is from the Birrigubba of the Bowen region and his mother from Yarrabah (near Cairns), a descendant of the Kungganji and Kukuimudji. Boori has worked in film, television, modeling, sport, music and theatre-in-education.