Leigh Hobbs was Australian Children's Laureate during 2016 â€“ 2017.
Leigh is the best-selling 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.'
Leigh was born in Melbourne, grew up in Bairnsdale and has lived and worked in Sydney, Sale and London. He is an artist who works across a wide range of mediums, as well as writing and illustrating his children's books.
Many of his cartoons have appeared in the Melbourne Age newspaper. He is best known, though, for his children's books featuring his characters Old Tom, Horrible Harriet and Fiona the Pig and Mr Chicken, as well as the Freaks and their teachers in 4F for Freaks and Freaks Ahoy. Old Tom has been adapted into an extremely popular TV series. Leigh has three times been shortlisted for the CBCA Picture Book of the Year Award (for Mr Chicken Goes to Paris, Horrible Harriet and Old Tom's Holiday) and his books have won every major childrenâ€™s choice award in Australia. Leighâ€™s books are published by Allen & Unwin.
As well as being an author and illustrator Leigh works as an artist in a wide range of mediums. He has designed the colour scheme for the entrance to Melbourneâ€™s Luna Park and the creature that sits atop a ride inside the park called the â€˜spiderâ€™. A Flinders Street Station teapot he made is in the National Gallery of Victoria, and two caricature sculptures he created for Sydneyâ€™s Luna Park in the early 1970s are at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.
Visit Leigh's website â€“Â leighhobbs.com
While he was acting as Children's Laureate, Leigh toured Australia and the world. You can read all about his activities and adventures on Leigh's blog.