Hello. I'm delighted, honoured and excited to be your new children's laureate.
Delighted because for thirty years I've seen what reading can do for young people and I want to spread the word. Like you, I wish that every young person could step into their future equipped with their very own superpower. Yes, there are challenges . But I don't mind challenges. I've spent my life working with young characters who are good at wrestling with big and difficult challenges, and some of it has rubbed off.
As children's laureate I'm an ambassador and spokesperson for a large group of people who feel the same way as I do about young people and reading, and that's a big honour. And there's more. I get to join a very special gang. The Children's Laureate Gang. All the Aussie children's laureates who came before me, and all the past and present laureates from other countries too. I'm very grateful to be in their company. I will feel them at my shoulder every day as I go in to bat for stories.
Stories are one of the reasons I'm so excited. Each laureate gets to choose their own patch of territory on the reading landscape, and stories are my patch. Stories that delight, beguile, inspire and move deeply. In particular, stories with the power to help young people embrace an often dark and uncertain world with optimism, love, determination and creativity.
You may have noticed that one of the things I've already been inspired to do by my predecessors is create a laureate's calendar. It's a sort of mission statement broken down into twelve monthly parts. Mine is about stories, and how they work, and the things they give us, and how they make us. Lots of themes and ideas that I hope will start lots of conversations. And thanks to Andrew Weldon's wonderful drawing skills and sense of humour, they're fun to look at too.
Each month I'll explore some of these themes and ideas in the Children's Laureate Foundation newsletter. And also on the laureate website, which we want to build into a sort of cross between a library, a laboratory, a lounge-room and a resource loading-dock. Mission central for everything I'll be doing as laureate over the next couple of years, and for what the laureates who come after me will eventually do, and I hope also for some of the things you'll be doing.