Many exceptional Australian authors have taken on the role of Australian Children's Laureate to promote the importance of reading, creativity and story in the lives of young Australians.
Below are all the previous Australian Children's Laureates.
You can read about the current Australian Children's Laureate here.
Morris Gleitzman – Australian Children's Laureate 2018–19
Morris Gleitzman is a bestselling Australian children’s author whose books explore serious and sometimes confronting subjects in funny and unexpected ways.
Morris wrote his first children’s novel in 1985. His moving and humourous style has endeared him to children and adults alike, and he is now one of Australia’s most successful authors, both internationally and at home.
The majority of Morris’ accolades are for his hugely popular and award-winning children’s books. One of the first was Two Weeks with the Queen, an international bestseller which was also adapted into a play by Mary Morris. The play had many successful seasons in Australia and was then produced at the National Theatre in London, directed by Alan Ayckbourn, and also in South Africa, Canada, Japan and the USA.
Morris’ books have been published in more than twenty countries. They have won numerous awards, including all the Australian Readers Choice Awards voted for by children.
Leigh Hobbs – Australian Children's Laureate 2016–17
Leigh is the bestselling author of more than 20 books. His subversive humour has delighted children for more than two decades.
He is best known 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 children’s choice award in Australia. Leigh’s books are published by Allen & Unwin.
Jackie French – Australian Children's Laureate 2014–15
Jackie is the bestselling author of the iconic Diary of a Wombat and Hitler’s Daughter She has written over 170 fiction and non-fiction books.
Jackie's writing career spans 25 years and includes 248 wombats, 3,721 bush rats, 36 languages and over 60 awards in Australia and overseas.
Jackie has been a full time writer for over twenty years, and she is acclaimed in both literary and children’s choice awards. She is passionate about history, the environment and the conservation of wildlife and our planet. Jackie is also dyslexic, and is a strong advocate for the rights of children with learning difficulties.
Alison Lester & Boori Monty Pryor 2012–13
Much-loved children’s authors Alison Lester and Boori Monty Pryor were Australia’s first Children’s Laureates.
Boori Monty Pryor
Boori 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 written several award-winning books with Meme McDonald including Maybe Tomorrow, My Girragundji, The Binna Binna Man and Njunjul the Sun. His picture book collaboration with Jan Ormerod, Shake a Leg, won the Prime Minister's Literary Award for Children's Fiction in 2011.
Boori's stories are about finding strength within to deal with the challenges without, and his skill is to create positive visions of the future for both Indigenous and all Australians.
Alison 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).
Over her twenty-one year career she has produced such classics as the Clive Eats Alligators series, Magic Beach, Imagine and My Farm, and she also writes novels, including The Quicksand Pony and the Bonnie and Sam series with Roland Harvey.
Her picture book, Are We There Yet?, won the CBCA Picture Book of the Year Award in 2005, and Running with the Horses was an Honour Book in the 2010 CBCA Book of the Year Awards and 2010 Prime Minister's Literary Awards.
Her most recent titles include Noni the Pony, Once Small Island created in collaboration with Coral Tulloch and Sophie Scott Goes South, inspired by her travels to Antarctica and the Kids Antarctic Art Project.
Why were two Laureates chosen?
With two equally outstanding candidates, the Board made the unusual and exciting decision to appoint both authors to be the inaugural Australian Children's Laureates.
“We are delighted to announce Alison and Boori as our joint inaugural Australian Children’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."
- ACLA Chair Marj Osborne
"Alison and Boori have a lot in common ... both are storytellers, and each has generations of storytellers behind them. They share their stories in a myriad of ways – oral, performance, visual, written – 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."
- Illustrator Ann James, former Board member ACLF