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Laureate 2020-2021 Ursula Dubosarsky

My term as Laureate has been an eventful and inspiring adventure. Coinciding with the Covid pandemic, while I’ve kept up with personal appearances where possible, the digital presence of the Laureate accelerated rapidly, and we were able to reach out across the length and breadth of a huge country – and indeed the world – to children, teachers, librarians, parents and many others that we might otherwise not have found. My chief focus has been on the celebration of the indispensable role of libraries, both school and public, in children learning to love to read and the rupture of the virus has made this
even more evident, even more important.

"We transformed ourselves into electronic messengers across the country."


Ursula Dubosarsky was born in Sydney and wanted to be a writer from the age of six. She is now the author of over 60 books for children and young adults. She has won many national prizes, including the NSW, Victorian, South Australian and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award, and has been nominated for the international Hans Christian Anderson and Astrid Lindgren awards for children’s literature. Her books have been published widely across the world and translated into fourteen different languages.

Ursula’s Laureate Focus: Read For Your Life!

Ursula directly engaged with more than 15,000 young people during her term as Laureate, sharing her mission to encourage young people to join their library. The onset of the COVID pandemic saw the program shift largely online, allowing her to potentially reach millions more from her study in countless videos and messages. By becoming a ‘Virtual Laureate’, Ursula pioneered a new way forward for the Laureate that will change the programming for the ACLF in future. 

"We made every effort possible to reach a real cross-section of Australian society through linking with State and Territory and municipal libraries and Children’s and Young People’s Commissioners across the country, as well as many, many private organisations that work with children in need for all sorts of reasons." 

Ursula's picture book "The March of the Ants", illustrated by Tohby Riddle, was published during her term Laureate. Written initially for her launch, this timeless story highlights one of the most important messages shared by the Laureate – the incomparable power of reading.

“I hope that more children and adults think about the library as a place that is as much a vital part of a child’s life as the park or the local pool. All you can do is plant seeds with the best faith you can muster.”

About Ursula

Ursula's award-winning work includes picture books, such as 'The Terrible Plop'; novels for older children, including 'The Blue Cat'; and the non-fiction ‘Word Spy’ books about the English language. Three of her works have been adapted for theatre, and her book 'Too Many Elephants in This House' was chosen for National Simultaneous Story-time.

Find out more about Ursula!

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