In Conversation, The Australian Children’s Laureates

Last night I had the pleasure in joining Australian Children’s Laureates Jackie French (current) and Alison Lester (2012-2013) in the beautiful Harper Collins offices in Sydney, as they discussed what it means to be the Australian Children’s Laureate.

To Alison, The Laureate is about reaching out to communities that have been left behind. She believes children are always bursting with potential and reading can be the thing that enables them to reach that potential. Alison said that being the Laureate was a privilege and a joy.
Children's Laureate Shelly with Bruce Whatley print
In the Laureate role Jackie has been reaching out to new audiences over the phone, using a speakerphone, as well as using video and radio. She has spoken to over 10,000 children in the last month alone.

Jackie believes Australian literature punches above it weight in quality and innovation. She spoke of ‘Magic books’ as books that turn children into readers. Jackie believes there is a ‘magic book’ out there for every child. It is about teaching children to become great book hunters.  She also spoke of the importance of parents continuing to read to children after the age of six. Once children can read for themselves it is easy to leave it to them. But she believes there is a huge amount of value in continuing to read together beyond six.

Of being the Laureate Jackie says, “It is an extraordinary experience and she is treasuring every single second.”

It was great to see such passion and commitment from both Jackie and Alison. It was also wonderful to walk away with a signed Bruce Whatley print at then end of the silent auction 🙂

Published by Shelly Unwin

Children's Author. Born in the UK in 1977 I grew up and was educated in the small country side town of Ashbourne in the Midlands, my childhood was spent surrounded by animals and children. I was one of three children but my wonderful parents also fostered 11 little children whilst I was young. Riding horses and reading books were my main two loves. Upon leaving high school I studied teaching and biology at university in Birmingham and left with a first class honors degree. My teaching degree re-ignited my passion for beautifully written and illustrated children’s literature. I moved to Australia in 2002 where I forged a career in sales. In 2006 I married my Australian husband in 2006 and we now have two young children. Given my teaching background I had always wanted to write children’s stories that truly engage the reader, and reading to my children has again brought children’s literature to the forefront of my life. Most of my stories are aimed at children between 0-6 yrs, but they will also appeal to the reader through their beautiful rhythm and ability to take your imagination on a wonderful journey.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: