Jackie French, best-selling author of over 140 books, including the iconic Diary of a Wombat and Hitler’s Daughter, has been announced as the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2014 – 2015.
French was presented with her Magpie Award, the symbol of the Laureate, at a ceremony at the National Library of Australia in Canberra by actor, director and former Play School presenter Rhys Muldoon.
She will take over from the inaugural Laureate – a position shared between Alison Lester and Boori Monty Pryor – in February 2014.
Jackie French has written over 140 fiction and non-fiction books. Her 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 of help for children with learning difficulties.
About the Australian Children’s Literature Alliance (ACLA)
The Australian Children’s Laureate is an initiative developed by the Australian Children’s Literature Alliance, founded in 2008. The Laureate’s role is to promote the importance and transformational power of reading, creativity and story in the lives of young Australians.
The Laureate acts as a national and international ambassador for Australian children’s literature, inspiring young people to tell their own stories and be part of an active literary culture for enjoyment, wellbeing and success in life.
The theme for French’s two-year term as Australian Children’s Laureate will be ‘Share a Story’.
Says Jackie: ‘There are a million ways to share a book or story — to read to a child on your lap; to have a child read to you while you cook dinner; to read to the dog when it has to go to the vet to calm it (or you!) down; to join a storytelling session at your library; to lend a book to your best friend; to tell your grandchildren what life was like when you were young over the phone or on Skype; to read to thousands by video conferencing; to be read a book on television by a much-loved presenter. Stories tell us who we are. They teach us empathy so we understand who others are. They give us the power to imagine and create the future.’
To find out more about what the new Australian Children’s Laureate, Jackie French, will be doing and how to get involved with Laureate projects, please visit http://www.childrenslaureate.org.au. A further celebration will take place at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne on Friday 29th of November.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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