Leigh Hobbs named Australian Children’s Laureate for 2016-2017!

Leigh Hobbs, best-selling author of the iconic Old Tom, Mr Chicken Goes to Paris and Horrible Harriet has today been announced as the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2016 – 2017.

Leigh Hobbs 2He will succeed the writer Jackie French, who concluded her role as Laureate at the end of 2015.

The Australian Children’s Laureate is an initiative developed by the Australian Children’s Literature Alliance (ACLA), a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2008. The Laureate’s role is to promote the importance of reading, creativity and story in the lives of young Australians.

The theme for Hobbs’s two-year term as Australian Children’s Laureate will be ‘to champion creative opportunities for children, and to highlight the essential role libraries play in nurturing our creative lives’.

‘Libraries have played an enormous role in my life’, Hobbs says. ‘Reading and exploring history and art is something I have been able to do because of libraries. I’m passionately interested in histories and cultures and I hope that through my work I can encourage children to explore and experience these things too.’

Leigh’s first public appearance as Laureate will be this Saturday 13th February at State Library Victoria’s Kids’ Big Book Spectacular, which includes workshops, a pop-up exhibition and storytelling in celebration of his contribution to children’s literature.

Check out all of Leigh Hobbs’ books at Booktopia!

Leigh Chicken

Get Reading with Booktopia

Here is a question for you. Is there a scent that you associate with books? I don’t mean the smell of the paper, or the leather when you walk into a room full of old books. I mean, is there a smell that immediately transports you to reading heaven? Do you associate a perfume with a particular memory of reading, or a particular book?

For me, it is an easy ask. The minute I catch even a whiff of jasmine, I am in sensory heaven – jasmine poking through the paling fence, a sprig or two tucked behind one ear, sun on my back, book in my hand, sheltered from the cold early spring wind in a walled courtyard, pot of tea steaming by my Continue reading

Jasper and Abby and the Great Australia Day Kerfuffle

Ever wondered what Kevin 24/7 Rudd does while the rest of us are sleeping? The man is a notorious work-aholic and apparently gets by on about two and a half seconds sleep a night.

Well the embargo has been broken on publishing’s worst kept secret and word is out that a certain Australian prime minister has entered the realm of picture book writing, with a little help from actor, the very gorgeous Rhys Muldoon. Presumably Rhys got a taste for the corridors of power when he played British PM Tony Blair in the David Hare play Stuff Happens. Mr Rudd and Mr Muldoon have hosted the odd radio program together, with the actor obviously impressing the PM at the 2020 Summit. However it evolved, the Play School host and the PM had some very active writing sessions via SMSs on Muldoon’s  iPhone, which certainly must have been a relief to the PM compared with his usual preoccupations such as the global economic crisis and global warning.

(Is anyone else thinking of that episode of Black Books where Bernhard and Mannie decide to collaborate on a children’s book, assuming the writing would be a doddle?)

Few details are available yet about Jasper and Abby and the Great Australia Day Kerfuffle other than it is a picture book based on the life of the Rudd’s cat (Jasper) and dog (Abby) who live with them at The Lodge in Canberra.

Although the exact plot remains a secret, Mr Rudd has admitted that is was “not the most demanding text I have ever worked on”.

“I’ve worked on the text with Rhys and we’ve both interviewed the cat and the dog. They have been very co-operative in their responses but for most of the time have gone off the record”, he said.

Jasper and Abby is being launched, appropriately, on Australia Day and proceeds of its sale will go to charity. On a slightly more jaded note, even if the PM can’t do “dog” like Bob Graham or “cat” like Leigh Hobbs, no doubt there will be  votes in this book.


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