Hobbs chosen as Australian Children’s Laureate for 2016-17
Children’s author and illustrator Leigh Hobbs has been chosen at the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2016-17.
The creator of more than 20 books, including Old Tom, Mr Chicken Goes to Paris and Horrible Harriet (all A&U), will be presented with the laureate’s Magpie Award at a ceremony at the State Library of Victoria on 12 February. He succeeds 2014-2015 Australian Children’s Laureate Jackie French and the inaugural laureates Alison Lester and Boori Monty Pryor.
The theme of Hobbs’ two-year term will be ‘to champion creative opportunities for children, and to highlight the essential role libraries play in nurturing our creative lives’.
‘Three subjects that come to mind for my Laureateship are reading, art and libraries,’ Hobbs told Books+Publishing. ‘In workshops at schools I’d like to subtract competition from the equation. It’s a fact that not everyone has the skill, urge or ambition to be an artist or writer. However that doesn’t mean that every child can’t write or draw, or make marks meaningful to themselves or to others and express themselves. I will be leading workshops and events for children and adults at each state and territory library around Australia during 2016 and 2017.’
‘With reading, what’s important is that, within reason, the kids feel engaged by whatever they’re reading. I read mostly reference books as a kid, hardly any fiction. But those biographies, histories, art and architecture books that I soaked up as a nine-year-old certainly fertilised my imagination.’
Hobbs’ first public appearance as the laureate will be on 13 February at the State Library of Victoria’s Kids’ Big Book Spectacular.
The Australian Children’s Laureate initiative was developed by the Australian Children’s Laureate Alliance (ACLA) to ‘promote the importance of reading, creativity and story in the lives of young Australians’.
Former Melbourne Writers’ Festival program manager and schools’ program director Mike Shuttleworth recently joined ACLA as program manager.
For more information, visit the website here.
(Photo credit: Robert Littlewood.)