Children's Literature

While Melbourne may be the City of Literature, it is in fact the City of Children's Literature. The city is the only city in the world which boasts two Astrid Lindgren Award winners (Sonya Hartnett and Shaun Tan) the world's most lucrative and prestigious literary prize awarded to a creator for a body of work. In addition to this, popular authors and illustrators all of whom have made a splash at home and abroad -- such as former Australian children's Laureates Alison Lester and Boori Monty Prior together with Bob Graham, Andy Griffith, Paul Jennings, John Marsden, Judy Horacek, Sally Rippin, Graeme Base, Ann James, Leigh Hobbs, Terry Denton, Sofie Laguna and Morris Gleitzman -- call Melbourne home.

There are numerous independent children's publishers based in this city as well as organizations that support the thriving children's literature community. The Australian Children's Literature Alliance runs the Australian Children's Laureate program - Australia's national ambassador for children's literature. The 2016-17 Laureate is Leigh Hobbs. The Children's Book Council of Australia has an active Victorian branch which also promotes books and authors through events such as its annual Clayton's Night and Book Week.

The young adult community is energetic with the Centre for Youth Literature and its outstanding Reading Matters conference, which brings together many of the Nation's best biannually. #LoveOzYA is a new group which is dedicated to bringing Australia's world class young adult fiction to an Australian audience.

Children's books are nothing without their illustrations and Books Illustrated has been supporting and mentoring children's illustrators - promoting their works and exhibiting and selling original and reproduction art works for decades. Although it is found just outside the city, Dromkeen has been associated with the promotion, exhibition and cultivation of children's illustration for some time.

There is an emerging culture of children's review in the city with the Australasian Children’s Literature Association for Research Conference (ACLAR). The Australian Book Review also has some very strong reviewers for this readership.

Tertiary Institutions such as Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and Deakin University have creative writing courses to encourage writers and the Faber Academy run by Allen and Unwin together with the Text Prize for Young Adult and children's Literature are encouraging new writers for this audience. The 100 Story Building in Footscray is doing some wonderful projects to get children writing as well.

Innovative ways to tell stories and share books such as Story Box Library and Bolinda Audio books can be found in the city and commercial art galleries such as No Vacancy gallery in Collingwood exhibit the works of some of the city's illustrators.

Strangely, for a State so strong on children's literature there is no Victorian Premier's Award for children's literature (although there is one for young adult fiction). To fill the void is the peer reviewed Readings Children's Book Prize. The Speech Pathology Awards also support children's and young adult literature while the Yabba Awards and the Inky Awards are awards run from Melbourne by judged by young readers.

Independent children's bookshops and bookshops with large and active children's sections are thriving and do much to support the industry (The Little Bookroom has just celebrated its 65th year and is joined by ReadingsThe Sun Bookshop and Avenue Bookstore). There are a number of dedicated children’s literary festivals as well (Children’s Book Festival or the Castlemaine Children’s Literature Festival)

Story times are found in libraries across the city with The State Library hosting wonderful story and craft events. The Itty Bitty Book Van is a fun and mobile alternative.

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19 November 2017
Stonnington Libraries
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Preschool Storytime with Sue deGennaro

20 November 2017
Stonnington Libraries
Sue deGennaro

Audiences young and old will be charmed by the tale of Eddie Frogbert and...