Read for your life

Hey cHEwY gum gums!

I didn’t have a chance to put up a blog yesterday because I was at the National Library of Australia in Canberra for a very special announcement. The 6th Oz Children’s Laureate was going to be revealed.

My hero, Morris G was the previous Laureate. Laureates are given a public platform to spread the love of books and reading across Australia. It’s a dream job hehe.

Before the event, I visited the Storytime exhibition downstairs to see the history of Australian children books. From the success of oldies like Gumnut Babies and Blinky Bill to modern classics like The TreeHouse series, every genre was covered.

This only whet the appetite for the Laureate announcement. I didn’t guess Ursula Dubosarsky but it makes perfect sense. She ticks all the boxes when it comes to the list of Laureate qualities. A distinguished career spanning decades. An extensive back catalog of books. Oh, and an irresistible ability to engage with kids. This was on display when she explained the origins of Laureate (showing her Word Spy love) before asking school kids to take part in a tale about why books are important.

I’ve met Ursula many times over the years, and she’s always been a respected and kind person in the #kidslit industry.

It was a nice touch to have kids involved in the event, from the welcome to country to a nice sing-a-long from Grade 2 kids from Forest Primary. But having half of the audience being schoolkids meant that you had to pitch your speeches to a middle ground. You could be a little playful and light with your words. There were hardly any long, boring adult words.

That’s what I love the Laurates. Each one brings their own agenda/passion to the table. Ursula had a simple catchphrase, #readforyourlife and a rally to join the public/school library.

So what do I make of this slogan, read for your life? Well, duh! Reading can save your life. But it also speaks volumes to something I touched upon a few weeks ago…how do we make these kids lifelong readers? It’s one thing for adults to lament school kids not reading enough books when many people don’t read after high school. Even one of the speakers mentioned that their grown-up son doesn’t read books…they read socials and Internet articles, yes it counts as reading but still…how can foster reading in people’s lives?

By joining your public library. More on this next week as Library Lovers Day is on this Friday. Yes, it’s intended on the same day as Valentine’s Day haha.

Congratulations Ursula, all the best for the next 2 years of your Laureate campaign. Let’s all help her along by spreading the word…read for your life!

O.W

About the author

I'm an author, stand-up comedian and teacher. My books include Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, Punchlines and The Other Christy. I'm a massive Nintendo fan and love eating burgers. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @oliverwinfree