Last night beloved children’s author Morris Gleitzman was farewelled as the Australian Children’s Laureate at Penguin Random House headquarters. Gleitzman was awarded the prestigious position for 2018 and 2019 and has been touring the country ever since talking to over 30,000 people and reaching many more in print and online to convey the message that ‘stories make us’.
Many of you will be familiar with bestselling Australian children’s author Morris Gleitzman. His books explore serious and sometimes confronting subjects in humorous and unexpected ways. His titles include Two Weeks with The Queen, Grace, Doubting Thomas, Bumface, Give Peas A Chance, Extra Time, Loyal Creatures, Snot Chocolate and the series Once, Then, Now, After, Soon and Maybe.
If you’re unfamiliar with the role of Australian Children’s Laureate, Gleitzman described it very succinctly in an interview with Magpies Magazineas to ‘roam the land engaging young readers in a celebration of stories and all the precious things they get from them while at the same time encouraging adults to think more deeply and perceptively about the transformative qualities of good stories for young people and if possible read a few of them aloud?’
He has also been an ambassador for the Australian Reading Hour and a strong supporter of the ALIA Children Need School Libraries campaign. At his farewell he said that he had greatly enjoyed being part of the children’s book community and that he would continue to do events although not quite as many. However, it’s clear that he will continue to champion both children’s stories and children’s stories to adults.
The new Australian Children’s Laureate will be announced next February and Gleitzman’s lips are sealed so we’ll all just have to patiently wait and see who will be taking on this most important of roles.
One secret he did reveal was that the draft of the final instalment in the Once series is complete and fans will be very excited to hear that Always will be released in 2020.
We were very lucky to have Morris Gleitzman in for a podcast at Better Reading earlier this year and you can listen to it here. Morris Gleitzman’s book Once was voted by you in our Top 50 Kids’ books for 2019 see the full list here.
You can find out more about the Australian Children’s Laureate by visiting the website here.