It’s the job of newly appointed Australian Children’s Laureate Gabrielle Wang to engage the hearts and minds of young people throughout Australia for the next two years.
Ms Wang, a talented artist and gifted writer of 20 books, is the seventh Australian Children’s Laureate.
“When I was young my father used to say, ‘What can you learn from a story? They’re just made up.’,” Wang said.
“I didn’t say anything, but I knew he was wrong. Stories have the power to change us on the inside.”
As Australian Children’s Laureate, Wang will encourage young people to use their imagination by reading, writing and drawing.
The Laureate is the national ambassador for reading and Australian children’s literature.
They speak on behalf of all creators and for the entire industry representing reading advocates, educators, librarians, booksellers and publishers.
Appointed every two years to promote the importance and transformational power of reading, creativity and story in the lives of young Australians, the Children’s Laureate spends time speaking directly with children, education specialists, government ministers and librarians, in both metropolitan and regional communities.
Every Laureate has a theme for their two-year term; for Wang it’s Imagine A Story.
Through this she will explore four main issues: Imagination, Cultural Diversity, Visual Literacy, and Audiobooks and Reading Aloud.
“Through story we can be inside the head of someone else, even someone with a different culture or way of life to our own,” she said.
“By reading books about diverse characters by diverse authors, young people can not only gain knowledge but also learn tolerance and empathy.”
Children’s Laureates are now active in Italy, Finland, The Netherlands, Ireland, Mexico, Sweden and Wales. There are Reading Ambassadors in New Zealand and the United States.Jump to next article