Friday, February 10, 2012

A Touching Speech by Children's Laureate Alison Lester

At the Darwin opening of the National Year of Reading 2012 Are We There Yet? exhibition, Ann James read out a touching speech on behalf of Alison Lester, who was unable to be there in person.

We thought you'd enjoy reading it too...

I love darwin, it always feels like coming home when I get off that plane and drive down the wide palm-lined streets into town. I've had family and friends to stay with for a long time, in Parap and Nightcliff, so I know those parts well. 
I love sitting in the roma bar, running out to east point, having a laksa at the Parap market, swimming in the Nightclif pool, dancing at Shenanigans and the beautiful art gallery. In 2005 I nearly died in the darwin hospital so i'll always be grateful to darwin for saving me, it was a great place to get my wobbly legs going again, I hope you enjoy the show, I wish I could be there, x, Alison.
To read more about the Are We There Yet? touring exhibition please visit our earlier blog post.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Opening of the National Year of Reading 2012 Touring exhibition

Books Illustrated are excited to announce the opening of the beautiful Are We There Yet? National Year of Reading exhibition in The Northern Territory Library, Parliament House, Darwin.

The exhibition was first curated by Books Illustrated in 2004 to celebrate the launch of this famous picture book by Alison Lester. Since then it has travelled widely around Australia and even gone as far as Tokyo.

The exhibition shows both the original illustrations as well as the preliminary and developing stages in the making of the book - from Alison's children's actual travel diaries, through text, illustration and design drafts, to the final published book. It includes a number of folios of developmental drawings.

An fascinating addition to the original exhibition is a special display and range of activities for the braille version of the picture book published by Vision Australia.

The exhibition will tour to 8 venues in 2012, one for each state and territory.  Starting in Darwin from the 1st - 22nd of February and the exhibition will end in Victoria in December 2012.

As the curators of the exhibition the Books Illustrated team, Ann Haddon and Ann James, were thrilled to be invited to the opening in Darwin on Wednesday 1st February. ( A detailed itinerary will posted soon on this blog and on the National Year of Reading website).

Award-winning Darwin author and National Year of Reading ambassador, Marie Munkara, was invited to open the exhibition. Her first book Every Secret Thing was awarded the 2010 Northern Territory Book of the Year.

There is a National Year of Reading competition based on the book Are We There Yet? where children are encouraged to write and/or illustrate about their own town or special place they've visited in Australia. Visit the NYoR website to find out more.

A proud Cathy Hilder, I Manager, Public Library Services Northern Territory Library, who managed the opening and exhibition installation. 

Marie Munkara, author of "Every Secret Thing" who introduced the Are We There Yet? exhibition at the opening. 

Ann James from Books Illustrated explained the history of the Are We There Yet? exhibition and spoke on behalf of Alison Lester. 

Visitors at the opening (Cowboy Grace in the background).

Enjoy a sneak peak at the impressive map of Australia surrounded by Alison's family photographs. 

Photographs from the official Laureate Launch

We thought you like to see some of these charming photographs from the Australian Children's Laureate Launch at Carclew Youth Arts in Adelaide.

An Australian magpie was chosen as the symbol for the Children's Laureates and illustrator Ann James designed the logo.  In the photographs below you can see Alison and Boori accepting their own magpies as inspiration for the 2 years ahead.

The statues were individually carved by West Australian artist Andre Van Niekerk and painted by his wife Cathy Van Niekerk. They have a lovely website showcasing many other interesting bird carvings if you would like to see more. The Laureate's magpies were purchased from the Australian Woodwork Gallery in the Hunter Valley - which is definitely worth a visit!

Alison and Boori accepting their magpies at the presentation

Alison signing copies of her book "Running with the Horses"

Boori signing copies of his book "Shake a Leg"
Boori telling the story of "Shake a Leg" at the launch