Posted on 6th May, 2013 by
Alison Lester: "This morning we set off from Uluru very early to travel to the small community of Kenmore Park in the APY Lands, in South Australia. Travelling with me were Lee-Ann Buckskin and Joyce Louey from CARCLEW Youth Arts and my Project Manager John Cooper. The 4WD was jammed packed with our luggage and lots of art supplies that we were taking to schools to make books.
We soon left the bitumen and began to wind our way into the Musgrave ranges along a great sandy red dirt road. The sun was shining and the ranges sparkled above the green grasses and desert oaks which had obviously enjoyed recent rain. We passed a few homesteads, lots of bullocks and the odd kangaroo and arrived at Kenmore Park about 4 hours later.
We were introduced to the Principal Tuppy, who showed us around this fabulous school, one that everyone in Kenmore Park is very proud of. The kids were just coming out for their morning break so we met some of the girls, along with the other teaching and school support staff.
We then went to the Library to begin our work. Lots of students had turned up which was great and we spent some time talking about all the things that the kids like to do in and around Kenmore Park. It sounded like there was always lots of things happening here and the kids told stories about things like mustering cattle, donkeys making funny noises and being attacked by magpies! I was thinking that the drawing and painting part of this project was going to be fun.
The art room was great and we moved into there and started drawing. Some of the kids were a bit slow to get going but they really persevered and worked hard to produce some wonderful work, usingÂ pencil, crayons and watercolours, which will be put into a book to keep at the school.
At the end of the day we were treated to a beautiful performance, when some of the girls (and boys) sang their special song â Kenmore Park Cowgirls. It was fantastic, and topped off a great day. Thanks to CARCLEW and the people of Kenmore Park for having us.
Posted on 18th March, 2013 by
A favourite tweet during Alison's talk at the 'Where the Wild Things Are' Wheeler Centre's Gala...
If you're interested in hearing more by Alison on this subject listen to her interview on ABC Radio National Books and Arts Daily, Where the Wild Things Are turns 50.Â
Posted on 18th March, 2013 by
1. Scan the art at 300dpi and save them as jpgs. if you scan at 600dpi and it makes everything very big and slow to process.
Â 2. You can adjust the brightness setting on the scanner if the scans look a little dull.
3. To tidy up the pictures I open them in microsoft office or microsoft picture manager. auto correct is great for brightning up the pix.Â I canât find an eraser in this program so if I have to erase anything I open it with paint.
4. Draw up a story board to organise the book, 24 pages is a good number but any multiples of 4 will work. Figure out what words and pix are going on what pages. This storyboard is a great help once you start putting the book together in publisher.
5. Open publisher and select your page size. I use A5 landscape for the little books. There are all sorts of templates available but I havenât been able to find one I like.
6. If you double click on the A5 page it will pop up on the left of the screen. If you right click ( I think ) on it there, it will offer new page, and if you click on that it will ask how many pages.Â If you type in 23 and click youâll then have your 24 pages down the side, ready to drop your text and pix in.
7. There is a list of things along the top to help you arrange the pages and you will find them as you go.Â You seem to be able to fiddle with sizes and layout even after youâve saved it so it's pretty useful.Â Some options only pop up when home is selected, or design, or when youâve selected the pic on the page, but as you work on it youâll figure it out.
8. When its all done, save it and press print. When the print tabs pop up you select;Â print all pages,Â booklet, side fold,Â A3,Â manual two-sided print ( flip sheets on short edge )Â go into printer properties and select;Â landscape,Â other inkjet papers.
Â 9. The printer might give you a procedure to figure out how to put the paper back in the printer for the second side to be printer but I put it in exactly as it came out and that worked fine.
If you'd like inspiration about what to write and draw why not get involved with my 'This Is My Place' Laureate project. Here's the link:Â
Posted on 20th November, 2012 by
Inverloch LibraryÂ currently have an exhibition of Alison Lester's to celebrate the success ofÂ National Year of Reading 's Are We There Yet? touring exhibition. The exhibition will be on until November 30th if you'd like to check it out.
In true Australian Children's Laureate style Alison surfed over to the children taking part in the exhibition opening as well as launching the swellmamas illustrated board. There was fish n' chips, Zart Art kids workshops, and of course, Story Time with Alison as well.
Here is a great shot of Alison!
Posted on 16th October, 2012 by
I was there with my friend Maree. She was there to help the community make a mosaic mural and I went to work with the kids and adults to make books. Our visit coincided with the local rodeo where people from all over the NT and interstate came to have lots of fun! Lots of the kids and adults were getting around in brand new gear, including hats, shirts and belts and they looked fantastic. Lots of the kids from the school rode in the rodeo, competing in the junior bullride! It was great to watch.
We wanted to make a few books over the two weeks and the first book we made was called âReading with familiesâ, which we did as part of the Families as First Teachers program. This is a great program which emphasises how important it is to read to little children. Our book was great and it showed other people how to make books.
The kids were telling me that lots of people refer to Borroloola as âthe fighting townâ, because there was a lot of fighting going on there. This made the kids feel sad so we decided to make a book about things that cause fights. The adults thought this was a great idea too so we worked really hard and made a book called âThe Fighting Townâ.
In the book there was lots of yelling and the people had been fighting for so long they actually had forgotten what they were fighting about. The Rainbow Serpent hears all this fighting and decides to visit to see what is going on. The final book we made was called âBorroloola Storiesâ.
I had a wonderful time in Borroloola and a big thanks to everyone who helped organise the visit and worked so hard with us over the two weeks.Â I will never forget the running of the Borroloola Cup with the horses running down the rodeo track!
Posted on 3rd September, 2012 by
We just found this lovely review of Alison Lester's book The Snow Pony and thought it might inspire other budding reviewers?
Well done to Hannah from Manjimup primary! What a creative way to review a book you've enjoyed.
Posted on 20th August, 2012 by
Alison: I have just returned from spending the past 2 weeks in Western Australia working with schools which are part of AISWA (Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia).
The first community I went to was Yakanara, which is nestled between the GreatÂ Sandy Desert and the St. GeorgesÂ Ranges. We had to fly on a small charter plane from Broome which was flown by our pilot âHollyâ. She was such a great pilot and she was really short and had to sit on a cushion so she could see out the front window of the plane!
I spent the week at Yakanara working with the students, adults and teachers making books based on their stories. We made 2 books; âYakanara Dayâ and âYakanara Dogsâ. My friend Maree worked with the students to make a big mosaic mural.
The community was great and everyone was so friendly. Malcom took us for a drive to the flood plains where we saw Brolgas, Bush turkeys and Scrub Bulls. We needed a long arm stapler and the school didnât have one so we had to go to Noonkanbah which was 90 minutes away to get one!
I was lucky enough to play basketball with the women and girls and then we watched to local footy team, the Yakanara Dockers train!
Thanks to everyone in Yakanara for a wonderful and memorable visit and I hope you enjoy the books and mural!
It was a quick stop in Broome and then down to Perth for a flight to Kalgoorlie to work with the students at CAPS Kurrawang School, which is about 20km from the goldfields town.
The week was spent working with about 12 students and we made 2 books, âKurrawang Countingâ and âKurrawang Storiesâ.
All of the books we made were fantastic and the students did a great job! Thanks for everyone who assisted at Kurrawang, I had a great time! Back to the freezing cold weather in Victoria!
Here are some photographs from the trip - enjoy!
Posted on 9th July, 2012 by
On the first day I worked at the Kingston Library with my mates from Margate Primary School. The 2 classes made some beautiful watercolours about a place that they love. In the afternoon I read stories to little kids and their parents and that was loads of fun as well.
It was a great day and the staff at the library were wonderful. That night a few of the teachers took me for a run along the side of Mt. Wellington! Needless to say I slept very well that night!
I was back at the library on the second day, this time working with students from Kingston Primary, who walked to the library from their school. The young students drew animals and stuck crazy eyes on them, while the older students created some beautiful watercolours about the place that they love. That evening my friend and fellow illustrator Coral Tulloch and I spoke with people from the Hobart CBCA organised by Patsy Jones, which was a really lovely night.
The next day I had a wonderful day at St. Therese's Primary School in Moonah. It was a busy day working with 3 different groups, but one of the most enjoyable and inspirational days I've ever had in a school! The day ended with reading stories to a large group of students and the Southern Cross TV news turned up to film!
Maria from St. Thereses said these lovely words about the visit:
I would like to thank you for the very special day you gave us at St Therese's. You were an inspiration to all, students and staff. Â You have inspired so many children here - those artistically inclined in particular - to follow their dreams and ... well, DRAW.
My final day of this leg of the Laureate tour was at Bruny Island! I had to get up early and drive to the ferry, it was a lovely drive through farmland and I arrived just in time for breakfast, which was some yummy porridge cooked by the principal! The students worked really well and made some great watercolours about the place they love. Its wonderful to see so many different visual images of places that are so special to all the children! I even had my first ever 'Wallaby Burger"!
It was a very busy week in Tasmania, but I had so much fun and was inspired by all of the places I visited. I hope that the students were inspired also, and use some of the materials that were left at the schools to keep drawing and creating!
Thanks to everyone who helped organise this leg of the Laureate tour and a special thanks to the teachers, librarians, students and parents who participated and help make it a wonderful week and the supportive CBCA Tasmania representatives Patsy Jones andÂ Carol Fuller.
Showing students from Margate Primary around the 'Are We There Yet?' exhibition at Kingston Library.
Posted on 8th July, 2012 by
This video was filmed as part of the Wheeler Centre's Childrenâs Book Festival, co-presented with the State Library of Victoria.Â The 2012 and 2013 Australian Childrenâs Laureates Boori Monty Pryor and Alison Lester joined Paula Kelly to discuss their travels as part of the Laureate programme â as well as their love of reading, the value of inspirational storytelling for kids, their plans for further books and their love of meeting children all over Australia.
Posted on 8th July, 2012 by
As part of her tour of South Australia - read more about this in her CBCA speech in the post below - Alison Lester spent the day with Elizabeth South Primary School.
Teacher LibrarianÂ Sue van der Veer, who organised Alison's event, emailed us with some photographs to show you, as well as letting us know how Alison's workshops and advice have continued to influence her students...
"Thanks for the opportunity of spending the day with Alison. It was magic, easily the happiest day of the year so far. What's been great has been watching the students apply this learning to other aspects of their schooling. I had a student in a recent lesson tell me that she wanted to rewrite her rough draft - "Just like Alison Lester who told us that she changes the words over and over and over, until it's right."
She happily signed our library copies of her books, and I can't keep them on the shelf since her visit." - Sue van der Veer (teacher Librarian.)
If you would like to get involved at home or at school visit the Kids page of the Children's Laureate website for information on how to make your own post card.
Alison also read her very large copy of Magic Beach to the reception classes who, as you can see from this photograph, were completely captivated!
Posted on 29th June, 2012 by
At the CBCA reception event Alison was introduced by the former National President of the CBCA, andÂ ACLA'sÂ Chair, Marj Osborne. Both speeches were incredibly inspiring so we have included them below for you to enjoy as well.
Marj Osborne - Chair of ACLAÂ
" Good evening ladies and gentlemen.
In 2008, a group of people met to discuss a brilliant idea â an Australian Childrenâs Laureate â an advocate for children and reading. So, from the grass roots level of people interested in childrenâs literature, the Laureate Project was born.
In December 2011, our Laureate was launched: not one person, but two voices who unite in a single message â that the children of Australia should join their circle of story.
Story is the heart of our Laureates â Alison Lester and Boori Monty Prior.
Different but together, Boori and Alison are united in their work. They invite children to read, write, create, be imaginative and be a part of something.
Boori tells stories which originated 30,000 years ago, weaving children into the stories of our history and our culture through dance and storytelling.
Alison encourages kids to see story as belonging, painting them into the places they love through art and story. Like the interwoven strands of the double helix, Alison and Boori are weaving their magic with the children of Australia.
From Antarctica to Alice Springs to Adelaide, Alison as Laureate is drawing kids in, inviting them to learn about their land, about themselves. So, ladies and gentlemen, itâs my pleasure to introduce our Inaugural Childrenâs Laureate: Alison Lester."
Alison Lester - Inaugural Australian Children's LaureateÂ
"I would like to thank everyone who has supported the Australian Childrenâs Laureate Project: the CBCA, the SA Department of Education and Early Childhood, the SA government â specifically Jay Wetherill who had the foresight to recognise it as a worthwhile thing, ACLA, booksellers, librarians, teachers, parents, publishers, children and the Salteri family trust who are the projectâs major sponsors.
I am delighted to be one of the first Australian Childrenâs Laureates and especially delighted to share the position with Boori Prior. To be chosen from all the wonderful childrenâs authors in Australia is an enormous honour.
For two years Boori and I will travel around Australia as ambassadors for childrenâs literature and literacy. Between us we will visit every state and territory. Maybe the reason we were chosen is because we both do this already. Boori has worked with more than a million children and I have seen a fair few too.Â
We both have strong connections to the land and love helping children to tell their own stories. Boori through song and dance, me through books. We work in cities and towns but we also travel to remote indigenous communities. Over the years I have visited remote communities with Ann James, Anne Haddon, Liz Honey, Rosalind Price, Jane Godwin and Sue Flockhart, a star cast of childrenâs book professionals. Itâs been a pleasure and privilege to work with them alongside adults and children in the outback, turning stories into books.
Boori and I are both undertaking projects over the two years. Boor is making a film of his work with children. My project is a book, by children for children.
It is calledÂ This is my placeÂ and its planned to include about 100 kids writing/drawing/painting and photographing their lives â from children in remote communities to those from cities, from kids who live in commission flats to those who grow up with everything money can buy. I hope it will be a book that shows the many different childhoods in Australia, how not everybody gets the same opportunities.
When Iâm working in schools, the thing that strikes me is how fabulous kids are. They are all bursting with potential. Sadly, many donât all get the chance to shine. Poverty and lack of education means that m
any children never reach their potential. It shouldnât be that hard to fix this but funding for education is always inadequate and poor schools always get less than the wealthy ones.Since the launch at Carclew last year I have toured Victoria as laureate. The tour started at the State Library where I worked with, kids from Springvale and Carlton, then I had a beautiful afternoon with children at the Royal Childrenâs Hospital. For the rest of the week I visited, Mooroopna, Mildura, Geelong, and Ballarat and all the kids along the way wereÂ full of beans.
This week Iâve been at Willunga Waldorf and Elizabeth South Primary. I met great kids in both schools but I couldnât feeling there is a massive difference in their chances, dictated by the socio-economic status of their communities.
Readings is like a gold pass. Once a child can read properly they have a window into another world â a different world to whatever they live in.It is the most important key to having a fulfilled life, yet nearly
half of Australianâs canât read properly. Reading helps us understand, emphasise and sympathise with others. There is no excuse for a child to leave primary school not readingÂ but we need more resources and funds.Last year the Victorian government scrapped the Young Readerâs Program, which gave a picture book to every newborn baby. For many families this was the first picture theyâd ever had in their home, a key to a new world of books.It beggars belief to see a project like this stopped.
For what? To put armed guards on railway stations!
Its time that government listened to the experts and got behind the push to improve literacy.
They should fund a librarian in every school and pour money into literacy programs.A nation of readers is going to be a clever, compassionate, educated, high achieving nation.
People who can read are not likely to be causing trouble on train stations.
Finally, I think we need to look after our children better. Every child should have a book and a bed to read in it."
Posted on 11th June, 2012 by
Driz-Bone clothing store - which since 1898 has been producing genuine, rugged apparel made for the individuals and industries shaping the Australian outdoor way of life - recently interviewed Children's Laureate Alison Lester on their blog. Rugged Times.
With a focus on outdoor living, Alison was the perfect interviewee as a Children's book illustrator and author who loves horse-riding, animals and the outdoors.
Creative Director Stephen Bennett spoke to Alison about her work, creative inspiration and growing up in the country.
SB: What was the inspiration that sparked you to write and illustrate your wonderful and successful bookÂ My Farm?
AL: This was a really obvious one to doâas soon as I found my feet as a writer and illustrator, I wanted to do [this book] because there was so much material from my childhood.
SB: We particularly loved the sketches and story inÂ My FarmÂ of the cattle muster and droving from the lease on Wilsonâs Promontory. Can you share a few of your memories of these times and events with us?
AL: I was actually too little to ever go, so it was all very much a romantic dream for me. We used to wait for Dad and Uncle Jack to come back and they always had amazing stories of, you know, big bullocks theyâd found that had been left in the bush for four years that had huge, big horns on them, and so on. There was a very famous time when Taffy, one of our dear old stock horses got bogged in quicksand on the beach.
Posted on 7th June, 2012 by
Posted on 23rd April, 2012 by
During Alison's exciting tour of Melbourne and Regional Victoria she inspired many young people to paint a postcard about 'a place they love'. Here are a few we wanted to shareÂ ...
Posted on 30th March, 2012 by
"It was such a joy to have her here. I felt uplifted by her. I felt she related beautifully with the children in a gentle inclusive way. We had a great day.
Alison was amazing. Particularly for the mixed audience we had. Over a 100 squashed into our children's room. For the older kids she showed the process of drawing and producing a book, her new Antarctic illustrations and photographs, lots of her sketches, and told some of her life experiences.What a lovely lady. Very generous in signing and gave out bookmarks. We can't wait to send in the results of our project on 'Are We There Yet' at the end of the year."Maria Mithen
Posted on 18th March, 2012 by
I've started painting the pictures for a project called Kid's India Art that I started when I was in India in 2010. This one is called Minaret and was drawn by a student from Connecticut in the US.
Posted on 18th March, 2012 by
This is a pinata I made with my daughter Clair, for our friend Georgia's wedding. We used heaps of glue and it was very hard to break.
Posted on 18th March, 2012 by
Just before Christmas I helped my friend Christa walk her cows up to the high plains. We were on the road for three days. These ears belong to my horse, Woollyfoot.
Posted on 9th December, 2011 by
âI am jumping out of my skin with excitement at being named one of Australiaâs first Childrenâs Laureates! Itâs an enormous honour. I love helping kids tell their stories and I believe childrenâs literature is hugely important for their understanding of themselves and their place in the world.Â Stories can take you anywhere, make you anyone, teach you everything. Iâm really looking forward to working with children all over Australia.â