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Forever Young: Children’s Literature Today

Listen to Forever Young: Children’s Literature Today

Photo of Sally Rippin, Leigh Hobbs and Julia Eccleshare

Sally Rippin, Leigh Hobbs and Julia Eccleshare

From Lewis Carroll to Dr Seuss, JK Rowling to Shaun Tan, some of the most inventive, surreal, hilarious and insightful minds in literature have chosen children as their preferred readership. Why choose children? And which of today’s kids’ books will be tomorrow’s classics?

At this grown-up discussion about books for little people, we take a close-up look at children’s literature today, with some of the best in the business. Writer, broadcaster, lecturer and the Guardian’s children’s book editor, Julia Eccleshare, is joined by beloved kids’ author and Australian Children’s Laureate, Leigh Hobbs. Their host is Billie B Brown author, Sally Rippin.

'I never say to kids, "you're all artists and you're all writers", because they're not. I would never be good at sport … this is the thing about people having different drives and different tastes.'

Leigh Hobbs

What’s the state of literary criticism for children’s books? How is the business of children’s book publishing changing, at home and abroad? How do we keep feeding insatiable young bookworms and how do we create new reading converts?

Tune in for some answers to these and other questions, in a lively conversation about kids, creativity and the business of books.

Presented in partnership with the Australian Children’s Literature Alliance.


Portrait of Sally Rippin

Sally Rippin

Sally Rippin has had over 50 children’s books published, many of them award-winning, including two novels for young adults. Her most recent books include the popular Billie B. Brown and Hey Jack! series and the children’s novel, Angel Creek, which was published to critical acclaim.

Portrait of Leigh Hobbs

Leigh Hobbs

Leigh Hobbs is the Australian Children’s Laureate (2016–2017). He is best known for his children's books featuring his characters Old Tom, Horrible Harriet, Fiona the Pig and Mr Chicken, as well as the Freaks and their teachers in 4F for Freaks and Freaks Ahoy. Old Tom has been adapted into an extremely popular TV series. Leigh has been shortlisted for the CBCA Picture Book of the Year Award three times (for Mr Chicken Goes to Paris, Horrible Harriet and Old Tom's Holiday) and his books have won every major children’s choice award in Australia. Leigh’s books are published by Allen & Unwin.

Portrait of Julia Eccleshare

Julia Eccleshare

Julia Eccleshare is the children’s books editor at the Guardian and a freelance writer and critic. In addition to numerous anthologies, her books include A Guide to the Harry Potter Novels and Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter: Portraits of Children’s Writers. She is the editor of 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up.


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