National Year of Reading Launch at the National Library of Australia

Today I had the privilege of attending the national launch of the National Year of Reading 2012, held at the National Library of Australia, Canberra.

The National Library was abuzz with superstars from the literary world – but the NLA wasn’t the only literary hot spot. All around the country, at libraries and halls and schools and centres, a mass celebration took place – and all for an amazing cause.

Our right royal bonanza was held in NLA’s theatre. First we heard from Anne-Marie Schwirtlic, Director-General of the NLA, then glorious book-loving host Jennifer Byrne, First Tuesday Book Club patron, introduced us to the likes of the hilarious William McInnes (author, actor and NYR12 Patron), ministers Simon Crean and Peter Garrett (OMG, Midnight Oil concert flashbacks) and – drum roll, please – PM Julia Gillard herself.

After Julia’s inspiring speech, we heard from William McInnes and next it was the fabulous Boori Monty Pryor – children’s author, NYR12 ambassador and Children’s Laureate – who brought in a classroom of school kids. Monty knocked their socks off with a resounding tale about didgeridoo spit – and had everyone in serious stitches.

The event was also peppered with some wonderful short films and snippets, including a piece from co-Children’s Laureate Alison Lester. We also heard about the NYR12’s aims, upcoming events and initiatives, and the glorious news that Disney have paired with NYR12’s Reading Hour (25 August).

We also heard from Education Minister Peter Garrett, who asked the kids to make the NYR12’s official signing – LOVE 2 READ – with their hands.

Afterwards, there was time to meet up with new and old friends, nibble some delicious sandwiches and have a cup of tea. It was fabulous to meet so many amazing people, to finally meet the amazing Monty and to have a cuddle with William McInnes. But most of all, it was a thrill to see the passion and support that is driving this phenomenal national initiative.

This is a very exciting year ahead – make sure you check out the NYR12 website for more on how you can get involved!

Boori Monty Prior, Chris Cheng and me
ACT NYR12 ambassadors, including Jack Heath and Senator Kate Lundy (either side of me at centre) and local NYR12 organisers Rachel Davis and Vanessa Little (centre front)



National Year of Reading 2012 – get involved!

When I first heard about the National Year of Reading initiative organised for 2012, I was ecstatic. Literacy is dear to my heart and is a major reason I review and blog on children’s books for both Kids’ Book Capers and Kids Book Review.

When I first friended and partnered Kids Book Review with NYR12 last year, I never dreamed I would be asked to become an NYR ambassador for the ACT. It was one of the proudest moments of my life as an author and I’m looking forward to a year of promotional events, espousing the importance of literacy, not only for children, but adults, too.

Led by Australian public libraries, the National Year of Reading 2012 is about people discovering and rediscovering the magic of books and stories. Libraries around the nation are heavily involved, as are school, special and other libraries, and partners in the book trade. You can see NYR12’s friends – including KBC blogger Dee White – here. Check out the partners here (there’s loads!), and the ambassadors here.

I’ll be posting on many of the events at both KBR and right here on Kids’ Book Capers, and in the meantime, have you thought about becoming involved? It’s so easy to do.

Throughout 2012, there will be a wash of fabulous events and initiatives around the country, for both adults and children, including The Reading Hour, writers in residence, the Creative Reading Prize, the Festival of Indigenous Reading, Writing and Storytelling in Darwin and the It’s Never too Late to Learn to Read initiative (see my highly commended short story for this adult initiative here).

Keep an eye on an event near you by checking out the NYR12 website. There’s also a frequently-updated events calendar on the right hand site of the site . . . I hope to see you at one of these fabulous events! With 46 per cent of Australians struggling to read, NYR12 is a timely initiative. Get involved!