Written by Jackie Small, Education Project Specialist.

What becomes of a child who regularly visits the library? Perhaps this child becomes a reader, a lover of words, or even a writer themselves. 

This is certainly the case for Ursula Dubosarsky, who has enjoyed a successful and illustrious career writing books for children that has spanned more than 30 years. Currently midway through her tenure as Australian Children’s Laureate 2020-2021, many of Ursula’s 60 books have received awards and honours. Even the Marrickville Library named one of their rooms after one of her middle fiction novels, The Blue Cat.

Ursula’s love affair with books and stories started long before she was born, her mother being a librarian who met Ursula’s father... in a library! They would visit the library with Ursula regularly as a child, where she would explore stories for hours on end. Sensing a natural talent and passion for writing herself, they even gifted her a typewriter for her 11th birthday. With these foundations and opportunities for story and writing, it is no wonder she has found success and purpose as a writer, and as the current Australian Children’s Laureate.

The role of the Australian Children’s Laureate is to promote the transformational power of reading, creativity and story in the lives of young Australians. Appointed every two years, Ursula’s theme for her 2020-2021 tenure is Read for Your Life. Throughout 2020, Ursula drew on her passion for writing, enthusiasm for stories and love of words to inspire young children to Read with Ursula and even try writing their own stories. Given the lockdown and isolation experienced by many as a result of covid-19 restrictions during 2020, Ursula provided story engagement opportunities with a different writing prompt or theme each month of 2020, through Write with Ursula

With much in-store for 2021, you can visit Australian Children’s Laureate Australia to receive updates and inspiration from Ursula herself. 

Stories and storytelling are made to be enjoyed by all children, long after their preschool years. With one year remaining in Ursula’s role as Australian Children’s Laureate, Story Box Library’s (SBL) work with Ursula supports her campaign to advocate for the importance of libraries. Collectively, we encourage children to join and visit their local library regularly, which helps to maintain a love of reading and stories.

Learn more about Ursula, her favourite words and advice for young minds, in our Meet Ursula Dubosarsky video. Midnight at the Library, commissioned by the National Library of Australia, is an ode to the wonder of books and libraries. To read more stories written by Ursula, view The Terrible PlopToo Many Elephants in This House, Reindeer’s Christmas Surprise and The Deep End, all available on SBL. 

According to Ursula Dubosarsky, the library can be “a place to experiment, develop one’s own agency over reading and understand the enchantment of reading.” 

To support Ursula and Library Lover’s Day on February 14, we are sharing a collection of stories and activities to help you celebrate libraries with your children and students throughout the month.