Patients and families at The Royal Children’s Hospital were treated to a star appearance by an Australian literary idol last week.
Much-loved children’s author and illustrator Alison Lester began her national tour at the RCH as the inaugural Australian Children’s Laureate, an honour that is awarded to an Australian author and/or illustrator of children’s literature who is making a significant contribution to the children’s literature canon of this country.
Alison Lester is as much of a celebrity to Aussie mums and dads as she is to children—ask nearly any Australian parent of a toddler or teen and they will tell you they know of Alison’s charming work that includes best-selling titles such as ‘Clive Eats Alligators’, ‘Ernie Dances to the Didgeridoo’ and the award-winning ‘Are We There Yet?’.
Alison shared some of her favourite illustration techniques with patients in the Day Medical clinic and presented a hands-on watercolour painting workshop with budding artists on the Kelpie ward.
After the workshop, a crowd of young fans sank into comfy beanbags on Main Street to hear Alison read from some of her most popular books.
“I was a little bit nervous about coming here today,” said Alison.
“I wanted to do a really good job because there’s no-one who really wants to be unwell and in hospital, but I was really happy that it turned out to be such a beautiful day,” she said.
In the weeks leading up to Alison’s visit, RCH teachers immersed hospital wards and clinics in a celebration of Alison Lester books and children produced reviews, collages, rhymes and multimedia works inspired by Alison’s books. Some of this work can now be seen in the Children’s Galleries on ward corridors.
Alison’s visit was a highlight of The Royal Children’s Hospital’s celebration of National Year of Reading. The RCH signed up as a partner of the 2012 National Year of Reading, joining state, public and school libraries, and community groups around the country in an initiative that promotes reading and literacy.