Best-selling author is new Australian Children’s Laureate

The Australian Children’s Laureate Foundation has announced Sally Rippin as the 8th Australian Children’s Laureate for 2024 and 2025.

Barbie spoke to Sally Rippin about her role as the new Australian Children’s Laureate

Sally Rippin is Australia’s highest-selling female author and has written more than 100 books for children and young adults, including the wildly popular Billie B Brown series.

In the crucial role of Children’s Laureate, Sally will champion reading, writing and creativity for all Australian children. She will engage with the educational community; members of local, state and federal governments; librarians; parents; and of course, children. The Laureate tenure is for two years.  

An event to honour the appointment will be held at The Wheeler Centre on Tuesday 20 February at 11:00am AEDT and livestreamed online via The Wheeler Centre website.

Find more information and register for the livestream: Launch of the Australian Children’s Laureate 2024 – 2025 – The Wheeler Centre

The Children’s Laureate is the national ambassador for reading and Australian children’s literature. The Laureate speak on behalf of Australian children’s writers and illustrators as well as reflecting the views of reading advocates, educators, librarians, booksellers and publishers.

Appointed every two years to promote the importance and transformational power of reading, imagination and story in the lives of young Australians, the Laureate spends extensive time speaking directly with children, education specialists, government ministers and librarians, in both metropolitan and regional communities across the country.

Every Laureate has a mission for their two-year term: for Sally Rippin it is: All kids can be readers.

The foundation says that the new Laureate will work towards creating public awareness around learning difficulties as well as the most effective practice in teaching children to read. Ideally, by the time children have finished primary school, they should all have the literacy skills they need for life.

Where this isn’t possible, or where children have fallen through the gaps, it says there is a need to look at how to continue to support young people to reach their potential by advocating for them and providing appropriate intervention and assistance. 

Sally Rippon will put a spotlight on the reading challenges faced by millions of Australian children – including but not limited to neurodiversity, disability, mental health, access to books and language barriers.

‘All adults need to take responsibility for young people to ensure no child is left behind when it comes to reading – and explore other ways for children to learn if traditional methods aren’t working,’ Ms Rippin says.

Collaboration will be another focal point for the new Laureate as she highlights the idea that even the highest-profile authors and illustrators don’t create in isolation.

The Australian Children’s Laureate Foundation, now known as the ACLF, is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2008.

Since launching the first laureateship in 2012, this important role has been held by Australian children’s literature powerhouses including Alison Lester, Jackie French, Leigh Hobbs, Morris Gleitzman, Boori Monty Pryor, Ursula Dubosarsky and outgoing Laureate Gabrielle Wang.

Children’s laureates are active in Italy, The Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden and Wales. There are Reading Ambassadors in New Zealand and the United States.