The illustrious, impassioned, utterly bookish Jackie French is ending her term as Australian Children's Laureate--and what a fabulous two years it's been. Jackie has spoken directly to over 120,000 kids, both locally and internationally, during her tenure, and although, as she says, one can never be sure the impact they have upon anyone, we are absolutely certain her impact on book love and literacy has, and will continue to be, phenomenally deep.
Jackie visited Canberra yesterday at an afternoon celebration and Thank You event. She told us she began her Laureateship because of story. And what a storyteller she is. Jackie had us both laughing and in silent tears with her tales, and humbled by her gratitude as Laureate. She also told us, after meeting a fellow Laureate in Bologna, that her Laureateship will never end--not to her. To whomever the official baton soon is passed, Jackie's impact and deep love for the work she lives by--will never fade. And nor should it.
Jackie also told us that the past two years have changed her. There's no doubt . . . she's not alone. I'm absolutely certain many lives have been changed by her dedication and love of story, too--and this is why a Children's Laureate is so vital.
'Blessed are the book creators and givers,
because they create the future.' - Jackie French
Please give someone a book this week, if you can. And do consider donating to the Australian Children's Laureate, even if it's a few dollars. The work they have done, and continue to do, truly changes children's lives. There are few gifts more precious than the gift of full literacy, and of course--there's also the power and sheer joy of story.
Thank you, Jackie. Thank you.