School Holiday Book signing dates December 16 2018, 0 Comments

Alison will be in the Fish Creek Gallery on the following dates to sign books and meet people;

Sunday December 30, 1-4pm

Sunday January 13th 1-4pm

Saturday January 26th 1-4pm

For more information contact the Gallery (03) 5683 2352.

Alison wins the Melbourne Prize for Literature November 19 2018, 0 Comments

We are very excited to announce that Alison has been awarded the 2018 Melbourne Prize for Literature.

Alison is the first children's author to win this prestigious award.


Gallery 4th Birthday & double book launch! October 04 2018, 0 Comments

Join us in Fish Creek on Sunday October 21st for the 4th birthday of the Alison Lester Gallery / Bookshop.

We will also be launching 2 new releases;

Tricky's Bad Day & Noni the Pony rescues a joey.

Celebrations and launches from 12 noon, followed by refreshments and a signing with Alison.

Daffodil Festival Pop up Shop August 23 2018, 0 Comments

We will be having a pop up shop in Leongatha, in South Gippsland for the Daffodil & Dairy Festival next weekend.

We will be in the shop at 37 Bair St, Leongatha

Friday August 31st 9am-3pm

Saturday September 1st 9am -3pm

Books, Prints, Cards and Festival Specials.


Antarctic Festival Book Signing Hobart July 12 2018, 0 Comments

We will be in Hobart for the Australian Antarctic Festival, with an exhibition and a pop up shop.

The Kids Antarctic Art Exhibition will be on show at the Waterside Pavillion in Hobart from Thursday August 2 until Sunday August 5.

Alison will be in attendance on;

Thursday August 2 from 2pm -4pm, Friday August 3 from 12 noon - 2pm.

We will also be in the Princes Wharf 1, between 10am -12 noon on Saturday August 3.

For more details contact John  0407 726 806

School Holiday Book Signing July 8 June 20 2018, 0 Comments

Alison will be in the Fish Creek Gallery on Sunday July 8, between 1-4pm, to meet people and sign books. 

Any enquiries call the Gallery directly (03) 5683 2352.

Queen's Birthday Weekend - Book Signing May 22 2018, 1 Comment

Alison will be in the Fish Creek Gallery on Sunday June 10th, between 1-4pm to meet people and sign books.

This is the Queen's Birthday long weekend in Victoria.

Easter Sunday at the Fish Creek Gallery March 22 2018, 1 Comment

Alison will be in her Fish Creek Gallery on Easter Sunday to sign books and meet people.

Grab a copy of the new release "The Silver Sea", which is a beautiful collaboration between Alison, Jane Godwin and the kids from the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.

The Gallery will also be open everyday in the Victorian School Holidays.

Long Weekend Book Signing March 07 2018, 0 Comments

Alison will be in her Fish Creek Gallery/Bookshop on Sunday March 11, between 1-4pm, to meet people and sign books.

Make a weekend of it and check out all that South Gippsland has to offer.


Garlic Festival Weekend Book Signing February 10 2018, 0 Comments

Alison will be in the Fish Creek Gallery on Sunday February 18, between 1-4pm, to meet people and sign books.

This coincides with the 2nd Meeniyan Garlic Festival, which will be held on Saturday 17th.

So why bot make a weekend of it and see all that beautiful South Gippsland has to offer!

School Holiday Book Signings December 27 2017, 0 Comments

These are the dates / venues that you will be able to catch up with Alison, and get books signed;

Saturday December 30, 2017 - Alison Lester Gallery, Fish Creek 1-4pm.

Sunday January 7, 2018 - Alison Lester Gallery, Fish Creek 1 -4pm.

Thursday January 11, 2018 - Tidal Rive, Wilsons Prom 3 -4.30pm.

Saturday January 27, 2018 -  Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale. Time TBA

Sunday January 28, 2018 -  Alison Lester Gallery, Fish Creek 1-4pm

Alison Lester Gallery 3rd Birthday October 01 2017, 0 Comments

On Sunday October 22nd, we will be celebrating the 3rd Birthday of the Alison Lester Gallery in Fish Creek.

We hope you can join us for a fun day of activities in this quaint South Gippsland town, not for from the iconic Wilsons Promontory.

Stay tunes for more details, with the official celebration at 2pm.

Alison Lester Pop up Shop in Adelaide September 03 2017, 0 Comments

To coincide with the Public Libraries SA Conference in Adelaide, we will setting up a Pop up Shop at the conference venue for 2 days, Monday September 18, and Tuesday September 19.

This will take place in the foyer of the Hilton Hotel on both days between 9.30am - 5pm.

The full range of Alison's books will be available, along with a selection of limited edition prints, cards and wrapping paper.

For any enquiries, please contact John on 0407 726 806.


AUGUST BOOKWEEK PROMOTION August 02 2017, 0 Comments

To celebrate the upcoming CBCA Bookweek in August we are running a special promotion at Alison Lester.

If you spend over $50 in any one transaction during August, you will go into the draw to win an Alison Lester framed limited edition print, or print on canvas, to the value of $600!

When you place your order online, you will be sent an email to confirm that you have been entered into the draw!

So start browsing online now to see what you might choose if you're the lucky winner!


My Farm turns 25! July 29 2017, 0 Comments

Where has the time gone? The Australian bestseller, My Farm is 25 years old!

To celebrate, Allen & Unwin has produced a beautiful Anniversary edition in hardback, which contains a bonus wall frieze.

Order your copy online or drop into the Fish Creek Gallery and pick one up and you can drive through the countryside that inspired the story and illustrations.

Book Launch and 2nd Birthday Celebrations October 20 2016, 1 Comment

Sunday October 30th, 2pm onwards.

Come and help us celebrate the Gallery's 2nd Birthday and attend the launch of the beautiful new colouring book, 'Alison Lester's Wonderful World'.

Official proceedings start at 2pm, followed by refreshments and a book signing. If you cant make it down, then you can order the colouring book at or ring the gallery directly.

1 Falls Road, Fish Creek. (03) 5683 2352


School Holidays September 15 2016, 1 Comment

The Alison Lester Gallery / Bookshop will be open 10-4pm everyday in the upcoming school holidays. Drop in and say hi, share some stories and check out the new colouring book 'Alison Lester's Wonderful World', which we will be launching here on Melb Cup weekend.

1 Falls Rd, Fish Creek, Victoria. (03) 5683 2352

Shop online at

Book Signing and Studio Day August 14 2016, 1 Comment

To Celebrate CBCA 2016 book week, we are holding 2 special events at the Alison Lester Gallery in Fish Creek.

There will be a special book signing on Sunday August 21 from 1-4pm, where you can purchase copies of all your favourite Alison Lester books, including the shortlisted 'my dog bigsy', and have them signed.

On Monday August 22nd, Alison will set up her studio in the Gallery and work on her new book 'hello little babies'. you can watch Alison work, ask her questions and see how she creates her beautiful illustrations! This will take place between 1-4pm.

Alison Lester Gallery, 1 Falls Rd, Fish Creek. (03) 5683 2352.

Book Signing and Studio Day August 14 2016, 0 Comments

To Celebrate CBCA 2016 book week, we are holding 2 special events at the Alison Lester Gallery in Fish Creek.

There will be a special book signing on Sunday August 21 from 1-4pm, where you can purchase copies of all your favourite Alison Lester books, including the shortlisted 'my dog bigsy', and have them signed.

On Monday August 22nd, Alison will set up her studio in the Gallery and work on her new book 'hello little babies'. you can watch Alison work, ask her questions and see how she creates her beautiful illustrations! This will take place between 1-4pm.

Alison Lester Gallery, 1 Falls Rd, Fish Creek. (03) 5683 2352.

CBCA Shortlist May 25 2016, 0 Comments

We are very excited to announce that My Dog Bigsy has been shortlisted for Book of the Year for Early Childhood! all the shortlisted books are of exceptional quality including; Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas, Perfect, Ollie and the Wind, Mr. Huff and Tony Wilson's great book, The Cow Tripped over the Moon, which was illustrated by Laura Wood. For the full list of shortlisted books in all categories visit;


Easter and School Holidays at the Alison Lester Gallery March 24 2016, 0 Comments

School breaks up today and it looks like a busy 2 weeks ahead, kicking off with Easter.

There are lots of things going on in South Gippsland including the Inverloch Primary School Fete on Easter Saturday, Foster Primary School Fete on Easter Sunday and the Tour de Tarwin all weekend. Don't forget the Promontory Produce and Craft Market at the Foster Showgrounds on Sunday.

With all the usual great galleries, cafes and shops open, you will have plenty to do in between relaxing and walking along the beach.

Alison will be in the Fish Creek Gallery on Easter Monday to meet people and sign books.

Alison Lester Gallery - 1 Falls Road, Fish Creek (03) 5683 2352

Have a wonderful break and drive safely.


Easter and School Holidays at the Alison Lester Gallery March 24 2016, 0 Comments

School breaks up today and it looks like a busy 2 weeks ahead, kicking off with Easter.

There are lots of things going on in South Gippsland including the Inverloch Primary School Fete on Easter Saturday, Foster Primary School Fete on Easter Sunday and the Tour de Tarwin all weekend. Don't forget the Promontory Produce and Craft Market at the Foster Showgrounds on Sunday.

With all the usual great galleries, cafes and shops open, you will have plenty to do in between relaxing and walking along the beach.

Alison will be in the Fish Creek Gallery on Easter Monday to meet people and sign books.

Alison Lester Gallery - 1 Falls Road, Fish Creek (03) 5683 2352

Have a wonderful break and drive safely.


Astrid Lingdren Memorial Award 2016 January 13 2016, 0 Comments

Congratulations to Alison for being nominated for the 2016 Astrid Lingdren Memorial Award. This award is the world's largest award for children's and young adult literature. The award was founded by the Swedish government in 2002, and is administered by the Swedish Arts Council, and will be announced in April. For more information


2015 CBC Book Awards August 26 2015, 0 Comments

Congratulations to all the shortlisted, honour books and winners at this years CBC Awards. we are very excited that Noni the Pony Goes to the Beach was awarded Honour book award!

New York Times reviews Noni the Pony goes to the beach! July 29 2015, 0 Comments


Check out this cool review of Noni in the New York Times!


The New York Times features NONI THE PONY GOES TO THE BEACH by Alison Lester in a picture book beach round-up!


“A reliable vein of children’s humor involves putting things in places they are not supposed to be, and this second book about “friendly and funny” Noni the Pony and her friends Coco and Dave, a dog and a cat, sends them to the beach, where laughs are to be had. They bring along “the ladies next door” — five cows, who slide down a sand dune quite ungracefully. The members of the crew take a swim — well, Noni and Dave do, while Coco lounges in a hammock-like fishing net and the cows wade in gingerly. With Lester’s smooth, natural rhymes, it’s a nearly perfect preschooler-friendly summer day, complete with simple illustrations as pleasing to look at as those colorful iced sugar cookies shaped like flowers or bells that canny shopkeepers keep next to the register.”



By Alison Lester

Publisher: Beach Lane Books

On Sale: June 30, 2015

Ages 3-6; Price: $17.99

HC ISBN: 9781481446259; EBK ISBN: 9781481446266

Bunyips and Dragons @ NGV July 24 2015, 0 Comments

Make sure you don't miss the new exhibition of original children's picture book illustrations which starts this weekend at the NGV  - Ian Potter centre.


The Anniversary Exhibition 2015 June 17 2015, 1 Comment

We are excited to announce a very special celebration to take place in Fish Creek, South Gippsland, Victoria. 2015 is the 30th Anniversary of Alison's first book that she both wrote and illustrated - Clive Eats Alligators. It is also the 25th Anniversary of the Australian Classic - Magic Beach, and the 10th Anniversary of the bestseller and Picture Book of the Year in 2005 - Are We There Yet? There will be an exhibition featuring original works, working drawings and new limited edition prints from these 3 books, in The Oberon Room at the Fish Creek Hotel from June 28 - July 27.

The Launch will take place on Sunday June 28, at 2pm, where we would like you to join us for a birthday celebration for "Clive", view the exhibition, join in art activities, have a look around the campervan used for "Are We There Yet" and lots more. This will be followed by a book signing in the Alison Lester Gallery across the road at 3pm. We will also be launching the new "I- Spy" version of Are We There Yet, and a new audio book - "The Alison Lester Collection" featuring a great collection of Alison's award winning books.

There will also be a raffle on the day to win some wonderful prizes to support the Australian Children's Laureate program.

Hopefully we will see you in Fish Creek, a great way to start the winter school holidays!   

My recent visit Fitzroy Crossing August 13 2014, 2 Comments

I was in Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley region of Western Australia for the last 10 days of July, working at the Fitzroy Valley District High School with my old friend Chris Aitken. Chris and his music students had written ten lovely songs and we turned five of them into books, with beautiful illustrations by the children. My favourite was The Sun Wakes Up by Kindergarten Class.

Boys dancing at Yakanarra

The Fitzroy Valley Women's Resource Centre sponsored my visit and my friend Maree Evans came too and  made a beautiful mosaic with the ladies there.

Maree with her Yakanarra mosaic

On the weekend we travelled to Yakanarra for their 25th anniversary celebrations. Maree and I worked at Yakanarra in 2012 so it was great to return and see some familiar faces. 
We also took a cruise up Geike Gorge and watched the footy on Sunday afternoon. There were hundreds of people watching and the players were very fast and skilful.

Geike Gorge

Footy at Fitzroy Crossing

Thanks to Chris, Jenny and Kirsten and all the kids and teachers for making us so welcome. It was wonderful to be back in the beautiful Kimberley with the boab trees, sunshine and smiles.

On the way to Fitzroy Crossing

Chris and Jenny's pup, Zoe

Flying over the desert to Broome

Kissed by the Moon nominated for Environment Award July 21 2014, 0 Comments



Australia’s only environmental themed award for children’s literature has announced the shortlist for the 2014 award. The Wilderness Society presents the Environment Award for Children’s Literature; this year awarding prizes in two categories; ‘picture book,’ and ‘young reader’.

For the past 20 years, the award has commemorated the very best environmental literature for kids in Australia.

Previous winners of the award include celebrated Australian writers Tim Winton, Colin Thiele, Paul Jennings, Jeannie Baker and Graeme Base.

This year’s judging panel consists of environmental educators, Children’s Book Council of Australia winner Michael Gerard Bauer, and the children’s book illustrator Ben Wood.

The Wilderness Society are pleased to host this award and believe that promoting a love of nature in children is one of the fundamental elements to building a society that respects and protects our unique landscapes.

Lyndon Schneiders, Wilderness Society National Director, said  “We have not inherited this earth from our parents to do with it what we will. We have borrowed it from our children,” quoting former Australian Environment Minister Moss Cass in 1974.

“That message remains as true today as then. By recognising that the future protection of nature and our wild places rests in the hands of our children, for 20 years the Wilderness Society has sponsored this important award. As a father of two small children, my commitment to the protection of the natural world has only grown.

“The shortlisted books were selected for their ability to capture children’s imagination and inspire them, while encouraging them to treasure and protect Australia’s unique natural environment.”

The eight shortlisted books are as follows:

Young Readers’ Shortlist:

  • Girl v the World: Sophie Bennett Saves the Planet by Meredith Badger (Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • Bush Baby Rescue: Juliet Nearly a Vet, Book 4 by Rebecca Johnson Illustrated by Kyla may (Penguin Group Australia)
  • The Smallest Carbon Footprint in the Land and other eco-tales by Anne Morgan Illustrated by Gay McKinnon  (Interactive Publications)

Picture book shortlist

  • Welcome Home by Christina Booth (Ford Street Publishing)
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas Island by Teresa Lagrange (Allen & Unwin)
  • Kissed by the Moon by Alison Lester (Penguin Group Australia)
  • The Curious Explorer’s Illustrated Guide to Exotic Animals by Marc Martin (Penguin Group Australia)
  • Rainforest Lullaby by Sally Odgers Illustrated by Lisa Stewart (Scholastic Press)

The announcement date of the award is yet to be confirmed.

For further information and to request author interviews:

Rachel Edwards

P: (03) 6270 1701               T: #EACL            W:

The writers and illustrators of the eight shortlisted books are:

Girl v The World: Sophie Bennett Saves the Planet by Meredith Badger (Hardie Grant Egmont)

Young Australians Best Book Awards (YABBA) winner Meredith Badger, who is based in Germany is nominated this year’s Environment Award for Children’s Literature for Girl v The World: Sophie Bennett Saves the Planet. Badger’s work with the popular Zac Power series has been recognised with a YABBA (Young Australian Best Book Awards) award. Her eponymous character, Sophie Bennett is known for being a bit quirky in school. She loves animals and the environment but sometimes finds it hard being the one who always speaks up. She feels like she’ll never fit in.

Juliet Nearly a Vet by Rebecca Johnson, illustrated by Kyla May (Penguin)

Robina based part time science teacher, Rebecca Johnson’s Juliet nearly a Vet series has captured the hearts of young Australians. Johnson’s past experience as a wildlife carer gives her fiction a sense of realism and extra insight into the behaviour of our native animals. In Bush Baby Rescue a bushfire has struck and more and more baby animals arrive into Juliet’s mum’s clinic. They may be super adorable, but Juliet and her friends find out how much work it is to take care of bush babies. Illustrator Kyla May (WA)  is the creative director of a team of illustrators, writers, designers and producers under the banner Kyla May Productions. Kyla May Productions writes, develops and illustrates children's books including the original series 'Kyla May Miss Behaves' which is currently being developed into a TV series.

The Smallest Carbon Footprint in the Land & other Eco-Tales by Anne Morgan and Gay McKinnon (Interactive Publications)

Tasmanian author Anne Morgan has a PhD in Writing. She recently teamed up with former geneticist, glass artist children’s book illustrator Gay McKinnon to create The Smallest Carbon Footprint in the Land & other eco-tales a delightful collection of organically grown eco-tales. Anne has written 8 childrens books and a collection of poetry. She has worked in diverse roles including as a journalist, a public sector administrator and an actor. Gay is a former geneticist, glass artist as well as an illustrator. She has recently illustrated ‘When I was a girl in Sudan’ and ‘When I was a Boy in Sudan,’ published by Anzoa (Joy) Books, an imprint of the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre. Both Anne and Gay are based in Tasmania.

Welcome Home by Christina Booth

Christina Booth is a former teacher, landscape architect who currently lives in the bush just outside of Launceston with ducks, fish and a garden with fruit trees. Christina grew up in Launceston and spent most of her school holidays on the beach near St Helens on Tasmania’s beautiful East Coast. Welcome Home is illustrated and written by Booth and tells the story of a young boy and a whale as she swims into the river harbour seeking safety and a resolution to the violent past relationship between whales and man. This prosaic journey, accompanied with soft sketchy watercolour images, reveals how the past can impact our future.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Island by Teresa Lagrange (Allen & Unwin)

United States based graphic designer and illustrator, Teresa Lagrange illustrated and wrote a uniquely Australian version of the much-loved Christmas carol Twelve Days of Christmas. Her beautifully illustrated The Twelve Days of Christmas Island looks at native birds, plants and other wildlife. Christmas Island is home to hundreds of species of birds, native plants and wildlife, many of which are not found anywhere else in the world. This book is a celebration of the unique birds that live on this wild and remote island. Lagrange, who also illustrated this gorgeous book is based in the United States and has 20 years experience as a graphic designer and illustrator. She has worked for the Portland Museum of Art, University of Southern Maine, and University of Connecticut. Her combination of graphic design and illustration skills lead to unique designs utilising bold, bright colours and shapes.

Kissed by the Moon by Alison Lester (Penguin)

One of Australia’s most popular childrens authors, Alison Lester is an Australian Children’s Laureate, and her nominated Kissed by the Moon is also on the 2014 CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Award Shortlist. Alison Lester, who lives in the Victorian countryside is adored by generations of children, many of whom are now adults, reading their favourites to their own children. Her books include Noni the Pony, Imagine and Magic Beach. Kissed by the Moon is part poem, part lullaby and it celebrates a baby’s wonder at our beautiful world.

The Curious Explorer’s Guide to Exotic Animals A-Z by Marc Martin (Penguin)

The Curious Explorer’s Guide to Exotic Animals A-Zis a colourful and beautifully illustrated book of amazing creatures. From armadillo to zebras, chameleons to quetzals, these exotic animals will surprise and delight. No curious explorer should be without Marc Martin's stunning celebration of strange and beautiful creatures from all over the world. Here is a book of wonder, a unique and breathtaking treasure from one of Australia's most outstanding new talents.

Melbourne based illustrator Marc Martin has worked for The Australian Centre for the Moving Image and The Australian Financial Review.

Rainforest Lullaby by Sally Odgers, illustrated by Lisa Stewart (Scholastic Press)

Rainforest Lullaby is the companion book to the much-loved Bushland Lullaby also written by Sally Odgers who runs a small manuscript assessment business.  Sally was born in Tasmania, where she still lives and published her first book in 1977.

Both books were also illustrated by Queenslander Lisa Stewart,  who considers her job creating illustrations for children’s books to be a dream come true.


Australian Literary Educators Association - Conference in Darwin July 20 2014, 0 Comments

Last week I attended the ALEA ( Australian Literary Educators Association ) conference in Darwin where I gave a talk about making books in remote indigenous communities and shared a session with Jackie French about being the Australian Children’s Laureate. 

View from my room at the Darwin ALEA Conference

Tye, who is the Marketing Manager for Education, Events and Partnerships at Penguin books came with me and made sure everything ran smoothly. 

There were 600 delegates at the conference, all interested in children’s literature and literacy. I was lucky to attend a function at Government House where we chatted and had drinks and delicious food in the warm tropical evening and I also shared story time at the City Library. It was very exciting being part of such a big event and lovely to be somewhere warm and sunny.

Darwin Wave Pool

Click on the image below to visit ALEA website:

Buk Bilong Pikinini - Meanjin Article July 03 2014, 0 Comments

"Following on from my recent blog about Buk Bilong Pikinini here is the link to their web site.  - I have also reprinted a recent interview from Meanjin Magazine  between my friends Drusilla Modjeska and Anne-Sophie Hermann as they talk about about Buk bilong Pikinini. I have included some photographs from my recent trip" - Alison.

Drusilla Modjeska talks to Anne-Sophie Hermann about Buk bilong Pikinini
Meanjin, Vol 72, No 1, March 2013.

In a small room at the Papua New Guinea High Commission in Canberra, Anne-So-phie Hermann sorts books. A security guard helps me carry in another box to add to those already overflowing every surface and piled on the floor. These are books do-nated to Buk bilong Pikinini, the organisation Hermann started five years ago while she was in Port Moresby as the wife of the Australian High Commissioner to PNG. Starting from the simple premise of bringing books to the most vulnerable of Papua New Guinea"s children, the first library opened in a ward of the Port Moresby General Hospital. That was in April 2008. In December 2012 the tenth library opened near a settlement on the outskirts of the town of Alotau in Milne Bay Province. From a small start, in a country where half the children are out of school, and where good ideas do not easily translate into development success, BbP"s libraries now bring books and literacy to thousands of children.

I visited two of the libraries in September 2012. The rooms were modest, with the children sitting bunched together on the mats spread, traditional style, on the floor. There were a few shelves of books and craft materials, cut-outs hanging from the ceiling, posters and children"s drawings pinned to the wall. Compared to the facili-ties you"d see in primary schools in Australia, they are modest. In Papua New Guinea I"ve seen few classrooms for young children with as much, and many with a great deal less. What moved me-other visitors, I"m told have the same reaction-was to see how eager and inventive the children were, and how much they made of every-thing the libraries provide. "We are probably the only libraries in the world", Hermann says, "with lines of children outside."

If you wish to read the whole interview between click here

Buk Bilong Pikinini - My trip to Papua New Guinea July 03 2014, 0 Comments

Buk Bilong Pikinini - Papua New Guinea

Flying to Papua New Guinea - My view from the plane

At the end of May I went to Papua New Guinea for the inaugural PNG Author’s seminar, put on by a wonderful organisation called Buk Bilong Pikinini. BbP aims to foster a love of reading and learning, raise children’s aspirations and increase literacy rates through the establishment of children’s libraries across Papua New Guinea.

The seminar was designed to promote and support indigenous writing and illustrating of children’s books and stories in PNG. The founder of Buk Bilong Pikinini, Anne-Sophie Hermann had invited teachers, publishers, authors and artists and we worked together for three days, sharing ideas and knowledge about children’s books.

On the third day we visited the BBP library at Koki Markets and it was great to see the children having such fun learning to read and write. Before they came to the BbP library many of the kids would have never held a pencil or book. Bbp is giving them a future.

As well as attending the seminar in Port Moresby we flew to Tufi, in Oro province, on the north east coast of PNG. The writer Drusilla Modjeskka who was also at the seminar knows this area well and invited me to travel there with her. The area is called the fjiord coast because the long narrow bays are fjiords, formed by a volcano eons ago. Unlike the fjiords in Norway, the steep fingers of land that poke out into the sea are covered with rainforest and the ocean is warm and teeming with tropical fish. We stayed at a small dive resort in a bamboo cottage that looked over the sea.

On the second day we travelled by boat and then walked to Tainabuna School to work with the students and teachers to make some books. The villagers welcomed us with singing and drumming.

The Students at Tainabuna School


Inside the school there were over 100 students crammed into two tiny rooms and more little ones kept creeping in. It was very hot but we had a wonderful drawing, painting and writing about life on the fjiord coast where children paddle their canoes to school and birds of paradise live in the jungle.

That night I worked on my computer to collate one of the books and when the teachers came to Tufi the next day we printed out 8 copies. They were very proud of their students work.  We spent the day experimenting with different art techniques and sharing stories. Altogether we made four different books that day at Tainabuna and I have printed multiple copies and sent them to the school.


This is where we stayed during our visit.


The highlight of the trip was visiting  the village of Orotoaba, again we travelled by boat then hiked for about an hour up from the sea. Lots of the children had been at the school at Tainabuna so we got a great welcome. The village was very pretty, with thatched houses, coconut trees, beautiful gardens and acres of lawns, all trimmed with machetes. The views out to sea were lovely and the mountains rose steeply behind, covered with jungle. It was very different to home with no electricity, no running water, no fridges or stoves and no glass windows. We stayed in the guesthouse where we had our own room with a bed on a cane platform, made up with nice clean sheets and a mosquito net to tuck in and keep the creepy crawlies out. Apart from rice, all the food we were served came from the village gardens or the ocean and it was delicious.

We had lobster for breakfast! I had heard people walking past our room towards the sea at 4.00am and learnt they were the lobster catchers, going down to get breakfast for us. It was pouring in the morning so we didn’t get up the mountain in time to see the birds of paradise but we climbed up later anyway and saw gardens and betel nut plantations. I didn’t realise such beautiful villages still existed, where people live so simply, with so little. School finishes at year 8 and the schools are desperately short of resources so there is an urgent need to bring more education to the children of the fjiord coast.


Coming home - The Great Barrier Reef viewed from the plane

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators at Rottnest July 02 2014, 0 Comments

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators at Rottnest

A few weeks ago I was in West Australia, doing talks and workshops with the WA arm of the society of children's book writers and illustrators. My friend and editor Jane Godwin was with me and we had a great time working with WA authors and illustrators. We had one day in Perth, working at the state library, giving talks but also taking part in a very interesting competition called duelling illustrators, where ( in front of an audience ) an illustrator was read part of a story then given three minutes to illustrate it. At one stage it was me versus three illustrators so I had to draw like the wind. Luckily the subject was a dog and I'm used to doing them.

After that we went to Rottnest island, a beautiful island about 20 km off the coast at Perth and worked there. Between events Janie and I took off on hired bikes and explored the island. There are hardly any cars there and as it was the middle of winter not many people either and luckily for us the weather was calm and sunny. I even went for two swims. Little animals called quokkas live on Rottnest. They are like a cross between a big rat and a wallaby and they are everywhere so we had to be careful not to skittle them.

The highlight of our bike trips was watching humpback whales playing in the ocean.

As we set off that morning I said to Janie that perhaps we'd see a whale and she replied "I have to tell you Alison, I'm not very lucky with whales, I never see them. If someone shouts out "Whales!" by the time I look, they've gone." "Well," I said "I am quite lucky with whales so we'll see."

We rode out to the western end of the island, that pokes out towards Africa. We saw an osprey, swifts, finches and pelicans and no people. There was nobody around.


Watching the Ocean


We stood at West End for ages looking for whales but all we saw was the ocean, swooshing around under the sun. Eventually we decided to go but as I bent down to unlock my bike I saw a splash, way out, through a gap in the fence. "That looks like a whale." I said to Janie, so we raced back to the viewing platform and sure enough, there were three whales playing, getting closer as they did. They flipped their tails above the waves and waved their flippers as though they were waving to us.

The biggest whale launched right out of the water three times, landing with a mighty splash. Then after about an hour they were gone. We rode home with big smiles on our faces.


Janey watching Whales at Rottnest










A Review of "Our Island" July 01 2014, 1 Comment

Our Island

The children of Gununa,
Alison Lester and Elizabeth Honey
Penguin 2014


Our island lies beneath a big blue sky,
surrounded by the turquoise sea.
Turtles glide through the clear salt water.
And dugongs graze on the banks of seagrass…

And so begins the text of a most stunning pictorial book about Mornington Island, the largest of the Wellesley group in the Gulf of Carpentaria, the result of a collaboration by the children of Gununa – the main township- and Alison Lester and Elizabeth Honey. Focusing on the stunning wildlife that inhabits both land and sea, the illustrations have been done by the children of Mornington Island State School using wax crayons and food dye wash.  This makes the focal point of the pictures stand out against the background which blurs and blends as dyes do and the landscape does. Beginning with the sunrise and following through the day until the ghost crabs make patterns on the sand, the local dogs sing to the moon and the island finally sleeps, this is a celebration of life in a unique environment where the connection between the land and life is almost indivisible.  

To read the full review click here

This review was provided by Barbara Braxton. Barbara is a Teacher/Librarian. You can read more of Barbara's worke here ...

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Why books are a big deal. June 27 2014, 1 Comment

Author and illustrator Alison Lester loves that her job involves making story books not just for children but WITH them. Alison's work has resulted in some amazing artwork and publication of new books by the children themselves. Some artwork from Alison's student's is shown below.

Alison's recently discussed her work with young artists on the ABC web site ...

"I've been writing and illustrating children's books for about 35 years.
My picture books mix imaginary worlds with everyday life and encourage children to believe in themselves and celebrate the differences that make them special. I am an Australian Children's Laureate (2012-2013) and my most recent picture books include Running With the Horses, a story based on the evacuation of the world-famous Lipizzaner horses from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna during the second world war; One Small Island, about the life and times of a World Heritage Listed island; Sophie Scott Goes South about a little girl's voyage to Antarctica; and Kissed by the Moon, a lyrical lullaby for small babies celebrating a child's wonder at the natural world. I live on a farm in the Victorian countryside."

To read the entire article click here

CBC Shortlist for Kissed by the Moon April 15 2014, 0 Comments

Great News, Alison's most recent title "Kissed by the Moon" has been shortlisted for book of the Year for young readers. For more information on the nominations click on the image below:


Book of the Year: Nominations for Younger Readers were as follows:

  • Violet Mackerel's Possible Friend (Anna Branford, illus by Sarah Davis, Walker Books)
  • Song for a Scarlet Runner (Julie Hunt, A&U)
  • A Very Unusual Pursuit (Catherine Jinks, A&U)
  • My Life as an Alphabet (Barry Jonsberg, A&U)
  • Light Horse Boy (Dianne Wolfer, illus by Brian Simmonds, Fremantle Press)



'Kissed by the Moon' has been shortlisted for @OZBooksellers Award. March 12 2014, 0 Comments

The shortlist for this year’s Australian Booksellers Association (ABA) Nielsen BookData Booksellers Choice Award has been announced. The shortlisted titles are:

  • Burial Rites (Hannah Kent, Picador)
  • Eyrie (Tim Winton, Hamish Hamilton)
  • Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia (David Hunt, Black Inc.)
  • Kissed by the Moon (Alison Lester, Viking) 
  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Richard Flanagan, Vintage)
  • The Rosie Project (Graeme Simsion, Text).

ABA members will now have the opportunity to vote for their favourite shortlisted title. The winner will be announced during the ABA conference on 18 May in Melbourne. The award recognises Australian new-release titles that booksellers most enjoyed reading, marketing and handselling during the past year. Last year’s award was presented to The Light between Oceans by M L Stedman (Vintage).


Sophie Scott Goes South December 04 2013, 0 Comments

The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Education Institute partnered with Speech Pathology Australia for the second year to host their Book of the Year Awards at the RCH 

Authors Claire Saxby (Seadog), Alison Lester (Sophie Scott Goes South), Morris Gleitzman (After) and Melanie Prewett (Two Mates) received Speech Pathology Australia’s 2013 Best Books for Language and Literacy Development awards.