A Discussion with Australia's Children's Laureate
Bologna Children\'s Book Fair 2017
Though he works across a wide range of artistic mediums Leigh Hobbs is best known for the children’s books he has written and illustrated featuring his characters Old Tom, Horrible Harriet, Fiona the Pig, Mr. Badger, The Freaks in 4F and Mr. Chicken. These funny, irreverent, somewhat anarchic characters have earned Hobbs an international audience and the loyalty of children and adults.
We spoke following the Bologna Children’s Book Fair where Leigh was a special guest invited to discuss his role as Australia’s Children’s Laureate and the travels he’s doing to every state in that country to visit libraries and schools. He has said about his work and his popular character, Old Tom, “I started off illustrating other people’s books, but moved to creating my own characters as a response to the goody two-shoes type characters I’d seen in children’s books–I wanted to create an edgy humorous creature with a distinct and independent personality – someone that both adults and children could identify with. Someone or something that could connect with the reader in a good-natured, but subversive way, and most importantly had to be likable if not lovable.”
For more about Leigh’s books and work, visit http://www.leighhobbs.com.
Susan Raab is president of Raab Associates, an internationally recognized agency that specializes in marketing literature, products and initiatives that help improve the lives of young people. Clients have included National Geographic, Scholastic, the International Board on Books for Young People, and bestselling authors and illustrators. Susan is marketing advisor for the Society of Children’sBook Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She’s also a journalist reporting on publishing, education and human rights. Her work as a broadcast correspondent has been hosted by the University of Connecticut, and by the University of Florida’s Recess Radio, a program syndicated to 500 public radio stations. Her many interviews, including with Art Spiegelman, Jon Scieszka, Norton Juster, Laurie Halse Anderson and many others talking about art and literature can be heard here. Follow Susan at: https://twitter.com/sraab18