An Evening with Leigh Hobbs and Tania McCartney

An Evening with Leigh Hobbs and Tania McCartney
October 30, 2016 Genevieve Hopkins

Creating Exceptional Children's Books: Leigh Hobbs in Conversation with Tania McCartney

Thank you to ACT Writer’s Centre for hosting a fantastic event on Friday night, which I am very glad to have attended.  Leigh Hobbs is a delightful children’s author and illustrator, and the 2016 and 2017 Australian Children’s Laureate. His books include the Old Tom, Mr. Chicken, Mr. Badger, Horrible Harriet, Fiona the Pig, and Freaks.


Creating Exceptional Children's Books: Leigh Hobbs in Conversation with Tania McCartney

In a fun and down-to-earth presentation, Leigh told us that he is passionate about and a champion for:

  • Teachers and librarians
  • Libraries – they are one of the only places that school children can escape grades, assessments and comparisons and enter a world of imagination
  • Creators of children’s books

He also has a ‘thing’ for architecture.

Leigh had a normal, suburban upbringing, born in Melbourne in 1953 and growing up in the country town of Bairnsdale. He loved books and read extensively as a child. His two burning ambitions were to be an artist and to visit England.

Leigh is a great example of William Brambleberry’s motto: with determination and practice, he made his dreams come true. Leigh went to art school, became an art teacher then started creating his children’s books. He now spends his work days drawing and visits England twice a year.

Achieving your dreams isn’t always easy and although he is widely viewed as successful, Leigh had many rejections on the way. I was grateful for Leigh’s openness and honesty as he shared with us the highs and lows of his journey, while making the whole audience laugh, frequently and loudly.

Following Leigh’s humorous and honest presentation, Tania McCartney focused the discussion onto the processes behind creating exceptional children’s books.

Leigh informed us that his books were character studies, homages to the things and people he loved, told through uncomplicated story and irreverent and fun illustrations. While some adults didn’t necessarily understand or like his books or characters, children enjoyed the authenticity and understood the underlying themes of love, fun and curiosity.

Tania’s facilitation of the event reflected her warm and delightful nature. She is a successful children’s book author and illustrator in her own right. I bought her book, ‘Australia Illustrated,’ and it is a beautiful, fun and very creative piece of work; a great gift for anyone with children who love and love learning about Australia.

Tania was very kind and helpful to me after the evening finished as I nervously presented her with a gift of ‘The Adventures of William Brambleberry.’ She took the time to offer some very helpful advice and encouraged me to join the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

My newest goal in my own journey as a children’s book author, is to network with fellow creatives and learn as much as I can.

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