|chatting with Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, prime ambassador for the ACT|
Anyone who knows me knows my greatest passions are kids and their rights, books and anything associated with the two - for example, literacy. I was therefore beyond thrilled to be asked by the Library Agency to be a state ambassador for the ACT - for the National Year of Reading 2012.
Some of the finest moments of my life have been sharing, reading and writing books with children - not only my own kids, but schoolchildren everywhere. My whole life revolves around words, and I simply cannot imagine living a life bereft of literacy.
|being addressed by Vanessa Little, Director of the ACT Library and Information Service|
It's pretty frightening, then, to know that 46% of Australians do not have the literacy skills to live fulfilling and effective lives in our increasingly knowledge-based society. Yes, that's right - 46%*.
Astonished? You should be. And this is why we need to make literacy and reading a forerunner in our nation's long list of glorious achievements.
|a warm - and funny! - address by the lovely Katy Gallagher|
The National Year of Reading 2012 is a stunning initiative backed by the libraries of Australia and coordinated by The Library Agency, a team of book-loving professionals who have made it their mission to do some serious stat-changing.
|it was so lovely to meet Katy, who said she'd actually been looking for my Riley books!|
|Senator Kate Lundy, Tania McCartney, Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, Vanessa Little|
|just had to jump in for a photo opp with the superfit Canberra Roller Derby Girls!|
NYR 2012 is backed and funded by the Australian Government through the Office for the Arts and Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Other funding has come from the founder partners, the Australia Council for the Arts, the Sidney Myer Fund and the Copyright Agency Ltd - but it is everyday people like you and me who are needed to promote and saturate this initiative Australia-wide, for the betterment of all Australians.
Throughout 2012, thousands of events and initiatives will be run in promotion of reading skills and a lifelong love of books, and you can learn more about what's coming up near you at the website. Other ambassadors for the ACT include Chief Minister Katy Gallagher as prime ambassador, Jackie French (also national), Mark Camody, author Jack Heath and the Canberra Roller Darby Girls.
|with the lovely Vanessa Little, who is working very hard for the NYR|
I will be working hard to promote the NYR next year and will be travelling interstate to do so, so keep an eye on my blog, as I may be coming to your town!
You can also follow along at Kids Book Review, where we will be running updates and events through the year, alongside our eternal passion for children's literature and literacy. Also be sure to check out Australian Women Online, where I am coordinating a national Bedtime Stories initiative that invites new and established writers to submit original stories that are published weekly, and can be downloaded and read to your kids.
Kids Book Review, AWO and myself are all partners and friends of NYR - you can also get involved by friending or partnering, and letting the NYR team know what literary events you are organising in your town.
I feel so blessed to have been brought up in a home that brought books and reading alive. Many Australian children do not have that luxury. With reading ranking up there with shelter, food and love - at least in my eyes - every Australian child has the right to read - and read well.
Get on board. Spread the word.
|the beautiful glass I was given - certainly something to treasure - the inscription says it all|
Warm thanks to my lovely friend Jennie McClelland for the photos and for sharing in this very proud moment with me (and for corralling all the kids!).
*To learn more about these astonishing figures, see the NYR Literacy Fact Sheet, the Literacy Issue in Australia, which discusses the survey these statistics are based on, Key Messages of the NYR and FAQs.