Under the banner 'Read For Your Life' Ursula Dubosarsky is travelling the country, urging children everywhere to join their local municipal library.
Ms Dubosarsky is an Australian writer of fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults, and in February 2020 it was announced she is the Australian Children's Laureate for 2020-2021.
Last week as a lead up to the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book Week, the multi-award-winning author was in the Armidale region visiting local schools and sharing her love of reading.
Most children in our area have been to their local library Ms Dubosarsky says, but more need to get their own library card (rather than use their parents' card) and visit the library more often.
"Almost all of them have been to the town library, which is great, so they know it exists, " she said.
"But I'm really trying to encourage kids to get their own library card because I think that kind of ownership of your reading is pretty important.
"Even a baby can have their own library card."
Every book you read makes you a better readerUrsula Dubosarsky
Across the schools Ms Dubosarsky has visited students have been uniformly enthusiastic she says and, despite what we may think, they love to read traditionally.
"I feel there is a lot of interest and appreciation in reading and writing," she said.
"It is just a matter of keeping that interest going.
"On the whole children don't like reading books on devices, they do lots of things on devices and they adore their devices, but reading books on them is not something they seem to enjoy.
"Whereas they do enjoy reading paper and cardboard books, so I guess that's why I am particularly strong on joining the library, because if you want them to read you have to provide them with the thing they like to read.
"I think devices are too distracting for the kind of concentration you need to read.
"Modern youth's addiction to devices does not preclude them from wanting to read though Ms Dubosarsky says.
"It's about opportunity and encouragement to read books," she said.
"At every school, I go into there is no lack of interest in the book when I hold it up - even tiny children born with phones in their laps - they want books.
"I think it's about being really careful in this amazing, modern world to provide the opportunity for kids to have books.
"Without that opportunity then they won't read, but if they are provided with that opportunity then they will."
A book is like a friend that stays in your head foreverUrsula Dubosarsky
During her visit Ms Dubosarsky went to Newling Public School, The Armidale School, Presbyterian Ladies College, Uralla Public School, St Mary's Primary School and conducted a webinar with Guyra Public School.
The library coordinator for The Armidale School (TAS) said the year 3-5 students from TAS Junior School were so enthralled and engaged by her address in the TAS Hoskins Centre there simply wasn't enough time to answer all the questions.
"Ursula reviewed a slideshow on the making of her book about a kangaroo called Brindabella, illustrated by Andrew Joyner, to give the students insights into the background of plot development, her working relationship with different illustrators, the power of imagination and the importance of reading," Mr Gordon Arndt said.
"In the days prior to her visit students had been exploring some of her books and were armed with prepared questions as well as spontaneous ones that responded to what she had to say, reflecting their unique interest.
"These included what was the inspiration of some of her characters, her favourite animals, and what is the question you wish you were asked?
"It was so insightful for them to see how much work goes into crafting a book, right from coming up with an initial idea, re-working a storyline and how she responded to the input of the illustrator she is working with.
"Her overwhelming message was read for your life- and the children certainly showed how much they do love reading."
Newling Public School saw the opportunity as a fitting celebration of the completion of renovations to the school library.
"Children were inspired to hear how Ms Dubosarsky generates her ideas for writing by piecing together experiences of things she loves," said school librarian Lyndal Knuckey.
"In particular, she talked us through the inspirations for her recent publication Brindabella which gathered together ideas and experiences from the past 30 years ranging from a visit to artist Arthur Boyd's hut to a baby joey in a wildlife refuge in South Australia visited by her daughter.
"Newling students were amazed to watch a short film animation of the process of computerised graphic illustration development for Brindabella by Andrew Joyner and learned that the artistic process involves hundreds of sketches and alterations before the final product.
"Ursula Dubosarsky promoted the value of libraries, - whether school or public- in being a free resource for all the community, a place that gives you choice and an opportunity to be experimental about what you read."
At St Mary's Ms Dubosarsky had with her a magpie statue which she explained is the laureate logo representing a passionate Australian creator of literature and a voice for the children's book industry.
"Ursula shared her love of writing and her journey from an early age to become an author," a spokesperson for St Mary's Primary School said.
"She spoke about a number of her books and the inspiration and meaning these books have. The children loved having Ursula visit and had plenty of great questions for her to answer."
Students at PLC Armidale Junior School loved listening to the Australian Children's Laureate and were very engaged staff said. At the end of her presentation when the girls were asked the question of who wanted to be a writer when they grow up, at least half the room put their hands up.
All the schools expressed gratitude to the Armidale Sub-Branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia and the New England Writers' Centre for bringing Ms Dubosarsky to Armidale.