Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Saturday 7 December 2019

Valuing our local literary talent

Coral Tulloch, award winning illustrator of
Bouncing Back & Phasmid.
Latest publication The Book of Stone.

As the school year draws to a close, Tasmanian illustrator, Coral Tulloch, highlights the value of the current CBCA Tasmania Authors and Illustrators in Schools Program and how this has helped expose Tasmanian schools to local talent rather than relying on visiting authors from further afield to enrich children’s reading experiences. Coral also provides some thoughtful ideas to maximise the success of author and illustrator visits. Find out more about her work in this CSIRO article on Coral’s contributions to scientific literary non-fiction. 

I’d like to sincerely thank the CBCA Tasmanian Branch for their initiation in providing the visits to schools of Tasmanian Authors and Illustrators. I am certainly not trying to speak for everyone, just for myself, but I do feel from experience over the years that too often we are viewed as not being as important, exciting, or perhaps exotic enough as we live here, so anyone, from somewhere else holds so much more charisma and interest. I am told this by my peers who live on the mainland and who never get asked to come to their local school, too many times, so perhaps it’s not just Tasmania.

But the ability to be able to visit schools within our own state has a certain beauty, a real attachment for our creative place and to inspire students and teachers here. For me, the most valuable visits from the CBCA Tasmania grant is that small schools, small communities could benefit from having creators come to visit, something that they said is so often not viable for them. This was the greatest gift, to be able to spend time in a school community, work with them, leave material with them for future use and to hopefully be useful for the teachers to take ideas and hopefully inspire further written and visual narratives in all of their work.

It is all fine to organise a large auditorium and give a presentation, as worthy and as important, fun and inspiring as it might be, but it is really a show and tell and all too often a school may try and cram every student into a presentation. This is not only difficult for the students, but also for the presenters, as the language, the presentation itself should be tailored for the audience to achieve the best possible, and this is curtailed by the idea of a whole school presentation.

When visiting smaller schools, or where the schools literally looked at the presenters they wanted, and gave time to the grades that would benefit, (not try and get every student to see the visiting author and illustrator) are the ones that are really, really valuable. We all produce variable work and have varying expertise with varying presentations and workshops, so the ability to be able to contact the school first and to work out what would be best, suit their needs etc, was a terrific way to proceed.

Again, thank you to the CBCA Tasmanian Branch for this initiative…and I hope, that if this happens again, more smaller schools will take part and consider the great value of having a creator work with their school community for the day, for both their students and their teachers.


Coral Tulloch
Tasmanian illustrator
FB: @cloudyseas https://www.facebook.com/cloudyseas/

From the editor: CBCA Tasmania blog readers have been treated this year with posts from children’s book creators that have participated in the program in 2019. Revisit posts from Christina Booth and Julie Hunt & Dale Newman. Consider also Why You ShouldMeet Your Heroes. Hopefully, as the program continues into 2020 some of the recipient schools will also share their experiences for our blog audience. Contact tas@cbca.org.au for more information about participating in the program.


  1. Thanks Coral for this perspective of the programme. We have funding for another two years of this programme, thanks to a Federal Grant administered by the Department of Education, Tasmania.
    Schools, please visit our web page to become and institutional member of CBCA, and in Term 1 2020, our coordinators will make contact with you. Authors and Illustrators, please email your interest, if your not already on our list, and we’ll be in touch to get some further information to share with schools. Felicity, NW Coordinator tas@cbca.org.au

  2. As President of the CBCA Tasmanian Branch it has been a privilege to read the feedback from schools who has been impacted by the many creators who have visited and shared their skills and talents so generously with teachers and students. Their capacity to craft their workshops to meet the interests and needs of individuals and groups is extraordinary and often leaves students excited and empowered with increased confidence in their own abilities. It is wonderful that the grant means we have another 2 years to influence our Tasmanian students.