Alison Lester

Andrew Daddo

Alison Lester is one of Australia’s most beloved children’s authors.

Alison Lester is one of Australia’s most popular and well-loved author/illustrators. The antics of her characters in the Clive Eats AlligatorsTessa Snaps Snakes, Rosie Sips Spiders series are known to a whole generation of Australian children and have been published in many languages around the world. The best-selling Quicksand Pony series has been extremely popular with older readers, and the Horse Crazy series, written by Alison and illustrated by Roland Harvey has been a great hit with younger readers. Other titles include Ernie Dances to the Didgeridoo (based on Alison’s experiences during her time in the Northern Territory helping Aboriginal children develop their writing and drawing skills) and perennial favourites ImagineMagic Beach and Are We There Yet?, a picture book based on Alison’s travels around Australia with her family. Her latest picture book is Running With the Horses, a story inspired by the wartime events at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.

Alison’s very individual style celebrates the freedom of childhood. As one reviewer says, ‘The children in her picture books have oceans of time at their disposal … their imagination is all-powerful.’ While not strictly autobiographical, Alison’s books reflect her upbringing on a farm in the Gippsland area of Victoria where she still lives with her family.

Alison grew up on a farm overlooking the sea and first rode a horse as a baby in her father’s arms. She still lives in the country and rides her horse Woollyfoot, whenever she can. Her picture books mix imaginary worlds with everyday life, encouraging children to believe in themselves and celebrate the differences that make them special.

Alison spends part of every year traveling to schools in remote areas, using her books to help children and adults write and draw about their own lives. She is happy to talk to groups of students across the K – 6 but also to high school students.

Alison was Australia’s Inaugural Children’s Laureate from 2011 to 2013.