Imagine ... the Wonder of Picture Books

Imagine ... the Wonder of Picture Books

‘The best stories never end … They keep going on inside you.’ Ursula Dubosarsky, March of the Ants  

Stories and characters from much-loved Australian picture books come to life in this celebration of children’s literature. 

Exhibition
Saturday 9 July 2022 to Sunday 9 July 2023
Admission: Free
Download the list of works (PDF)

Location

Imagine ... the Wonder of Picture Books

‘The best stories never end … They keep going on inside you.’ Ursula Dubosarsky, March of the Ants  

Stories and characters from much-loved Australian picture books come to life in this celebration of children’s literature. 

Come and see some of the most beautiful picture books and artworks in the State Library’s collection and beyond. You’ll find original illustrations and preliminary sketches from your favourite books and discover new favourites in newcomers like Christina Huynh (Grandma’s Treasured Shoes).

Today’s Australian authors and illustrators capture our diverse cultures. They use picture books to connect young readers with important issues in a gentle and accessible ways.  

Hear Ursula Dubosarsky (March of the Ants), Maxine Beneba Clarke (When We Say Black Lives Matter), Phil Lesnie (A Boy and a Ball), Pamela Allen (Grandpa and Thomas), Jeannie Baker (Circle) and more, talking about their work, inspiration and creative process.  

Younger visitors can enjoy our dedicated activity space, brimming with fun things to do. Learn how to draw popular book characters and make a zine, read books from the exhibition (including 10 with braille), and play with the giant textured tree and magnetic wall.  

Exhibition highlights

Original illustration for Grandpa and Thomas by Pamela Allen published by Penguin Books Australia, 2003 - Courtesy Pamela Allen and Penguin Books Australia
Caption on bottom
Original illustration for Felix and Alexander by Terry Denton published by Oxford University Press, 1985
Caption on bottom
Original watercolour illustration the unpublished story, 'Hoppity's House' by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, ca. 1930 - Courtesy of Vanessa Martin and Stella Palmer
Caption on bottom
Illustration from Coming Home to Country (2020) by Dr Bronwyn Bancroft
Caption on bottom
Illustration for A Boy and A Ball by Phil Cummings and Phil Lesnie, first published by Scholastic Press, a division of Scholastic Australia Pty Ltd. Illustrations copyright © Phil Lesnie, 2020. Reproduced by permission of Scholastic Australia Pty Ltd.
Caption on bottom
A yellow and brown stripped bulb-shaped creature with a very large nose

Courtesy Ted Prior and Simon and Schuster

Original illustration for Grug by Ted Prior published by Simon and Schuster - Courtesy Ted Prior and Simon and Schuster
Caption on bottom

Courtesy Ted Prior and Simon and Schuster

Courtesy Stephen Michael King and Scholastic Press

Original illustration for Amelia Ellicott's Garden by Stephen Michael King published by Scholastic - Courtesy Stephen Michael King and Scholastic Press
Caption on bottom

Courtesy Stephen Michael King and Scholastic Press

A group of birds fly over a bay
Original artwork for the cover of Circle by Jeannie Baker published by Walker Books, 2016 - Courtesy Jeannie Baker and Walker Books
Caption on bottom

Preliminary digital drawing for A Boy and A Ball by Phil Lesnie

Preliminary digital drawing for A Boy and A Ball by Phil Lesnie
a ball looks through a fence at a girl holding a ball
Caption on bottom
Screen of mobile devise showing audio guides

Learning resources

This site highlights the learning resources developed for the exhibition.

Visit the Imagine exhibition microsite

Free audio guide

Listen to the free audio guide on your own device when visiting the exhibition. 

Go to audio guide

Curator

Sarah Morley

Sarah Morley

Sarah Morley is a curator at the State Library. She has worked extensively with the Library’s archival and printed collections. Focussing on manuscripts, rare books and children’s literature, Sarah's work encompasses collection acquisition, access, promotion and interpretation. She has curated numerous exhibitions and displays for the Library, most recently Imagine …the Wonder of Picture Books. 

Mr Archimedes Moves In

The Library is the new home of award-winning children’s author and illustrator Pamela Allen’s extensive archive.

The story of May Gibbs

May Gibbs, author, illustrator and cartoonist, has captured the hearts and imaginations of generations of Australians with her lovable bush characters and fairytale landscapes.

The Magic Pudding

In October 1918 Angus & Robertson published what would become one of Australia’s best known children’s stories: The Magic Pudding.

The enjoyment of a good story: 19th-century children's books

From tales of colonial adventure to moralising educational tracts, children’s literature in nineteenth-century Australia played a significant role in educating children as the nation’s future citizens. 

Show more