Illustration of a forest of black trees and ferns and mushrooms in the foreground

Imagine ... the Wonder of Picture Books

  • Past Exhibition

<p>‘The best stories never end … They keep going on inside you.’&nbsp;Ursula&nbsp;Dubosarsky,&nbsp;<em>March of the Ants</em>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Stories and characters from much-loved Australian picture books come to life in this celebration of children’s literature.&nbsp;</p> <p>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&nbsp;Christina Huynh (<em>Grandma’s Treasured Shoes</em>).</p>

Exhibition Information

to
Past Exhibition
Free
Exhibition Galleries

1 Shakespeare Place
Sydney NSW 2000
Australia
+61 2 9273 1414

A man is sitting in a bath with a wombat, goat and kangaroo and the water is overflowing onto the floor

Mr Archimedes Moves In

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

Hope you're still going strong! [tennis] c. 1916, colour postcard by May Gibbs

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 illustration

The Magic Pudding

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

Thyne Reid Trust Collection bookplate in Stirring Tales of Colonial Adventure: a book for boys (1894) by James Skipp Borlase

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. 

‘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

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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.