Our 2020 Ambassadors

Beck Feiner

“Reading has been so instrumental in my life. The obvious reason is that it has led me to a career in creating books. Being surrounded by wonderful picture books from a young age, inspired me to dream of one day becoming an illustrator and author. However the less obvious reason is that reading has provided me with a way to deal with stress and turmoil in my life. There is nothing more comforting than knowing you have a great book next to your bed. That comfort and escapism has been incredibly powerful for me.

Reading at a young age can have such a positive impact on the rest of an individuals life. Books are full of knowledge, and I truly believe knowledge is power. Power to make positive decisions. The power of a healthy world view. The power to create opportunity.

I hope that as an ambassador I can spread these message, and help youngsters find the pure joy of reading.”

Anna Fienberg

“Stories might be our first experience of magic – we witness transformation and we experience it. And in this present and future world of ours, imagination, creativity and empathy are qualities that we humans will be calling upon more than ever. Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist, recently prescribed the value of rehearsing changes that life may throw at us through the reading of science fiction. Perhaps such scenarios are like handrails for the steep inclines ahead. And why not? Science, invention and literature are not so far apart. They rely on imagining what is not. A boy at Summer Hill Public School once told me, “When I read, I go far away and when I come back, I feel bigger than I really am.” And that’s why I’m so delighted to be a part of the 2020 Australian Reads program because it’s through reading books that we give us humans, children especially, the power to understand, to grow and to imagine what is not.”

Jacqueline Harvey

“I am thrilled to be part of the 2020 Australia Reads program because reading has the power to change lives. I’ve seen it during my career as a teacher and now as an author. There is something truly special when a child falls in love with books. Sometimes it takes just one story to ignite the spark, and other times it’s a slower, more gradual process. I’ve always been passionate about reading aloud – and encourage everyone who has children in their lives to give it a go – use the funny voices, don’t be afraid of being silly because there is nothing better than shared stories. Reading is key to developing empathy, life skills and it also gives us endless hours of enjoyment. Growing a lifelong reading habit can start with just a few minutes a day, so I do hope that people of every age, all over Australia will join me and take up the challenge to read for an hour on Thursday 17 September.”

Peter Helliar

“I am over the moon to be a Book Ambassador for Australia Reads! I’m passionate about getting books into the hands of kids, whether they’re toddlers, middle-graders or teens, and I truly believe reading plays a huge part in our mental well-being and happiness. I can’t wait to do my part.”

Will Kostakis

“As a teenager, if Mum ever told her immigrant father that she was bored, he would insist she read the encyclopedia he had bought from a door-to-door salesman. His reading ability was limited, and he wanted more for his children than to face the barriers he did. As a parent, Mum stressed the importance of reading to her children. The transformative (and transportive) power of reading is a gift we pass on. I am thrilled to be an Australia Reads ambassador and do my part to inspire the next generation to cherish the written word as much as I do.”

Dervla McTiernan

“Reading has always been the greatest joy to me. When I read I seek out characters to treasure, rich worlds to immerse myself in and stories that keep me up all night. These are not small joys. But reading offers so much more. It offers us a shortcut to understanding and to true empathy in a world that encourages us to divide ourselves into silos, into warring tribes. It opens a dialogue between people – real and imagined – who might otherwise see only differences, and turn away. 

It would be my great privilege to be an ambassador for Australia Reads. I can’t think of anything more delightful than to choose a day and make it a celebration of books and reading. It’s wonderful for readers and writers to have a special day to celebrate what we love. I think too about the people who have wandered away from books over the years, and just need a reminder of what they’ve been missing and a way back in. Australia Reads can be that reminder.”


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Take the Pledge

Are you ready for Australia Reads?

Ok, take a deep breath, and repeat after us.

“I will read for an hour on Thursday 12 November.
I will read books in any shape, form or size.
I will read, whether with bumps, letters, pictures, sound.
I will read to myself or someone else.”

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