NSW magazine a world-beater
Celebration of long-running children’s publication
THE joy that Ursula Dubosarsky helped to spark in young readers during her time working at The School Magazine is one that she cherished as a child herself.
The award-winning children’s author says the NSW Education Department’s children’s literary magazine has had a powerful attachment for her since she first read it in primary school.
“When you opened it up you had this sense of a dedicated space for children’s reading,” she says.
She also spent several years as an assistant editor in the early 2000s.
“At most jobs you end up wondering what the point of it all is ... I felt like I was doing good in the world,” she says.
It became a source of inspiration for much of her writing, including her 2008 novel The Word Spy – a character that takes children on an en- tertaining journey through the English language.
“That arose from the monthly columns that I was doing in the magazine about crazy spelling and word games,” Dubosarsky recalled.
Many well-known artists have been influenced by The School Magazine, according to editor Alan Edwards.
Writers and illustrators like May Gibbs, Pamela Allen, Tohby Riddle and Libby Gleeson have all been contributors.
“Henri Szeps, who was known for being on the ABC show Mother and Son in the 80s has said performing plays from the magazines is what inspired him to get into acting,” Edwards says.
This year marks 100 years since it was first published, making it the longest-running children’s literary magazine anywhere in the world.
The centenary is being celebrated with the launch of a fully illustrated anthology For Keeps on August 1 during Education Week.
The book features stories, plays and poems that have been published throughout the past 100 years.
There are also some examples of times the magazine directly affected our culture.
The 1967 publication of the story The bright yellow day started the trend of children wearing yellow raincoats for their high visibility.
Author Ursula Dubosarsky and with avid reader John Mavrakis. Picture: John Appleyard.