NSW mag­a­zine a world-beater

Cel­e­bra­tion of long-run­ning chil­dren’s pub­li­ca­tion

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - EDUCATION WEEK - Laura Tri­este

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.

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