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Stephanie Owen Reeder

The future of the Australian picture book would appear to be in very good hands. The most recently published writers include familiar names such as authors Hazel Edwards, Margaret Wild and Gary Crew, and author–illustrators Deborah Niland and Roland Harvey. What makes the latest offerings stand out, however, is the plethora of new and emerging authors and illustrators who are venturing into this genre. Such a combination of experienced and innovative approaches can only be good for Australian children’s literature.

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Within a week of the recent release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, millions of children and adults around the world had read it. Now comes the long wait for the final tome in this cleverly designed series by the prolific J.K. Rowling. Nil desperandum. The fantasy novel for children – and especially crossover books which, like the Harry Potter series, appeal to both adults and children – has a long tradition, and there are a myriad other fantastic books to turn to, many of which have been written by Australian authors.

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