Jenny Stubbs – Nan Chauncy recipient 2023
Jenny Stubbs is the 2023 recipient for the prestigious Nan Chauncy Award, which honours individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the field of Australian children’s literature.
Jenny personifies all the qualities and attributes to merit this award with her unparalleled commitment and significant achievements in the field. She has dedicated her life to promoting and supporting children’s literature. Jenny is a respected and much-loved legend in the world of Australian children’s literature. She is admired for her achievements and capacity to influence children, older students, authors, illustrators, and educators.
Jenny has made influential contributions in her roles as a teacher-librarian for over 40 years and as a director, coordinator and member of many organisations and charities, including the CBCA (QLD branch), the Ipswich District Teacher-Librarian Network (IDTLN), Book Links QLD, ASLA and QLD School Library Association.
The nature of her contribution to Australian Children’s literature is multifaceted, as follows:
Advocacy: Jenny actively promotes the dissemination of Australian books and the enjoyment of reading amongst children and their families by providing and supporting inspiring literary experiences such as author/illustrator visits, workshops, festivals, and literary competitions. She has coordinated the writing competitions for aspiring writers and online discussions (Bookraps). She consistently supports independent booksellers, giving them space and visibility at literary events and actively promotes them in social media and other channels. Furthermore, Jenny is a fierce and passionate advocate for diverse voices in literature.Na
Mentorship: Jenny supports published and emerging book creators with networking and professional development opportunities, as well as channels for authors and illustrators to connect with their readers. She also mentors and guides teachers and other professionals in the library industry creating opportunities that have made an amazing difference for children and book creators. She has influenced successful children’s literature ambassadors such as Yvonne Mes who described Jenny as; “a powerhouse in the industry and her networks wide-reaching in Australia and beyond”.
In her work as head of the IDTLN, Jenny shares her wealth of knowledge and is an inspiration for its members, always pursuing new ways to engage young readers, enrich their literary experiences and expand the reach of children’s literature. Under her leadership, the IDTLN meetings are occasions for members to seek advice, share successes and ideas and exchange valuable experiences. It is also a space for professional development, as Jenny always engages interesting presenters to further extend the network’s relevance and capabilities.
Jenny is inclusive of other industry workers in the Network and readily welcomes anyone who demonstrates a love for children’s literature and has a commitment to encouraging and supporting young people’s quality reading.
Education: Generations of children have benefited from Jenny’s contagious enthusiasm for literature and stories, not only as class and library students but also as participants of the many vibrant events that she has created and coordinated over the years, in particular the StoryArts Festival Ipswich, held biennially since 1995. Jenny understands the learning potential of bringing book creators and readers together and established a database to facilitate author visits and workshops well before this became a well-known practice.
Jenny promotes Australian children’s literature and creators at art exhibits, such as the Book Links Storyart Exhibition at Richard Randall Art Studio, Mt. Coot-tha Gardens, featuring works of several illustrators and the recent Piano Fingers exhibition with Caroline Magerl at The Lighthouse Toowoomba.
Jenny is involved in the Narelle Oliver Lecture, a yearly event featuring prominent ambassadors of children’s literature, this year welcoming Australian Children’s Laureate Gabrielle Wang, Romancing the Stars, an evening where children’s books enthusiasts gather to meet authors and illustrators and learn about their published and upcoming works. Jenny has a leadership role in organizing the Travelling Suitcases Project, The Read In!, Ipswich Poetry Feast, Kids Lit Quiz Australia and more. She also established and developed the state-wide Queensland Readers Cup and has assisted other CBCA branches to organise their own competition.
Furthermore, Jenny works hard every year to produce a quality book of ideas and activities around the Children’s Book Week Theme and its corresponding shortlisted books. Leading a group of IDTLN volunteers, she creates content, edits material, and coordinates this well-known production that helps classrooms and libraries all over Australia to celebrate Book Week. The IDTLN uses the sale proceeds to fund the Storyarts Festival, making it possible for students and families in the Ipswich area to attend a quality literary event, free of charge. Some of the proceeds are also donated to the Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards Foundation.
Jenny Stubbs has been deservedly recognised with previous awards, including the Dromkeen Librarians Award (2002), the Dame Annabelle Rankin Award (2009) and the Johnno Award (2010).
Overall, Jenny’s enthusiasm for the promotion of children’s literature is contagious, she understands that children have a natural curiosity about books as no other writing lodges so deeply into their memory as the books they meet in their childhood. Her achievements and dedication are a glimpse of a lifetime of selfless dedication. Jenny Stubbs has made an outstanding contribution to the field of Australian Children’s Literature.
Nan Chauncy Award Coordinator
Leanne Rands (Victorian Branch)
Claire Jackson (Queensland Branch)
Liz Bowring (NSW Branch)
Erin Young (Tasmanian Branch)
Dromkeen Librarian of the Year (2002)
Dame Annabelle Award (2009) Jonno Award (2010)
Evidential websites that highlight the work of Jenny Stubbs
Exhibitions & Festivals