Breaking taboos: what's off-limit in children's books?

Event status:

Morris Gleitzman Join Morris Gleitzman in the evening of Thursday 15 August for a bold discussion about taboo topics in children’s books. The Australian Children’s Laureate is part of an expert panel grappling with the question of what issues should or should not be off-limit to children. And, who gets to decide?

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Thursday 15 August 2019 06:30 pm until Thursday 15 August 2019 08:00 pm (Add to calendar)
Tania Sheward
Presented by:
Francis Leach
Type of Event:
Alumni; Community Event; Conference; Public Lecture
$15 Admission Only | $15 Meet Morris & Admission | $7.50 Students | $10 Alumni & Staff

Modern children’s books are tackling ever more complex topics such as terrorism, gender identity and suicide, but who determines what our children should or should not read?

Australian Children’s Laureate Morris Gleitzman is no stranger to tackling taboo issues. Join him at the next Bold Thinking event to hear why he’s written children’s books on the Holocaust and Australia's asylum policy.

Also meet La Trobe’s Professor Jo Lampert who’s written about the 9/11 attacks for young readers, and trains teachers at the coalface of delivering the content.

They are joined by Dr Juliet O’Conor, children’s research librarian at the State Library Victoria, revealing how ‘difficult’ topics in children’s books have been dealt with over the centuries.

We’ll ask if the literary world is keeping pace with social change – should some topics remain off-limit? Are books a good tool to introduce taboos to children? Who gets to decide?

About the speakers

Writer Morris Gleitzman

Morris Gleitzman is a bestselling Australian children’s author whose books explore serious and sometimes confronting subjects in funny and unexpected ways. The Australian Children’s Laureate is a prolific writer and well-known for his Once series about Felix, a Jewish boy struggling to survive during the Holocaust.

Morris started his career writing for TV and originated numerous feature films and telemovie screenplays, including The Other Facts of Life and Second Childhood produced by The Australian Children’s Television Foundation. He has received several accolades for his hugely popular and award-winning children’s books.

Rare chance to meet the Australian Children’s Laureate Morris Gleitzman from 5.15 - 6.15pm, ahead of the event at 6.30pm. Enjoy canapes and browse the exclusive exhibition on children's books curated by Dr Juliet O'Conor from State Library Victoria.

Limited tickets for this opportunity are offered at the same price as event Admission Only, Limited tickets for this opportunity are offered at the same price as event Admission Only, but patrons are required to arrive by 5.30pm.

Professor Jo Lampert

Jo Lampert is a Professor in the School of Education at La Trobe University. Her parents were Directors of the League of Canadian Poets, giving her some literary credibility even before she became a Secondary English teacher.

Jo is recognised for her research in children’s literature. She completed doctoral research on children’s books about the 9/11 attacks and has published widely on the topic. She has also written on picture books about sexual child abuse, most of which are written as educational or therapeutic texts for children and their carers. Jo’s current work focusses on leading teacher education for historically disadvantaged communities.

Dr Juliet O'Conor

Dr Juliet O'Conor specialises in children’s books at the State Library Victoria where she is responsible for over 100,000 children’s books published between the 16th and 21st centuries. She gives collection-based talks to interested groups, offering opportunity for participants to see first hand some of the Library’s unique items.

In 2009, Juliet published Bottersnikes and Other Lost Things which showcases the Australian component of the Children’s Literature Collection. She started her career as a Palaeontologist at Museum Victoria and later studied librarianship, winning a Library fellowship that led to a PhD on Indigenous Australian children’s literature.

About the Host

Francis Leach

Francis Leach is a broadcaster, journalist, writer and passionate fan of The Clash, Francis is a man in love with ideas. He’s passionate about people and their capacity to create and achieve greatness and he explores the human condition through his love of sport, music, popular culture and great writing. Francis engages in meaningful conversations and asks the right questions, even the tough ones, and his extraordinary breadth and depth of knowledge across any number of fields has given him a unique perspective on life and an amazing ability to connect with his audience.

Venue Accessibility

Wheelchair access is available - please enter via Entry 3 at 179 La Trobe Street.


Village Roadshow Theatrette, Entry 3

State Library of Victoria, Village Roadshow Theatrette, 179 La Trobe Street



3rd Apr 2020 5:05pm

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