National Centre for Australian Children's Literature

The CBCA and the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature Inc (the ‘Centre’) are delighted to form a formal partnership which will support our shared goal to promote and celebrate Australian creators of children’s books. 

The Centre’s history and development

The Centre began as the Lu Rees Archives in 1974. Lu Rees, then President of the CBCA ACT Branch, proposed a national collection of Australian children’s books and files about the creators’ works. These would inspire teachers, librarians and caregivers who would share with children their enthusiasm and knowledge about children’s stories and their creators and so inspire a love of language, art and enhance literacy. The collection grew with publishers’ and creators’ support and moved to the University of Canberra in 1980 so it could develop further and inspire future teachers, librarians and the general community. Over 19 years, the CBCA provided funds for part-time staff to support and grow the Centre, so our two organisations have been collaborators for many years.

The Centre today is valued at over $10M and described as ‘unique’ and ‘significant’. It exists as an independent body with a Board incorporated in the ACT. Since 1981 children's books have been routinely donated by Australian publishers and many creators. The archives contain over 42,000 books with 4,200 of these in 59 languages, 2 publishers archives, 70 collections of authors’ papers and manuscripts, and illustrators’ artworks, 62 Cultural Gifts donated under the Department of Communications & the Arts, and audio, photographs, realia and rare material. Approximately 22,000 people joined our outreach activities over the past five years.

The National Centre for Australian Children's Literature aims to be a dynamic and exciting place where young people discover words and images, where authors and illustrators share ideas, where researchers explore questions and where all ages are immersed in creative experiences.

November 2018

Dr Belle Alderman AM  |  Director, National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature Inc.


Cultural Diversity Database

A collection of children's books which feature Australia's culturally diverse population. Its focus is on understanding the similarities and differences between cultures using children's literature.

Click here to go straight to the database.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resource

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resource aims to celebrate and promote children’s books by and/or about Australia’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples, including books in Indigenous languages. This free and comprehensive online database provides insights into over 300 books written by and/or about Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples and published between 1974 and 2020 for young people from birth through twelve years of age. 

Click here for more information on the Resource.

Click here to go straight to the Resource.