Australian Reading Hour announces 2019 Ambassadors, $2.99 books, and The Australian Reading Hour Challenge

The Australian Reading Hour (ARH) is delighted to announce its 2019 Ambassadors and some exciting new initiatives. 
This year we are thrilled to have two adult Ambassadors Rachael Johns and Benjamin Law and five children’s Ambassadors Mick Elliott, Anthony Field, Karen Manbulloo, Sally Rippin and Matt Stanton who will be sharing their love of reading and encouraging all Australians to get involved on September 19 to take the time to escape with a book! For the first time, each of the children’s Ambassadors will create a book to be published on 10 September in a lead up to the big day (RRP $2.99). This collection of five brilliant bookish stories will delight children from 0-9 years of age and will be available in bookshops and libraries across Australia.  
All ambassadors will be available for events and media to promote their books and the benefits of reading.  CEO of Hachette Australia and Chair of the Australian Reading Hour Committee, Louise Sherwin-Stark, says, “Inspired by the very successful World Book Day books in the UK, we’d like to thank Australian publishers and authors for embracing the initiative and producing an amazing range of children’s books to entice even the most reluctant readers to dive into a book, and at the very accessible price of $2.99, these books will get every generation together to read with the children in their lives. For this launch year, the range will be sold in to booksellers by Hachette Australia from 13 May, with final orders to the publishers’ distributors due by mid-August. We advise libraries to contact their regular Australian library supplier.” 
To further promote the benefits of reading, we are launching the Australian Reading Challenge - a fun, interactive platform designed to encourage stronger reading habits all year round. Readers will be able to select their reading goal, track their progress and complete weekly challenges. Registrations will open on the 10 April, with the Challenge officially launching on 28 April.  These new initiatives are boosting the existing brilliant Australian Reading Hour campaign that’s got the nation reading. And, of course, for those who like to borrow as well as buy their books, Australia’s 1600 public libraries provide something for every taste. 
What do our Ambassadors say about Reading and ARH?   
Rachel Johns  “I’m super excited to be chosen as an Australian Reading Hour ambassador as it’s an initiative I’ve supported and been passionate about for years. I think the value of reading is sometimes underestimated in our busy lives – we see it as a luxury, something many of us want to do but don’t have much time for, but reading is so important, and it deserves us to make it a priority. Reading expands the mind and can take us to places we might never have thought to go or not be able to afford.” 
Benjamin Law  “For me, reading does two opposite but equally important things: it gives me a sense of companionship and self-identification – the sensation that someone else understands my interior world – and introduces me to people and worlds I’d never have encountered otherwise. Good books aren’t just an education, but a gymnasium for human empathy.” 
Mick Elliott ARH special book release title: Squidge Dibley Destroys History “As a children’s author and TV producer I have witnessed the power of stories to inspire and nurture emotional and intellectual development in kids. I am passionate about the importance of reading for pleasure and believe that every child deserves access to stories that provide them with the tools to understand the world around them. This has always been my goal as a writer; to connect with readers and bring joy, laughter, escapism and a means to process the complexities of their lives.” 
Anthony Field ARH special book release title: The Wiggles Love Books! “Reading, rhyming, singing and talking - beginning from birth - profoundly influence literacy and language development, the foundations of all other learning. When other family members become involved or encourage the reading experience it can lead to a very positive, worthwhile, bonding moment as well. For all these reasons I am very happy to be an ambassador. Encourage children and families to read together." 
Karen Manbulloo ARH special book release title: Moli Det Bigibigi (Molly the Pig)  “I am excited to be a part of the Australian Reading Hour and that my book Moli det bigibigi will be read by thousands more people. I’m particularly excited because people will be able to read the book in Kriol and in English.  Moli det bigibigi is the first book that my grandchildren have read in their own language.” 
Sally Rippin ARH special book release title: Billie B Brown and Hey Jack! The Book Buddies “Reading is a vital component in developing empathy and fostering compassion in young people. I am delighted to be involved in the Australian Reading Hour for 2019.  I never tire of the thrill of listening to children talk about why they love a particular book or character. I love writing and sharing stories. My hope has always been that my readers will see themselves in my stories and understand that no matter how confusing or frightening the world may seem at times, kindness, friendship and integrity always win out in the end.” 
Matt Stanton ARH special book release title: Funny Kid: Next Level “Reading changes everything, especially for children. I love that ARH encourages Australians of all ages to read for one hour, because books inspire the imagination, imagination births creativity and creativity changes the world into what we need it to be for the future. As far as I’m concerned, it all starts with a book.”  
Media Contact:  Jackie Evans E: | M: 0407 776 222 
About Australian Reading Hour
The premise of Australian Reading Hour is simple. It’s about picking up a book and reading for an hour anytime during the day on Thursday 19 September.  The 2019 campaign will be officially launched with the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Books and Writers at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 17 September. Make a pledge to read for one hour on Thursday 19 September at
Book industry registrations and resources are now online We invite libraries, booksellers, schools and authors to take part. We aim to host events all over the country during the week of the Australian Reading Hour, just like the amazing event we held in Yetman in 2018 (please see video here). If your bookshop or library would like to host an author event or if you an author and would like to take part in an event, please email:
Background of Australian Reading Hour: 
The Australian Reading Hour is a unique cross-industry campaign to promote the benefits of reading to all Australians. It is supported by: Australian Booksellers Association (ABA), the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), the ALIA Australian Public Library Alliance (APLA), the Australian Society of Authors (ASA), the Australian Publishers Association (APA), the Australian Literary Agent’s Association (ALAA), Better Reading, the Copyright Agency and has also been assisted by The Australian Government Department of Communication and The Arts. 
Media Contact:  Jackie Evans E: | M: 0407 776 222 
Events: Nicole Salisbury E: Tel: 02 9976 3044 
The project has been assisted by the Australian Government


Wednesday 10 April 2019 9:15am