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Travelling Suitcases

During Children’s Book Week , Jenny Stubbs, President of Book Links (Qld) discusses the Travelling Suitcase project.


Where does Michael Gerard Bauer find the ideas for his books and is there much walking involved? How important was the smell of coffee and a lava lamp to Gregory Rogers? Why are there post-it notes all over James Moloney’s wall? Where does Kerry Argent draw and paint and is the cat allowed in there? Why is there a fox skin on Narelle Oliver’s work table? How did a wombat and an old typewriter help Jackie French get her first book published? Find the answers to these questions in the Travelling Suitcases.

The Travelling Suitcase project began with the question, “How can we give schools and public libraries access to authors without the cost of actually sending authors out?” The suggestion was that maybe we could send a suitcase full of their books and information about how they created them. A film could be produced to show the place where the author works to give an insight into the process.

Research was done on each of the six children’s authors and illustrators to include interesting and curious objects in each of the suitcases. As well as their books and a DVD you will find illustrator’s tools, author’s rough drafts, biographical information, display items and activity ideas.

The suitcases are designed to engage children and adults with books and encourage the love of reading through an understanding of the process of creating a book. Activities to use in the classroom and in public libraries are included to extend literature and arts learning.

The cases can be used to shine a spotlight on an author or illustrator at any time of the year, but during Book Week you can use them to “Light up your World”.

Feedback has been very positive as the cases travel all over Queensland. A year four class in Yeppoon had this to say:

“I liked the Travelling suitcases, they were interesting and had fantastic drawings.”

“I learned that things need to be redone.”

“It was interesting to see when the books were published, how good they were.”

“It made me want to read the books.”

“It was cool to see all the preparation in writing and publishing a book.”

“I was inspired by it because I want to be a writer.”

“It contained cool stuff.”

The project has been funded by Arts Queensland, The Children’s Book Council of Australia (Qld Branch) and the Ipswich District Teacher-Librarian Network.

Each suitcase can be borrowed for approximately 5 weeks. The cost of participation in Book Links Travelling Suitcases is free; however each borrower is required to pay the ongoing freight cost to the next borrower or back to base at the State Library of Queensland.

Schools or public libraries wishing to participate in the program need to fill in a form nominating their choice of Book Links Travelling Suitcases, and the approximate month they would like to receive it, along with their school name and contact details. Further enquiries to

Jenny Stubbs is the current President of Book Links Qld Inc. and helped establish the Travelling Suitcase project to meet the needs of regional Queenslanders.

She works as a teacher-librarian in seven small schools west of Ipswich, coordinates the Ipswich District Teacher-Librarian Network and StoryArts Festival Ipswich.

Jenny is also an active member of the Children’s Book Council of Australia Qld Branch, has held many roles in that organisation including President. She is currently the state coordinator of the Readers Cup involving over 500 teams of students competing from across the state, culminating in the state finals in Brisbane at the Brisbane Writers Festival.

Jenny was the recipient of the Johnno Award in 2009 (QWC), the Dame Annabelle Rankin Award for distinguished services to children’s literature in Qld 2009 (CBCA Qld), the Dromkeen Librarian of the Year 2002 (Dromkeen), Australia Day Medal 2007 (Education Queensland) and the International Association of School Librarianship – SIRS Commendation Award 2001.