Monday, April 9, 2018

Noela Young - celebrating her amazing contribution

Noela Young 1930-2018


"Her child figures are among the best ever drawn for an Australian picture book: leggy, cheeky, nonchalant, eager, vociferous - never resting."  Maurice Saxby on Keep Out (1977) in The Proof of the Puddin' Australian Children's Literature 1970-1990, Sydney: Ashton Scholastic.

"We salute the achievements of this wonderful illustrator, whose pictures have delighted and inspired Australian children of several generations ...  Here was such a meticulous artist, especially talented at depicting the outback, rural life and animals, but brilliantly observant too of the nuances of exchanged human glances (look again at Grandpa). She will be deeply missed, but her legacy lives on in many an illustrated page." Dr Robin Morrow in behalf of IBBY Australia



Last week one of our wonderful Australian children's book illustrators died. I knew her work best from the NSW School Magazine (in this ABC podcast you can hear Noela) and of course the Muddle-Headed Wombat but I also knew Noela had illustrated many more books so today I started digging.


Take a look inside this book because you will find examples of Noela's work from all her years illustrating the NSW School Magazine.



Many years ago I found a little book called John the mouse who learned to read (1969) and it was a story that made me smile. Imagine my surprise when I discovered today that Noela Young was the illustrator of this little gem.


If you have a copy of Magpies Magazine (Volume 31, issue 4, September 2016) you can read an excellent article by Karen Jameyson entitled Noela Young - Visual Magician.

Among her body of work I discovered Toby by Margaret Wild, Grandma Honeypot which is a book from my childhood and probably the oldest book in my school library and the covers of books by Emily Rodda, Patricia Wrightson and Duncan Ball.

The National Library of Australia cataogue has a comprehensive list of Noela's work.






Take a look in your school library for these treasures:

  • The Muddle-headed wombat and sequels by Ruth Park
  • Something Special by Emily Rodda
  • The Best kept secret by Emily Rodda
  • Pigs might fly by Emily Rodda
  • Grandpa by Lilith Norman
  • Keep out by Noela Young
  • The Bilbies of Bliss by Margaret Wild
  • Toby by Margaret Wild
  • The Ghost and the gory story by Duncan Ball
  • An older kind of Magic by Patricia Wrightson
  • The problem Pony (Aussie Bites) by Sherryl Clark




By some amazing chance I kept three old copies of the NSW School Magazine from 1970. Here are some pages with Noela Young's illustrations.







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