Story time in Sale

South Gippsland author and illustrator Alison Lester spoke to The Express while she was awaiting the birth of her sixth grandchild in “just a few years”.

“It’s been very busy and wonderful,” Lester said.

“It’s made me go right back to [writing for] the little kids again. As the kids got older I tended to write older books … Now I’ve got these little kids again, my head is completely in that space.”

Lester’s The Very Noisy Baby, which was released late last year, was based on her granddaughter, Beatrix.

“Her noise levels definitely inspired me,” Lester said.

“When she was little she could just clear a room in no time. Once she started, people were running for cover.”

Lester’s 1989 picture book Imagine will be the focus of the inaugural exhibition at the new Children’s Gallery at Sale Library.

In the classic narrative, while the children play around their home, their thoughts take them to the moonlit Australian bush, the African plains, thick in the Amazonian jungle and beyond, yet the warmth of their home awaits them.

Lester, a fond traveller, said she always loved the idea of coming back home.

“If I’m not going somewhere, I’m planning on going somewhere, but at the same time I love being home too. The two things go hand-in-hand,” she said.

“If you have a lovely base it’s great to go out from there.

“I went away to boarding school when I was 15 and I wept for about a week.”

The tears were less for her parents and more for the animals she left behind and a lifestyle which kept her forever out of the house at their cattle farm overlooking the sea.

“I always equated being inside to doing the dishes and housework,” Lester said.

The Foster-born author will be at the Sale Library from 2pm to 4pm on Saturday, January 27, where she will read some of her books at 2pm before a signing session.

The exhibition will feature limited edition prints of Imagine and the original cover illustration and children will be able to participate in a colouring competition.