Day 11 School Workshop with Amanda Cooper at Phoenix Library, GALLERY FOR A DAY

GALLERY FOR A DAY is an awesome children’s literature workshop for primary school students. What a great idea!

It’s travelling exhibition of original artwork from well-known Australian picture book illustrators and it travels all over Australia. The exhibition is set up in a library or a classroom and the original illustrations are displayed as if they were in a gallery.

The exhibition includes beautiful illustrations from:

– Alison Lester: Are We There Yet? Alison Lester’s ABC, Alice & Aldo & Yikes!

– Ann James: Little Humpty, Lucy Goosey, Audrey from the Outback series, Chester and Gil

– Mark Wilson: Prayer for the Animals, I Saw Nothing

– Bob Graham: How To Heal a Broken Wing

– David Miller: Refugees

– Gregory Rogers: Beneath The Surface; The Boy, the Bear, the Baron and the Bard

– Andrew McLean: My Country

– Kim Gamble: Tashi

– Jan Ormerod: Shake a Leg

– Judy Watson: Tractor Tractor and many, many more.

Preliminary drawings and developmental work is displayed alongside many of the illustrations enabling students to understand the planning and process that goes into producing picture book illustrations.

This morning, the GALLERY FOR A DAY was at Phoenix Park Library in Malvern and the Prep Class from Malvern Valley Primary School came to visit.

The children were very well behaved and loved looking at the artwork. There were lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ as they recognized several illustrations from books they knew.

Mandy then read a picture book to them. Her book of choice was a children’s picture book I’d never heard of before called ‘The Boy with the Big Nose,’ by Anne Gibson. And I know why – it was hilarious! Mandy showed the children the original artwork (which was hanging next to her) from the book and told the children to look out for it, that they were art detectives and when they saw it they had to tell her.


As I mentioned the story was very funny and the children loved it. And they spotted the artwork. Mandy asked them a series of questions, such as, what was the artwork created with? (Chalk pastels). What were the differences between the original artwork and the picture book? (There were words added, and the picture was cropped).

The children then put on their detective hats and roamed around the room trying to find the original artwork in each of the picture books and then they tried and work out whether the artwork was done in pencil, pastel, paint or something else.

The preppies were wonderful and Mandy had a lovely way speaking to them. They were thoroughly engaged and that’s not easy to do with children so young!



Thank you so much Mandy.

Mandy Cooper, Director of GALLERY FOR A DAY, has many years experience as a primary school teacher specialising in Art, Library and Music. She has a graduate Diploma in Children’s Literature and has extensive experience working at Books Illustrated Gallery in Melbourne. She is a collector of original illustrations from Children’s books and the artworks included in this exhibition are from Mandy’s own private collection.

If you’d like Mandy and her GALLERY FOR A DAY to visit your school, please contact her on this email:


  • Lynette Bade

    There's some pretty amazing illustrators on this list. Are any of the pieces for sale?
    May 28, 2013 at 05:14 am Reply
    • A little Birdy told me...

      I don't believe so. The illustration's in GALLERY FOR A DAY are from Amanda Cooper's private collection. However, Books Illustrated has beautiful illustrations for sale in their gallery, all Australian Writers and Illustrators. Contact Ann Haddon at Books Illustrated on: Tel +61 3 9534 7751 Fax +61 3 9534 4774 [email protected]
      May 28, 2013 at 05:53 pm Reply
  • Roger Hamilton

    Hello Neridah, I have been following your blog and it sounds like your journey has been one of fun and a learning experience. Amazing stuff! Loved your work with "Kick it to me", my kids really connected with it. We had their whole junior footy side reading it after showing it to some of the other mums. Please keep up the good work. What's next?
    May 28, 2013 at 05:44 am Reply
    • A little Birdy told me...

      Dear Roger, Thanks for dropping by. I'm so glad you like 'Kick it to Me'. My next book is a cricket story called 'Knockabout Cricket'. It's historical based fiction too. It's due to be launched late this year so I'll keep you posted :-)
      May 28, 2013 at 05:48 pm Reply
  • Amanda Cooper

    Thanks for your kind words Neridah. You never quite know how it's going when you are the workshop facilitator so it's great to get feedback. Especially when it's positive! I really enjoy each session. It's always slightly different due to the insights of each particular group. I think that's what I love about it. Books +Art + Children =a magical experience!
    June 03, 2013 at 06:17 am Reply
    • A little Birdy told me...

      Hi Amanda, you're very welcome. I think what you do is wonderful :-) Keep up the good work
      June 11, 2013 at 06:31 am Reply

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Neridah McMullin

Photo By: Prue Sheed



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