THIS month's Mary Poppins Festival will be sprinkled with Possum Magic, with acclaimed children's author and educationalist, Mem Fox, attending the annual celebration on the Fraser Coast.
The bestselling writer and Australian literary icon will host a number of sessions during the fortnight of music, art, film and performance in the heritage city of Maryborough - the birthplace of Mary Poppins author, PL Travers.
Fraser Coast councillor for culture, arts and the environment, David Lewis, said Mem Fox was a major coup for the event.
"We are delighted to be welcoming Mem Fox to the region for this year's Mary Poppins Festival from June 23 to July 2.
"Mem is one of the most respected figures in children's literature whose works have had such a positive influence on millions of families throughout Australia and around the world.
"It is truly a great honour to have Mem attending the Mary Poppins Festival where she will be spreading the joy of reading to young booklovers,'' Mr Lewis said.
In honour of Mem's visit, a Where is the Green Sheep party will be held at the Maryborough Library from 10am to 11am on Monday June 26 and in Hervey Bay Library on Tuesday June 27. For children aged 3-6, the party costs $2.70 per child with bookings at the library essential. Spaces are limited - bookings open Monday June 12.
The beloved author will also host a number of free Storytime with Mem Fox sessions on Thursday June 29 and Friday June 30. Book via the Brolga Theatre for sessions including 9 to 9.30am for children 0 to 4, 10.30 to 11.15am for children 5 to 8 and 1 to 2pm for children 9 to 11.
Don't despair! Mem isn't just here for the kids. On Thursday June 29 she will be presenting to parents about why reading to children has changed their lives and tales of success from read aloud parents. The presentation is at the Brolga Theatre from 7pm, is free, but bookings are essential.
Mem Fox was born in Melbourne and grew up in Africa, went to drama school in England, and came back to Australia in 1970, aged 22.
In 1983, she became Australia's best-selling writer. Possum Magic, her first book, is still available in hardback after 34 years and has become an icon of children's literature for millions of Australian families. She claims that growing up outside the country and returning at 22 gave her a unique perspective on Australia, and a passionate love for it.
She has written over 40 books for children, many of which have become international best-sellers including Time for Bed, Where Is the Green Sheep? and Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, a copy of which was Australia's official gift to Prince George, the royal baby. Mem has also written several non-fiction books for adults, including her renowned book for parents: Reading Magic.Her books have been translated into twenty-one languages.
The Mary Poppins Festival is from June 23 to July 2 throughout Maryborough. Seats and tickets are limited and opened on June 12. For everything to do during the festival or to buy event tickets, head to www.marypoppinsfestival.com.au.