Find ‘The Stories Behind The Books’ at the New Phil Cummings Exhibition at the State Library

Phil Cummings is Coming to the State Library!

Whether your childhood was 5 minutes, 5 years or 50 years ago Phil Cummings: Stories behind the books exhibition will enchant all!
Phil Cummings is an award winning South Australian author of over eighty books for children (from picture books to novels) in a career that has spanned thirty years.

This FREE and INTERACTIVE exhibition (yes, emphasis on the free and interactive wahoo) was co-designed with children from Peterborough Primary School and will allow kids to explore and for adults to be kids.

The characters and worlds that Phil created in his books will be brought to life in the exhibition space, including:
– A country chook shed reading space to feel at home in Phil’s books
– A recreation of the younger Phil’s lounge room as he watched the history-making Moon landing in 1969.
Interactive elements include:
– Giant light-box sand table to encourage dynamic storytelling in a highly tactile medium, and to spark reflection on Indigenous stories and methods of transmitting them.
-A ‘writing ideas’ table, with plenty of scrap paper and writing prompts to capture the essence of creativity and perhaps even begin your own bestseller.
– Inspired by Phil’s fable Boy (about a little boy who faces a dragon and stops a war) visitors can face their own ‘dragon’ and sculpt a dinosaur, dragon, monster or even their greatest fear from clay, then display it, take it home or conquer it as they want. This activity is about finding power within to be your own hero!

Presented by the State Library of South Australia as part of the DreamBIG Children’s Festival discover the wonder of childhood and inspire your own kiddos creativity, through Phil Cummings work.

Fast Five With Phil Cummings

What is your earliest memory of reading?
The earliest memory I have is sitting with my Nanna and she was reading poems from When We Were Very Young by A.A Milne.  I remember trying to read them myself and struggling. I also remember reading my first reader when I started school.

What age did you write your first novel?
My first novel, Angel, was published by Random House in 1998. Up until then I had been writing picture books and junior fiction; mainly for educational publishers.

What advice would you give aspiring junior authors?
Writers learn to write by writing and reading; the more you do, the better you will become. It is also important to try many different things and to challenge yourself.

Which author had the biggest influence on you?
It wasn’t any one author, but the books that had a real impact on me when I was young were The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

What inspires you today?
I search for stories everywhere, I observe the world and see if any passing moments can somehow find their way into my stories. I love finding new characters and settings and seeing where I can fit them into my writing.

Phil Cummings: Stories behind the books
18 April to 21 July 2019
State Library of South Australia
FREE entryOpen during Library hours
For more information about the exhibition visit:

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