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Amanda Cooper


Gallery for a Day is a travelling exhibition of the original illustrations and preliminary artwork from Australian picture books. Interactive workshops give the students an understanding of the planning and process involved in creating art for picture books.

Where were you born?

I was born in Melbourne.

What other jobs have you had?

So many!! I’ve been a teacher for 30 years as both a classroom teacher, a Music teacher, an Art teacher and a Librarian. I’ve worked in an art gallery, a bookshop, wrapped Easter eggs and made gas heaters. And that’s just the start!

What themes are recurring in your work?

Books and art are the constants in my work life and at home.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about story. In all forms. But especially the connection that is made in picture books between the written word and the illustrations.

Haven’t I seen you before?

You might have seen me at Books Illustrated helping customers choose books or art work, or at a book launch, or reading books for Storytime.


Students & teachers absolutely loved Mandy’s gallery. Her knowledge of picture stories is outstanding. Each session was tailored to suit the age of audience. Feedback from students showed that it was the highlight of our Bookweek day. Mandy was very accommodating and fitted in to our program perfectly even judging our student dress-up parade. She interacted with students in a most positive fashion and students were eager to test her knowledge of Australian authors & illustrators.

Overall a very inspiring visit. Would love to consider the Gallery again at some point. Thank you Mandy….I have had nothing but great reviews from students and teachers. Students have also started looking for the picture stories & authors in the library.

—Leanne Milson, Yinnar Primary School , August 2019

Amanda Cooper is amazing – she has a wealth of information and is a passionate Teacher. The whole experience was both entertaining and informative for both staff and students. She combined art and stories to provide the students with a gallery experience. I highly recommend Amanda and her Gallery for a day.

—- Joanna Wallace, St Francis Xavier College, Berwick

We had a fabulous time with Amanda Cooper during her recent visit exploring her very special Gallery for A Day. Students were thrilled to study Amanda’s collection of original artwork from picture books by acclaimed Australian author/illustrators. To see first-hand the original artworks of these people was an absolute delight. Students and teachers all had their personal favourites among the many artworks, and we all enjoyed discussing each with our fellow ‘investigators’ during sessions with Amanda. Amanda encouraged the students to examine the illustrations and to consider the part they play in telling the story, and to appreciate each illustration as a piece of art in its own right. For many, the chance to see such a gallery-style exhibition was a ‘first time’ experience, made all the richer by the children’s connection to the stories and people whose work they were viewing and sharing.

Amanda’s follow-up workshops had the students constructing ‘lost things’, making mini books, and drawing and painting ‘fish on a mission’. All the activities were fantastic and thoroughly engaged our students. Amanda’s willingness to adapt her workshop activities to suit the age and interests of our students was very much appreciated. Students had fun, learned much and were inspired by the collection, and by Amanda, to produce some exquisite artworks of their own!

Amanda’s love for the books and artworks shone through as she shared her collection and guided our students’ discussions, writing and artmaking. Her happy enthusiasm motivated each child to try their hand at the activities related to the books and her experience as a teacher and librarian was invaluable in turning the sessions into something very special. A big ‘thank you’ to Amanda from the schools of the Moulamein cluster.

—C. Peach, Moulamein Public School, January 2013

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