Meet the local talent behind Stories for Little Queenslanders

First 5 Forever Cloud White

Queensland is bursting with talented writers and illustrators and we’re so excited we could feature some of them in the Stories for Little Queenslanders series.  

We wanted to bring fun, high-quality picture books full of familiar local places and animals to Queensland kids and their families. We also wanted to make sure the series shared stories inspired by people and communities around Queensland. 

Koalas do not try on wigs! Or do they? This fun story was written by Shae Millward and illustrated by Brent Wilson.

From koalas driving race cars to the beauty of the Reef and the bonds of family, we’re thrilled to showcase the books these talented Queenslanders have worked so hard on, and we hope you and your family will have hours of fun reading these stories again and again (and again!). 

Stories for Little Queenslanders is bound to inspire your little one to love reading and to kick-start their lifelong journey of learning and discovery. 

Find them at your local library, access the eBooks and audiobooks, or learn more about the series

Hear from the author and illustrator of "Once I Munched a Mango", Samantha Wheeler and Shannon Horsfall. Enjoy more author and illustrator interviews and learn about the people behind the stories.

Stories for Little Queenslanders authors and illustrators 

Up and Down on a Rainy Day 

Written by Kathryn Apel and illustrated by Janet Turner 

Kathryn Apel is a born-and-bred farm girl who’s scared of cows. She lives among the gum trees, kangaroos and cattle on a Queensland grazing property – where they still play in the rain. A trained teacher and literacy consultant, Kat now writes full time and shares her passion for words at schools and festivals. She has five books published, including her award-winning verse novel Bully on the Bus – and she is internationally known for her shape poem ‘Big Blue Whale’ which has been published in five countries.  

Janet Turner is a creative soul who moved to Queensland to study and she hasn’t left; she is now based in Brisbane. Although trained and working as a graphic designer, illustration has become her passion. She works digitally and loves to bring colour and fun to every project. Up and Down on a Rainy Day is her debut children’s picture book and was influenced by her childhood on a farm.      

One Remarkable Reef 

Written by Kellie Byrnes and illustrated by Rachel Tribout 

Kellie Byrnes is a children’s author and full-time freelance writer with a degree in literature. Her first picture book, Cloud Conductor, came out in 2018 with five more picture books plus a junior-fiction novel set for publication in the following four years. Kellie was an Artist-in-Residence at The Crows Nest on the Sunshine Coast, QLD, for four months in 2019, and a mentee in the US-based ‘Writing with the Stars’ program in 2018. She reviews children’s books and blogs about kidlit, and as a freelance writer has created a variety of content for companies around the world. 

Rachel Tribout is an illustrator and designer born in France, where she studied visual communication and illustration. She has illustrated several picture books, works with businesses and non-profits, and collaborates with design studios on commercial and cultural projects. In her spare time, she has created two picture books that explore the monsters of the Tasmanian landscape: The Monsters of Tasmania, 2014, and The Journey of Admiral Bolognaise, 2016. She is currently working on the third instalment.   

Is this Your Egg? 

Written by Ella Kris and illustrated by Emma Cracknell 

Ella Kris grew up in the remote community of Thursday Island without any technology, so reading opened her mind to the world around her. It encouraged her imagination and creativity, and this led to exploring places and made her listen to empty spaces, which are full of noises. As a young adult she discovered technology and a deeper love for wild open spaces. Reading, technology and open spaces have become important parts of her life and throughout her life’s journey she will continue to explore and listen and to use technology to paint words through poems, songs and children’s stories. 

Emma Cracknell was born in Boonah, a small country town in Queensland, and now lives in Ipswich, west of Brisbane. She has been drawing, painting and creating since she was a young child. Emma is a self-taught artist, mostly working with traditional media such as watercolour, gouache paints and pencil sketches. Her particular niche as an illustrator is in Australian flora and fauna. She also works part time as a library officer and freelance illustrator.

Hotel for Bees 

Written by Alison McLennan and illustrated by Erin Dunne 

Alison McLennan is a children’s author based in Queensland. She grew up on the sunny Gold Coast, before making her home in Brisbane. Her graphic novel, A flood in the Village, was published by Library for All in 2020 as part of their natural disaster series, and her second picture book, Growing Pains, will be released by EK Books in April 2021. Her short stories ‘You Can Have Mine’ (The School Magazine) and ‘Daisy and the Deep Dark Forest’ (Spooky Stories for Brave Kids Anthology) were published in 2019. She is a mother of two gorgeous teenagers and one fur baby. When not writing for children, she works as a voiceover artist, singer and content writer and has a background in performance, journalism and public relations. 

Erin Dunne is an artist and arts educator based in Central Queensland. Her work attempts to capture and distil a poetic and narrative sense of what it means to call regional Queensland home. She examines everyday experiences relating to place through an autobiographical lens. Recent achievements include winning the 2018 Queensland Regional Art Awards and 2019 Bayton Award for Central Queensland Artists. 

Koalas Like To… 

Written by Shae Millward and illustrated by Brent Wilson 

Shae Millward is the author of the picture book A Boy and a Dog, published in 2019. Her short story The Vampire Roses appears in the anthology Spooktacular Stories: Thrilling Tales for Brave Kids. Shae is based in sunny, sandy, seaside, subtropical Hervey Bay, Queensland. She enjoys writing poetry, song lyrics, inspirational quotes, short stories, picture books and more! 

Brent Wilson is an Australian-based illustrator whose art is characterised by a playful mid-century aesthetic. With its block colours, loose lines and jaunty characters, his work inspires nostalgia for the children’s books and advertising campaigns of the 1950s and 60s. Brent’s illustrations have appeared in major national publications, and have featured in the children’s exhibition Play ... The Old-Fashioned Way at Redcliffe Museum.  

The Cow that Swam out to Sea 

Written by Pamela Rushby and illustrated by Nicola Hooper 

Pamela Rushby is a writer and a producer of educational television, audio and multimedia. She has written over 200 fiction and non-fiction books for educational and trade publishers. Her historical novel, When the Hipchicks Went to War, won the Ethel Turner Prize in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2010. Other awards include being twice short-listed in the Queensland Literary Awards; five CBCA Notable Book Awards; and a bag of gold coins at a film festival in Iran!

Dr Nicola Hooper is a Brisbane/Logan based artist, and arts educator. Her studio practice explores human and animal relationships through the mediums of drawing and lithography. Nicola creates artists books, wallpapers, lithographic paper sculptures, 2D lithographic prints and drawings. With the completion of her Doctorate from QCA Griffith University, her research ‘Zoonoses – A visual narrative’ led to the exploration and re-telling of local animal stories through fairy tale and rhyme. She also explores perceptions of both vilified and revered animals, with the intention of portraying a more balanced perception of our natural world. 

My People 

Written by Billie-Jean Taylor  

Billie-Jean Taylor is a proud Mithaka woman. She is a mother, daughter, sister, Aunty and granddaughter. Billie-Jean is driven by her passion for her culture and her desire to make her family proud.

The Little Queenslanders’ Alphabet Book 

Written by Sally Scudamore and illustrated by Sophie Beer 

Sally Scudamore is a speech pathologist and emerging children’s author, originally from South East Queensland. Sally grew up on a beef farm outside Goondiwindi and attended boarding school in Toowoomba before studying at the University of Queensland. Sally’s career has led her to travel extensively and she currently resides in the United Kingdom. Sally’s journey into writing children’s stories has evolved from using story play with her ten Australian nieces and nephews to maintain connection across the world. 

Sophie Beer is a children’s illustrator and author from Brisbane. She completed a dual degree in Law and Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology, but found her true calling in children’s and editorial illustration. Her freelance clients include Disney, Google, Scholastic UK, Penguin Random House, Simon and Schuster, Hardie Grant Egmont and more. When she’s not illustrating and writing, she thinks a lot about equality, nature, books and Aldi choc-chip biscuits. In this story, she used digital methods to evoke a sunny, carefree, colourful Queensland, inspired by the whimsy and vibrancy of Ken Done’s iconic vision of Australia.  

Once I Munched a Mango 

Written by Samantha Wheeler and illustrated by Shannon Horsfall 

Samantha Wheeler worked with farmers and taught science before writing her first children’s story in 2011. Her books, such as Smooch & Rose, Mister Cassowary and Turtle Trackers have been shortlisted for numerous awards, including her most recent, Everything I’ve Never Said, which was inspired by her daughter with Rett Syndrome who can’t talk. When not writing or presenting, Samantha enjoys horse riding, walking her dogs, or sharing a cup of tea with her donkey.   

Shannon Horsfall is an author and illustrator based in Queensland but living in fairyland. Her head is a mess of stories, pictures and the occasional cake recipe. Although she is not young, she is very much a child. (Or immature, depending on how you look at it). She has published a number of picture books including Was Not Me, published by HarperCollins in July 2016, and shortlisted for Speech Pathology Australia's Book of the Year, Nomax, published by HarperCollins in June 2017 - a CBCA Notable Book for 2017 and illustrated Dear Santa, published by Scholastic in 2018, and another, My Unicorn Farts Glitter by Hachette published in July 2019.

The Coloured Echidna 

Written and illustrated by Eunice Day 

Eunice Day was born in Clermont, Queensland. Her tribal name is Una Kanji. She is an Elder in Blackwater, where she now lives. Eunice has participated in NAIDOC committees and has used her art to bridge the gap between her people and non-Indigenous peoples. She has been doing workshops in arts and storytelling for over fifteen years or more. She loves the colours on canvas. She has worked in schools with whoever wants to learn the Culture, so they have the ideal that sharing and caring was a part her people’s Culture and still is. 

Shoosh! 

Written and illustrated by Simon Howe 

Simon Howe is a picture book illustrator and animator. He regularly works with much-loved children's band, Teeny Tiny Stevies, designing and animating their music videos. He has also illustrated books for several major publishers, including the Naughty Dragons series by Natalie Jane Prior, published by Hardie Grant Egmont.

In the Deep End 

Written and illustrated by Charlie Thomson 

Emcee, father and teacher, Charlie Thomson, AKA The Educator, has spent the past 20 years combining his love of the art and education at a number of high schools and youth training facilities around Australia. As well as being the founding member of the award-winning hip-hop crew, The Winnie Coopers, Charlie was a key presenter at the World Shakespeare Congress in Brisbane as well presenting at the Hip-Hop Education ThinkTank in New York. A Queenslander since Expo 88, Charlie hopes to one day see the Gold Coast Suns win a flag. In the Deep End is his first picture book and was inspired by his own children overcoming their fears. 

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