Literacy and out-of-home care

2017, the National Assessment Programme Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)

Why hook into books?

Our Education Unit have teamed up with Children Youth and Family, leading Australian authors, parents and carers to launch Hook into Books!

Hook into Books is a fun campaign that promotes a love of reading in children and young people in out-of-home care to enhance their literacy skills and to give them a solid foundation for future learning.

Providing children and young people the opportunity to access literary materials lies at the heart of Hook into Books. Offering a mix of accessible information, resources and fun activities to engage and inspire the love of reading in children and young people of all ages within the Life Without Barriers community.

Get involved

You can Hook into a Book with us by getting involved in the many fun activities we've got planned:

Our role

We believe that all children are entitled to an education, engaging children of any age with reading is one of the most powerful things you can do for them. The simple act of telling stories, singing, and talking with them profoundly influences their literacy and language development.  

We all have a role to play in supporting children and young people's ongoing learning and educational engagement – why not have a bit of fun at the same time – Hook into a Book with us.  

The benefits of reading?

Reading to children of any age is one of the most powerful things you can do for them. It is how we connect to our culture from birth, find escape and explore and develop our imagination. The benefits are endless. All children are entitled to an education, the foundation of which is literacy and the joy and benefits of reading.

Research shows that children in out-of-home care are struggling to reach minimum national literacy benchmarks and they need support and intervention to bridge this worrying gap.

When a child or young person is not able to be read with confidence, it can affect how they engage in all aspects of their education. Most importantly they can miss out on the joy and stimulation from stories and storytelling.

To learn more about how Life Without Barriers and our Education Unit are making specific commitments through Strategy 2025 to enhance educational outcomes for children through our commitment to ‘Revitalising education and enhancing learning outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care’.


Each of the brilliant authors below have pledged to champion and support the Hook into Books campaign.

  • Jackie French

    Jackie French

    Jackie French is one of Australia’s most loved and well-known children’s authors. She was the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2014-15 and has written over 140 fiction and non-fiction books. Her writing career spans 25 years and includes 248 wombats, 3,721 bush rats, 36 languages and over 60 awards in Australia and overseas.

    Jackie has been a full-time writer for over twenty years, and she is acclaimed in both literary and children’s choice awards. She is passionate about history, the environment and the conservation of wildlife and our planet. Jackie is also dyslexic and is a strong advocate of help for children with learning difficulties.

  • Kathryn Apel

    Kathryn Apel

    Kathryn Apel is a born-and-bred farm girl who despite living on a grazing property, is scared of cows! She lives among the gumtrees and kangaroos and loves writing poetry. A trained teacher and literacy consultant, Kathryn shares her passion for words at schools and festivals. Kathryn specialises in poetry workshops for kids and adults.

    Kathryn was the recipient of a 2018 May Gibbs Creative Time Fellowship in Adelaide, and an RADF Grant, to attend the 2019 3-day CYA Conference and associated activities.

  • Michael Gerard Bauer

    Michael Gerard Bauer

    Michael Gerard Bauer is a Brisbane man who decided to become a full time writer in 2000. Four years later, his first Young Adult novel, The Running Man, was published to great acclaim. It subsequently won the 2005 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for Older Readers.

    Michael’s most recent publication is the award winning The Things That Will Not Stand. Michael’s books are sold in over 42 countries, have been translated into 12 languages and are widely set as school.

  • Zanni Louise

    Zanni Louise

    Zanni Louise has been writing stories since she was little. A six-year-old Zanni used to get in trouble for staring at people and making up stories about having a donkey. Grown-up Zanni has turned her love for people and fairy tales into a magical career. She is now the author of over 20 kids’ books, including bestselling picture book series like HumanKind and Errol, Zanni writes and draws every day and hopes she will keep going until she’s too old to hold a pen!

    Zanni also teaches at the Australian Writers Centre, offers private mentoring, and travels to schools and festivals across Australia, helping creatives achieve their writing dreams.

  • Samantha Wheeler

    Samantha Wheeler

    Samantha Wheeler worked with farmers and taught science before writing her first children’s story in 2011. Her books Smooch & Rose, Wombat Warriors, Mister Cassowary, and Turtle Trackers have all been shortlisted for awards.

    Her first picture book, Once I Munched a Mango was published as part of the Queensland State Library’s First 5 Forever initiative, designed to promote literacy in kids in Queensland.

    Samantha’s youngest daughter has Rett Syndrome which stops her from speaking. Samantha wrote the book Everything I’ve Never Said for her daughter.

    Samantha hopes her books will inspire everyone to speak up and make a difference.

  • Zoe Norton Lodge

    Zoe Norton Lodge

    Zoe Norton Lodge is co-creator of Story Club and has written approximately 4 million short stories. Zoe’s writing is widely published in Australian anthologies, including Best Australian Stories. Her first book of short stories was Almost Sincerely.

    Zoe has also worked with the Chaser team on ABC TV shows including The Hamster Wheel, The Chaser’s Media Circus and The Chaser’s Election Desk, and she was a writer and presenter on The Checkout for six years.

  • Gary Lonesborough

    Gary Lonesborough

    Gary Lonesborough is a Yuin man from Bega, NSW. Gary was always writing as a child, and continued his creative journey when he moved to Sydney to study at film school. This led to Gary working on the feature film adaptation of Jasper Jones.

    As a role model for Aboriginal youth and an emerging talent in the creative arts, Gary was awarded Bega Valley Shire Council’s Young Citizen of the Year Award.

    Gary says being a storyteller is ingrained in him. “I like to think it is part of my DNA as an Aboriginal person – to tell stories, because Aboriginal people have been telling stories for thousands of years.”

    The Boy from the Mish is Gary’s debut Young Adult novel.

  • Megan Daley

    Megan Daley

    Megan Daley is passionate about children's literature and sharing it with young and old alike. Megan is a teacher librarian at St Aidan's Anglican Girls School and was recently awarded the Queensland Teacher Librarian of the Year by the School Library Association of Queensland, as well as the national Dromken Librarians Award, presented by the State Library of Victoria.

    A former national vice-president of the Children's Book Council of Australia, she is on the Queensland chapter of the board of the Australian Children's Laureate and on the Publications Committee of the National Library of Australia.

  • Gregg Dreiss

    Gregg Dreiss

    Gregg is an author, teacher and illustrator and is a descendent of the Kamilaroi tribe, from south-west Queensland and north-west New South Wales.

    Gregg’s works include Silly Birds, Kookoo Kookaburra and Mad Magpie. These stories are about teaching morals.

  • Michelle Worthington

    Michelle Worthington

    An international award- winning author and businesswoman. Two-time winner of the International Book Award and finalist in the USA Best Book Awards, Michelle also received a Gellett Burgess Award and a Silver Moonbeam Award for her contribution to celebrating diversity in literature.

    She has written many books including I’ll Ride With You, Johnny’s Beard and Glitch.

  • Patrick Guest

    Patrick Guest

    Born into an ever-growing family and raised in the Melbourne beachside suburb of Seaford, Patrick's childhood consisted of footy, floundering, running through tea tree, bone collecting, and ten-part harmonies in the family spluttering bright orange VW combi van. Even back then Patrick was writing stories, with the Powerful Patrick series a serious hit with his parents and rabbit Snowball.

    Patrick tried many careers including accounting and Sports Physiotherapy before he found his life calling – as a Dad – and with that the second half of his career – as a storyteller.

  • Katherine Battersby

    Katherine Battersby

    Katherine is a critically acclaimed author and illustrator of ten picture books including Little Wing and the popular Squish Rabbit series. Her books have had glowing reviews in The New York Times, received starred Kirkus reviews and have been shortlisted for numerous awards. She is regularly booked to speak in schools, libraries and at festivals and she is a passionate advocate for literacy and the arts.

    School wasn't always easy for Katherine; her grade 2 teacher commented in an end of term report that she was 'too much of a daydreamer' to achieve much, but that on the positive side she had an excellent imagination. Katherine took this to mean she was meant to be a storyteller.

  • Ursula Dubosarsky

    Ursula Dubosarsky

    Ursula Dubosarsky was born in Sydney and wanted to be a writer from the age of six. She is now the author of over 60 books for children and young adults. She has won many national prizes, including the NSW, Victorian, South Australian and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award, and has been nominated for the international Hans Christian Anderson and Astrid Lindgren awards for children’s literature. Her books have been published widely across the world and translated into fourteen different languages.

    Ursula is a frequent visitor in libraries, schools and festivals around the world, talking about books and reading, and teaching children and adults the art of creative writing. She is currently a member of the Library Council of the State Library of NSW.

For Coronavirus related enquiries: 1800 313 117