Why hook into books?

Did you know that a child's brain is not 'hardwired' for reading? Research undertaken by neuroscientists has revealed that reading is possibly the most challenging task we expect children to undertake.

However, we also know that the benefits of reading, listening, and telling stories to children of any age are endless. It is arguably one of the most powerful things we can do for them. The simple act of sharing stories profoundly influences literacy and language development. It builds confidence and resilience, nurtures empathy, creativity and allows for relaxation and escape.

At Life Without Barriers, we believe that all children are entitled to an education. We are committed to providing learning opportunities to children and young people in out-of-home (OOHC) who experience additional barriers to educational engagement as opposed to their peers.

Let's make reading fun!

Our Learning Without Barriers team have teamed up with Children, Youth and Family, Aged Care Services, leading Australian authors, parents and Carers to celebrate Hook into Books!

Hook into Books is a fun campaign that promotes a love of stories: sharing, telling, reading and listening to stories with 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 our community, across the lifespan from birth to old age, with opportunities to access literary materials lies at the heart of Hook into Books.

Our campaign offers a mix of accessible information, resources and fun activities to engage and inspire the love of stories and storytelling 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.

Literacy and out-of-home care

2021, the National Assessment Programme Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)


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

  • 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.

  • Katherine Battersby

    Katherine Battersby

    Katherine is the critically acclaimed author and illustrator of thirteen children's books published worldwide, including the popular Cranky Chicken series, Little Wing, and the beloved Squish Rabbit series.

    Her books have received glowing reviews in The New York Times, starred Kirkus reviews and been shortlisted for numerous Australian awards. She is regularly booked to speak in schools, libraries and festivals and is a passionate advocate for literacy and the arts.

    In another life, Katherine worked for many years as a paediatric occupational therapist, specialising as a children's counsellor, and she has also studied graphic design. She grew up by the beach in Queensland and currently lives in Ottawa, Canada.

  • Sophie Beer

    Sophie Beer

    Sophie Beer is an award-winning illustrator and author living in Brisbane, Australia. She completed a dual degree in Law and Creative Industries with distinction at the Queensland University of Technology but found the whole law thing unutterably dull. She now works primarily in children's and editorial illustration.

    As a writer, her work has appeared in Frankie Magazine and The Big Issue. Sophie is passionate about equality, social causes, and Aldi choc-chip biscuits.

  • 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.

  • Mick Elliott

    Mick Elliott

    Mick Elliott is an author, illustrator, TV producer, screenwriter, and professional mischief-maker.

    His debut trilogy, The Turners, was nominated for an Aurealis Award and features on the Premiers' Reading Challenge. His illustrated middle grade series, Squidge Dibley, has been sold internationally. He has also contributed stories and illustrations to many bestselling anthologies.

    Mick has written and produced acclaimed children's TV shows for Nickelodeon, the Sesame Workshop, Channel TEN and the ABC. He is an in-demand speaker, running storytelling workshops at hundreds of schools and festivals around Australia.

    The first book in his new picture book series will be released in 2023 by Walker Books.

    Mick lives in Sydney with his wife, two kids and a cavoodle named Gypsy.

  • 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.

  • Michael Gerard Bauer

    Michael Gerard Bauer

    Michael Gerard Bauer is a Brisbane writer of picture books through to Young Adult novels. He has been shortlisted for Children's Book Council of Australia awards on five occasions, winning in 2004 in the Young Adult category for The Running Man and again in 2018 in the Early Childhood category for his first picture book Rodney Loses It. In 2019 his YA novel The Things That Will Not Stand won the Prime Minister Literary award.

    Michael's other popular books include the Ishmael Series, the Eric Vale Series and Just a Dog. Michael's books are sold in over 42 countries, have been translated into 12 languages and are widely set as school texts.

  • 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.

  • Noah Guest

    Noah Guest

    According to his dad, Noah Guest's first word was: 'Story?' He's been collecting stories ever since - from Donaldson to Dahl, Tolkien to the Duffer Brothers - and now he's creating his own stories. Like many of his characters, Noah is a master at rising above adversity. Noah has advanced muscular dystrophy, but that didn't stop from becoming Australia's new youngest published author!

    Noah's favourite weapons are wisecracks, a wild imagination and a keen eye for the ridiculous. 'The Beaver and the Beasts' is his first published book, written with his dad, Patrick Guest.

  • Pip Harry

    Pip Harry

    Pip Harry is an Australian children's author and journalist. Pip loves telling stories that inspire, enlighten, and entertain her young readers.

    Her middle grade verse novel, The Little Wave, won the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) 2020 Book of the Year Award and the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year. She has since released Are You There, Buddha? a 2022 CBCA Notable Book for Younger Readers and August & Jones.

  • Steven Herrick

    Steven Herrick

    Steven Herrick is the author of twenty-two books of poetry and fiction for children and young adults. His books have been shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards on seven occasions, and he has twice won the NSW Premier's Literary Awards.

    In 2013, his most recent verse-novel for children, Pookie Aleera is not my Boyfriend, was shortlisted for six major literary awards and was the joint-winner of the Western Australia Premier's Literary Award for children's literature.

    In the past twenty-five years, Steven has toured throughout Australia and the world, reading his poetry to over half a million students in more than five thousand schools.

  • Breanna Humes

    Breanna Humes

    Breanna Humes was born in Canberra and grew up in Bunbury and Toowoomba. She is from the Noongar, Gunditjmara, Wiraderjiri and Jawoyn peoples. Breanna completed Year 12 at Toowoomba State High School as the Indigenous Co-Captain of the school.

    She spent five years in the Air Force Cadets and, in 2017, walked the Kokoda Trail with the 2 Wing Cadets. Breanna is studying Environment Sciences at the University of Southern Queensland.

    I Want to be a Superhero is her first book, which she wrote when she was eight years old.

  • Hakea Hustler & Carl Merrison

    Hakea Hustler & Carl Merrison

    Hakea Hustler is a passionate English teacher and author who has travelled all over Australia, collecting story ideas and inspiration. Carl Merrison is a Jaru/Kija man from Halls Creek in the Kimberley who loves sharing his stories. Together, they have written Black Cockatoo (Magabala), Tracks of the Missing (Magabala) and My Deadly Boots (Hachette).

    They love sharing their stories to increase literacy in remote outback communities and help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people see themselves in books. They also love to share the diverse experiences of people who live in the outback with wider Australia.

  • Zanni Louise

    Zanni Louise

    Zanni Louise has been writing stories since she was little, growing up in country NSW. She is now the author of over 25 kids' books, including her bestselling picture book series Human-Kind and Errol. Her latest book I Feel The World, helps kids understand more about their emotional world.

    When she is writing, Zanni teaches creative writing to kids and adults.

  • 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.

  • Yvette Poshoglian

    Yvette Poshoglian

    Yvette Poshoglian is the bestselling author of over 40 books for children and young readers. She writes the wildly popular Ella and Olivia series (30 books + 6 treasuries and counting!), the Puppy Diary books and the Frankie Fox Girl Spy stories. She has written historical fiction, including My Australian Story: Escape from Cockatoo Island.

    Yvette writes on the Gayamaygal Lands of the Kay-yee-my nation on Sydney's northern beaches and acknowledges the Land on which she creates.

    Yvette has worked as an English teacher in southwest Sydney and consults on educational projects. Yvette works with the Technology 4 Learning team at the NSW Department of Education. She recently worked on Everyone's an Author, a digital creative writing program featuring 10 Aussie authors.

    Yvette is a regular guest and panel host at writers' festivals and continues to work in schools with students and teachers in creative writing, storytelling and literacy. She is proud to be an ambassador for the Books in Homes charity.

  • Tess Rowley

    Tess Rowley

    Tess describes herself as a writer/educator/performer and has delivered plays in the UK (Edinburgh Fringe Festival) and Australia, addressing social issues.

    Tess's lifelong work in child and family support has been a guiding focus for her writing of over twenty children's books for Government and non-government organisations on a wide range of topics.

    Her latest children's books, Odd Socks, is about diversity for middle primary school, and Who's There is about online safety for children aged five to eight.

    With previous book titles such as I Feel Scared When Mum & Dad Fight, My Dad's in Prison, Touches and Feelings and the award-winning, Everyone's Got A Bottom, Tess gives voice and acceptance to subjects that can be hard to talk about and brings positivity and fun to sober and sometimes confronting topics.

    Her books have been sold overseas in England, America, China, Russia and Hong Kong. All of the profits and royalties from the sales have gone back to the services to enhance programs for children and families.

    She received a Lord Mayor's Australia Day Achievement Award in 2019 for 'services in the community --children's author'.

  • Gabrielle Wang - 2022-2023 Australian Children's Laureate

    Gabrielle Wang - 2022-2023 Australian Children's Laureate

    Gabrielle Wang is an author and illustrator of Chinese heritage born in Melbourne. Her maternal great-grandfather came to Victoria during the Gold Rush, and her father came to Australia from Shanghai. Her stories blend Chinese and Western culture with a touch of fantasy.

    She has written nearly twenty books for young readers, selling over 170,000 copies. Many of her books have been shortlisted for awards, from the Prime Minister's Award to children's choice awards such as the Yabba and Koala Awards. One of Gabrielle's most popular books, A Ghost in My Suitcase,won the 2009 Aurealis Award and was made into a stage play by Barking Gecko Theatre in 2018.

    Gabrielle’'s new book Zadie Ma and the Dog Who Chased the Moon was released in June 2022.

  • Nova Weetman

    Nova Weetman

    Nova Weetman is a writer for books, film and television. Nova is also a regular on ABC Radio talking about historic children's books in Australia.

    Her middle grade novel, Secrets We Keep, was a Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Notable, shortlisted for the Readings Children's Prize, shortlisted for the ABIA Awards, shortlisted for the Speech Pathologist Awards, shortlisted for the YABBA Awards 2018 and shortlisted for the Sakura Medal in Japan.

    Her second and third books in this series were also CBCA Notables. Her co-written novel, Elsewhere Girls, was published in 2021 and is a CBCA Notable and Shortlisted for the Aurealis Children's Fiction Award.

    Writer of Film Victoria short films Ripples and Mr Wasinski's Song (AWGIE nomination and winner Best Australian Short at MIFF). Short fiction published in Overland, Mslexia, Kill Your Darlings, Wet Ink and Island and non-fiction in Overland and Fairfax Media.

    Her book Sick Bay for middle grade readers won the YABBA Award 2021 for Best Book for Older Readers, Years 7-9, and had a CBCA Notable in 2020. It was published in the US through Simon and Schuster.

  • 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.

  • 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.