Why Hook into Books™?

Hook into Books™ is a national campaign led by the Learning Without Barriers team. The education unit aspires to see all children and young people in out-of-home care (OOHC) are given opportunities to learn to love reading and enhance their own literacy story.

We know that the benefits of reading, listening, and telling stories to children of any age are endless. We know that a protective factor supporting a child is developing literacy skills early in life. The benefits of early literacy are evidenced widely; however, this journey continues right through into adolescence (and beyond). For young people, literacy is a key mental health protective factor. Young people who are literate are more likely to remain engaged in education and community, have confidence in navigating the increasingly complex world and remain connected with supportive people in their lives.

Image: Graphic of the Hook into Books™ logo with a purple wizard making a magic background.

It is never too late to inspire a love of reading. For some children and young people, it may not be until they discover a book they love or a different literacy experience is offered to them. Audiobooks, graphic novels, magazines, or slam poetry events may be what they need to open their literacy world.

Hook into Books™ provides opportunities for children and young people to play, experiment, and share experiences that assist to locate their personal key to that world.

Through our Education Strategy 2025, Life Without Barriers set broad aspirations to improve the education and learning outcomes for children and young people in our care!

Let's make reading fun!

Our Learning Without Barriers unit have teamed up with our community, leading Australian authors, parents and Carers to celebrate Hook into Books™!

Hook into Books™ is a joyful celebration of all thing’s literacy!

Through the Hook into Books™ campaign, we seek to create settings by which children and young people in out-of-home-care experience literacy and language enhancement through exposure to physical books, cultural connections, and digital literacy resources.

Fundamentally, Hook into Books™ aims to create environments that plant, grow, and nurture a love of digesting stories and storytelling through exposure to high quality, age appropriate and engaging literature.

Get involved?

You can hook into a book with us by getting involved in the many fun activities we've got planned!

Our role

The benefits of the shared reading experiences from birth to adulthood cannot be overstated.

These experiences can profoundly influence and shape who children and young people become as learners and readers and extends into their adult learning.

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

Research and anecdotal evidence continue to tell us that children in OOHC are struggling to reach national literacy and numeracy benchmarks and require effective responses to support their development.

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.

Real Stories

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 has pledged to champion and support the Hook into Books™ 2023 campaign.

  • 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.

  • Dimity Powell

    Dimity Powell

    Award winning children’s author, Dimity Powell, loves filling every spare moment with words. She writes and reviews exclusively for children with over 30 published stories and is the Managing Editor for Kids' Book Review. Picture books are her jam. Her latest titles include, Pippa and The Troublesome Twins (2023), This is My Dad (2022), Oswald Messweather (2021), Pippa (2019), the SCBWI Crystal Kite 2019 award-winning At the End of Holyrood Lane (2018), and critically acclaimed, The Fix-It Man (2017). She can’t wait to launch her latest picture, The Boy Who Lost His Laugh – a sensitive glimpse into foster parenting, family relationships and adoption – in 2025.

    Dimity is a seasoned presenter and dedicated Books in Homes Australia Volunteer Role Model, Story City Community Mentor and G.A.T.EWAYS presenter who loves sailing on the beam and reading under trees but still can’t surf despite living on the Gold Coast.

  • Gabrielle Wang

    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.

  • Graham Ackhurst

    Graham Ackhurst

    Graham Akhurst is a Kokomini writer who grew up in Meanjin. He is a Lecturer of Indigenous Studies and Creative Writing at UTS. Graham began his writing journey in a hospital bed in 2011. He read and started journaling between treatments for Endemic Burkett Lymphoma. As a Fulbright Scholar, Graham took his love for writing to New York City, where he studied for an MFA in Fiction at Hunter College. He is a board member for the First Nations Artists and Writers Network and Varuna. He lives with his wife on Gadigal Country in Sydney and enjoys walking Centennial Park with a good audiobook.

    His debut YA novel, Borderland, is being published with UWAP in October 2023.

  • Hakea Hustler and Carl Merrison

    Hakea Hustler and 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Kristin Darell

    Kristin Darell

    Kristin Darell has been a passionate storyteller since she was a child. Whether it was making up adventures with her twin sister, or writing about the world around her, she was rarely found without a pen and paper in hand. As an adult, she made this passion her life. She worked as a broadcast news and sports journalist for major Australian news organisations for more than twenty years.

    Kristin’s four-book debut junior fiction series Football Fever (Penguin Random House) is being published in 2022 and 2023. She is also a co-author of the middle-grade children’s adventure novel Into Tordon (2016: MidnightSun) and has contributed to children’s writing anthologies.

    Kristin is a strong advocate for children’s literature, working as the Program Manager for the Australian Children’s Laureate Foundation. She is also an author for the Littlescribe learning platform, sharing tips on writing fiction and non-fiction.

    She lives on Sydney’s northern beaches with her husband, two children, two dogs, pet snake and three-legged pygmy bearded dragon.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Michelle Wanasundera

    Michelle Wanasundera

    Michelle is a freelance writer, editor, and children's book author. She is passionate about nature, diversity, social issues and getting books into the hands of kids who need them most. When she's not too busy tapping away, you'll see her hanging out in the lovely kidlit community, of which she is a passionate member.

    Like all bookish types, Michelle loves reading with her cat by her side, and preferably a cheese platter. It's rare to see her without a book in her bag or car, because her biggest fear isn't spiders, it's being stuck somewhere without a book and a chance to power through her TBR pile.

    Her latest book is Ella and Star, with Little Pink Dog Books.

  • 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 into six international territories. He has 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.

  • Nelly Thomas

    Nelly Thomas

    Nelly Thomas is a multi-talented, award-winning Australian comedian, author and broadcaster. She is also well-known for her media commentary, speaking and expert facilitation.

    Nelly is the author of four books including three highly successful children’s books – Some Girls (2017), Some Boys (2018) and Some Brains: a book celebrating neurodiversity (2019). These books have been lauded for their contribution to diversity and humour in children’s literature and Some Brains was nominated for the 2022 International Outstanding Books on Disability. She is also the author of two books for adults: What Women Want (a collection of essays) and Some Mums (a filthy, raucous picture book for adults).

    Nelly lives in Melbourne her two daughters, a grumpy poodle, and a very dense Labradoodle. She’s partial to a G&T and terrible TV.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Rachael Lovett

    Rachael Lovett

    Rachael is a mum of two, author, registered teacher and psychologist who has been working in Queensland schools for over 20 years. She and her partner Chad have established their own private psychology practice where they enjoy working with families, couples, and individuals. Rachael believes that music and story are both fun and meaningful ways to engage children and parents in social and emotional learning.

    Rachael co-authored the Little Lappy book series with colleague Robyn Sheptooha, and she hopes that as caregivers and children read this book together, that their understanding of just how sacred their love is, is enhanced and nurtured.

  • Robyn Sheptooha

    Robyn Sheptooha

    Robyn is a healthy 64 years young. She says this playfully, to inspire the creative parts of her to lean into life as it is available to her now. Robyn has taken the path of being in service to others as a nurse and midwife, as the mother of four lovable sons, and in her counselling and psychotherapy career for 20 years.

    Her keen interest in creative writing, human beings, Buddhism, poetry, and the natural world has influenced the crafting of the Little Lappy Books with her colleague Racheal Lovett. She hopes that the series may serve parents and caregivers to appreciate a widened view of their roles and how their influence and actions interconnects with the children in their care and shapes their future.

  • 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.

  • Sarah Murphy

    Sarah Murphy

    Sarah Murphy is a qualified Allied Health Assistant in Occupational Therapy & Early Childhood Counsellor. Wonderfully Different, Marvellous You! is her debut book which is designed as a conversation starter between children and adults about diversity, kindness and acceptance, while celebrating all of the differences among us.

    Sarah currently resides in Country Victoria where she runs schools and kinder-ready sessions for children with disability. Profits from all sales of her book contribute to resources for these programs.

    She is a mum to three young children, and her favourite things to do when she’s not at work are travelling (always to a beach), kicking the footy with the kids or heading to a concert with her husband.

  • 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.

  • 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'.

  • 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.

  • 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.