Primary Schools Program 2022

Wednesday 1 June and Thursday 2 June 

In 2022, the Kids & Schools Program will deliver its second program of events for children and youth on the Central Coast, with the aim of creating and encouraging a community of readers, writers, and storytellers by connecting students with Australia’s best loved children’s authors. 

Primary Schools Program 2022

Wednesday 1 June and Thursday 2 June 

In 2022, the Kids & Schools Program will deliver its second program of events for children and youth on the Central Coast, with the aim of creating and encouraging a community of readers, writers, and storytellers by connecting students with Australia’s best loved children’s authors. 

For visiting primary school and secondary school groups, we offer author panels and author workshops.

The author panels and talks offer a select group of authors and illustrators space to talk about their craft and engage with the students. These sessions can cater to larger groups, from 60 to 300.

The author workshops offer a select group of authors and illustrators space to demonstrate knowledge and stimulate creativity in a more intensive, hands-on context. These sessions can cater to smaller groups, capped at 25. Our workshops will encourage young people to open their imaginations and be bold in their creative writing,and may result in a creative writing output. These workshops require the student to purchase the presenting author/illustrator’s book.

All sessions are developed with connections to the Australian Curriculum and aim to:

  • inspire young people to read and write
  • improve communication and creativity skills 
  • build self-confidence
  • improve learning and literacy
  • encourage appreciation of a diversity of cultural expressions

Panel Tickets $5 per student per session. For Workshop Tickets please see event description.

Sessions will be capped in keeping with COVID capacity limits. All sessions suitable for grades 3 – 6.

Dates and Venues

Primary Program 
(Suitable for students grades 3-6)

Wednesday June 1, 2022
Thursday June 2, 2022

Umina Beach SLSC
Umina Beach SLSC James Sharpe Breakout Room
509 Ocean Beach Rd
Umina Beach NSW 2257


Arrive: 9.30am
Panel Sessions
10am – 10.45am
11am – 11.45am
1pm – 2pm
Book Signings and Lunch Break
12pm – 1pm
10am – 11am
12.30 – 2pm
1pm – 2pm

Day 1 Program
Wednesday June 1


9.45 am

Welcome to Country with local Elders

10am – 10:45am
Panel | Entry $5

Author Panel: Let’s Get Funny

With Nat Amoore, Charlotte Barkla. Moderated by Deb Abela.

Let’s Get Funny is a fun-filled session! Zany, quirky and comical. Maybe you prefer dark humour, suspense, and deeper story lines … humour has a place in there as well. These three authors’ books have a few humorous anecdotes here and there.

If we are lucky Deb Abela will share jokes which are a bit rude sometimes, but always funny, and Charlotte will tell you how to avoid sliming your entire classroom. You could end up in trouble with your teacher, your new classmates and the principal! And as for Nat, she says she is funny too.

Students will explore humour which give momentum to poetry and prose read aloud and enhance enjoyment.

General Capabilities: critical and creative thinking, literacy 

11am – 11:45am
Panel | Entry $5

Author Panel: What If?

With Lynn Jenkins, Kirrili Lonergan. Moderated by Deb Abela.

Showing children that their ‘what ifs’ can lead to feelings of fun, happiness and freedom is key in teaching them how we can change the way we feel simply by changing the way we choose to think. This session is an exploration of how little worriers think, and how they can choose to turn those worries into wonders. Students will get the opportunity to engage with the author and illustrator. Students will draw connections between personal experiences and the worlds of texts, and share responses with others.

General Capabilities: critical and creative thinking, literacy 

1pm – 2pm
Panel | Entry $5

Author Panel: Transported Back in Time

With Katrina Nannestad, Anna Ciddor. Moderated by Yvette Poshoglian.

What’s more enticing than the possibility of being transported into another time by three award-winning Australian authors.

The panel will discuss how authors and illustrators make stories exciting, moving and absorbing.

Students will hear how literary texts can be conveyed from different viewpoints and explore how the settings shape the events and influence the mood of the narrative.

This will be an interactive session requiring student participation.

General Capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, ethical understanding, literacy


10am – 11.30am
Entry $20 includes signed book
James Sharpe Room

Resilience & the Power of Storytelling: Creative Writing Workshop

With Katrina Nannestad

Katrina’s historical novels, We Are Wolves and Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief, focus on lesser-known aspects of WWII. During this interactive session, Katrina will talk about the true stories that inspired each novel, and the exciting process of researching and writing. Students will participate in activities designed to bring aspects of each novel alive. Topics covered: Entertainment vs respect – the balancing act of writing historical fiction.  Being a history detective – researching and filling in the blank spots. The true stories – more astonishing than fiction. Bringing history alive with your own words.

General Capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, literacy

12.30pm – 2pm
Entry $20 includes signed book
James Sharpe Room

Dub Leffler

Nurturing Creativity: Illustration Workshop

With Dub Leffler

Join Dub as he introduces the students to drawing and illustration techniques that have seen him run workshops across the universe – from Scotland to the Tiwi Islands, Queensland to the moon and back. Dub has collaborated with other celebrated illustrators and artists including Shaun Tan, Sally Morgan and Banksy.

Dub will demonstrate the process of crafting illustrations for picture books that complement an author’s story and words. Dub will demonstrate how a simple idea becomes a final illustration.

Students will be guided to their own complete illustration by the end of the session.

General Capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, literacy

Day 2 Program
Thursday June 2


10am – 10:45am
Panel | Entry $5

Author Panel: Find Your Best Idea!

With Charlotte Barkla, Anna Ciddor, Paul Russell. Moderated by Louise Park.

Our three panellists write books that entertain, inform, and inspire. This session will look at each author’s style and how their stories are constructed and written they will talk about character development, plotline planning, incident building, great beginnings, and even greater endings. 

Students will participate in role-play and other activities and will learn how to craft a good narrative.

General Capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, literacy

11am – 11:45am
Panel | Entry $5

Author Panel: The Magic of Imagery!

With Katrina Nannestad, Cheryl Orsini. Moderated by Eve Tonneli.

Author Katrina Nannestad’ s novels have a special kind of magic; this is mainly of how she uses imagery and language. In this session Katrina Nannestad will elaborate on how she creates a “mental image” for the reader through her words.

Cheryl Orsini is an illustrator; she has worked with Katrina Nannestad to bring imaginary to life. Illustrating books such as The Girl the Dog and the Writer Series and the New Travelling Bookshop Series.

In this session the students will learn about the illustrator and writer collaboration. Students will get the opportunity to learn how authors and illustrators make stories exciting, moving and absorbing and hold readers’ interest by using various techniques.

General Capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, literacy

1pm – 2pm
Panel | Entry $5

Author Panel: An Engineering Challenge with Charlotte Barkla

With Charlotte Barkla. Moderated by Louise Park.

Who doesn’t love a challenge? In this session, students will work in groups to create the tallest structures they can, using only marshmallows and dry spaghetti. As well as taking on a fun engineering challenge, Charlotte will also give insight into her engineering career and the writing of her middle-grade series, Edie’s Experiments. Topics include:
· What is engineering?
· Strong structures
· Writing a novel that incorporates science /
· Author reading
· Student Q and A

Learning areas: English; Science

General capabilities: Literacy; Critical and creative thinking


10am – 11.30am
Entry $20 includes signed book
James Sharpe Room


Creative Writing Workshop: Believable Characters & Plausible Plots

With Belinda Murrell

In this workshop Belinda will inspire young writers to use their imaginations through brainstorming, interactive exercises, tips and writing techniques. Topics covered include the creative writing process, inspiration, plotting and planning, realistic dialogue, creating characters, vivid settings, editing and story structure. Belinda will guide the students to find and develop ideas about creating believable characters as well as developing plausible plots while using dialogue effectively.

Key Curriculum areas: English, History 
General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking; Intercultural Understanding; Literacy

12.30pm – 2pm
Entry $20 includes art supplies
Venue TBC

Creative Workshop: Curious Creatures

With Sami Bayly

Sami Bayly is the award-winning author/illustrator of the remarkable The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals and sequels. We are excited to offer this workshop that will involve drawing activities and a deep dive into the world’s most weird and wonderful creatures. It will include an author talk and creative activities, where you will learn how to draw your very own ugly, dangerous, or peculiar creature and discover what it takes to be a scientific illustrator. 

Basic drawing equipment supplied

General Capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, literacy

1pm – 2pm
Entry $20 includes signed book
James Sharpe Room

Creative Writing Workshop: Stepping Through Time

With Anna Ciddor

The Boy Who Stepped Through Time provides a glimpse into childhood in Roman times, with fascinating insights into life as a young girl and as a slave in an era that hasn’t been explored in Australian children’s literature. In this entertaining and incredibly useful presentation Anna reveals in front of the students’ eyes how she plans a book, creates an illustration draft, how and where she researches, and all the effort that goes into the whole process from first idea to finished work. Students also get to play some ancient Roman games with her! Topics covered: Audience participation and ‘show and tell’. Bringing stories alive with your own words!

General Capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, Personal and Social Capability, literacy

How to Book

The Primary School Program can only be booked directly between Words on the Waves and the participating school.
All sessions suitable for grades 3 – 6.
Please review our COVID-19 Management Policy before proceeding.

Teachers/Guardians: Free entry when accompanying students. Teacher/Guardian supervision is required at all sessions. If parents are bringing small groups you are expected to remain for the duration of the session.

To register your interest:


Deb Abela

Deb Abela

After training as a teacher, Deb travelled to Africa where she was harassed by monkeys, caught in a desert sandstorm and thrown in jail . . . twice! She’s worked as a child wrangler and a rides operator at Luna Park, but her first real job was as writer/producer of a national children’s TV show at Network TEN. She has since become an internationally published and awarded author of 28 books including her cranky climate change trilogy, Grimsdon, New City and Final Storm. Her family’s survival in WW2 and migration to Australia inspired Teresa A New AustralianTheStupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee and The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery were inspired by her fantabulous Grade 4 teacher, Ms GrayShe’s also written picture books: Wolfie, An Unlikely Hero and the 2021 CBCA Notable, Bear in SpaceThe Book of Wondrous Possibilities is her love letter to books, booksellers and readers. Deb’s won awards for her work but mostly hopes to be as brave as her characters. She’s a proud ambassador for the charities, Room to Read and Books in Homes.

Nat Amoore

Nat Amoore is a Sydney-based children’s author and kidlit podcast host of One More Page. Her debut novel, Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire, came out in 2019 and has had great success as both Dymocks and QBD’s ‘Kids Book Of The Month’, becoming Australia’s #1 bestselling debut Aussie children’s fiction in 2019. It has now sold into the UK, US, Italy, China, Estonia and Romania. Her second book, The Power of Positive Pranking, released in 2020, was shortlisted for the 2021 Readings Children’s Book Prize and REAL Children’s Choice Book Awards, and won the Environment Award for Children’s Literature. Rounding out Nat’s trilogy about the kids of Watterson Primary, The Right Way to Rock was released in June 2021.In 2021, Nat wrote a 5-part fiction podcast series called Project ARI for Nova Entertainment and the Australian Government as part of the #StopItAtTheStart campaign. Project Ari has been nominated in two categories at the Australian Podcast Awards. Coming in 2022 will be We Run Tomorrow, written by Nat and featuring graphic novel-style illustrations from Australian illustrator Mike Barry.

Charlotte Barkla

Charlotte Barkla worked as a civil engineer and physics teacher before rediscovering her love for children’s literature. She now writes picture books, middle-grade fiction and feature articles. Charlotte’s books include the Edie’s Experiments series and All Bodies are Good Bodies. When she’s not writing or running school workshops, you might find her teaching, reading, spending time with her family or drinking coffee. Lots of coffee.

Sami Bayly

Sami Bayly is a natural history illustrator based in Armidale, NSW, who loves all things weird and wonderful. She finds the beauty and importance of all animals regardless of their appearance, and hopes to share her appreciation with others. Sami’s first book, The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals, won the Children’s Indie Book of the Year Award and the Australian Book Design Award for Younger Readers. It was a CBCA Honour Book and was shortlisted for an ABIA Book of the Year for Younger Children and longlisted for the ABA Booksellers’ Choice 2020 Book of the Year Awards. Her second book, The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals, was a CBCA Honour Book, an ABIA Book of the Year for Younger Children, won an Australian Book Design Award for Younger Readers and was shortlisted for the Children’s Indie Book of the Year 2020.

Anna Ciddor

Anna Ciddor has always been fascinated by the past. It would be her dream come true to step through time! Instead, she immerses herself in research and hunts out the tiniest details so she can bring the past to life in her imagination – and in her books. Anna’s meticulous work has been recognised by a grant from the Literature Board of the Australia Council, three of her novels have been selected as Notable Books by the Children’s Book Council of Australia, and several have been translated into other languages to be enjoyed around the world. Most recently, in 2021 Anna was the recipient of the Nance Donkin Literary Award.

Georgie Donaghey

Georgie is the President of the NSW Society of Women Writers and is the founder of The Creative Kids Tales Speakers Agency and CKT Publishing.

Lynn Jenkins

Lynn Jenkins is a clinical psychologist, author and mother of three. Lynn is passionate about early intervention in the social and emotional development of children, and has written two previous picture books on the topics of anxiety and worry (Lessons of a LAC and Brave) as well as two non-fiction titles for adults, Best Start and School Start.

Dub Leffler

Dub Leffler is a descendent from the Bigambul people of South-West Queensland,  now living on the Central Coast. Dub Leffler is one of Australia’s most sought-after illustrators of children’s literature. As well as an illustrator, Dub is the author of two children’s books and is currently illustrating his 25th title. Dub’s work has afforded him travel to places such as remote Australia, Europe, Indonesia and America, and his illustrations are in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Kirrili Lonergan

Kirrili Lonergan is a children’s book illustrator, art therapist and mother of four. She has illustrated several picture books as well as creating designs for clothes, prints and pottery . She is passionate about illustrating picture books that have a ‘healing’ message.

Belinda Murrell

At about the age of eight, Belinda Murrell began writing stirring tales of adventure, mystery and magic in hand-illustrated exercise books. As an adult, she combined two of her great loves – writing and travelling the world – and worked as a travel writer, journalist and public relations consultant. Now, inspired by her own three children, Belinda is an award-winning, internationally published children’s author with a history of writing in her family that spans over 200 years. She has written more than 35 books including The Sun Sword trilogy and her time-slip adventures, The Locket of Dreams, The Ruby Talisman, The Ivory Rose,The Forgotten Pearl, The River Charm, The Sequin Star, and The Lost Sapphire. For younger readers Belinda has her popular Lulu Bell and Pippa’s Island series. Her latest book is The Golden Tower, a timeslip/fantasy set in a magical Italian Renaissance inspired world. Belinda lives in Manly in a gorgeous old house overlooking the sea with her husband Rob, her three beautiful children – Nick, Emily and Lachlan – and her dog Rosie. She is an Author Ambassador for Room to Read and Books in Homes

Katrina Nannestad

Katrina Nannestad is an award-winning Australian author. Her books include The Girl Who Brought Mischief, The Girl, the Dog and the Writer series, the Olive of Groves series, the Red Dirt Diaries series, the Lottie Perkins series, and Bungaloo Creek. Katrina grew up in country New South Wales in a neighbourhood stuffed full of happy children. Her adult years have been spent teaching, raising boys, perfecting her recipe for chocolate-chip bickies and pursuing her love of stories. She now lives near Bendigo with her family and an exuberant black whippet called Olive.

Cheryl Orsini

Cheryl Orsini taught herself to draw as a little girl. She grew a little taller, studied Visual Communications at UTS in Sydney and finally, when she could grow no more, she started illustrating children’s books, magazines and decorating a great many peg dolls! She has illustrated over 20 picture books including Caravan Fran (Lothian Books/Hachette Australia), The Tales of Mrs Mancini (ABC Books) The ABC Book of Cars, Trains, Boats and Planes (ABC Books), and Pom Pom, Where Are You? (Viking/Penguin). Her illustrations are also sought after by Australian magazines including Gardening Australia and The School Magazine. Cheryl lives in Sydney, with her husband and daughter.

Yvette Poshoglian

Yvette Poshoglian is the author of over forty books for children and young people, including the bestselling Ella and Olivia series. Born and raised in Sydney, Yvette taught secondary English in southwest Sydney and now manages major education projects for the NSW Department of Education. Currently she works at the intersection of pedagogy, technology and innovation with the Technology 4 Learning team at the NSW Department of Education. Many of the STEM and technology developments occurring in schools around NSW are captured in Dear Greta. Yvette has loads in common with her character Alice Boghosian, apart from Alice’s horrible nickname.

Paul Russell

Paul Russell is a primary teacher, artist, playwright and children’s author with five previous titles including Grandma Forgets, which made the CBCA list of notable picture books in 2018. He is passionate about the place of imagination and daydreaming in children’s learning.  His latest book, The Incredibly Busy Mind of Bowen Bartholomew Crisp, illustrated with Nicky Johnston, and published by EK Books, celebrates being different and encourages children, educators, and families to look at the world with curiosity and embrace neurological diversity.

Support our Festival

As a not-for-profit organisation run with a small team of volunteers, contributions of any size go a long way in enriching the creative culture of our community. The Committee includes local Peninsula residents passionate about bringing the arts to the Coast. We are seeking support from the community to help us create a wonderful and inclusive festival.