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Today is a big day! On 19 March 1932, 90 years ago, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened. And there in the official opening parade was a nine-year-old boy called Lennie Gwyther, riding his trusty pony Ginger Mick! Lennie and Ginger Mick had ridden all the way from Leongatha in Victoria, all alone, just to see the bridge finally opened. You can read about the resilient and resourceful Lennie and the remarkable bridge in my book Lennie the Legend: Solo to Sydney by Pony (NLA Publishing). Find out more on my Heritage Heroes page.

And today is also the launch day for my new picture book Ghostie. Based on my young granddaughter Ava and her imaginary friend Ghostie, it’s a rollicking read full of mayhem and mischief for 3 to 6 year olds. Read about it here:
Granddaughter Ava inspires Stephanie Owen Reeder’s 20th book, Ghostie | The Canberra Times | Canberra, ACT.

Check out the wonderful window display of our new book Australia’s Wild, Weird, Wonderful Weather at the National Library of Australia’s Bookshop. Illustrator Tania McCartney and I are super proud of this stunning book, which explores how the weather works and looks at Australia’s weather from Bush Forecasting through to Climate Change. Signed copies are available in store.

I’m delighted to reveal the cover for my new nonfiction picture book Australia’s Wild, Weird, Wonderful Weather, illustrated and designed by the super-talented Tania McCartney and published by NLA Publishing. It covers everything from Indigenous weather knowledge to extreme weather events and climate change.

Check out our BOOK TRAILER:

Find out more about the book:

PRE-ORDER a copy:

The next three months will be very busy ones for me as I finish writing three books, launch two books and do lots of talking about children’s literature and books!

Here’s a summary of the events. Hope you can join me.



Companion Book:  Story Time Stars: Favourite Characters from Australian Picture Books, 22 August 2019 to 9 February 2020, National Library of Australia,

BOOK READING, Heritage Heroes, CANBERRA WRITERS FESTIVAL, Sunday, 25 August, 11.30-12.30, National Library of Australia,

GUIDED TOUR AND BOOK SIGNING, STORY TIME EXHIBITION, Saturday, 31 August, 1.30 to 3.30, National Library of Australia, SCBWI members only

TEACHER LIBRARIANS CONFERENCE: CONNECTION THROUGH STORIES, Friday, 13 September, NSW Teachers Federation Centre, Centre for Professional Learning, Key Note Address: Connecting to Our History, In Conversation: National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature,

BOOK LAUNCH: STORY TIME STARS, Saturday, 28 September, 2 to 3 pm, ACT Libraries, Woden Library, Launched by Emeritus Professor Belle Alderman AM, Story Time Book Reading and Book Signing (more details to come)

BOOK LAUNCH: TROUBLE IN THE SURFSunday, 13 October, 11 am, National Library of Australia, book reading and signing. You can book for this even at:

Coming soon, two exciting new titles!


Story Time Stars is a celebration of around 60 much-loved characters from illustrated storybooks and picture books published in Australia from 1918 to 2018. This is the companion book to the major exhibition Story Time: Australian Children’s Literature, which will run from August 2019 to February 2020 at the National Library of Australia. The book provides entertaining information about a wide range of illustrated children’s books and the characters that star in them, from the irascible Magic Pudding and the delightful Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, to the elusive Green Sheep and the very rude Pig the Pug! Organised by decade, this is a book to dip into to catch up with your childhood favourites and to make new story-time friends.

Available September 2019, NLA Publishing $24.99

Pre-order at

TROUBLE IN THE SURF by Stephanie Owen Reeder, illustrated by Briony Stewart

The lavishly illustrated picture book Trouble in the Surf is based on the true story of budding aviator Charles Kingsford Smith and his cousin Rupert Swallow. Aged just nine, the boys headed off to Bondi Beach for a swim on a hot summer’s day in 1907. What happened when they got caught in the Bondi rip nearly changed the course of Australian aviation history and contributed to the formation of the volunteer lifesaving movement in Australia.

Available October 2019, NLA Publishing $24.99

Pre-order at


Three days away in Sydney, and so much happened! The SCBWI Conference 2019 for authors and illustrators was inspiring, exhausting, challenging, informative and absolutely wonderful. A day of networking, learning, admiring other people’s knowledge and achievements, and so much more! And the next day there was more of the same at the Creating Creative Writers PD Conference for Teachers and Teacher Librarians at the State Library of New South Wales. It was such a pleasure to share the stage with other lovers of writing non-fiction texts that engage and enchant young readers. And the day was topped off with the announcement of the CBCA Notable Books – the long-list for the Children’s Book of the Year Awards 2019. Marvellous Miss May was there, along with four other books produced by the wonderful NLA Publishing team at the National Library of Australia. Congratulations to everyone whose books were included! You can see them here: I’ll be back in Sydney in September for another PD day for teachers and teacher librarians. Details to come!


Very pleased and honoured to have my lift-the-flap book about exploring your emotions – I’ve Got a Feeling! – included in Australia’s Biggest Child Safety Lesson 2018, presented by the Daniel Morcombe Foundation. You can access it here:

I’m excited to be a part of the SCBWI Creating Creative Writers Conference for teachers and librarians at the State Library of New South Wales on Tuesday 26 February 2019. As well as joining in the panel discussion with award-winning nonfiction authors Sue Whiting, Corinne Fenton, Claire Saxby and Gina Newton, I’ll be talking about Picturing the Past – using historical images to inspire creative and factual writing. Details can be found at:  

I’m thrilled to see Australian Children’s Literature icons Mem Fox, Leigh Hobbs, Morris Gleitzman, Alison Lester and Shaun Tan featured on postage stamps as part of the Australia Post Legends Awards 2019. I have had the honour of meeting all of these inspirational writers and illustrators. And I shared the stage (and a taxi!) with the wonderful Morris Gleitzman at the CBCA Book of the Year Awards ceremony in Sydney in 2016.

Mem, Leigh, Alison and Shaun (plus many other Australian picture-book creators) also feature in a new book I have written, which celebrates a selection of much-loved and much-lauded Australian story-time characters. It will be available in August, and I’ll be sharing more news about this exciting project in the near future. Meanwhile, you can read about these children’s literature legends and their postage stamps at


I’m thrilled to announce that Marvellous Miss May, Queen of the Circus will have a shiny award sticker, just like the rest of the Heritage Heroes books! Marvellous Miss May has been shortlisted for the Young People’s History Prize in the New South Wales Premier’s History Awards 2018. Read the shortlist announcement here: The winners will be announced at a cocktail party at the State Library of New South Wales on Friday 31 August. Miss May is jumping for joy!