Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

SCBWI Sydney—School Visits: What You Need to Know

Date(s) - 08/Apr/2018
1:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Woollahra Library, Sydney
451 New South Head Rd - Double Bay, NSW 2028

Author/Illustrator visits to schools can be fun and rewarding, as well as a perfect way to meet your audience, promote your work, increase your profile and earn extra money to enable you to keep creating. However, schools are not after a book promotion or a lecture. Presentations need to be stimulating and engaging, leaving students, teachers and librarians with inspiration and insights into reading, the process of creating books, and even creating their own works.

Join us for a practical afternoon where we talk about school visits…the good, the bad and the ugly, but most importantly, the essentials of what you need to know to create a successful and satisfying visit for yourself and the school. Five creators, who together have visited thousands of schools over many years, will give a demonstration of what they do during their presentations and reveal the secrets of their success.



1-1.15pm—School Visits: What You Need to Know presented by Deb Abela

1.15-2pm—Presentations for Younger Kids (15 minutes each)

Mesmerising the Little Mites—How to Present Picture Books with Susanne Gervay
When the Kids Run the Show—How to Get Your Audience Involved with Sarah Davis
A Recipe for Magic: Planning a Fantasy Story with Jodie Wells-Slowgrove

2-2.30pm—Afternoon Tea and Networking

2.30-2.45pm—When Things Go Bad presented by Sue Whiting

2.45-3.15pm—Middle Grade and Beyond (15 minutes each)

Capturing Those Middle Graders with Deb Abela
Engaging Teens with Story with Sue Whiting




CLICK HERE to Book at TryBooking
SCBWI members $25 • Non-members $35


A Bit of Homework…

This PETAA manual is a great resource for school visits. Your homework is to read it before you arrive…. it might spark some questions and prepare you for the afternoon!






Deborah Abela, Dip Teach, BA (Comm)
Children’s Author, Speaker, Teacher

Deborah has always been short and a bit of a coward, which is why she has written over 25 books about spies, ghosts, flooded cities and surviving Hitler’s bombing raids during WW2. Her crankiness about climate change led to the novels, Grimsdon and New City, and her own family’s survival in WW2 inspired Teresa A New Australian, about one very brave girl who migrates to Australia after her own country lay in ruins. The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee and sequel, The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery, were inspired by her love of words and her first picture book is, Wolfie, An Unlikely Hero. Deb’s won awards for her work and is a proud ambassador for Room to Read and Books in Homes but mostly hopes to be as brave as her characters.


Susanne Gervay OAM, M.A, M.Ed, BA
Children’s and Young Adult Author, Speaker, Teacher

Susanne is committed to the children book community, literacy and story that enrich kids’ lives. Awarded the Lifetime Social Justice Literature Award for her body of works by the International Literacy Association, she seeks to engage young people in complex issues from diversity, inclusion to blending families.   An Award winning author, her books include the I Am Jack books that have become rite-of-passage on school bullying, adapted into an acclaimed play by Monkey Baa Theatre, touring Australian and US theatres. Susanne writes for all ages from picture books to young adult books, including ‘Butterflies’ which is recognized as outstanding literature on youth disability.  Her picture books include Ships in the Field, Gracie and Josh and Elephants Have Wings. Her work is endorsed by Room to Read, NSW Cancer Council, Alannah & Madeline Foundation, Life Education Australia, Variety the Children’s Charity, many anti school-bullying organizations. She’s proud to be the Regional Adviser of SCBWI Australia East & New Zealand, patron of Monkey Baa Theatre, Writer Ambassador for Room to Read, Australia Day Ambassador, former Chair of the Board of the NSW Writers’ Centre and has taken on many ambassadorial roles in the children’s book community.


Sue Whiting

Sue Whiting is an author and editor who lives and works in a small coastal village south of Sydney. Sue has written numerous books in a variety of genres: fiction and nonfiction, picture books through to YA, including the best-selling The Firefighters, and the award-winning A Swim in the Sea. Her new middle grade novel, Missing, will be released in March and her picture book Beware the Deep, Dark Forest, illustrated by Annie White, in October.

Sue loves sharing her passion for story and storytelling, reading and writing with people of all ages. Join her on her adventures in story at


Sarah Davis

Sarah illustrated her first picture book in 2008, and in 2010 she quit her day job and began illustrating and designing books full time. Since then, she has illustrated 37 books, designed 11, and been shortlisted for 33 major awards in Australia and New Zealand. Her first book as author, illustrator AND designer will be released by HarperCollins in 2018. She has an Honours degree in literature, and her love of language and narrative underpins her illustration work. She works across a range of media and is constantly experimenting with new ways to tell stories visually. She is an experienced presenter and in great demand as a speaker at schools, festivals and universities throughout Australia and internationally. She is also proud to be an ambassador for Room to Read, and the Illustrator Coordinator for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (Australia East/NZ). 


Jodie Wells-Slowgrove

Jodie Wells-Slowgrove is a children’s author and teacher-librarian. Her fantasy chapter book series, The Wilderness Fairies was first published in 2014 by Penguin Books Australia.