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Australia Reading Hour 2023 – The Magic of Storytelling (Early Stage 1, Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3)

On Demand

The Australian Reading Hour is back! Celebrate with some of your students’ favourite authors and illustrators including Peter Hellier & Sally Rippin!



Hosted by comedian and Frankie Fish series author Peter Helliar, our stellar line up of authors – Sally Rippin (Billie B Brown series), Gregg Dreise (My Culture and Me) and Andrew McDonald (Real Pigeons series) – will work together to create and narrate an imaginative and collaborative story, line by line.

Listening attentively, the evolving story will be illustrated LIVE by 3 celebrated illustrators – Ben Wood (Real Pigeons series), Chris Kennett (School of Monsters series), and Shiloh Gordon (The Underdogs series). They’re all listening to the same story as it evolves, but will their illustrations all LOOK the same when revealed at the end?

Together we discuss the multiple interpretations a single story can have while introducing students to key storytelling techniques, encouraging them to think in ways that are imaginative, creative, interpretive and critical.

This event is presented by Sydney Opera House in association with Australia Reads. This event is supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.


BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Sydney Opera House

Event Details

Event Type

On Demand (available until: 19-Dec-2023 11:59PM)

Delivery Platform

Youtube Recording


30 Minutes





Syllabus Outcomes


Main KLA, Strand, Sub Strand

English » Making meaning through responding and composing » Reading and Viewing

Other KLAs

English » Making meaning through responding and composing » Speaking and Listening

Creative Arts » Visual Arts » Appreciating (Visual Arts)

Cancellation Policy

If you’re not available to attend the livestreamed event – watch it on-demand at a time that suits your class

Presenter Bio

About Australia Reads

Originally launched in 2012 for the National Year of Reading, the Australian Reading Hour brings the whole nation together to read, share, and enjoy an hour with book and stories. Presented by Australia Reads, it’s part of an annual program celebrating readers, writers and illustrators, with books and storytelling events all across the country.

“At Australia Reads, we believe that reading makes us happier, healthier and more connected to one another and the world around us. So we’re on a mission to get more people reading more books, more often! In 2021, tens of thousands of young Australians took part, and we look forward to you joining us again in 2023.”


Sally Rippin

Sally Rippin is Australia’s highest-selling female author and has written more than 50 books for children and young adults. Her widely popular Billie B Brown books are beloved across the globe, and have sold more than ten million copies in eighteen countries. She loves to write stories with heart and characters that resonate with children, parents and teachers alike.

​Sally is a passionate ambassador for the 100 Story Building creative writing centre, was a regular presenter on 3RRR radio and is a popular speaker at schools and festivals. She taught Writing For Children as a part of the Professional Writing and Editing Program at RMIT as well as the Faber Academy and has mentored many emerging writers and illustrators.

​Sally’s most recent books include the School of Monsters series as well as her book for parents, called “Wild Things: How We Learn To Read And What Can Happen If We Don’t”.

Peter Helliar

Peter Helliar has been one of Australia’s favourite comedians since his first appearance on our TV screens as a core cast member on the Logie Award winning Rove back in 1999.

Pete has performed stand up for more than twenty years, selling out shows right across the country, where he makes the difficult business of being funny look dead easy. Now the Gold Logie Nominee is making people laugh four nights a week on Network Ten’s The Project, the beloved show where the news is delivered differently.

A man of many talents, Peter created and co-produced two series of the award winning It’s A Date for ABC TV, and How to Stay Married for Network Ten which premiered in 2018 and is now currently filming its third season. He has directed episodes of both shows.

He is the author of the much loved children’s book series, Franky Fish which is published by Hardie Grant/Egmont. In 2018, Frankie Fish was voted one of Australia’s Top 50 kids books in the annual Better Reading Top 50 Kids Books poll and Frankie Fish and the Sonic Suitcase was shortlisted for the ABIAs for Book of the Year for Younger Children in 2018. Pete’s new children’s book Trippin’ With Kids, co-authored with his wife Bridget Helliar, was released in 2020. Peter Helliar used to be Strauchanie and his French accent has not improved

Gregg Dreise

Gregg Dreise is a gifted artist, storyteller and musician, and he features the didgeridoo and guitar in his performances at schools, libraries and festivals. He is a descendant of the Kamilaroi and Euahlayi people of south-west Queensland and north-west New South Wales.

He is the author and illustrator of Cunning Crow; Silly Birds; Kookoo Kookaburra; Mad Magpie and My Culture and Me. All these stories are about teaching morals. They address self-image, friendship, kindness, bullying and Indigenous culture.

Gregg is also the illustrator of the classic story Tiddalik the Frog (Pearson Publishing) and has poetry with his illustrations in the anthology A Boat of Stars; and illustrations in High 5 to the Boys and contributions towards Why I Love Australia. He has a Children’s Music CD titled Sing. Dance. Walk Together.

Andrew McDonald

Andrew McDonald is a reader and writer of books for young readers.

His series REAL PIGEONS debuted in 2018, with hilarious illustrations by Ben Wood.

His first children’s novel, The Greatest Blogger in the World featured the story of Charlie Ridge, a young blogger navigating family, friends and the perils of internet life. His second novel Son of Death, a black comedy about a family of modern grim reapers, was named by The Age as one of the ‘best books of the year’ in 2015.

He is also the creator of a blog post about ‘camera loss’ that somehow went viral and he wasn’t embarrassed enough to decline an invitation to be a Cleo Bachelor in 2011.

Andrew is an avid reader of children’s and YA literature. He has worked for Readings bookshop in Melbourne and at the flagship Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road in London, where he was thrilled to put his knowledge to work as a children’s bookseller. He has previously judged the Young Adult category of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and the Centre for Youth Literature’s Inky Awards.

Andrew is a graduate of RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing diploma and his writing has taken him around the world. He completed an artist residency at Caldera Arts in Oregon, USA and a May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust fellowship in Adelaide.

He is a regular presenter on the schools circuit in Australia, conducting writing workshops; talking about his writing life; and sharing the stories and experiences behind his books.


Chris Kennett

Born in Canterbury, England way back in the mid-70s I grew up in a very busy house. As the youngest of five kids, I would take every opportunity for some quiet time. For me, that came in the form of drawing.

I drew a LOT!

As a result, I’m quite skilled at shutting out the noise and getting on with the job. This comes in particularly handy when working from home and raising kids!

In 1998 I moved to Australia to live with my Aussie girlfriend (now wife) and we’ve since settled in the beautiful town of Bendigo, Victoria with our two kids and two cats.



Ben Wood

Ben is an illustrator for children’s books based in Victoria, Australia. Ben has illustrated picture books, junior fiction and non-fiction titles. He has worked with top publishers in Australia such as Hardie Grant Childrens PublishingScholastic, and Penguin Random House.

Ben’s work has had notable listings for the Children Book Council Australia, been shortlisted for Readings Children’s Book Prize, and shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards in 2019 and 2020.

Best known as the co-creator of the bestselling series REAL PIGEONS by Andrew McDonald, the series has been published in 11+ countries. In 2020 the pigeons were released in Germany, US & Canada and in the UK in 2021.

Ben also runs presentations and workshops in schools, public libraries and bookstores. His sessions can vary from small to large groups, depending on what suits best. He is more than happy to work with Prep-Year 9 students, and adults too.



Joining The Event

Technology and Materials Requirements

  • Internet Connection
  • Youtube access with audio capability
  • Viewing link: emailed to you in advance after you have made a booking

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