Peter Carnavas

Peter Carnavas


Speaker type

  • Author
  • Illustrator / Designer
  • Cartoonist

Peter Carnavas graphic

Peter creates picture books for children and grown-ups to enjoy. He writes simple yet poignant tales, accompanied by whimsical illustrations, which combine to create layers of meaning for the reader. His books include Jessica's Box, Last Tree in the City, The Great Expedition and his latest picture book, The Children Who Loved Books, a warm and moving celebration of books and the ways in which they bring us together. He has also collaborated with Pat Flynn on My Totally Awesome Story, an action-packed comedy that manages to make kids laugh and learn how to write stories at the same time.

Peter's presentations involve cartooning, storytelling tips, illustration techniques, hands-on fun and lots of audience participation. With a background in primary school teaching, Peter has a natural rapport with children and loves showing them how they can create stories and illustrations themselves.

Peter's work has been nominated for many awards, including the Queensland Premier's Literary Award, The Children's Book Council of Australia Crichton Award and Speech Pathology Australia's Book of the Year Award. His books have been translated into many languages.

Peter was honoured to be a National Year of Reading Ambassador in 2012 and continues his role as a Love2Read National Ambassador in 2013.

Peter lives on the Sunshine Coast with his wife, two daughters and a scruffy dog that occasionally escapes.

Hot off the press is My Totally Awesome Story -- a new book from Speakers Ink duo Pat Flynn and Peter Carnavas. The book follows 13-year-old Duane as he reluctantly fills his school writing journal with stories about his life -- including crashing his motorbike, playing pranks with his best mate Meatball, and chasing the affections of Jackie. Duane illustrates his writing with over 100 funny drawings, and the teacher, Miss Wright, comments on and corrects Duane's work, something he doesn't always appreciate!

Peter threw away his first lot of drawings as they were 'too polished', but found that by using his left hand he could capture Duane's personality much more effectively.

'I've now renamed my left hand, Duane,' he jokes.

Click here to find additional resources such as extensive teachers' notes, a book trailer, and a video of Pat reading from the book while Peter illustrates.

Wooloowin State School would like to thank you for the opportunity to have Pat Flynn and Peter Carnavas at our school last night and also for organising Nadia Sunde for the Prep to Year 2 students.  We had a wonderful night with the choice comment of the evening coming from the Principal, "I think this should be a yearly event".

Thank you again.

Wooloowin State School, March, 2013.

Peter illustration



Thank you for hosting me at your school. The following is a list of details which will be helpful for you leading up to my visit.

Session times

I deliver 4 x 45min presentations or 3 x 1hr presentations in a school day. The session times can be decided by the school, according to what fits with the regular timetable. I aim to arrive 45 minutes before the first presentation.


My presentations are designed for all primary levels and the students may be grouped as conveniently as possible for the school and the school timetable. It makes sense to have children of similar age in the same sessions (eg. P-1, 2-3, 4-6) however I understand if this cannot be arranged. I tailor each session to suit the children’s age but I have also presented to many mixed age groups as well.

Group sizes

A standard session size is somewhere between 50 and 100 students but this can be negotiated to suit the school. Just let me know if you’d like to fit more in.


Any space that comfortably fits the children is fine. Some of the new school halls are wonderful but the really big ones feel a little more suited to a basketball match than an author visit. Having said that, whatever works for the school will be fine with me.

Requirements – students

Every student should arrive with:

  • lead pencil
  • paper (A4 sheet or sketchpad)
  • something to lean the paper on (eg. book, folder, clipboard)

Requirements – Pete

  • old-fashioned whiteboard (I use this a lot)
  • table/desk to put things on out the front
  • data projector (I bring my presentations on USB or laptop as backup)

Do teachers need to stay?

Yes. Students always get more out of the sessions when teachers stay and, even better, participate in the sessions. This enables teacher-students conversations and activities to follow later on. Also, some of the content is subtly aimed at teachers, too.

Aim of presentation

My aim is to get children excited about books – reading them, writing them, illustrating them and talking about them. I also hope they learn a bunch of concepts and techniques associated with putting a story together.

Peter Carnavas book covers

Presentation Outline

(Most sessions follow a similar structure but are adapted to age groups)

  1. Telling Stories with Pictures - A fun and interactive introduction to the ways in which pictures tell stories, told through live cartooning.
  2. Story Ideas – Quick and simple ways to think of your own story ideas, focusing on characters and problems.
  3. Draw a picture – Step-by-step demonstration of how to draw a picture, then turn it into an illustration. Everyone can do it – it’s just circles, lines and dots!
  4. Let’s read! – A reading of one of Peter’s books.
  5. Making a book – the steps taken to make a book, including ideas, roughs and storyboards.
  6. Questions – What car do you drive and how much money do you make?


  • The Meanjin writers' camp hosted Peter Carnavas recently. Peter was fabulous and positive feedback was received. The students were very happy.

    Griffith University Meanjin Writers' Camp - April, 2017

    Griffith University Meanjin Writers' Camp - April, 2017
    Peter Carnavas
  • Thank you for your contribution to the very successful visit from Peter. The children were so engaged and clearly inspired, as were the teachers. We appreciate the thoughtful preparation, expertise and energy that Peter gives to his sessions.

    A few emailed comments from teachers:

    Thank you so much for organising. What an amazing experience that the children got so much out of.

    From what I saw it was a most valuable learning experience.

    It was a very successful visit from all the feedback we received.

    Peter Carnavas - St. Andrew's Anglican College, March, 2016

    Peter Carnavas - St. Andrew's Anglican College, March, 2016
    Peter Carnavas
  • Pete Carnavas was great! He worked with Year 2 and 3 students and he had them eating out of his hand. His presentation was engaging and the students were buzzing after his visit. Feedback from teachers has been very positive and they have commented about how inspiring his sessions were, motivating children to draw and write.

    Peter Carnavas - Ormeau State School, May 2016

    Peter Carnavas - Ormeau State School, May 2016
    Peter Carnavas
  • Yes, most certainly, Pete’s visit was fantastic! Such a great person and wonderfully received by the kids. He is definitely in our plans for a repeat visit and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to other groups.

    Peter Carnavas - Gympie Regional Libraries, May, 2016

    Peter Carnavas - Gympie Regional Libraries, May, 2016
    Peter Carnavas
  • Peter Carnavas was excellent.

    Peter Carnavas - Brighton State School, June, 2016

    Peter Carnavas - Brighton State School, June, 2016
    Peter Carnavas

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Peter Carnavas