Deborah Frenkel

Deborah Frenkel

After 15 years writing ads for brands, Deborah rediscovered the joys of children’s literature when she became a parent, and quickly became hooked on picture books.

Deb with SHF and Naturopolis 1 1

Her picture books include the award-winning and CBCA-shortlisted Naturopolis (2022) and The Sydney Harbour Fairy (2023), as well as forthcoming 2024 titles The Truck Cat (a picture book about cats, moving countries and finding your way home), and 100 School Days (about celebrating your first 100 days of primary school).

Deborah is based on Bunurong land, in Melbourne’s Inner West, but spends most of the time hanging out in her imagination.

She’s a self-confessed word nerd and loves delving into the nuts and bolts of language and how we can use it to entertain, inform, amuse, persuade… or just have fun.

Naturopolis read by Deborah Frenkel

The Making of Naturopolis

The Sydney Harbour Fairy

Topics: (all flexible timing – these require at least 45 minutes but can be adjusted for 1h or more) 


Make your own Naturopolis 

Naturopolis is all about spotting the tiny bits of nature all around us, so let’s make our own version – specific to the nature around and about the school. We’ll read the book, talk about how it came to be, then put our senses into action on a nature walk around the school grounds. What tiny bits of nature can we see, if we look closely? We’ll then return to the classroom and record what we’ve found (with illustrations and/or words). 

(For grades: FYOS+) 

How to Judge a Book by its Cover  

There’s a saying about how you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – but well, what happens if you do? Looking at the cover of a book (and even the spine) of a book can tell us a lot about what’s inside. We’ll take a look at the covers of Naturopolis and The Sydney Harbour Fairy, and talk about what pictures and cover design reveal. Then we’ll read The Truck Cat… WITHOUT looking at the cover (tricky!) and together design our own cover for it. (We might sneak a TINY look at the actual cover at the end.) 

(For grades: FYOS+) 

Harbour Fairies and Blessings in the Skies: how to use mondegreens and mistakes as story starters 

A mondegreen is the name for a phrase you mishear as something else (often something ridiculous!). The Sydney Harbour Fairy is a mondegreen of ‘the Sydney harbour ferry’ and this misheard phrase actually inspired the story. We’ll take a look at how mondegreens work and discuss mistakes as a source of inspiration. Then we’ll make our own stories based on our fave mondegreens. 

(For grades: 1+) 

Making our own ‘100 days of school’ story  

Do you celebrate the 100th day of school at your school? We’ll discuss rituals and milestones, read 100 School Days, then write and illustrate our own experiences in the school year using 100 School Days as a mentor text. 

(For grades: FYOS+) 

Get ad smart 

Ads are all around us, and they’re designed to influence what we want, think and do. (I should know… in my other, non-book-writing job, I make them!) We’ll take a look at the techniques ads use to press our buttons – looking at how visuals, words and design combine to create a motivating message (and what that means). We’ll then make our own print ads for a mystery product. 

(For grades: Tailored to age: upper primary +) 


  • The session was amazing… the feedback from the kids has been super positive. Deb proved to them that IDEAS for writing are right before their eyes! She was absolutely fabulous – we are all eagerly awaiting the next book!

    St. Kilda Park Primary School - 2023

    St. Kilda Park Primary School - 2023
    Deborah Frenkel
  • We all thought the session was brilliant and as you could see the children were thoroughly engaged.

    Bialik College ELC - 2022

    Bialik College ELC - 2022
    Deborah Frenkel


Speaker type

  • Author
  • Virtual visits
available for virtual visits
Deborah Frenkel