Peter Carnavas

Peter Carnavas


Speaker type

  • Author
  • Illustrator / Designer
  • Cartoonist

Peter Carnavas graphic

Peter Carnavas writes and illustrates books for children and the grown-ups in their lives. 

He has written and illustrated many picture books, including Jessica’s Box, Last Tree in the City and The Children Who Loved Books.  His novel, The Elephant, won the 2018 Queensland Literary Award for Best Children’s Book and was shortlisted in three other national awards, including the CBCA Awards. 

Peter has worked with author Pat Flynn on My Totally Awesome Story, and illustrated Damon Young’s series of picture books that celebrate family diversity, including the ABIA winning My Sister is a Superhero

He has three book being released in 2019, including A Quiet Girl, a picture book that celebrates the small wonderful things that lay hidden in the world. 

Peter lives in the Sunshine Coast hinterland with his wife, two daughters, a dog called Florence and a cat named Harry.  He’s still getting used to the cat.






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?


  • Peter was great and although it was virtual he still managed to engage the children. They continued to work on the Morning Twist story after the workshop. They especially enjoyed his drawing demonstration and many were keen to try the techniques out for themselves!

    Hillcrest Christian Community School - May 2022

    Hillcrest Christian Community School - May 2022
    Peter Carnavas
  • Peter was very organised, approachable and related well to our Primary students and staff. All students thoroughly enjoyed his workshop and were inspired. I saw evidence of this when students came to the library to continue their drawings.

    Coolum Beach Christian College - September 2021

    Coolum Beach Christian College - September 2021
    Peter Carnavas
  • Peter managed to engage students from Prep-Year 6 despite being in a virtual mode. His presentation was active and required students to think and contribute responses. A fabulous experience for everyone!

    Holy Spirit School - October 2020

    Holy Spirit School - October 2020
    Peter Carnavas
  • Peter Carnavas was incredible. He met with classes Prep to Year 6 and all feedback was positive and how engaging the presentation was for the students.

    Noosa Christian College - August 2020

    Noosa Christian College - August 2020
    Peter Carnavas
  • What the students thought about the workshops - I’m going to give Peter a five star rating for helping us write and draw stories.​​​​​ - JM He was really interesting to listen to and his pictures seemed to leap off the page. He helped us understand that a picture can tell a story. - TC The amazing drawings Peter made filled my mind with imagination and has made me a lot more calm with writing stories. - CM I think it’s amazing where Peter gets his inspiration from and it really inspired me to do more writing. - PP The session was enjoyable, and the skill was amazing. The angler fish was so simple but cool. - CE I can’t wait to see another author next year. - JC Peter has made it easier for me to use my imagination and help me grow my stories. I would very much like to do this again. - JM Unbelievable Peter Carnavas actually made my drawing look good. - EW Peter made it easier for me to use my imagination and now I’m drawing all the time. It was an amazing experience. - HK It was really great how he taught us how you draw a picture then make a story about it. - TH

    Sunshine Coast Grammar School - August 2019

    Sunshine Coast Grammar School - August 2019
    Peter Carnavas
Peter Carnavas