Peter Carnavas

Peter Carnavas

Peter Carnavas graphic

Peter Carnavas writes and illustrates stories for children. He has created over twenty books, many of which have been shortlisted or won awards. His work has been translated into many languages across the world and he has presented at many festivals and schools around Australia.

Peter’s first book, Jessica’s Box, was released in 2008, while he was working as a primary school teacher. Many picture books followed, including Last Tree in the City, The Children Who Loved Books and Blue Whale Blues. During these years, he also worked with other authors, most notably as illustrator for Damon Young’s series of children’s books.

After focusing on picture books for nearly a decade, Peter released his first novel, The Elephant, in 2017. The story, about a young girl and an elephant that nobody else can see, was shortlisted for five national awards and won the Children’s Book Award at the Queensland Literary Awards. The Elephant has since been sold to over ten territories across the world.

My Brother Ben, a novel about brothers, birds and boats, was released in 2021. The book was shortlisted in several national awards, was named a CBCA Notable Book and won a NSW Premier’s Literary Award, as well as a Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year award.

Peter’s latest novel is Leo and Ralph. It tells the story of Leo and his best friend, an imaginary alien called Ralph. When Leo’s family moves to a small country town, they hope he’ll finally make a real friend. But someone like Ralph is hard to leave behind.

Peter lives in the Sunshine Coast hinterland with his wife, two daughters, a dog called Florence and a cat named Harry. He divides his time between writing and working as a teacher-librarian.

 Web feature image Peter Carnvas



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?


  • Pete was fantastic. All students from Prep to Year 6 fully engaged including our Year 6 cohort who headed off to camp 10 minutes after his presentation for them finished and were talking about how good he was on the bus to camp.

    St Patricks Primary School, Gympie - August 2022

    St Patricks Primary School, Gympie - August 2022
    Peter Carnavas
  • 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


Speaker type

  • Author
  • Illustrator / Designer
  • Cartoonist
Peter Carnavas