Peter Carnavas

Peter Carnavas


Speaker type

  • Author
  • Illustrator / Designer
  • Cartoonist
  • Virtual visits
available for virtual visits

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?


  • Peter is a highly-accomplished presenter who offered perfectly planned workshops for our students from Prep-Year 6. Teachers across the school commented on his ability to engage students during the session, as well as motivating them to continue on with their work afterwards.

    Our Lady of the Rosary Primary School - September 2018

    Our Lady of the Rosary Primary School - September 2018
    Peter Carnavas
  • Peter connected with the children in every session so well, and they were all very keen to hang around and talk to him and read his books.

    Goondiwindi Regional Council - April 2018

    Goondiwindi Regional Council - April 2018
    Peter Carnavas
  • Peter visited our College to speak to Preps, Year 1 and Year 2 classes about story writing ideas, illustrating and books. Many of Peter's picture books are favourites of our students and Peter discussed how he created characters, and then generated story ideas. The children loved the drawing workshop Peter did with them and were spellbound watching him paint student illustrations.
    Peter's presentation was aimed at encouraging the students to write and our students came away very enthused and armed with great tools for writing. Peter holds the attention of the children all the way through his presentation. I would thoroughly recommend a visit from Peter to any school.

    Matthew Flinders Anglican College - May 2018

    Matthew Flinders Anglican College - May 2018
    Peter Carnavas
  • We have organised for Peter to visit our school for the last 3 years, every year our students and teachers take away so much from Peter's sessions. He is an embedded part of our Prep curriculum!

    Meridan State College - May 2018

    Meridan State College - May 2018
    Peter Carnavas
  • Peter was highly professional and engaging towards the students and staff. He knew his audience and was able to impart not only the skills of writing but also his passion for reading and writing. My teachers have continued to use the ideas and activities that Peter shared with their classes successfully. Would definitely use him again and recommend him to others.

    Rainworth State School - August, 2017

    Rainworth State School - August, 2017
    Peter Carnavas
Peter Carnavas