Book Week shows for students... by teachers!!

Ph. 1300 BOOK WEEK

Tony's past Book Week shows (above)
For the CBCA's rescheduled Book Week:
Term 4 October 17-23, 2020
our Books To Life
2020 CBCA Short-Listed
"Picture Book of the Year" show
Written & Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Published by Hachette Australia


Adapted for the stage, music & performed by

"Tony Bones" Appleby B.Ed

Technical Design by Peter Amesbury & Tony


  • WINNER 2019 Caldecott Medal (awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children)
  • ALSC "Commended" Notable Book Award 2019
  • Junior Library Guild Award Emergent Selection 2018
  • CCBC Choices Award Selection 2019
  • Fanfare Award Selection 2018
  • Book Links Lasting Connections Award Selection 2018
  • IndieBound Bestseller
  • Amazon "Best Book of the Year So Far"
  • BookPage Children's Top Pick
  • Named a best book of 2018 by People, the Boston Globe, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and The Horn Book.

Due to COVID-19 Book Week has been rescheduled by CBCA to Term 4: 17-23 October 2020

Theme: "Curious Creatures, Wild Minds"


COVID-19 Update 9th September 2020 & our new "Virtual Incursion" at 30% off the price: With the continuing battle with COVID-19 state & territory governments have temporarily closed several borders & have introduced temporary restrictions on live performances at some schools. If your school is closed or if live performances at your school are prohibited by the government due to COVID-19 on the day of your confirmed booking then absolutely no cancellation fee will be payable.


It is still our goal that the live tour will proceed with Tony & his team implementing their COVID safe plan at each school, developed following the guidelines of Safe Work Australia's COVID Risk Register & all relevant state & territory government guidelines. We are dedicated to protecting the health & safety of your staff & students as well as our team at all times. This COVID safe plan includes but is not limited to measures such as Books To Life staff:

  + completing a daily temperature test & health questionnaire;                 + using the COVIDSAFE app on their mobile devices;              + washing hands & using hand sanitiser regularly;

  + wearing masks & gloves during set-up & pack-up;                        + socially distancing from teachers & students before, during & after the show;

+ cleaning & sanitising all stage props after each show;          + adapting all activities where students participate in the show to be COVID safe.


If COVID-19 restrictions by the government still prohibit the live performance to tour to your school on the day that it is currently booked and you'd still like to experience the show, then Books To Life have developed a great solution which is 30% cheaper for your students: A Virtual Incursion of “Hello Lighthouse”.


So how would the virtual incursion work? CLICK HERE!!



“The children were enthralled to see a book come to life in a live performance.” St Therese PS, Mascot, NSW

Past CBCA Short Listed Books that "Tony Bones" Appleby B.Ed has adapted & performed include...




34 - The All New Must Have Orange 430 (2019 - based on the picture book by Michael Speechley)

33 - A Walk in the Bush (2018 - based on the picture book by Gwyn Perkins)

32 - The Windy Farm (2014 - based on the picture book by Doug McLeod & Craig Smith)

31 - My Life As An Alphabet (2014 - based on the younger reader’s novel by Barry Jonsberg)

30 - Herman & Rosie (2013 - based on the picture book by Gus Gordon)

29 - Other Brother (2013 - based on the younger reader’s novel by Simon French)

28 - No Bears (2012 - based on the picture book by Meg McKinlay)

27 - Bungawitta (2012 - based on the younger reader’s novel by Emily Rodda)

26 - Two Peas in a Pod (2011 - based on the picture book by Chris McKimmie)

25 - Duck For A Day (2011 - based on the younger reader's novel by Meg McKinlay)

24 - Schumann the Shoeman (2010 - based on the picture book by John & Stella Danalis)

23 - Matty Forever (2010 - based on the younger reader’s novel by Elizabeth Fensham)

22 - Nobody Owns The Moon (2009 - based on the picture book by Tohby Riddle)

21 - Audrey Of The Outback (2009 - based on the younger reader’s novel by Christine Harris)

20 - The Night Garden (2008 - based on the picture book by Elise Hurst)

19 - Amelia Dee & The Peacock Lamp (2008 - based on the younger reader’s novel by Odo Hirsch)

18 - Water Witcher (2007 - based on the picture book by Jan Ormerod)

17 - Being Bee (2007 - based on the younger reader’s novel by Catherine Bateson)

16 - Irving The Magician (2006 - based on the picture book by Tohby Riddle)

15 - To The Light (2006 - based on the younger reader’s novel by Pat Flynn)

14 - At The Beach - Postcards from Crabby Spit (2005 - based on the picture book by Roland Harvey)

13 - Billy Mack’s War (2005 - based on the younger reader’s novel by James Roy)

12 - Milli, Jack & the Dancing Cat (2004 - based on the picture book by Stephen Michael King)

11 - Stella By The Sea (2004 - based on the younger reader’s novel by Ruth Starke)

10 - Bear & Chook (2003 - based on the picture book by Lisa Shanahan & Emma Quay)

9 - Tom Jones Saves The World (2003- based on the younger reader’s novel by Steven Herrick)

8 - Horrible Harriet (2002 - based on the picture book by Leigh Hobbs)

7 - My Story - A Different Sort Of Real - The Diary Of Charlotte McKenzie - Melbourne 1918 (2002 - based on the younger reader’s novel by Kerry Greenwood)

6 - When Dogs Cry (2002 - based on the older reader’s novel by Markus Zusak)

5 - The Singing Hat (2001 - based on the picture book by Tohby Riddle)

4 - Something's Fishy, Hazel Green! (2001 - based on the younger reader’s novel by Odo Hirsch)

3 - Touch Me (2001 - based on the older reader’s novel by James Moloney)

2 - Captain Mack (2000 - by Tony Appleby based on the younger reader’s novel by James Roy)

1 - Tyro (2000 - based on the older reader’s novel by David McRobbie)

All books adapted and performed by Tony

2020 Season Dates


Due to COVID-19 Book Week has been rescheduled by CBCA to Term 4: 17-23 October 2020. Dates available in both Term 3 & 4. NOTE: If schools are closed or visitors to schools prohibited (by the government or a school's alternative governing body) on the booking date due to COVID-19 then cancellations will be granted free of charge, or alternatively you'll have the option to experience our virtual incursion at 30% off your live show price + GST.



Update 23/08/2020: Just 27 spots still available across Term 3 & 4 - Be Quick:


  • August 11th afternoon - schools within 2 hours drive of Wollongong, NSW;

  • August 10th morning or afternoon - schools anywhere between Melbourne, VIC & Wollongong, NSW;

  • August 14th morning or afternoon - schools anywhere between Canberra, ACT & Melbourne, VIC;

  • August 17th morning - schools within 2 hours drive of Ivanhoe, Melbourne, VIC;

  • September 9th morning - schools within 2.5 hours drive of Morwell, VIC;

  • September 10th afternoon - schools within 2 hours drive of Frankston, VIC;

  • September 17th afternoon - schools within 40 minutes drive of Schofields, Sydney, NSW;

  • October 8th morning - schools within 2.5 hours drive of Caulfield, Melbourne, VIC;

  • October 9th morning - schools within 2 hours of Ballarat, VIC;

  • October 14th afternoon - schools between Keith & Adelaide, SA;

  • October 15th afternoon - schools within 2 hours drive of Bedford Park, Adelaide, SA;

  • October 20th afternoon - schools within 2.25 hours of South Morang, Melbourne, VIC;

  • October 28th morning - schools within 2 hours of Brewarrina, NSW;

  • November 5th afternoon - schools within 1 hour of Tweed Heads, NSW;

  • November 6th afternoon - schools within 1.5 hours of Springwood, QLD;

  • November 9th afternoon - schools within 2 hours of Tamworth, NSW;

  • November 13th morning - schools within 2 hours of Charlestown, Newcastle, NSW;

  • November 17th afternoon - schools within 2 hours drive of Sydney, NSW;

  • November 23rd morning or afternoon - schools between Sydney, NSW & Canberra, ACT;

  • November 24th morning - schools within 2 hours drive of Chisholm, ACT;

  • November 25th afternoon - schools within 2 hours drive of Urana, NSW;

  • November 27th morning or afternoon - schools within 4 hours of Melbourne, Victoria.

  • December 1st afternoon - schools within 2 hours drive of Wantirna, Melbourne, VIC;

  • December 2nd afternoon - schools within 2 hours drive of Launceston, TAS;

  • December 4th afternoon - schools within 2 hours drive of Triabunna, TAS;

  • December 7th afternoon - schools within 2 hours drive of Rosebery, TAS;

  • December 8th onwards - anywhere in Victoria.


All tour dates below are subject to change depending on availability. If you'd like the show to perform in your area out of the advertised season dates then just ask & we'll try our best to accommodate you.



  • Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat & the rest of Victoria (VIC) Primary School Book Week Tour 2020

  • October 5th to 12th, 2020;

  • October 16th to 25th, 2020;

  • November 26th to December 23rd, 2020;

  • Where do Books To Life tour in Victoria? Click here!!

  • Make an enquiry - Click here!!!


  • Sydney, Newcastle, Hunter, Central Coast & the rest of New South Wales (NSW) Primary School Book Week Tour 2020

  • October 26th to 31st, 2020 (Regional NSW);

  • November 8th to 14th, 2020 (Newcastle & Hunter Area);

  • November 15th to 23rd, 2020 (Sydney Area);

  • Where do Books To Life tour in New South Wales? Click here!!

  • Make an enquiry - Click here!!!



  • Canberra & the rest of Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Primary School Book Week Tour 2020

  • November 22nd to 25th, 2020;

  • Where do Books To Life tour in Australian Capital Territory? Click here!!

  • Make an enquiry - Click here!!!





Desperate to find a Book Week 2020 performance for your primary school in Melbourne, VIC?


Then click here for season dates for regional & urban Victoria for 2020 & search no more!! Includes specific dates for our 2020 tour in Melbourne (including touring dates for Northern suburbs, Western suburbs & South East Melbourne), plus all towns & cities in VIC including Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Melton, Shepparton, Wodonga, Sunbury, Pakenham, Mildura, Warrnambool, Traralgon, Wangaratta, Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads, Bacchus Marsh, Torquay, Jan Juc, Horsham, Moe, Newborough, Warragul, Morwell, Sale, Lara, Bairnsdale, Echuca, Drysdale, Clifton Springs, Colac, Drouin, Leopold, Portland, Swan Hill, Castlemaine, Gisborne, Benalla, Hamilton, Wallan, Healsville, Wonthaggi, Yarrawonga, Maryborough, Kilmore, Ararat, Portalington, St Leonards, Lakes Entrance, Kyabram, Seymour, Stawell, Cobram, Leongatha, Inverloch, Bannockburn & Cowes. Not on the list? Let us know & we'll find a date for you on the tour too!!


Need a primary school show for Book Week 2020 in Sydney, NSW?


Season dates for regional & urban New South Wales are available for 2020 if you just click here!! Includes specific dates for our 2020 tour in Sydney (including touring dates for The Blue Mountains, Cantebury, The Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, Forest District, Falls District, Western Sydney, Macarthur, Northern Beaches, Parramatta, Blacktown, Penrith, Sutherland Shire, Berowra & Hawkesbury), plus all towns & cities in NSW including Newcastle, Central Coast, Wollongong, Maitland, Tweed Heads, Wagga, Albury, Port Macquarie, Tamworth, Orange, Dubbo, Coffs Harbour, Queanbeyan, Lismore, Bathurst, Coffs Harbour, Richmond, Windsor, Bomaderry, Nowra, Goulburn, Armidale, Broken Hill, Wentworth Falls, Katoomba, Forster, Tuncurry, Bellbird, Cessnock, Grafton, Taree, Ballina, Griffith, Sawtell, Singleton, Raymond Terrace, Weston, Kurri Kurri, Kiama, Lithgow, Bowral, Batemans Bay, Lawson, Hazelbrook, Muswellbrook, Parkes, Ulladulla, Inverell, Moree & Casino. Not on the list? Let us know & we'll find a date for you on the tour too!!


What 2020 Book Week shows tour to primary schools in Canberra, ACT?


Ours does!! Click here for all our season dates for Australian Capital Territory for 2020. Includes specific dates for our 2020 tour of all ACT suburbs in and around Canberra, Palmerston, Belconnen, Canberra Central, Curtin, Narrabundah, Queanbeyan, Kambah, Gordon, Gungahalin, Jerrabomberra, Majura, Molonglo Valley, Tuggeranong, Weston Creek & Woden Valley. Not on the list? Let us know & we'll find a date for you on the tour too!!


Can't find a Book Week 2020 stage show that blows your primary school away in Brisbane, QLD?


Then click here and stop looking!! Season dates for regional & urban Queensland have been released for 2020. Includes specific dates for our 2020 tour of all suburbs in Brisbane plus all other areas of QLD including South East Queensland, Wide Bay, Burnett, Far North Queensland (FNQ), Darling Downs, North Queensland, Central Queensland, Gulf Country, South West Queensland & Central West Queensland. Specific towns & cities in QLD to be toured in 2018 include Ipswich, Logan City, Redland City & Morton Bay Region, Gold Coast, Tweed Heads, Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Cairns, Toowoomba, Mackay, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Gladstone, Maryborough, Mount Isa, Gympie, Bongaree, Woorim, Nambour, Yeppoon, Warwick, Emerald, Dalby, Bargara, Innes Park, Kingaroy, Tannum Sands, Moranbah & Bowen. Not on the list? Let us know & we'll find a date for you on the tour too!!


Scratching your head for a Book Week 2020 performance for your primary school in Adelaide, SA?


Well you've come to the right place. Click here for all our season dates for regional & urban South Australia for 2020. Includes specific dates for our 2020 tour of all suburbs in Adelaide plus all towns & cities in SA including Mount Gambier, Whyalla, Gawler, Port Pirie, Bridgewater, Port Augusta, Murray Bridge, Port Lincoln, Mount Barker, Victor Harbour, Aldinga Beach, Naracoorte, Renmark, Millicent, Goolwa, Berri, Nuriootpa, Tanunda, Kadina, Roxby Downs, Loxton, Strathalbyn, Moonta, Clare, Nairne, Wallaroo, Coober Pedy, McLaren Vale, Ceduna, Bordertown, Kapunda, Mannum, Barmera, Angaston, Willunga, Hahndorf, Waikerie, Kingscote, Lobethal, Peterborough, Woodside, Port Elliot, Balaklava, Sellicks Beach, Kingston, Tailem Bend, Jamestown & Williamstown. Not on the list? Let us know & we'll find a date for you on the tour too!!


What can I do at my primary school in Hobart, TAS for Book Week 2020?


See our show!! Click here for all our season dates for Tasmania for 2020. Includes specific dates for our 2020 tour of all TAS suburbs in and around Hobart, Launceston, Devonport, Burni, Somerset, Blackmans Bay, Kingston, Ulverstone, Gagebrook, Bridgewater, New Norfolk, Wynyard, George Town, Sorell, Midway Point, Smithton, Penguin, Longford, Latrobe, Dodges Ferry, Lauderdale, Queenstown, Legana, Deloraine, Perth, Old Beach, Port Sorrell, Scottsdale, Hadspen, St Helens, Stieglitz, Huonville, Ranelagh, Pontville, Bridport, Turners Beach, Westbury, Beauty Point, Rosebery, Seven Mile Beach, Evandale, Beaconsfield, Sheffield, Margate, Zeehan, Railton, Geeveston, Richmond, Cygnet, Snug & Currie. Not on the list? Let us know & we'll find a date for you on the tour too!!















This brand new 40-minute stage performance for Australian primary schools will be the 35th CBCA shortlisted "Book Week" book adapted & performed by "Tony Bones" Appleby B.Ed. He is a qualified drama & dance teacher with over 20 years of professional teaching & performing experience in children's theatre & theatre in education.

The show will bring the book to life!!!


Curriculum Areas:


  • The Arts (Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music, Visual Arts); 

  • English;

  • Science;

  • Humanities and Social Sciences.

  • Technologies (Design & Technologies + Digital Technologies)


Learning Areas / General Capabilities:


  • Literacy;

  • ICT Capability;

  • Critical & Creative Thinking;

  • Personal and Social Capability;

  • Ethical Understanding;

  • Intercultural Understanding.


Topics & Themes:


  • The Environment & Nature (The change of seasons, weather patterns, natural phenomena);

  • Relationships (Family relationships);

  • Lighthouses

  • History

  • Loss & Loneliness

  • Hope

  • Constancy & Change

  • The passing of time

  • Journal writing

  • Routines

  • Shapes as visual motifs


The show will bring the book to life!!!


It includes:


Drama: a variety of performance styles within the show: Melodrama, Pantomime, Musical Theatre, Physical Theatre, Mime, Puppetry, Game show, Improvisation, etc.


Dance: a variety of dance styles within the show: Jazz, contemporary, Hip Hop, etc.


Music: a variety of music styles in the show: Pop, Hip Hop, RnB, Rap, Rock, Music Theatre, Folk, etc;

Puppetry: a variety of puppetry styles in the show: Shadow puppetry, Hand puppetry, Marionette / String puppetry, Board puppetry.

Mask: Whole face masks, part face masks, noses, animals, commedia dell'arte, etc.
Painted sets - Painted on fabric, plywood, cardboard & paper.

Digital projections: 2 x 16:9 digital projectors cast images of the book, digital images of sets, animations, explosions & lighting displays onto large freestanding 100" rear projection screens on either side of the stage creating an incredible viewing experience for the students. They are also used for shadow puppetry in the show.

Raised staging: 45cm high staging 2m wide x 1m deep ensure everyone, even in very large groups can see all of the action;

DMX coloured stage lighting: the very latest DMX coloured stage lighting is used throughout the show to create intense & dynamic atmosphere throughout the performance.

Professional sound system & headset microphones: powered EV pro speakers & the pro Shure radio headset microphone & bodypack are used to ensure crystal clear sound for even the very largest halls;

Audience participation: Students are used throughout the show to both participate in the audience (responding, singing or dancing along, creating scenes in the audience) & also joining in on stage to operate puppets, dress in costume to become characters, create sets & props during the show, be part of improvised scenes or be contestants in a game show;

Full Q&A session: after the show a full Question & Answer session takes place led by "Tony Bones" Appleby B.Ed, a qualified teacher with over 16 years experience running these sessions. Tony discusses in depth why he made certain decisions when creating the show (e.g. adding scenes or slightly changing them from the book, sets used, etc), and shows students how the props, sets, puppets, costumes, projections & sound were created for the show, as well as discussing the writing of the script & composing of the songs & music;

Lesson plans for teachers:  Follow up activities are provided for all year levels.


Public Liability Cover of $30,000,000 & Professional Indemnity Insurance of $5,000,000. Click here!!


Cost (excl. GST):


Within "Book Week" itself: $7.50/student - Minimum show fee of $937.50 for up to 125 students then $7.50/student thereafter


Outside of Book Week itself: $6.50/student - Minimum show fee of $812.50 for up to 125 students then $6.50/student thereafter


Our Virtual Incursion: 30% off the live show price + GST.


Year Levels: Foundation / Kinder / Prep / Reception - Year 7.


Make an enquiry - Click here!!!

Where will Books To Life tour in 2020???


Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide & Hobart. Sure, we tour the 2020 Book Week show to these capital cities, but we also tour the 2020 Book Week show absolutely anywhere in Australia, as long as we can cover the cost of touring the show there.


Sometimes this involves asking schools who book the show in more regional or even very remote areas to then spread the word to their network of teachers at other schools to increase their own audience numbers or to get another school in the area to also book the show. But rest assured, if you can get enough students there to cover the costs, then I'm happy to to bring the show to you. So let's get specific. Exactly where & when do Books To Life tour in Australia?


"The best children's theatre I've ever seen. I have seen and organised many visiting entertainments and Tony (& his company) was by far the best." Fairfield PS, VIC

gallery/which book will we perform 2020
Hello Lighthouse Publisher Page


A beautiful picture book about hope, change and the passing of time. Winner of the Caldecott Medal 2019.


Hello!...Hello!...Hello! A lighthouse stands on a rocky coast, beaming out a message to passing ships.


On the highest rock of a tiny island at the edge of the world stands a lighthouse. From dusk to dawn, the lighthouse beams, sending its light out to sea, guiding the ships on their way. As the seasons pass and the waves rise and fall, outside, the wind blows; inside, the lighthouse keeper writes, and the rhythms of his life unfold. But change is on the horizon...


A lavish new picture book from Australian author & illustrator Sophie Blackall, the 2-time Caldecott medal winner, that will transport readers to the seaside in timeless, nautical splendor!


A timeless story from the illustrator of New York Times bestseller Finding Winnie.


From the author: "I knew early on that I would alternate spreads between exterior and interior scenes. That the exterior scenes would have the lighthouse as a constant. Steadfast, grounded, built to last forever. It appears in exactly the same spot on the page each time. Around it, storms rage, the fog rolls in and out, icebergs drift by and years pass.


Inside the lighthouse the life of a family unfolds. Daily chores and monotonous routine punctuated with peril and drama, romance and childbirth. The scenes are contained in circles, like the round rooms of a lighthouse. They start out quite small, but as the keeper’s family grows, the circles expand to fill the page."


Sophie Blackall, author-illustrator reading "Hello Lighthouse"

Sophie Youtube Q&A part 1, part 2, part 3 & part 4


Buy the book:


Direct from the publisher: Hachette Australia


or BooktopiaBook DepositoryDymocks, Great Escape Books, QBD BooksBoomerang BooksAngus & RobertsonBookoAmazonReadingsThe Book CuratorHarry Hartog, Fishpond, Kinokuniya AustraliaWheelers BooksBooks DirectBookoccino, Google Books e-book, The National Library of Australia, Apple Books, The Best Little Bookshop in Town, The Nile, Kobo


Hi-res image of the cover - click here


See some sample pages from the book - click here



Sophie Blackall is the Australian bestselling and two-time Caldecott medal-winning artist behind 2016's Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear & now Hello Lighthouse.


Blackall was raised in Australia, where she completed a bachelor of design degree in Sydney before moving to Brooklyn, New York City in 2000.


Her editorial illustrations have appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, Architectural Digest, Town & Country, Vogue, and Gourmet.


She has illustrated over 45 books for children including New York Times-bestselling Ivy & Bean series.


The MTA Arts for Transit program commissioned Blackall to create artwork to appear in subway cars all over New York City in 2012.


As a little girl growing up in Australia, Sophie learned to draw with sticks on the beach and loved the A.A. Milne stories of Winnie-the-Pooh. The original tale of Pooh and his friends was the first book she bought with her own money. She read it many times and played with her friends in the pretend Hundred Acre Wood they created in the garden. Sophie feels all this inspiration led to her winning the Caldecott Medal in 2016 for her illustrations in “Finding Winnie,” written by Lindsay Mattick.


Sophie is an ambassador for the Measles and Rubella Initiative, a partnership of UNICEF, the American Red Cross, WHO, CDC and the UN Foundation, which has brought her to the Democratic Republic of Congo and India. She has produced a series of illustrations for this program to advocate for eliminating measles through immunization. In 2014, Blackall was one of 40 artists to contribute to The Art of Saving a Life, a Gates Foundation project, celebrating 40 years of global immunization achievements.


Check out her website at



"The long rectangular design of this book encapsulates a tall lighthouse. The circular narrative in many ways, shows the progressive history of the lighthouse, run by a lighthouse keeper and his family. The circular references embody 'the circle of life' astonishingly well, including the round rooms on the inside of the lighthouse and the changing seasons outside. The illustrations in Chinese ink and watercolour are brilliantly done with layers of meaning, often shown in circularly framed pictures. The balance of space and text represents high level design, including an impressive fold-out illustration at the end of the book. Readers are drawn into the pages and the wholeness of what can be found with beautifully written prose that almost floats upon the page. ‘A note from the Author’ at the back of the book gives readers a greater insight into her passion, including information about lighthouses. An outstanding book." CBCA


"I will be surprised if a more exquisite picture book is published this year" - New York Times


"A jewel of a creation" - Publishers Weekly


"Masterful ink and watercolor illustrations illuminate the story of a lighthouse and the family inside. Stunning images of the lighthouse in all kinds of weather alternate with views of intimate interior detail and circular motifs. Blackall’s skill with composition, line and close attention to detail have created an exquisite book." Association for Library Service to Children


"One of the most dazzling picture books you’ll see this year." Book Page


“Children will delight in immersing themselves in the captivating discoveries each new look at Hello Lighthouse will bring,” Caldecott Medal Committee Chair Mary Fellows.


"The Caldecott Medal is the longest standing and most prestigious award for picture book illustrations. Established in 1938, it is named in honor of British illustrator Randolph Caldecott. Hello Lighthouse, illustrated and written by Sophie Blackall, was named the 2019 winner... The illustrations tell half of the story. From cutaways that show the interior of the lighthouse to clever and unusual perspectives, Blackall’s detailed artwork is worthy of this year’s award." Banner, Jenny deGroot, a teacher/librarian in Langley, British Columbia.


"A beloved picture book from two-time Caldecott Medal award-winner Sophie Blackall that transports readers to the seaside in timeless, nautical splendor! Watch the days and seasons pass as the wind blows, the fog rolls in, and icebergs drift by. Outside, there is water all around. Inside, the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his family unfolds as the keeper boils water for tea, lights the lamp's wick, and writes every detail in his logbook.
Step back in time and through the door of this iconic lighthouse into a cozy dollhouse-like interior with the extraordinary award-winning artist Sophie Blackall." Amazon

"I will be surprised if a more exquisite picture book will be published this year...Children will be fascinated..."--New York Times Book Review

"Blackall's soft yet precise line and watercolor illustrations provide inviting details."--BCCB

"A fascinating, splendidly executed peek into both the mundane and the dramatic aspects of lighthouse life."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Blackall's accomplished illustrations are a mix of homey detail and spectacular scenery."--Horn Book

"A stylistic tour de force that will intrigue and delight readers."--School Library Journal, starred review

"Blackall's charmingly old-fashioned art style is beautifully matched to this nostalgia-rich story, which imbues an antiquated place with warmth and wonder."--Booklist, starred review

"Gorgeously illustrated...[a] delightful telling."--New York Times Book Review


"Explores the life of one lighthouse as it beams its message out to sea through shifting seasons, changeable weather, and the tenure of its final keeper."--World Cat


"Sophie Blackall won the Caldecott Medal in the US for Hello Lighthouse and it’s easy to see why. Her artwork and draughtsmanship is stunning, full of detail and colour. Pages such as the one featuring a cutaway of the lighthouse with its seven tiers – light, study, bedroom, dining room, store room and entrance, as well as water stores set deep in the rock – are full of amazing detail to spot. It’s also a book detailing the passing of time, from the circular spread showing the keeper’s pregnant wife pacing a circle to the passing of the seasons in the weather outside. A lovely, eye-catching book that children will pore over, caught up in its magic."


"Sophie Blackall’s splendid aerial perspectives and gorgeously rendered weather patterns show the drama and isolation of this life, but luckily the lighthouse keeper in this story is joined by his wife and the loneliness is alleviated. The dramas and seasons are atmospherically portrayed with a delicate sensitivity and just the right amount of prose to appeal to an audience of 3+"--Alexa Dretzke, assistant manager & children’s book buyer at Readings Hawthorn


"Hello Lighthouse is a fascinating, well-researched look into a bygone era. The text has a charming rhythm, making this book a good read-aloud, while containing enough facts to hold the interest of a non-fiction lover... Lighthouse-loving and landlocked readers alike can find something to enjoy within this story." Central Rappahannock Regional Library


"The weather and seasons—and ever-present logbook—are characters in their own right, just as they were for the conscientious and brave lighthouse keepers. Happy surprises—the arrival of the keeper’s wife and baby—will delight children as they add to the depth of the story... Blackall’s stunning illustrations will swell readers’ hearts with the same intensity as the rolling seas... Thrilling portrayals... will rivet children to the story... a gorgeous, enlightening, and cozy read-aloud for home and classroom libraries that will enthral young readers again and again. " Celebrate Picture Books


"This unique, intimate view of what lighthouses and lighthouse keepers do envelops readers in a distinctive world beautifully illustrated by author-illustrator Sophie Blackall. The vertical orientation of the book itself echoes the lighthouse shape, and cutaway interior views give readers a vivid understanding of the small spaces and spiral staircases that confine the lighthouse keeper's days. It's a captivating look at a rare and now obsolete hands-on profession."--Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media


"The consistency with which Blackall showcases the details of this book is truly astounding. I find myself trying to read the keeper's letters to this wife, which are legible, and am amazed when I find the name of the lighthouse within the pages of the ledger. Every time I look through this book I am struck by new details I am noticing for the first time.... "Hello Lighthouse" radiates as much warmth as light and will surely be pored over for its lustrous details and touching story." Casey, Iowa City Public Library


"It is an easy way to teach children about the isolated life or a Light House Keeper and the many struggles they faced in this demanding role.  It is also a chance to look at modernisation and what that means for individuals as technology makes jobs obsolete and whether that is a positive or a negative change." Learn From Play



Sophie Blackall's website


VIDEO: Sophie Blackall, author-illustrator reading "Hello Lighthouse"


VIDEO: Sophie Youtube Q&A part 1part 2part 3 & part 4


VIDEO: A Vimeo peak under the dust jacket


Interview with Sophie about the book with Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast


Let's Talk Picture Books interview with Sophie


Patricia Oldroyd's interview with Sophie about the book for Marmalade Books


VIDEO: "Book Chat with the Illustrator" interview with Sophie


VIDEO: "The Reading Teacher" reading of the book


VIDEO: School tube reading of the book


LESSON PLANS: Little Brown Book Educator Guide prepared by Jennifer McMahon


VIDEO: YouTube Video interview with Sophie where she paints a lighthouse


LESSON PLANS: Library Lessons With Books lesson plans


An in-depth exploration of the book by Reederama


Picture Book Builder's interview with Sophie


LESSON PLANS: Teaching Ideas by School Library Journal


LESSON PLANS: Teaching Resources from Learn From Play


LESSON PLANS: Super summary


LESSON PLANS: Book It Teacher Pack


LESSON PLANS: 12 Teacher Pay Teachers Educational Packs


LESSON PLANS: 5 in a Row Mini Unit of work


LESSON PLANS: Knowledge Quest Whole Book Approach unit of work


LESSON PLANS: The Storybook Lady Classroom Activities


LESSON PLANS: Jane Elson's Notes for Teachers & Librarians


LESSON PLANS: Trio Professional Learning lesson plan


LESSON PLANS: Teaching Books lesson plans

Information on some of the lighthouses that inspired this book & more by Children Of Books


VIDEO: A Youtube clip of a tender delivering a replacement lighthouse keeper


VIDEO: A Youtube clip of a female lighthouse keeper at work


VIDEO: A Youtube clip of the Eddystone Lighthouse that in part inspired this book


LESSON PLANS: Build your own craft lighthouse


LESSONS PLANS: Island Readers & Writers Worksheets


LESSONS PLANS: Island Readers & Writers Lesson Ideas for each year level


LESSONS PLANS: Example of a Hello Lighthouse scavenger hunt


LESSON PLANS: Book Page lesson plan


LESSON PLANS: Masader lesson plan


VIDEO: Read aloud of the book by Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park staff with Q&A about their light


VIDEO: The tour through the Pigeon Point Light Station


Publisher's Weekly interview with Sophie


VIDEO: The Great Green Room Review


The Horn Book inc. interview with Sophie about winning the 2019 Caldecott medal


Seven Impossible Things interview with Sophie


Pen & Oink 2013 interview with Sophie & the other picture book creators she shares a work studio with


Photos & information on lighthouse architecture, libraries, bulbs & more


Suggestions of other lighthouse books for young readers


Buy a Hello Lighthouse bookmark


Buy a lighthouse logbook


Wikipedia page on the book


Sophie Blackall's tour of schools in Coastal Maine, exploring Hello Lighthouse - School Visit 1, visit 2 & visit 3


Sophie Blackall's Facebook


Sophie Blackall's Instagram


Sophie Blackall's blog


VIDEO: Sophie's "We can all be beacons" acceptance speech for the 2019 Caldecott Medal (starts 7:30)


VIDEO: Colby Sharp's class' reaction to Sophie's 1st Caldecott Medal-winning book, Finding Winnie


VIDEO: Sophie's response to Colby's video & to winning the 2016 Caldecott Medal


Lighthouses of Australia Inc.


Interactive map of all lighthouses in Australia


USA National Lighthouse Day 2020 - August 7th


Colouring Book of lighthouses


Colouring sheets for lighthouses


Below: the lithograph purchased at the Brooklyn Flea Market that started it all)

gallery/sophie blackall headshot
gallery/hello lighthouse hi res cover
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"This handsome, delicately illustrated and gently told tale pays homage to early lighthouses and their keepers."--Reading Rockets


"Sophie Blackall's Hello Lighthouse captures the hearts and affections of my students because it has the “best qualities” — and these best qualities make it worthy of the 2019 Caldecott Medal... Every detail in Hello Lighthouse holds individual intrinsic interest and significance, yet also contributes to the book’s overarching design and story, as do the details of the book’s construction — the lighthouse on the spine, the informative endpapers, the additional illustrations under the jacket, and the unexpected single gatefold in the final pages. Yes, these details lift the book from a level of excellence to one of eminence, but more importantly they gift children with a sense of good design and an appreciation for beauty. This is how the picture book works... Using pictures to tell the story of a steadfast lighthouse and its faithful keeper, Hello Lighthouse is a gift for children. Amid this world’s stormy seas, it is a beacon of light shining bright with truth, goodness, and beauty."--Emmie Stuart, The Horn Book


"A lovely blend of fact and fiction, Caldecott winner Sophie Blackall makes life in a lighthouse seem indescribably cozy, while presenting each scene creatively... Hello, my new favorite picture book of 2018!" A Kids Book A Day


"Hello Lighthouse is exquisite. The story is a realistic portrayal of the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his lighthouse and the dedicated service demanded by the role... The full-page illustrations... draw attention to effort, quality, elegance of design and layout that together as a team, make this an experience... This beautifully told story speaks of loneliness, solitude and isolation. It tells of the lighthouse keeper’s responsibility and the dangers involved. When sailors need saving he risks his life to reach them. The changing seasons bring challenges...There is birth and sickness. In times of need, his role is taken up by his wife. The form of their lives rotates and repeats until their tenure ends. While everything around it changes, the lighthouse stays the same. A two-page Note from the Author at the end of the story gives a deep and valuable insight into the devoted keeper’s role. It is another story on its own that informs about the hundreds of women appointed as lighthouses keepers, how daily rituals are combined with constant maintenance, and how water and food was supplied to the lighthouse by the tender, along with other interesting facts.

This is a book collector’s dream. Stunning in every way, text and illustration are inseparable in their glow." Kids' Book Review


"The award-winning author/illustrator Sophie Blackall... researched, visited lighthouse museums, and climbed the towers of lighthouses all over the northeast coast... (She) produces beautiful artwork in Chinese ink and watercolor of people both at rest and in motion, whimsically depicted to reflect their circular living situation." Rhapsody in Books Weblog


"I have long been a fan of Sophie Blackall’s work. She is a masterful storyteller, and an even more brilliant illustrator. Her patterns, pencil work, soft textures, and engaging layouts continue to astound me with every new book. I never knew I cared so much about lighthouses, until I met this book. The images are achingly beautiful. I love the repeated circles in the ripples of the water, the structure of the lighthouse, the vignettes of illustrations atop illustrations...  I was enveloped by the story from inside the dust jacket, to the very back end paper. It is a treasure."Three Books A Night


"Hello Lighthouse truly is an incredible book. My girls and I are absolutely captivated by the fantastic illustrations and insight the book gives into the life of a lighthouse keeper. Sophie Blackall has created a wonderful read that informs readers of how lighthouses used to be run manually. It also touches on the change of seasons and the dramatic changes of weather the lighthouse witnesses... Lighthouse keepers really did devote their lives to their jobs and this is represented well in the story. The book shares many changes which affect the role of the lighthouse keeper, personally and professionally. The ending of the book is so emotive and highlights the biggest change of all. If you are yet to read this book I would highly recommend it." Mamma Filz


"One of the most beautiful picture books published this year... a stunning meditation on hope, change and the passing of time." The Van Couver Writer Fest


"Whatever the season, whatever the weather, the lighthouse keeper must keep the light going to warn ships of the dangers nearby. and this stunning book by Australian illustrator Sophie Blackall takes the reader back to a time in history when men lived on these far-flung beacons, isolated from civilisation and charged with keeping the ships and their sailors safe, regardless of whatever might befall them.  Set on a lighthouse on the tip of Newfoundland, the story unfolds of the loneliness and the joy of a typical lighthouse keeper who has a duty above all else... Something very different that deserves a place in any collection."  The Bottom Shelf


"I found myself reading and re-reading these pictures, discovering ever more domestic details, and wondering at the power and majesty of the ocean and the amazing talent of this illustrator. With its look at a bygone era, this book would be a wonderful addition to any topic about the sea" Red Reading Hub


"Part history, part an evocative family tale... Blackall’s prose is simple, lyrical, and inviting. Her illustrations are softly detailed—there’s lots to explore and discuss on every page." Child Care Quarterly


"The story is straightforward…but the book's real meaning is in the careful patterning of Blackall's text and illustrations, which evoke universal themes: steadfastness and change, distance and attachment, nature in all its animate and inanimate tumult. Children will be fascinated by the practical details of lighthouse tending and delighted by Blackall's evident affection for her subject." New York Times


"Sophie Blackall’s depictions of the ocean are dramatic, moving and captivating.  It’s far and away one of the loveliest books published this year, both in art and sentiment." Avery & Augustine


"Lighthouses have a powerful hold on the imagination, with their lonely but important mission, and Caldecott-winning illustrator Blackall illuminates (sorry) the lighthouse keeper experience in this compact fictional chronicle." Project Muse


"(Sophie) has created an exceptional picture book. ‘Hello Lighthouse‘ is gloriously beautiful, with words of weight ,and images that are so sumptuous and suggestive to be breathtaking. It is a worthy Caldecott Medal winner... ‘Hello Lighthouse‘ is a ‘forever’ book, one to cherish, know and read again and again and again." Book Wagon


"Hello Lighthouse is a book to be explored and studied. There are opportunities to compare and contrast, notice and wonder, and consider how new technologies replace jobs." Library Lessons With Books


"Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall is one stunning book. It is absolutely beautiful. Blackall's exquisite art is matched by her spare, lyrical narrative. It is a book that makes the reader sit back to take in the whole scene then beckons her or him to lean in and examine each gorgeous detail... It is a book that is at once both universal and unique. We learn about this uncommon life of a lighthouse keeper, while also recognizing universal traits and themes of hard work, diligence, loneliness, comfort, the natural world, and the circle of life." Reederama


"Famed author/artist, Sophie Blackall has created a warm and beautiful book about lighthouses and those manning warning lanterns. The name of this inspiring book is “Hello, Lighthouse.”... the colors in the book and the relationship of the lighthouse keeper and his wife, for their marriage, and their work is heartfelt. This book would be a delight to share with the younger members of your family. I hope you get a chance to read this beautiful book." Southern Nebraska Register


"This is a mesmerising lyrical view of a lighthouse, and lighthouse life, which shines a beam of light into the children’s picture book section." Minerva Reads


"Quiet yet stunning. The story is a heartwarming look into a family and bygone lighthouse life, spanning across years and filled with moments both joyful and exhilarating, then simple and real. You fall in love with the keeper, his wife, and their daughter – and by the end, the lighthouse itself. It becomes a fourth character, so endearing that when the family must leave and the lighthouse stands empty, it’s “Hello?” seems heartbreakingly lonely. It honestly brought a tear to my eye, and I was happy for the uplifting ending." The Baby Bookworm


"Absolutely stunning!... I’m not going to give too much away because I want you to be able to experience the power of the text and illustrations for yourself." Suzanne Slade, Picture Book Builders


"This is truly a book to be devoured again and again, and then perhaps followed with a family visit to some real lighthouses." Marathon County Public Libraries



"I am a HUGE Sophie Blackall fan. My students are HUGE Sophie Blackall fans. Sharing Sophie’s book Hello Lighthouse with my students last week was AMAZING. Be sure to pre-order Hello Lighthouse. It is crazy good." Colby Sharp, Sharp Read


"Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall is everything that is wonderful and perfect about picture books... Her colorful, vibrant illustrations draw you in and her out of the ordinary story keep you reading and thinking about her book long after you have turned the last page. Hello Lighthouse reminds me of the books from my childhood that left the most lasting impressions on me" Books For Your Kids


"I love this book because it gives the feel of the courage and loneliness of the lighthouse and its keeper as well as a glimpse of a job that had such historical significance but is now obsolete.  The art is gorgeous and takes you right to the beach and the ocean and the wide open sky, the wind and fog, the sunshine and storms... The text has a lovely cadence to it that is a delight to read aloud.  All around a wonderful book!" Susanna Leonard Hill, Children's Author


"Rating: 5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome! Review: Sure to fascinate children and the adults who read to them! " PPLD Kids


"Bedtime story of the week. Hello Lighthouse might be a picture book for young children but it is an inspiring depiction of the life of a lighthouse keeper and suitable for all ages including parents and grandparents." London Moms


"Caldecott award winning Blackall has created yet another masterpiece, and you won’t want to miss it!" Barnes & Noble


"(A) beautifully illustrated children’s picture book... all unfolding with beautiful language and vivid details – perfect for visualizing." Reading Power Gear


"Exceptionally beautiful artwork... I’ve had this book in my curated huddle of favourites for some time now; it’s a treasure of a tale with a good deal of historical interest... Hello Lighthouse is a pleasure to pour over together." Vaughan Public Libraries


"The masterful art and writing of Caldecott Medal winner Sophie Blackall makes Hello Lighthouse a delight all the way through... this picture book is one I would have loved dearly as a child and do as an adult. One of my favorite books of the year." Book Shop Santa Cruz


"Blackall... is one of the industry’s most talented, and her 2018 Caldecott contender could well be her pictorial masterpiece... Hello Lighthouse is a splendidly written and polished work, exhibiting art of astounding preciseness and beauty.  As always Blackall, who is well-known as one of the sweetest professionals out there has again delivered with exceeding grasp of her subject, the emotional intricacies intertwined with her compositions and a mastery of research and the lived-in experience... this exemplary craftsmanship and stirring story set in the most alluring of places (is) way too difficult to ignore. Hello Lighthouse is a masterpiece." Sam Juliano, Wonders in the Dark


"Sophie Blackall’s wonderfully astute picture book shines a light on all of these facets, but perhaps concentrates most on the history, drawing a picture of a particular fictional keeper of a specific made-up lighthouse. Choosing a mix of Chinese ink and watercolour, Blackall imbues this picture book with a sense of timelessness as well as a clear sense of history, the mood fluctuating with the passing of time. This is, in essence about change." Minerva Reads


"One of my very favorite books of the year – another beautiful story, in word and illustration – you’ll ooh and ahh over this one from its size, to every detail that surrounds each illustration." Three Books A Night


"Storms, shipwrecks, snow and births are all part of life in the lighthouse for the keeper and his wife, and this is a real story of hope and hardship that goes some way to helping adults and children alike imagine what life may have been like. This is perfectly placed for children of 4-7 years to be read to, but also to be enjoyed by older readers that can access the text independently and draw comparisons to stories such as The Lighthouse Keeper’s Cat. Pick up a copy and let it light your way." Ben King, Year 5 Teacher, Just Imagine


"I don’t care how old you are—five or 95—you need to read this sweet, nostalgic, and hopeful picture book by the inimitable Sophie Blackall... But while the family may not always be needed to keep the light going, their own lights do not dim. And it is stories like this one that keep ours going strong. Blackall’s illustrations are emotionally layered—warm and bright, dark and frightening, muted and sad, as the scene requires—but always comforting. Hello Lighthouse is a celebration of life’s constants and changes, of the past and the future, and the journey that brings us from one to the other." The Writers Bone


"Charmingly answers the question: what would it be like to live and work in a lighthouse?...children will delight in this picture book about a lighthouse, its keeper and his family.  Beautiful illustrations spark the imagination and allow the reader to experience a by-gone era." Warren Newport Public Library


"Brimming with seaside joy, foggy warnings, and even a shipwreck, this picture book is one I would have loved dearly as a child and do as an adult. One of my favorite books of the year." Bookshop Santa Cruz


"Sophie Blackall is one of my favorite illustrators - her style is so charming, it makes my heart full every time I see her delicately rendered characters and the love they have for each other. The story of the lighthouse caretaker is so sweet and soulful, with a rhythmic recounting that plays up the wonder and magic of the ordinary. Her patterns and textures are incredible, her color palettes are always perfect, and her waves remind me of why I love the water!"--Tomoko Bason, Book People Bookstore, Austin, TX


"The best books are those that make you want to jump into them and live in their pages (happily ever after, of course) and bookshelf favorite Sophie Blackall does that beautifully here. I would never have thought I would feel wistful for the life of a lighthouse keeper, but Ms. Blackall’s love for her subject matter spills from every page and you can’t help but be caught up in it... It’s delicate, detailed and full of gorgeous imagery." The Possum's Bookshelf


"As Herman Melville in Moby Dick wrote, " It is not down in any map; true places never are.", I'm glad that Sophie Blackall documented the story of the valuable strong lighthouse which has a "true place" in children's literature." A Book & a Hug


"No book she has created so far holds a candle to her newest book Hello Lighthouse. It makes me to visit every lighthouse along the coast and shout about the book. With impeccable design and a kind story, this book is quite stunning" Let's Talk Picturebooks


"Hello Lighthouse is a very wise acquisition for school and public libraries... a real treasure." Julia's Journey


"A lovely picture book, recommended for all libraries."--Brooklyn Public Library

Testimonials for our 2019 stage adaptation of "The All New Must Have Orange 430":


"It was fantastic!!! I was just walking around, singing your songs and living life:)... I’m so stoked with what you were able to do... Thanks so much, Tony, what a show!!! Many, many thanks, Mike :)" Michael Speechley, author-illustrator of The All New Must Have Orange 430.


"Thank you SO much for today's wonderful and entertaining performance of the book "The All New Must Have Orange 430". I have only had positive comments and enthusiastic praise for the whole event from staff and students! Well done to you Tony.... WOW - What an amazing and entertaining show! "The All New Must Have Orange 430" performed by Tony was a fantastic way to kick off our Children's Book Week celebrations for 2019. Staff and students all thoroughly enjoyed the performance, which included music, humour, puppetry, games, important messages and themes - indeed something for everyone!" Inger Robinson, Librarian, Ashburton PS, VIC


"Feedback from staff has been overwhelmingly positive, none of us can remember any performance or activity that was so engaging for the whole school, it is rare to find something that caters for F-6 in any meaningful way. The students are still talking about you a week later." Jennifer Clarke, Ruskin Park PS, Croydon, VIC


"My staff LOVED the performance you did for us the other week.  Staff found you engaging, entertaining and well prepared.  Staff commented on how well you interacted with the children on and off the stage.  The children loved the performance. We are all so happy that at our Department meeting this week they wanted me to book you in again for next year! What dates will you be touring in our area next year? On a personal note, I have found you easy to work with and communicate with.  Nothing is too much trouble.  Thank you." Karen Coleman, St Philip's CC, Port Stephens, NSW

"Tony and his staff put together a great performance, tailored well for the variety of ages. It was interactive and engaging. Great use of different techniques to keep students totally focused and we really loved observing the excitement around the room during the audience participation. The characters, scenes and reflection at the end which focused on the ideas presented ensured it was a great learning journey for the students." Year 5 Team - Ashburton PS, VIC.


"Thanks once again... Our students loved the show and were taking away ideas for our own performance in a few weeks time!" Michael Aquilina, Performing Arts Teacher, Gilles Street PS, Adelaide, SA


"YES!!!!!!!!!  Spoke to staff re idea of rebooking and got an absolute YES!  Staff told me that your show was the best thing we had seen all year!" Shiralee Morris, Teacher-Librarian, President: MASLA (Maitland Area School Library Association), Nulkaba PS, NSW


"Hi Tony, My name is Wendy Noble and along with the students at Gilles Street Primary school I sat and watched your amazing performance." Wendy Noble, ACEO, Paradise, SA


"It was fabulous. I really enjoyed it and the message that it sent to the children. The fact that the children were so thoroughly engaged, speaks volumes.  I for one will be buying that book for my grandies - great message." Linelle Hughes, Stella Maris Catholic PS, Burnie, TAS


"To keep a class of 26 four & five-year-olds engaged for a whole hour is a remarkable feat! The use of multi-media was captivating. Seriously impressed!" Shontelle Cocks, Stella Maris Catholic PS, Burnie, TAS


"Thank you so much for bringing your energetic show to our school. Staff and students were entranced. We're still singing your songs! Looking forward to next year!" Tanya Boon, Library Technician, Stella Maris Catholic PS, Burnie, TAS


"The feedback from staff and students was very positive. The students were engaged with the use of puppetry, song and the activities you had them do. The performance was cleverly done and the students learnt a lot about how a show can be brought to the stage with only 1 person acting. We would like to rebook you next year." Kerri-Anne Hubble, Principal, Dungowan PS, NSW


"Thanks again for a wonderful show yesterday. Both staff and students thoroughly enjoyed it." Eamon Johnson, Assistant Principal, Ross Creek Campus Head, Woady Yaloak PS, VIC


"Thanks Tony... We would love to have you back next year." Amy Cameron, Level 2 PLC Leader, Kingswood PS, Dingley Village, VIC.


"Thanks again for your performance. We had in another group the day after yours and in my opinion, yours shone above. I really like how you think about the space and transform it as well as adding in the games, really makes the kids excited and brings out their enjoyment of the Arts." Nicholas Kong, Specialist Leader, Performing Arts, 5/6 Teacher, Roberts McCubbin Primary School, Box Hill, VIC.


"Hi Tony, Once again thank you for yesterday’s performance. It was very entertaining and captured the messages in the book really well. I had many students and staff tell me how much they enjoyed the afternoon. We hope to see you again next year. I have also sent this feedback to our teacher/librarian network as I think not everyone knows that you’re back!" Irene Ovchinnikov, Caroline Chisholm School, ACT. 


"Thank you, Tony. I heard great things about the performance. The Students at Gib Gate loved it... We look forward to seeing you again in the future." Lee Ann Marsh, Gib Gate School, Mittagong, NSW


"Wow!! Thanks again for your animated show today Tony - "The All New Must Have Orange 430" came to life. The staff were very positive about the presentation and the message for our students." Meg Smith, Teacher Librarian, St Paul's PS, Gateshead

“I thought the performance was excellent. It appeared to engage most children... I felt as though the presenter did a wonderful job to interact with the audience as I observed him choose a range of different audience members ranging in ages. It was also great to see (the) range of tech, props and his movement around the gym too (he did not stay on stage!)... a great performance." Year 7 staff “I thought the performance was entertaining and very interactive. Older students were picked evenly for some things, two even made it on stage." Year 6 staff. "Thanks again for visiting our school!" Sarah Fewster, Newbery Park PS, Millicent, SA.


"Hi Tony, Thanks so much for bringing The Must Have All New Orange 430 to life at Ringwood Heights Primary School. The students in my class really enjoyed your performance. Highlights included the puppetry, the voices and songs, and the audience interaction. As a teacher, I really appreciated the deliberate efforts you made to keep the students active and engaged. I noticed the way you used movement and directional changes to prevent them from getting restless. The box dance and games were really valuable in involving them in the performance. Perhaps most appreciated was the question and answer time at the end. Thank you for taking the opportunity to make the lessons of the book really explicit, and challenging the students to think more deeply about the issues raised. I appreciate the time you gave to the thoughtful preparation of this performance. As a teacher and father, time is precious. I think the time you’ve given to The Orange 430 is truly worthwhile. I’m looking forward to your next visit!” Jude Ridley, Ringwood Heights PS, VIC

"I absolutely loved it! Every student in my class put their thumbs up too! They loved that he got them all involved in the games, they thought it was hilarious and very entertaining” Emily, Woady Yaloak PS, VIC

"Hello Tony...I wanted to pass on a special thank you from all the staff at CGS Malvern for an absolutely spectacular performance of the All New Must Have Orange 430. Your show enthralled us all, from 3-year-olds right up to the "oldies" in the group- the teachers, and even our own Head of Campus!! The staff were so impressed with the way you included all the students, brought the story alive with you engaging performance and encouraged active participation by the children whilst maintaining their concentration and attention at the same time. Question time at the end of the show gave purpose and enlightened everyone even more about a remarkable book. Thank you so much Tony and Congratulations on another Book Week spectacular.” Diane Lester, Teacher Librarian, Caulfield Grammar School Malvern, VIC

"Hi Tony, We loved your new show “The All New Orange 430”! It was very topical and had a wonderful mixture of song and text to keep the students entertained and engaged. Congratulations on a wonderful show. We were lucky to have you at IGS again!” Alexandra Lett, Ivanhoe Grammar School, VIC

“I thought it was really great and a wonderful addition to our Book Week activities. All of the children seemed engaged and his teacher background was very evident in the way Tony organised the performance with audience participation, competition and movement. I would like this to be booked again for next year if possible. My kids gave it a unanimous thumbs-up.” Leanne, Woady Yaloak PS, VIC

"The Foundation students loved the show you performed. It was engaging and interesting and highlighted the meaning behind of the story. The show was fast-paced and had just the right amount of student engagement” Alaine Beare, The Foundation Coordinator, Ruskin Park PS, Croydon, VIC.

"Thanks so much for bringing your show to our school last week.  The children thoroughly enjoyed the show. Surprisingly, even the senior kids were hooked in.  I have had a really good response from some of the teachers as well… I would really like to book you in for next year's Book Week if possible… Once again a super big thanks to you.” Catherine Rodgers, St Thomas More PS, Mt Eliza, VIC

"I think the performance was excellent!  The kids were very engaged, interested and very well behaved after what was a busy day.” Stephen, Woady Yaloak PS, VIC

"Thanks, Tony. Great Show.” Faun Palos, Calvary Christian College, Springwood Campus, QLD.

"Hi Tony, Just letting you know how wonderful we thought your play was.  My year 3’s loved it.  The songs were so catchy we were humming them all day! I thought the message was really strongly put across to the students and we were able to reflect and do some work on it that day. The actor was so engaging and I loved the interactivity of the play. Thanks so much for another winner of a production!” Deirdre Capuano, Year 3 Teacher, Ivanhoe Grammar School, VIC

"I asked the kids for a quick “out of 10” after the performance on Monday. The great majority said 10 out of 10. They all had different parts that they enjoyed, but all were engaged; and as we had looked in detail at the story and the author’s message previously, they really understood the show. I thought it was great to expose the kids to a performance of this kind and would be strongly in favour of similar performances in the future!” Wendy, Woady Yaloak PS, VIC

"Hi Tony, Thanks again for an awesome show we all thoroughly enjoyed it.” Janelle Gill, Banora Point PS, NSW

“Kids really enjoyed being engaged with the show. They thought it was great how students got to be involved. They thought he was funny and it was worth the money. Very enjoyable.” Grant, Woady Yaloak PS, VIC

"Hi Tony, Thanks again for last weeks show… Can we rebook for Friday of Book Week next year please?” Deb Cullen, Morang South PS, VIC

"Feedback from my class was that the show was fantastic. They liked how they got to go up on stage and join in and it helped them understand the story more. I would love for another show to be organised for next year.” Jenna, Woady Yaloak PS, VIC

"Hi Tony, We loved the performance last week, so much so that we would love to have you back next year.” Olivia Atanasovska, Assistant Principal, Jennings Street School, Laverton, VIC

"I really enjoyed the performance- I thought it was funny but also had some great concepts for our students to engage in and learn from. I also thought it catered from Kinder to Year 6 and all students seemed to really enjoy it. I also liked how some students were asked to come up to the stage and be involved in the performance, it keeps the students guessing what will happen next!" Kate, Yr5/6 teacher, St Paul's School, Gateshead, NSW

"Hi Tony! Thank you SO much for today... Staff and students feedback was so overwhelmingly positive!!!... Thanks." Melissa Summers, Teacher Librarian, NSW Teachers Federation Women's Contact Officer, Birrong Primary School, NSW

"Hi Tony, Thanks for your performance on Thursday... You did a great job of engaging the kids, and certainly ‘bringing the book to life’!!" Lauren Hawksworth, Library Assistant, Annadale Christian College, QLD

"Hi Tony, I lost count of how many staff members told me how fabulous your performance was last week. They were so impressed with the energy and variety of effects within your show. The inclusion of students was also a winner. The music teacher believes it was the best performance incursion he had ever seen... As teacher-librarian, I was delighted with how you stayed true to the story - following page by page. The artistic license you took in dealing with the woman behind the counter seemed quite appropriate and greatly added to the humour. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and was so pleased to see the children totally engaged. Thank you again for your show. I will be sure to pass on my recommendations to other teacher librarians." Therese Badke, St Mark's School, Inala, QLD


"Hi Tony, What a show! The book came to life! The students were enthralled in the performance. There was lots of positive feedback from both teachers and students. The props were very well crafted and the degree of student participation in the show was great. I hope we are able to see you again next year. Thank you" Laura Pecotich, Kemps Creek PS, NSW


"Hi Tony, What a great show! Everyone loved it. It had it all - music, comedy, interactive activities and a great message. It ticked all the boxes." Sylvia Milis, Classroom Teacher, Campsie Public School, NSW


"Dear Tony, Many thanks - your performance produced some extremely positive comments from experienced staff who thoroughly appreciated the work that went into this year's production. Yes, we would like to book for your 2020 visit" Rodney Linhart, Principal, St Patrick's Catholic School, Latrobe, Tasmania


Testimonials for our 2018 stage adaptation of "A Walk in the Bush":


"Tony, You are very clever and wonderfully entertaining. I loved witnessing your talents in action and seeing so many happy involved people enjoying your play, and I was a bit so-so about The Book of Mormon. Break a leg with the rest of your tour, you’re doing things just right and I’m proud and honoured that you chose my book. Gwyn." Gwyn Perkins, Author - "A Walk in the Bush".


"Hi Tony, I spoke with your wife commenting how interactive the performance was. You read the audience well and it is so energy driven. All the audience were engaged which is testament to your efforts." Geraldine Woolnough, CBCA Victoria from the CBCA 2019 Book Week Family Day.


"It was a wonderful performance that was not only enjoyed by the students, but teachers alike. It was a professional performance that engaged everyone and it was great to get students on stage to be part of the story. Thank you again. We would definitely have no hesitation in having you perform again at our school". Susan Grover, Library Teacher/Campus Administrator, Caulfield Grammar School, Malvern Campus, VIC.


"Hi Tony, here is some feedback from my Year 4 students: Students enjoyed crowd participation as a part of the performance. The songs were entertaining. Audience participation was great. Having students up on stage was terrific. Enjoyed the creative way the birds were used in the performance. The students enjoyed humour especially the Iggy search aspect... Enjoyed voices of characters. Loved the long nose. Enjoyed stories about the eucalyptus. Likes mini inventions. Suitable for all years levels." David McLean, Ivanhoe Grammar School, VIC.


"I only have positive feedback for the show. I loved it and so did everyone that I spoke to. The kids were engaged, the teachers were hooked in and my principal was very pleased. You did an excellent job bringing that book to life and I know it helped a lot of the kids understand the story a little more deeply. Your props were fantastic, even the frightening goanna and the creepily life-like cat puppet, and the music/visuals were perfectly complimentary of the storyline. A job well done to you and the rest of the crew." Maria Lontos, Holy Name PS, Reservoir, VIC.


"Well what a treat that was to attend yesterday. I really enjoyed it – particularly loved the song about what the birds talk about. You really successfully transferred the pace and rhythm of the book to the play. The news is official too – Gwyn’s book has won the CBCA for Best Picture Book. You picked a winner!" Keiran Rogers, Affirm Press (Publisher of "A Walk in the Bush")


"Thank you for organising the performance for us all on Monday. My students started off a bit ‘cool’ about the whole idea of the one man show however had loads to share when we returned back to class. Being Grade 6, they thought the story was a little simple however the many effects Tony Bones put into the production kept them all hooked in for the duration of the show... Thank you again... for providing this experience for us all." Erminia Foley, Maramba PS, Narre Warren, VIC.


"Loved the show on Wednesday.  I’d been really looking forward to it and wasn’t disappointed.  It was amazing to see how much could be achieved in a one man show (I kept looking around for Tony’s support team).  The puppetry was great, the songs were catchy and clever, and the performance was engaging and relaxed when accomodating any unexpected responses from the students. I felt that the content was informative and well geared to stir further interest in the students in the natural world.  The humour was pitched at just the right level and there was a good amount of audience participation.  I was particularly impressed by the puppetry involving the different birds... Great show." Andy Pullar, Camelot Rise PS, Glen Waverley, VIC


"I thought the show was very engaging and showcased the many ways in which students can express ideas and bring stories to life. The students were really interested throughout and it was great as they were able to get involved with part of the show. Well done Tony!" Stuart McKenzie, Camelot Rise PS, Glen Waverley, VIC


"As you would’ve guessed from my response last week...I LOVED THE ONE MAN SHOW! The incursion was engaging on various levels.  Here are some of my reasons as to why I would recommend this show: - Great to see student involvement / - It incorporated Literacy: Reading, speaking & listening and displayed how a story can be interpreted and brought to life using rich language. Super that Tony based the play on a book re: Book Week. / - The arts : Visual arts and performing arts. The backdrops linked with the unit I recently covered with L1-4 covering different grounds and the element of space. Having students play the instruments provided another layer of entertainment. / - Dancing / - Loved the comedy aspects (quite a few funny lines). / - Providing question time." Mary Katsigiannis, Camelot Rise PS, Glen Waverley, VIC

"Your performance was fantastic, for a moment at the beginning I was concerned it would be a little 'young' for the older students but you were quick to alleviate those concerns. You were incredibly engaging, entertaining and informative, I loved how you kept the kids wanting more through your use of engaging techniques. It was lovely to watch students with such varied interests pick aspects of your performance (such as the use of technology to provide an echo) and respond with delight. Your decision to pick books on the shortlist and bring them to life for students is a wonderful one. Older students often feel that picture books are not for them, but providing such an extensive performance based on predominantly pictures is a fantastic way to engage students in literature at all levels. Your question time and follow up with lesson ideas and details about aspects of the performance is a well thought out addition to the actual performance. I have spoken to a number of friends at other schools already and have recommended you as a wonderful way to enhance book week (or any week!). The feedback from the students and staff alike has been nothing but glowing. Thank you for sharing your passion for books with us." Marnie Skerritt, Mathoura Public School, NSW


"I think your performance was fantastic. Looking around the room, all the children were engaged in the performance, including our grade 6s, which was great to see. Having so many children involved in the performance itself was fantastic too. Keep including as much child involvement as you can, the kids really arose to the occasion, in particular the actors, the part with the goanna was very funny. You could see the excitement on their faces when they were chosen and became a part of the show and they all did a great job. It was great how you brought so much more into the show than just what was in the book, and a great variety too! The technology was very clever eg. the birds singing when the kids made the bird calls. Also thought the bird song was great! (birds on the board). Very entertaining for adults too! Thanks again, hope to see you again in the future." Karen Nihill, Sacred Heart Primary School, Tatura, NSW


"I took 4W to the performance. I looked at the kids faces and they were just enchanted and engaged the whole time. They loved the interactivity of the event and the performer was in control the whole time and had the children eating out of his hands... Great and very worthwhile." Gail Oakman, Assistant Principal, Barnier Public School, NSW


"Thank you Tony for visiting our school last week and bringing “A Walk In The Bush” to life for our Prep-Year 2 students. They really did love it and have been talking about it a lot during Book Week. They were particularly excited to see A Walk in the Bush win for its category. Here is some feedback the Year 2 Team have for you: The students loved it, thought it was really funny. The student involvement and interactivity was great. It was great that it was informative about animals as well as entertaining. We will hopefully see you again next year." Verity Sheppard, Year 2 PLC and Instructional Leader, Kingswood Primary School, VIC


"​Hi Tony, we would love to have you back next year please so let me know what fits in with you... Thanks again for a fantastic show the children and the Teachers have not stopped raving about it." Janelle Gill, Banora Point Public School, NSW


"Hi Tony, Thank you for visiting CPS! Our Children were VERY excited when I announced A Walk In The Bush was the winning book - your show hooked them into Book Week!... our staff and students were impressed! Please see the feedback below... Tony was very easy to communicate with and book. Arrived on time and was very organised. The show was interactive, with many opportunities for students to partake in the performance. Funny and animated performer. Enjoyable and engaging for the children. Loved the creativity, song, dance and puppets. I liked that the children were involved in the show. I thought he interacted really well with the children. My class enjoyed the show. Thanks again for bringing your show to our school." Krystal Ryan, Classroom Teacher (5/6C), Caulfield Primary School, VIC


"Hi Tony, Thank you very much for a wonderful performance at Manning Gardens Public School. I am a teacher in our Support Unit and can I say, the students in my class thoroughly enjoyed it... I have students in years 2, 3 and 6 with varying abilities. I found there was something that catered for all of their needs. It was very engaging and interactive. My students still talk about it now." Rhiannon Hardy, Manning Gardens Public School, Taree, NSW.


"A wonderful Book Week performance happening right now at The Gardens...where great things happen! Approximately 300 students and 60 adults being treated to this amazing show!" Facebook Page, Manning Gardens Public School, Taree, NSW


"Here is some feedback from students in 3/4F: Everyone was included....I like how he let people volunteer... He was a good storyteller, using voice, face and actions... I like that he made his own instruments without buying anything... It has inspired me to ask to go on a bushwalk...The students clearly enjoyed this fantastic experience!" Kotara South Public School, NSW


"Thank you Tony... I have heard many positive comments from (the infants staff) about how brilliant the show was... I’m glad you got to Melbourne safely and thank you again for coming all the way to Tamworth for our show. It was an excellent performance." Rachel Nicholson, Carinya Christian School, Calala, NSW


"A highlight of Book Week was the performance today by Books to Life for our junior students. The adaptation of A Walk in the Bush (Picture Book of the Year by the Children's Book Council of Australia) was humorous and exciting.  Thanks Books To Life!" Clarence Valley Anglican School, NSW


"I really enjoyed your show at Manning Gardens this year – it was just fabulous." Debbie Horgan, Community Outreach Librarian, Midcoast Council, NSW


"Thanks for a great performance yesterday.” Karen Coleman, St Philip’s Christian College - Port Stephens, NSW


"Hi Tony Bones, Thanks for a wonderful show. Both students and teachers enjoyed it." Deb Hudson, Homebush Public School, NSW


"Hi Tony, School still buzzing after the show. Enjoyed by all - due to your ability to move show along, engage audience at regular intervals, songs were short, sharp and catchy. We've never had a student so moved by the song about being lonely it reduced him to tears. Of course the younger students loved Iggy being tossed around / slipping down the stairs / dad jokes. Several very experienced teachers inquired about how I heard about the show & commented on how brilliant it was. K-6 is a wide range yet the performance and organisation lent itself to catering for all age groups. The puppetry / slides were effective. Several teachers enjoyed the story which referenced indigenous culture. Fabulous performance all round... On other note - had a student who took their family on a bush walk on Father's Day and came across a scribbly gum which he proceeded to enlighten his family about how he had heard about the scribbly gum via your great show. This family may have sent you a photo of their child next to said gum tree! The message is getting through! Also the K- 2 staff went to The Gruffalo at the Seymour Centre a week after your show and upon returning to school freely stated the Walk in the Bush Show was far more entertaining and engaging. This augurs well for 2019 and I'll be in touch re. a booking." Leanne Sharpe , Teacher Librarian, Enfield Public School, NSW.


"Hello! I am the mother of Harrison Harman who is in year 1 (class 1Z) at Enfield Public School. We went for a bush walk at Muogamarra on Father’s Day and Harrison was so excited to spot Scribbly Gum. He hasn’t noticed it before but since seeing your performance he was so happy to see it. He told us all about how caterpillars leave the track marks. We didn’t know about this (we are Brits although now Aussie too) so the whole family learned something. Ms Sharpe thought you might like to know so I’m emailing you!  Here’s a photo! Thank you! Natalie"



If COVID-19 restrictions by the government still prohibit the live performance to tour to your school on the day that it is currently booked then Books To Life have developed a great solution which is 30% cheaper for your students: A Virtual Incursion of “Hello Lighthouse”.


So how would the virtual incursion work?


The live production of “Hello Lighthouse” has been cleverly adapted to make it work more effectively for an interactive filmed performance that students can stream:


  • at a school assembly;

  • in their classroom;

  • or even individually at home if schools are closed.


The entire live show will be captured with:


  • multiple top-end 5K cameras;

  • full DMX stage lighting;

  • pro sound;

  • plus several additional visual technical elements integrated to enhance the live production;

  • all on your screen in 4K clarity.


Multiple camera angles & sparkling 4K clarity will give every student the very best seat in the house & make them a part of bringing this amazing book to life.

Interactive activities will be included in the filmed performance for students to participate in from the hall, classroom or at home. These are designed to get the students up & moving to be part of the action, making the audience feel as if they are actually in & around the lighthouse with The Lighthouse Keeper & his family.

Teachers will have the ability to pause the show during these activities to organise students in the room to participate safely & join in the fun.

A filmed in-depth FAQ session is included where “Tony Bones” takes the students through the creation of the show, the content & messages in the book, plus where he'll provide answers to common questions.

Teachers then have the ability to email through their students’ additional questions which Tony will reply to via video clips that can be played back to the students within 24 hours. If scheduling allows these extra questions can even be done as a live video call with your school group via Zoom, Webex, Google Meet or Skype at no extra cost.

Also included are easy to follow teacher notes & guided discussions for teachers to run before & after the virtual performance to give the students a greater understanding of the content & a more meaningful interaction with the show. This is in addition to the extensive teacher resources & lesson plans already available for the live performance at

Schools will be provided with a code to unlock the virtual performance on their day of viewing that they can share with all teachers at their school who have a class booked for the performance.

The price for the interactive virtual performance is a huge 30% off the live show price +GST. Simply indicate in your enquiry as to whether you'd like the live show or the virtual incursion option.