A projection at the National Library of Australia of “Midnight at the LIbrary” by Ursula Dubosarsky, illustrated by Ron Brooks, as part of the Enlighten Festival 2019.

A projection at the National Library of Australia of “Midnight at the LIbrary” by Ursula Dubosarsky, illustrated by Ron Brooks, as part of the Enlighten Festival 2019.

"Dubosarsky occupies a unique place in Australian literature. Her works cannot be 'classified' - but neither could Jane Gardam's 'A Long Way from Verona', EB White's 'Charlotte's Web", Antoine de Saint-Exupery's 'The Little Prince'... Their appeal is universal; they are timeless and ageless. All great children's classics have these qualities. And her books, let' s make no mistake about this, are classics. "  Dr Robyn Sheahan-Bright

“Australia’s finest writer for young people.” Mike Shuttleworth

"The most graceful, most original writer for young people in Australia - probably the world."    Sonya Hartnett

 Winner of nine Premier's Literary Awards and the Children's Book Council Book of the Year Award and nominated for both the Astrid Lindgren and Hans Christian Andersen awards.  Ursula’s work has been published widely throughout the English-speaking world and translated into fourteen different languages.


Out now - Hercules Quick, who lives with his Aunt Alligator and his friend Sylvie, the tadpole, is a boy with a mission. To save up for a box of magic tricks, he does odd jobs for the very unusual neighbours. A collection of chapter stories, from the bestselling creators of The Terrible Plop.

The Boy Who Could Fly and Other Magical Plays for Children, illustrated by Amy Golbach. Eleven easy-to-read, dramatic and funny plays for children, inspired by the Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Great for group performance, reading aloud, or just curling up by yourself with your eyes open wide, ready for some amazing transformations!

“Brindabella” illustrated by Andrew Joyner, is Ursula’s most recent novel for children. Click here for a new unit of work from the Primary English Teaching Association Australia, aimed at children in years 3 and 4, focusing on the novel “Brindabella”, shortlisted for the 2019 Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Awards for Younger Readers.

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Reading Australia has published a unit of work based on Ursula’s interview with the literary podcast “The Garret”

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In the UK’s Magic Fiction Since Potter Gordon Askew has recently focused on Ursula’s work - click here to read his response to The Blue Cat and The Red Shoe and in a separate post The Game of the Goose, The First Book of Samuel, The Golden Day and Abyssinia.

Ursula has again been nominated for the 2019 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world's largest children's literature award, administered by the Swedish Arts Council. This is the seventh time Ursula has been nominated.

Midnight at the Libraryillustrated by Ron Brooks, celebrates 50 years of the National Library of Australia. 

'In Midnight at the Library, critically-acclaimed author, Ursula Dubosarsky, and award-winning illustrator, Ron Brooks, traverse space and time, telling the story of a book throughout history...Beautifully written and splendidly illustrated, this is a story about the inception, creation and preservation of books and culture. This enchanting children's book has vast educational potential and is sure to captivate the hearts of book-lovers across the nation, encouraging them to find their own book of wonder. Brilliantly evocative and exceptionally engaging, there is something undeniably magical about Dubosarsky and Brooks' timeless and ageless story.'

For teachers’ notes click here. See below for review from Books and Publishing.

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Leaf Stone Beetle, illustrated by Gaye Chapman is published by Dirt Lane Press. For teachers notes click here and below for a colouring-in sheet.

"Timeless ...simple yet layered, and it invites interpretation and discussion around ideas as complex as individuality, transition and community ."  Books and Publishing 

“A remarkable, unique and truly special book.” Momo Celebrating Time to Read

“A unique construct of narrative science and story in words and illustrations. It is simple, yet philosophical and profound.” Joy Lawn Boomerang Books

"This is a story about a boy called Pender and a kangaroo called Brindabella, about how they became friends, and all the things that happened to them because of it."


The forest looms dark, deep and mysterious, or so it appears to people, especially poets and painters, who enter it alone. They feel sadness and sometimes even the kind of strange fear one feels in childhood: a fear of nothing.

Rudolf Tesnohlidek
The Cunning Little Vixen



Ursula's new novel, illustrated by Andrew Joyner, was inspired by the landscape and homestead of Bundanon  and is based on the libretto of Janacek's opera "The Cunning Little Vixen", re-imagined in the Australian bush. Click here for teachers' notes and here for Ursula's article in "The Age" on Rudolf Tesnohlidek, the Czech author  of "The Cunning Little Vixen." 

Click on the image at the left for a colour and drawing sheet to print out.

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‘The Blue Cat imagines war and its legacies with singular daring, sensitivity and emotional insight, stalking the line between questions and fears in a time of deep uncertainty. Ursula Dubosarsky is Australia’s finest writer for young people and here she is at her enchanting best.’       Mike Shuttleworth

The Blue Cat was  launched in  Melbourne by novelist Lili Wilkinson  and in Sydney by novelist Kate de GoldiClick here to read Kate's speech. Further responses to the book can be found at  The Sapling and Feathers of the Firebirdin press reviews here; and  at guest blog posts here  and here.  For  classroom resources lick here and here for teachers' notes.

A boy stood in the playground under the big fig tree. 'He can't speak English,' the children whispered.

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Ursula spoke in schools in May for Jewish Book Week in Melbourne about  "The Blue Cat". For details click here. 

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Click here to listen to an interview with Ursula by Nick Brasch on The Garret, a podcast devoted to writers on writing. And below enjoy an interview for children (with furry dog!)


Ursula appeared at the New Zealand Writers and Readers Festival  March 8-11 2018 in Wellington, NZ.  Click here for details.



Ursula recently appeared at the Sydney Living Museums Family Fair at the historic property Rouse Hill. She spoke about her novel, Abyssinia, a kind of gothic ghost story inspired by the dolls' house belonging to the Rouse children who lived at the property in the late 19th century.  For more background information on the book, click here. 

New paperback and ebook edition of  "Abyssinia" , with cover by   Amy Golbach  .

New paperback and ebook edition of "Abyssinia", with cover by Amy Golbach.

Two children play  with a mysterious doll’s house on a remote Australian property named “Abyssinia”. Or are the children really dolls themselves? 

“Brilliantly evokes the often-shadowy place of childhood, but at the core is an intriguing story that will have younger readers asking questions that adults won’t be able to answer.” The Age

“A wonderful book of great intensity “ Andersen (Italy).  

Winner of the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature and shortlisted for the NSW and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards.

If that cat could speak,’ Miss Hazel said, ‘imagine the secrets he could tell.’


Some readers may note a connection between "The Blue Cat" and the family in two of Ursula's other books, The First Book of Samuel,  and its sequel, Theodora's GiftNew editions of these books are now available in paperback and electronic book, with cover and design by Amy Golbach.  

"The First Book of Samuel"  won the NSW Premier's Literary Award, was  an Honour Book in the Children's Book Council of Australia Awards, and was shortlisted for the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature. "Theodora's Gift" won both the NSW and Victorian Premier's Literary Awards.  

For further background material and teaching resources on both books, click here.

There is also a new edition of "The White Guinea Pig, with cover and design by Amy Golbach.  Winner of the NSW and Victorian Premier's Literary Awards.

Out now!  new book with illustrator Andrew Joyner - "One Little Goat". 


It starts with one little goat. It ends with one little goat. But what happens in between is a whirlwind of nonsense and fun! 

Based on a zany traditional song in Aramaic, Had Gadya (one little goat) sung - especially by children! - at the end of the annual Jewish Passover meal.  

Click here for background and activities and here   for some of Andrew Joyner's  delightful sketches for the book.

And click on the image on the right for a printable colour board game based on the story.  And here for a colouring in sheet.



"With a touch of The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, One Little Goat piles calamity upon small disaster as a dog, a stick, fire, water, a buffalo, a butcher and more seek to capitalise on the chaos. Repetition and a drumming rhythm are the text’s essential ingredients, while Joyner’s familiar retro-styled images bring the snap and crackle to match each twist and turn in the rhyme. (It also needs to be said that the baby goat is quite adorable.)"  Review from Australian Books and Publishing.

Ursula has been nominated for the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world's largest children's literature award administered by the Swedish Arts Council. This is the fifth time  Ursula has been nominated for this award. The winner will be announced in Stockholm and at the Bologna Book Fair in April  next year. 

At the launch of the book and VR experrience at Merrylands East Public School

At the launch of the book and VR experrience at Merrylands East Public School

A virtual reality storybook "Sammy the Space Koala", has just been launched by the Commonwealth Bank,  as part of its children’s financial education campaign. Ursula wrote the text for the book, which comes with a Google Cardboard VR headset kit, ‘The Teleporter’, which turns the story into an interactive space journey.  The VR experience was developed by M&C Saatchi’s in-house innovation lab Tricky Jigsaw. Read more here and here.


Ursula's reading of "The Looming Lamplight" was recently broadcast on the children's radio program Catch it by the Tail. Click here to listen.


Ursula is an ambassador for the centenary celebrations of the NSW School Magazine, the oldest continuously running literary magazine for children in the world. 


In Sydney, Ursula and some guinea pig lovers enjoyed the launch of the 2016 NSW Premier's Reading Challenge!

Ursula recently spent six months in  Paris undertaking an Australia Council residency at the Keesing Studio. Click  here  or here to read an account of her experience.

And what better opportunity to visit France's biggest salon celebrating children's books? Click here to read about her visit on

The delightful Barnaby Book Club have been enjoying reading the adventures of guinea pig detectives Coco Carlomagno and Alberta - thank YOU Barnabies!

Ursula has also been nominated for the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award. This award is to "recognize lifelong achievement and are given to an author and an illustrator whose complete works have made an important, lasting contribution to children's literature."  The winner will be announced at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in 2016.





"The Red Shoe",  set in Sydney's Palm Beach in 1954, is now published in the UK by Walker Books.








The Terrible Plop, illustrated by Andrew Joyner has been named an Honour book in the 2015 KOALA awards - the annual Australian Children's Choice book awards.

Click here for a gallery of photos of Alberta the guinea pig as she visits Buenos Aires - seeking out more adventures for the Cryptic Casebook! These books are especially for young enthusiasts of word and number puzzles - and fans of The Word Spy.

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Please enjoy more of these delightful photos and letters from Grade 6 students at Browne Academy, Virginia USA about their recent performances of Ursula's plays for children based on Ovid's Metamorphoses.


The audio version of "Two Tales of Twins from Greece and Ancient Rome", narrated by Ursula, is available in digital download or CD from the Christmas Press.





Ursula also has a story, "Little Wars",  in the new anthology from Walker Books UK, "The Great War" . This book has been longlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal and is a Junior Library Guild Selection for 2015. 

Ursula will be reading aloud from both these titles on Anzac Day, at the Liverpool Anzac Centenary Commemoration Event. 



Ursula's World War One story for younger children, "Tibby's Leaf",  has been reissued by the National Museum of Australia for the centenary of the Gallipoli landing.  Click here for classroom activities and other resources. 




Ursula and Andrew Joyner have joined up again to create a new rhyming story of twin koalas - "TIM AND ED". Click  here for activity ideas from My Little Story Cornerand here for Andrew's colouring in sheets. 



Here are some comprehensive online teaching resources on The Red Shoe with particular reference to the Australian Curriculum and the NSW Syllabus, including an essay by Professor Clare Bradford: "Cold War Bricolage: Ursula Dubosarsky's The Red Shoe"

These resources have been developed by the Copyright Agency's Reading Australia program, designed to make significant Australian literary works more readily available for teaching in schools and universities, chosen to give a view of Australia's rich cultural identity: works that would tell Australia's history and also how we are currently developing as a nation. 

For Kate de Goldi's essay on "The Red Shoe" for the Library for Young Europeans click here. For other critical responses to "The Red Shoe" click here. For student and teaching resources click here

Ursula and illustrator Sue de Gennaro together created a specially commissioned story "Reindeer's Christmas Surprise" for the much loved David Jones Christmas Window display in the the Elizabeth Street store in Sydney. The book and accompanying toy reindeers were available in David Jones stores all over Australia. 

Ursula recently was a guest of the International Literature Festival Berlin, featuring discussions and readings of "The Golden Day" and "The Red Shoe", an an essay for discussion by children aged 9-11 for the Cultures of Trust project - click here to read the essay in full. 


Do you love puzzles? mystery stories? and... guinea pigs? Join the world's greatest guinea pig detectives, Coco and Alberta, as they track down mysteries in the big city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in this series of six books, The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno and Alberta, illustrated by Terry Denton. Click here and here for some Coco and Alberta puzzling activity sheets, and here for teachers' reviews and classroom ideas.  


Photo: Maja Baska

Photo: Maja Baska



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AND a rollicking stage version of the book was performed the same week at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney!  

"The Golden Day" is an IBBY  International Board on Books for Young People Honour Book, listed on Publishers' Weekly's Best Children's Books and is one of the Wall Street Journal's Top Ten Children's Books of 2013.  It was published in Germany by Ueberreuter as "Nicht jetz, niemals" and awarded a Lynx prize; and published in the UK by Walker Books. See also 



A rare jewel. Restrained, poetic literature for adolescents and adults…a small masterpiece.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

A cryptic work. A beautiful book.  

The New York Times

"Dubosarsky’s spare prose explores the space between innocence and adulthood. Shaped by the girls’ growing awareness of the world, her scenes are uneasy dreamscapes. Questions about responsibility, violence, sex, fear and death bloom beneath their placid surface. Unanswerable, they linger past the end of this slender but powerful volume."

Irish Times

"Atmospheric, chilling and haunting"

Booklist *Starred review  

 "In a stunning feat of perspective, Dubosarsky inhabits all 11 girls at once, snaking through a thousand small joys and triumphs and fears and petty grudges as they absorb life’s bleakest truths as well their own complicity in them... a masterful look at children’s numb surprise to the most unsavory of adult developments. "

(US) Publishers Weekly *Starred review  

"Dubosarsky subtly shows the impact of the tragedy through fragments of conversations, observations, and memories, while expertly sketching a cast of vulnerable, inquisitive children and ridiculous authority figures. Laced with humor amid a steady feeling of dread, the atmospheric narrative chillingly evokes lurking forces capable of tarnishing even the most golden and innocent of days ..." 

The Wall Street Journal  

"Few sentences, when spoken by an adult to a child, possess the sinister ambiguity of: “It will be our little secret.” It is the language of the liar, the creep and the pedophile—a confiding technique that exploits a child’s loyalty to keep quiet something that should probably be spoken aloud. In Ursula Dubosarsky’s chilling, elegant, atmospheric novel  “The Golden Day” (Candlewick, 149 pages, $15.99), it is what a fourth-grade teacher in an Australian girls’ school says to her class of obedient pupils. Its effect, especially the “thin, strong bond of shame” it creates, will last through the girls’ childhoods and change the contours of their lives.

The time is 1967, and the teacher is Miss Renshaw, a springy-haired freethinker who begins taking her uniformed charges out of school and into Sydney’s botanical gardens to release their inner spirits... Ms. Dubosarsky deftly conveys the confusion of childhood, the strangeness of things half-glimpsed and only partly understood. With quiet brilliance she evokes the distinct personalities of the classmates who, in a haunting final section, we see again in 1975 as they are finishing their final exams. “The Golden Day” is the sort of book that churns something up deep inside the reader; it will be as hard for an adult to forget as the young people ages 12 and older for whom it is intended."

Children's Book Council ECC

"The girls’ communal silence in the face of increasingly desperate adults is bewitching.  Dubosarsky...makes the simplest observations both poetic and terrifying. If you’re wanting for quality literature in your life, read this now." 


"When the headmistress, the priest, the school psychologist and even the police come to question the girls, they silence themselves; eleven petals of a flower close in tight around the bud. They will not rat out each other or their beloved teacher. With haunting, sparse language and a timeless style, Dubosarsky expertly explores this pivotal moment in these girls' lives. She does this by inhabiting all girls' points of view at once. I can't adequately explain the breathtaking tension, urgency and emotional resonance this technique creates. It is unique, highly inventive and it deeply works. ... Perhaps Dubosarsky has arrived at a point of view that is the essence of childhood.  I recommend The Golden Day to readers ages 12 and up, and urge adults to read it too."

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Delicate, atmospheric and provocative, this bijou tale stirs young adult readers to remember vividly the beguilement in which teachers can hold their little charges, and to consider with mature vision the complex meaning of adult actions that are only half-understood by child observers. With secrecy, elegant language, crime, a short page count, and a touch of the supernatural, here's a teen book club selection that everyone is likely to finish. " 


Dubosarsky is one of those rare writers whose work feels both true and invented, always, the uncanny seamlessly interwoven with the fabric of life. It’s impossible reading this book not to think of the quote from Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight: ‘‘But they never last, the golden days. And it can be sad, the sun in the afternoon, can’t it? Yes, it can be sad, the afternoon sun, sad and frightening.’’ The Golden Day is a highly recommended portrait of life interrupted, in all its sad and frightening – but beautiful – reality.

The Buffalo News

"This acclaimed Australian author takes her chapter titles from paintings and drawings of schoolgirls by Charles Blackman, and her tale beautifully evokes the loneliness of childhood, the claustrophobic confines of a girls school and the dark turbulence of the world outside."

The Scotsman

"One of my favourite books this year was The Golden Day...(the girls) in their resolve not to speak up,  themselves gradually lose sense of the truth and what actually happened on that fateful morning slips away. This succinct novel combines a love of poetry, an intriguing mystery and an exquisite study of group mentality and the dynamics of friendship."

Ursula has written an introduction to   Text Classics  ' reissuing of   "Lillypilly Hill"   by Australian children's writer   Eleanor Spence  .

Ursula has written an introduction to Text Classics' reissuing of "Lillypilly Hill" by Australian children's writer Eleanor Spence.