Our Champions & Supporters

Samantha Wheeler, National Ambassador – Hook into Books

Samantha Wheeler studied Agriculture, worked with dairy farmers, and taught science, before writing her first children’s book, inspired by koalas, in 2011. Her
books, which include Smooch & Rose, Wombat Warriors, Mister Cassowary, and Turtle Trackers have been shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards, the
Readings Book Prize, The Wilderness Society Environmental Award and the Royal Zoological Society, Whitley Commendation. Her most recent story, Everything I’ve Never Said, was inspired by her youngest daughter, who has Rett Syndrome and can’t talk. Samantha hopes her books will inspire everyone to speak up and make a difference.

Samantha has begun building relationships within the Youth+ Flexible Learning Centres and has a passion for promoting a range of diverse literature engagement opportunities for young people. Through her work, Samantha knows first hand how important good literacy is, how important it is to expose children and young people to literature and to support a love of reading.

The Youth Plus Foundation is honoured to join with Sam as it endeavours on a National Campaign to highlight the importance of literacy in our everyday lives and promote a love of reading and the joy that can be experienced by losing yourself in reading!

Find her at W: https://www.samanthawheeler.com.au/ FB: samanthawheelerauthor IG: samanthawheelerauthor

Michael Gerard Bauer, Champion Hook into Books 

Michael Gerard Bauer began his working life as English and Economics teacher but these days he is a fulltime writer of books for early childhood readers through to young adults. He has been short-listed for Children’s Book Council of Australia awards on five occasions, winning in 2005 for his first novel The Running Man and again in 2018 for his funny picture book Rodney Loses It. His other very popular works include Don’t Call Me Ishmael and its sequels, The Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy and Me, Dinosaur Knights, the Eric Vale and Secret Agent Derek ‘Danger’ Dale series and Just a Dog. His most recent publication is the YA novel The Things That Will Not Stand.  Michael is a regular and in-demand speaker at schools and festivals and his stories are currently translated into 13 languages and sold in over 40 countries.

Find him at W: michaelgerardbauer.com  IG: mgbauerpics   Twitter: @m_g_bauer   FB: Michael Gerard Bauer Author

Remy Lai, Champion – Hook into Books 

Remy Lai draws and writes for kids. She was born in Indonesia, grew up in Singapore She lives in Brisbane, Australia, where she can often be found exploring the woods near her home with her two dogs, Poop-Roller and Bossy Boots! Remy’s book PIE IN THE SKY – Henry Holt BYR is a middle-grade graphic novel/prose hybrid.

Find her at – FB: RemyLaiBooks IG: rrremylai/

Rebecca Sparrow – Hook into Books 

Rebecca Sparrow’s purpose is to help teenage girls traverse that tricky path from childhood to adulthood. Her great passion is helping teen girls (and their parents) navigate high school friendships, have a more positive positive experience online and understand that despite what society tells them they are enough just as they are.

Rebecca is the author to three best-selling novels ‘The Girl Most Likely, The Year Nick McGowan Came to Stay’ and ‘Joel and Cat Set The Story Straight’. Since 2009 Rebecca as focused on writing non-fiction books for teenage girls to help them navigate those tricky high school years. These books include: ‘Ask me anything’, ‘Find your tribe’ and ‘Find your feet’.

Aside from writing, Rebecca writes for Mamamia, co-hosted two seasons of the award-winning health and happiness podcast The Well with good frined Robin Bailey and plays Agony Aunt to teenagers across the country on the Ask Me Anything podcast.

Along with being one of our fantastic Hook into Books Champions, Rebecca is also the Ambassador for The Pyjama Foundation and Suncorp’s #TeamGirls initiative, put together by Netball Australia and ReachOut.

Find her at W: rebeccasparrow.com/ IG: bec_sparrow FB: RebeccaSparrowWriter

Michelle Worthington, Champion – Hook into Books 

Michelle Worthington is an award winning author and international guest speaker on the importance of storytelling. Her books have been nominated for the CBCA Picture Book of the Year Award and Speech Pathology Awards. She was awarded a highly commended in the prestigious 2018 Hilarie Lindsay Children’s Book Awards. Two-time winner of the International Book Award and finalist in the USA Best Book Awards, Michelle also received a Gellett Burgess Award and a Silver Moonbeam Award for her contribution to celebrating diversity in children’s literature.

Michelle is also a real life book fairy. Her magic powers include turning coffee into award-winning books. As Founder of Share Your Story Australia, she waves her wand to coach aspiring authors and illustrators all over the world achieve their dreams of publication. Whether she’s a fairy, a mermaid, a pirate or an elf, Michelle celebrates empowering readers and storytellers to dream big.

Find her at W: https://www.michelleworthington.com/ IG: https://www.instagram.com/michelle.author/ FB: https://www.facebook.com/michelleworthington.author T: @michelle_author

University Queensland Press – Hook into Books 

Established in 1948, UQP is a dynamic publishing house known for its innovative philosophy and commitment to producing books of high quality and cultural significance. It has launched the careers of many celebrated Australian writers, such as David Malouf, Peter Carey, Kate Grenville, Doris Pilkington and Nick Earls.

Originally founded as a traditional university press, UQP has since branched into publishing books for general readers in the areas of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, Indigenous writing and youth literature.

Our books and authors have received national and international recognition through literary prizes, rights sales and writers’ festivals.

From 2010, UQP has been meeting the challenges of a changing publishing landscape by releasing selected out-of-print titles in digital formats, in addition to the digital and print publishing of new books.

W: https://www.uqp.uq.edu.au/Default.aspx FB: https://www.facebook.com/UQPbooks/ IG: uqpbooks

Vacen Taylor, Champion – Hook into Books 

Vacen Taylor is a children’s author with a portfolio of screenwriting and stage play achievements.  A selection of her poetry has been published in Art and Literature Journals. One of her plays was selected to be part of the Playwrights Program 2017 and then directed and performed as a performance reading at HOTA (previously the Gold Coast Arts Centre). Her feature film script received a special commendation for Best Unproduced Screenplay titled Grandfathers at the British Independent Film Festival in 2018.  The logline can be found under Special Commendations for Unproduced Screenplays here.

Her TV pilot for a series (teleplay) was selected as a semi-finalist in the Hollywood Just4Shorts Film and Screenplay Competition in Los Angeles, CA. This pilot was listed in the top 50 for the Cinequest Screenwriting Competition in 2018. In 2019 the Catch pilot was also listed as a quarterfinalist in the Big Break Screenwriting Contest.

She presented the first mental health panel at OZ Comic-Con in 2017. This panel was a fantastic opportunity to discuss openly and honestly about artists and their mental health to help support wellbeing, foster connectivity and provide a culture of support.

In 2018 she presented the panel, ‘An artist’s guide to creative happiness: How to strengthen your creative performance’ at Oz Comic-Con in Brisbane. In 2019 she presented the panel, ‘How to strengthen your creative Resilience’ at Oz Comic-Con in Brisbane. Her panels are extraordinary opportunities to explore ideas with people who are currently working in the industry. She aims to discuss subjects like individualism, the community, mental health, wellbeing, happiness, creativity, co-creating and self-awareness which often leads to interesting questions from the audience.

Find her at – W: www.vacentaylor.com  W: http://www.starchildseries.com/

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