Reading Australia has partnered with the Australian Children’s Laureate Foundation (ACLF) to present an exciting opportunity for aspiring storytellers!

The ACLF (supported by Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund) manages the biennial appointment of the Australian Children’s Laureate, who champions the transformative power of books, creativity and storytelling among children and young adults. A position held previously by Alison Lester, Boori Monty Prior, Jackie French, Leigh Hobbs and Morris Gleitzman, it is currently occupied by Ursula Dubosarsky, the award-winning author of more than 60 books for young readers. Ursula’s message for 2020–2021 is “Read for Your Life!”, and her vision is for every child to join a library and become a lifelong reader.

Ursula’s new release, Pierre’s Not There, follows a young girl who gets caught up in a magical puppet theatre. Part prose and part script, with beautiful illustrations by Christopher Nielsen, it explores the mysteries of the imagination and tells its story in a unique and captivating way.

In honour of Ursula’s second year as Laureate, we are running a competition for students all around Australia! We’re challenging you to put on your creative hat and think about how you can tell a story in a new and exciting way.

The challenge:

  • Imagine you were putting on a play or puppet show inspired by Pierre’s Not There (though you can include characters from Ursula’s other books, if you like!).
  • Write a scene that continues the characters’ adventures, sets the stage for their original story, or puts them in a new situation (no minimum length, but no more than 500 words). Ursula has written some playwriting tips to help you get started!
  • Show us how you would perform your scene by including some puppet designs – draw them or make them with spare crafting materials.

The prize:

  • Entries will be judged in two categories: Stage 3 (Years 5/6) and Stage 4 (Years 7/8)
  • One winner will be picked from each category to receive the following prizes:
    • A copy of Pierre’s Not There signed by Ursula Dubosarsky (and a copy for their school library).
    • A Booktopia gift voucher worth $75.00 (and an equivalent voucher for their school library).
    • A virtual classroom visit from Ursula Dubosarsky! Students will get the opportunity to perform the winning scene with Ursula, followed by a Q&A session.

To enter:

  • This competition is open to Stage 3 and Stage 4 students anywhere in Australia.
  • Email your scene as a PDF or Word document to by 11.59pm on Sunday 9 May 2021.
  • Pictures of puppets should be attached to the same email (JPG or PNG format).
  • Include your first name, your year level and the name of your school (teachers may submit entries on behalf of their students) in your entry.

If you have any questions, please send an email to We can’t wait to read your scenes! Good luck and happy storytelling!


By entering you’re agreeing to the terms and conditions:

  • This is a game of skill. Chance plays no part in determining the winner, and each entry will be judged upon individual merit.
  • Two winners will be determined from among the entries: one from Stage 3 and one from Stage 4. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • Competition closes 11.59pm (AEST) 9 May 2021; winners will be notified by 5pm (AEST) 28 May 2021.
  • Two winners will receive: one copy of Ursula Dubosarsky’s Pierre’s Not There, signed by the author; one Booktopia voucher worth $75.00; and one virtual classroom visit from Ursula Dubosarsky. The winners’ school libraries will also receive a copy of Pierre’s Not There and the equivalent Booktopia voucher.
  • Prize is non-transferable and non-redeemable for cash.