Phil Cummings

Reading is Important

‘I recall my childhood growing up as the youngest of eight children in a country town and the doors that were opened up to me as I developed my skills in literacy and numeracy. There weren’t many books available to me but the ones I managed to find I loved and read over and over and over again. One of those, which remains a favourite, is The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien.

These life-long learning skills have helped me to explore many opportunities, pathways and possibilities. Now as a writer for children, and as an ambassador, I am happy to play a small part in opening those doors for others.’

Fact File

My worst injury
I broke my leg in three places when I was ten. OUCH!

My favourite movie
It’s an old one called It’s a Wonderful Life with James Stewart.

The funniest thing that has ever happened to me
A child on one of my school visits tugging at my leg to see if I was real – he had been told he was going to meet a REAL LIVE author – He wanted to be sure I wasn’t a dummy!

My favourite colours

My hero and why
My mum, for raising eight children!

My favourite possession
Original illustrations from my first published book Goodness Gracious! It was illustrated by Craig Smith, a great South Australian!

If I wasn’t doing my current job I would like to be
A teacher

The most important things in life
My family

My Ambassador Reading Tip
Run, play, read and write

from the time you rise …..

……. ’til you sleep at night!


Other Information

Phil Cummings is an award winning author of over seventy books for children (from picture books to novels) in a career that has spanned thirty years.

His work has been published in Australia, New Zealand, U.S, Japan, China, South Korea, Canada, U.K. and throughout Europe.

He is a registered teacher and has been a Premier’s Reading Challenge Ambassador since its inception in 2004. Phil was also named National Literacy Champion in 2006.

His most recent titles include ANZAC Biscuits illustrated by Owen Swan, Scholastic Press. A Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Book 2014.

Bridie’s Boots illustrated by Sara Acton, Working Title Press CBCA Notable Book 2015.

Be Brave, Pink Piglet illustrated by Sarah Davis, Lothian children’s books, Hachette Australia.

Ride, Ricardo, Ride! Illustrated by Shane Devries, Omnibus Scholastic CBCA Honour Book 2016.

Phil had four books released in 2017.

BOY Illustrated by Shane Devries, Scholastic Press. Winner of the 2017 Children’s Peace Literature Award.

Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards – Notable Book 2018

Feathers illustrated by Phil Lesnie, Scholastic Press. Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards – Notable Book 2018

Look Out Pink Piglet! Illustrated by Sarah Davis, Lothian children’s books, Hachette Australia.

Wilbur, Grace and Joe, Illustrated by Amanda Graham, Little Book Press. Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards – Notable Book 2018

Phil has also co-written two musicals available online for schools to perform. Both musicals, created with Glyn Lehmann, renowned songwriter, composer and arranger, are a complete package, containing backing tracks, music sheets, scripts , ideas for classroom teachers, everything that schools need to perform the work in their own chosen environment. The first musical is entitled Arlie Abbstock and the Incredible Cape, and is available from: for schools to produce and perform as part of their Performing Arts program. The second musical, One Drop of Rain is set in a harsh rural landscape. Covering themes of drought, family, resilience, the importance of creative play and a child’s imagination. The musicals are available online through the song library

A Book Will Take You There is a song Phil and Glyn wrote for Book Week and is also available now on the song library

For more detailed information on Phil’s books and career go to:

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Have a question about the Challenge?

Please email our Premier’s Reading Challenge mailbox or call for assistance. We look forward to hearing from you.