Picture books

Ocean Storytelling

As I ‘sea’ the world through words and pictures it will come as no surprise that I have always wanted to write and illustrate my own children’s picture books about the sea! My devotion to the ocean continues through my next BIG creative adventure of doing just that! I am following my heART to publish a series of kids picture books about the wonders of the underwater world. Storytelling is the oldest form of education so my sea stories are based on real-life marine science mixed with fun facts and whimsical tales…..fish tails that is!

I believe in the power of positive storytelling so even though my stories may illustrate difficult or challenging global situations, such as climate change on the Great Barrier Reef (my debut picture book due in mid 2018!), my stories always offer messages of hope and solutions. My stories are told through my alter ego Dr Suzie Starfish and you can read more about my ocean storytelling through my Workshops ‎and news below.

GREAT NEWS!! I’m going to publish!

I am SO EXCITED to share the news that I have partnered with Little Steps Publishing to write, illustrate and publish my first kids picture book on the Great Barrier Reef! The book is due for release in mid 2018! I am not often lost for words (…as I can literally talk underwater!), but I am thrilled about this creative collaboration with Little Steps to bring my story of the Great Barrier Reef to life! A BIG thank you to my writing mentor and friend Michelle Worthington who gave me the encouragement and support to just DIVE IN! You can ‘sea’ more about my story and how I’m progressing the words and pictures for The Great Barrier Reef #haveGBRhope.


The art and science of storytelling


As my alter ego Dr Suzie Starfish I am so lucky to get the opportunity to share the art of marine science and storytelling with kids of all ages (including big kids!), including my range of  Workshops. I believe that our kids are our future ocean stewards and if they understand and love the oceans (via storytelling) then they are more likely to protect the oceans. As you can ‘sea’ from the great letters to Dr Suzie Starfish below from the primary school students of Exmouth District High School, they certainly love their marine art and asking great scientific questions. And YES, starfish can grow their legs back! Whenever I am doing art and science storytelling with children their interest, questions and knowledge of the sea never ceases to amaze me and I want to create picture books to encourage and support this creative thinking and connection with nature.


My WORDS & PICTURES in Progress

Creating my series of kids picture books is a work in progress so stay tuned here for some more exciting updates as I follow my heART to publishing a series of kids picture books about OUR oceans! At the moment I am finalising the illustrations for my first kids picture book about the challenges facing our Reef and you can ‘sea’ my progress illustrating the impacts of climate change on The Great Barrier Reef.


A BIG shout out to my writing mentor and friend, award winning author Michelle Worthington (aka. Mermaid Michelle) for helping me to Share my Story! If you are interested in joining a great and supportive writing group then join the tribe at Share your Story. You can also join Mermaid Michelle and Dr Suzie Starfish in our creative STEM workshops where we use the art of marine science storytelling to learn, live and love our oceans! SEA more about our Workshops.


The life of a writer…keep submitting your manuscripts, keep swimming through the waves of rejection letters and keep following your heART! No just means no to this story, this time.


Do you have a picture book idea?

As a marine ecologist and visual storyteller I have my own ideas down on paper of what I think will make for visually engaging picture books about our oceans including: stories about amazing sea creatures like jellyfish and reef fishes through to how animals help each other underwater and what happens when our coral reefs start to change and disappear. But…

I am not a kid (…but a big kid at heart) so I am putting the call out to our future ocean stewards to find out what picture books you want to read about?! Do you have marine science questions or hot topics you would like answered through words and pictures? Is there any schools or classrooms out there that would like to write and illustrate a kids picture book about our oceans with me?

If you would like to talk to me about my ocean storytelling, please 

All artworks, stories and images are Copyright © 2018 Dr Sue Pillans

The Great Barrier Reef

My Great Barrier Reef story My first kids picture book is about the challenges facing the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living structure on earth! As Dr Suzie Starfish I am writing, illustrating and publishing my story with Little Steps Publishing, a creative collaboration I am super EXCITED about! The book is due for release in mid 2018 … Continue reading The Great Barrier Reef

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