The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef story

My first kids picture book is about the challenges facing the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living thing 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! I will provide regular updates here so you can ‘sea’ the steps and progress of creating my first underwater story for children (and parents, grandparents, teachers and the wider community!). You can also follow this underwater storytelling journey via the hashtag #haveGBRhope. This story would not have surfaced if it wasn’t for the amazing support and advice of my writing mentor and friend, the very talented, Michelle Worthington. Thank you Michelle for encouraging me to just DIVE IN!


The Story behind the Story

I have been working on the Great Barrier Reef story for many years now, prompted by the impacts I have seen first hand on our reefs around Australia. The theme of the story can easily be explained by its title, however the title is currently under wraps, as it is such a GREAT title! The story is about the challenges facing the Great Barrier Reef told through the eyes of a feisty female fish named Anthia. The story is based on marine science and paints a picture (literally) of what happens to our reefs when we are not looking. Although the storyline is not about happy times on the reef, my story is full of hope and Ocean Optimism as I cannot imagine a world without coral reefs, can you? Follow my story at #haveGBRhope.


Progressing the Story

I am partner-publishing with Little Steps Publishing and am currently working with my lovely and talented Editors Bonnie and Katie on FIN-essing the words and finalising the manuscript (I love a good ocean puns!). THEN it’s all about me creating the pictures to help illustrate the story! I will be experimenting with a number of different painting techniques and at this stage I think my main medium will be watercolours, but I have some fun ideas to really bring the underwater characters to life, as you can ‘sea’ below! These artworks are just some of the ideas I have for the book, which I hope to soon make into page-turning paintings! So stay tuned here for more updates as I create the Great Barrier Reef story for our future ocean stewards, our kids.


Timeline – Let the WORDS & PICTURES begin!

April 2017 – Edits back already from my amazing Editor Bonnie! Writing, writing, writing!

May 2017 – Just taking in some Vitamin Sea as I continue writing and editing the manuscript!







June 2017 – Putting the final touches on the manuscript whilst floating around my Bay backyard!








If you would like to know more about my ocean storytelling.

All artworks, stories and images are Copyright © 2017 Dr Sue Pillans