Jo Oliver

Andrew Daddo

Jo is an author and illustrator. Her first book Pilgrim released in 2008 was commended as a Notable Book by The Children’s Book Council of Australia and she was shortlisted for their Crichton Award for new illustrators in 2009.

Pilgrim is about a boy’s first journey out to sea with his father on their boat and together they share the power and beauty of the natural environment. The motifs and place names in the book lend another level to Pilgrim, the legacy of freedom and safety we enjoy as a result of sacrifices made by Australians in war.

Jo’s second book Tatiara (published in 2010) is about a girl and an injured seal who become friends in a sheltered bay. The book tells the story through words and pictures of how healing comes to each of them and the environment in which they live. Tatiara has a message of hope for young generations.

Pilgrim and Tatiara are both on the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge and have received great reviews.

The Light, released in 2013, is about a family living at Montague Island Lighthouse in the early 1900s where music draws them together and the lighthouse becomes a safe haven for others.

In February of last year Jo released her latest book, The Dreaming Tree, which is an illustrated book of poems for children.

Jo uses forms of printmaking to illustrate her books. Pilgrim uses linocuts, Tatiara dry point etching and The Light solar plate etching. The images are then hand painted in vibrant watercolour washes in the colours of the sea. When Jo shares her books with children she shows them how the illustrations are made.

Jo has worked as children’s librarian for many years and loves to share books with children. She was awarded the biannual Australian Library and Information Association Marjorie Cotton Award in 2004 for recognition of outstanding contribution to children and youth library services.

Jo is also researching the life and work of Jessie Traill, an Australian woman artist and printmaker.

Teachers Notes for Jo’s books are available here:

The Light