Tina Matthews

Andrew Daddo

Tina Matthews writes and illustrates her picture books. Her most recent book, So Many Wonderfuls, is a gentle story told in rhyming verse taking the reader on a wander through one town and the many wonderful experiences it has to offer one and all.

A Great Cake (2012) was a finalist in the picture book category for the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards and won the LIANZA Russell Clark award for illustration. A Great Cake is about the simple pleasures of cooking and imaginative play and, like Tina’s other books, is supported by extensive Teacher Resources on the Walker Books Australia website.

Waiting for Later, published in 2011, is about exploring nature, learning independence, love of family and change of season. Nancy wants someone to play with but everyone is too busy to play now and wants her to wait until later. “The language is delicious, the slightly retro illustrations deceptively full of kid-friendly detail and there’s a parallel storyline in silhouettes under the text. This will become a classic.”- NZ Listener

Waiting for Later was shortlisted for the QLD Premier’s Literary Awards, The NZ Post Children’s Book Awards and  LIANZA’s Russell Clark Award for illustration.

Tina’s first book, Out of the Egg, was published in 2007 by both Walker Books Australia and Houghton Mifflin Books. It was awarded the Best First Book Award in the 2008 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards and was listed in the CBCA Notable Australian Children’s Books in 2008. Out of the Egg has been translated into French and Hebrew. “An appealing twist on an old favourite.” – Time Out New York Kids

As well as being an author Tina has worked in children’s theatre and television as a puppet maker, designer and a writer. She began by working in theatre in education for the QEII Arts Council in New Zealand. When she moved to Australia she trained in puppetry with the Marionette Theatre of Australia and continued to work with them for many years. Tina has also worked for the Bell Shakespeare Company and Theatre of Image.

Film and television experience began in 1984 with a job in London on Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and since then Tina has worked extensively for ABC TV on shows including The Ferals and Bananas in Pyjamas and more recently with Blink Films and the Umbilical Brothers on The Upside Down Show.

Tina has taught puppetry at Nida in the Theatre Crafts course for many years. She is the designer and producer of the best selling Black and White Baby Mobile for newborn babies. She distributes it herself and has sold over 20,000 copies.

Sessions for schools


A good session for visual literacy themes.

Let’s look at books without words, books without pictures, tall books and tiny ones, e-books and ABC books, homemade and bestsellers and find out the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of them.

This is a talk with power point pictures of preliminary drawings, page plans, work tools and spaces, stencils, pencils, tracings and much more besides. In addition there are real woodblocks and ‘zines’, proofs and original prints to show and pass around. In question time we consider ways of making pictures including those in the author’s own books and the various essential parts of a book.

The talk includes a reading of one or two of Tina’s picture books and a demonstration of how to make a ‘zine’ out of an A4 page and put a hard cover on it in 5 minutes flat!

That’s Not A Real Book is suitable for several classes in a library or can be a ‘workshop’ in a classroom with teachers assisting. It can be directed to K-6 classes or adapted for Years 7 and 8 picture book units.
40-80 minutes


A good session for environmental themes.

Let’s talk about worlds – the big one we all live in, the little ones we inhabit at school and at home and the ideal ones, big and small.

First we will go on a Take Five walk in our imaginations (while music plays) then together we wonder and talk about five things we could take from the environment to put in the rubbish, or to reuse or to recycle and how our doing this would change our world. And about five wonderful things we saw or smelt or felt or heard or tasted on our walk.

We will discuss the sort of things that wash away into the rivers and sea, or seep into the land or fill the air and the environmental consequences and look at the difference kinds of waste and toxins and how we can clean up and minimize our use of those things.

Everyone draws five things from their Take Five walk then cuts them out. These things will be glued onto five picture templates illustrated by the author. As a group we make a six page concertina book from these template pages. The finished Take Five Walk Book illustrates a world which gets better and more beautiful on every page, as a result of the changes we have made in our rubbish and waste reduction.

Requires classroom teacher’s participation. 50-80 minutes.

Would be suitable for artist/author-in-residence program.

A session on drama, art, construction, story telling themes.

Puppets can be made out of almost anything but in this workshop we will learn essential construction techniques using paper bags, newspaper, string and paper tape.

Students will follow a simple puppet ‘recipe’ to make characters from stories they have read or for plays the class has written or adapted. Explores new ways of telling stories and presents the possibility of performance or of using photos of the puppet characters as pictures in a class story book.

Suitable for Year 3 + and requires participation of teacher.
Would be suitable for artist/author-in-residence program.
80 minutes minimum.


Everyone can make a book- even if you’re not sure what to put inside it.

This workshop looks at the basic construction of a book, the particular planning involved in making a picture book – one which tells the story through words and pictures – the names of the various parts and pages of the book and the different qualities of a handmade book and a mass produced best seller.

We will look at different construction, illustration, and reproduction techniques. Each student will make a page plan for their book, then a ‘rough’ version and finally a hard cover zine in which they will eventually print their story. By making copies we will produce a collection of new books for the class or school library.

Years 3-8 with class teacher participation required.
Would be suitable for artist/author-in-residence to involve whole school.
90-120 minutes