Books: Old and New

May 9, 2024
I’m Carl, a Jaru and Gija educator, sports coach and award-winning author from Halls Creek in the Kimberley. I have worked as an Aboriginal Education Officer (AEO) for over 20 years and I am a trained Youth Worker. This experience means that each book comes with comprehensive teaching resources (find them here). And I am a Level 3 AFL coach and have coached junior, womens and mens teams, as well as worked with Garnduwa Elite Sports Pathways, Gold Coast Suns and Brisbane Lions. A passion that is apparent in most of my books- but don’t worry, while sports is in every book, there is so many topics and depth meaning that even those who don’t like sports can appreciate them too.
I have written picture books, middle readers and YA books set in the outback with First Nations protagonists. My books have been read all over Australia (and even the world) and used in classrooms and libraries Australia wide. I have presented at teacher conferences, writers festivals, and in schools- about books and remote outback teaching.
My books include:
🥾🏉 My Deadly Boots (Lothian 2022), shortlisted for QLD Literary Awards, Speech Therapy Book of the Year Awards, is a picture book that explores life in the outback, self-esteem, identity, and connection.
🎾🏉 Blak&Write Fellowship winning Backyard Sports series published by Lothian Books: Backyard Footy (2023) and Backyard Tennis (out soon) are picture books about sports, friendship and community.
🦜🕊 This duo were shortlisted and won a variety of awards including: CBCA Honour Book and Daisy Utemorrah Award. Black Cockatoo (Magabala 2018) and Dirrarn (Magabala 2023) are short, accessible middle reader books written in Standard Australian English with Jaru and Aboriginal English words. Black Cockatoo is set on Jaru Country, and shows life of Year 6 First Nations girl, Mia, as she explores her place, connection and identity upon saving her totem animal. Dirrarn follows Year 7 Mia to Boorloo (Perth) where she attends boarding school overcoming homesickness, culture shock and learns to live two ways strong. Perfect for readers 10-14 in Grades 5-8 (depending on literacy levels and student needs).
👣🏉 Tracks of the Missing (Magabala 2022) is a Daisy Utemorrah shortlisted YA suspense thriller set in the outback that follows a teenage protagonist as he races against time… and something else… to find a busload of missing high school students. Perfect to be read by teens aged 13-18 or Grades 8-10.
This year I also have two books coming out:
🎾🎾Backyard Tennis (Lothian)
Tennis looks a little different for kids in the outback: the red dirt, the animals in the bushes and trees, the courts and net and grandstand. As the children hit around the ball, more and more neighbours pop their heads over to see what all the excitement is about, before taking the game to the whole community. This book shows the importance of friendship, community and sports. And serves as a great opportunity for young readers to learn about diversity, difference and First Nations lived experience. Each of the characters is a real life person from the outback- and one of my little relatives. This book can be read as a stand-alone text, or as the sequel to Backyard Footy. It is available for pre-order now for release in July.
🏉🏉Kimberley Kickers: Jy goes for gold (Harper Collins)
This is the first middle reader book in the Kimberley Kickers series with Harper Collins that showcases the real-life outback First Nations AFL and AFLW talent from Kimberley Western Australia. Best bit? This book is perfect for those who love AFL and those who don’t! The books are fun biographies of life growing up in the Kimberley: the bull-rides, camping trips, bush walks, swimming in ancient waterholes, hunting, fishing, rodeos, mustering and more. We get an insight into where these deadly players got their skills and edge. But also the challenges they had to overcome to play AFL and AFLW at an elite level. This book will be perfect for bookshelves in homes with readers aged 7-12, as well as primary libraries and classrooms.  The first book follows Gold Coast Suns star Jy Farrar and is available for pre-order and is released in September.
It’s been a busy 6 years of writing and sharing. But I am proud of what I have achieved with the support of some amazing people in my team: co-author Hakea Hustler, illustrators Dub Leffler and Samantha Campbell, agent Alex Adsett, editor and mentor Shel Sweeney from A Worded Life, publishing teams at Magabala, Lothian and Harper Collins, the real life people we based some of our books on, my family and community. Without which, none of this would have been possible.
Meanwhile, if you would like to connect more visit:

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