Sutton, Sally

Sutton, Sally


Primary publisher
Walker Books Australia
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In Brief

Sally Sutton writes picture books, children’s novels, readers and plays. She has been a writer since 1996, and began to be widely published in New Zealand and abroad in 2006. Roadworks (Walker Books Australia, 2008) won the picture book section of the 2009 New Zealand Book Awards For Children And Young Adults, and Construction became a finalist in the 2015 awards of the same name.


    Sutton, Sally (1973 – ) is a writer of picture books, children’s novels, readers and plays. Born in Auckland, she has worked as a writer since 1996.

    Sutton’s first publications were two readers for Learning Media, titled My Brother (2003) and My Sister (2005). Her first trade publication was ‘A’ is for All Black, illustrated by Scott Pearson (Reed, 2006). This was deemed the “perfect book for teaching children their ABC using unique New Zealand icons” by Tots to Teens magazine (Feb/March 2007). Sutton continued her native theme with Crazy Kiwi Tops and Tails, illustrated by Dave Gunson (Penguin, 2006).

    Each of her publications has been enjoyed by reviewers, with Charlotte Frisbee and the Slime Attack, illustrated by Philip Webb (Penguin, 2007), described as a “witty tale with clever wordplay… and a charming conclusion.” (Trevor Agnew, Magpies, August 2008).

    Roadworks, illustrated by Brian Lovelock (Walker Books, 2008), won Best Picture Book at the 2009 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and was listed as a 2009 Storylines Notable Picture Book. Roadworks targets children who are engaged and fascinated by all the sights, sounds, and action to be found at roadworks. Sutton says of her work: “For me, language is music. I want my books to sound good!”

    Graham Beattie calls Roadworks “a little cracker. Unashamedly aimed at littlies, pre-schoolers, […] it is a short but entertaining read aloud story, poetic in style […] a sure fire winner.” (Beattie’s Book Blog, 2008). Roadworks has been published in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Korea, and the USA.

    Mahiara (Walker Books, 2010) is the Māori edition of Roadworks.

    Sally’s series of junior novels about native animals, all illustrated by Dave Gunson, were published by Scholastic, and are titled as follows: Diary of a Pukeko (2011), Diary of a Bat (2012), Diary of a Frog (2013) and Diary of a Sea Lion (2013).

    Later picture books include Farmer John’s Tractor (Walker Books, 2012), a 2013 Storylines Notable Picture Book illustrated by Robyn Delton, Demolition (Walker Books, 2013), a 2013 Storylines Notable Picture Book illustrated by Brian Lovelock, Ben and the Icky-Ooky-Sticky-Smick (Walker Books, 2013) illustrated by Gary Venn, and Catch That Plane! (Walker Books, 2014) illustrated by Sylvie Currin Korankova.

    Construction (illustrated by Brian Lovelock), the next instalment in the same series that oversaw Roadworks and Demolition, was published in September 2014 by Walker Books. Construction became a Storylines Notable Picture Book in 2015 and was a finalist in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults during that same year.

    Zoo Train (Walker Books), illustrated by Daron Parton, was released in June 2015. The picture book presents the story of a boy’s train trip through the zoo, picturesque and peaceful until it is derailed by the naughty behaviour of a group of monkeys.

    When We Go Camping is one of Sutton’s most recent picture book publications, illustrated in watercolour by Cat Chapman. The hardback version was published in 2016 (Walker Books), accompanied by a paperback version in 2017 (Walker Books). Faye Lougher from Booksellers describes the book as following “a family camping trip and the trials, tribulations and excitement of a holiday in the outdoors.” Its onomatopoeic refrain makes it a great book to read aloud to children.

    Also published in 2017, Ambulance, Ambulance! illustrated by Brian Lovelock,is Sutton’s ninth picture book for Walker Books Australia.

    2017 also saw the launch of the junior fiction series Miniwings, published by Scholastic and illustrated by Kirsten Richards. This series follows the adventures of two sisters and their secret herd of tiny, naughty, talking, flying horses. The first three books appeared in 2017, entitled Miniwings: Glitterwing’s Book Week Blunder; Miniwings: Whizz’s Internet Oopsie and Miniwings: Oceana’s Kitty Catastrophe. Miniwings: Firestorm’s Musical Muck-Up; Miniwings: Comet’s Cross-Country Crime and Miniwings: Moonlight’s High Tea Hiccup are scheduled for release in 2018. The My Best Friends are Books review series described the first two books as “perfect for young readers who are just getting in to chapter books. These fun, engaging stories are sure to hook young readers on books for life.”

    Sutton currently resides in Auckland.


    ● Review of Roadworks on Beattie’s Book Blog

    ● Review of Roadworks on Boomerang Books, reproduced from the Australian Bookseller and Publisher magazine

    ● Review of Roadworks on The Book Chook

    ● Sally Sutton's Website

    ● Review of When We Go Camping on Booksellers: The Reader

    ● Review of Miniwings: Glitterwing’s Book Week Blunder and Miniwings: Whizz’s Internet Oopsie on My Best Friends are Books

Updated September 2017.