Today Sue Walker is back at Kids’ Book Capers to talk about how she wrote her new junior fiction book, Arnie Avery.

Sue, can you tell us what your new book is about?

Arnie Avery is about your typical 13 year old boy.  He has a sense of humour, he likes riding his bike, and he likes being with his friends.  But he also has a few serious problems – one is his family, and the other is the school bully, Jacko.

I think the story demonstrates that no matter how tough things might seem…you can turn your life around.

What age groups is it for?

The story is suitable for children 8-12 years, but the content and style would also be appropriate for older, reluctant readers.

Why will kids like it?

I think kids (particularly boys) enjoy stories with action and characters they can relate to.  Arnie Avery has both, as well as a sprinkling of humour and a couple of twists that should keep kids reading.  Plus there’s a mix of strong male and female characters.

What do you like about your main character, Arnie?

13 year old Arnie is funny and he’s small for his age, but what I like most about him is his courage. Even though he’s going through a tough time, he overcomes his fears to triumph in the end.

Are there any teacher’s notes, or associated activities with the book?

Yes.  Teachers can find notes on the Walker Books website (

Some important themes and values in Arnie Avery include – treating people fairly, friendship and loyalty, and family support.

Is there something that sets this book apart from others?

Arnie’s distinctive voice speaks directly to young readers and kids will quickly be drawn into his world.

The problems Arnie faces are serious, but he tackles them head-on with a strength kids will admire.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The thing I enjoyed most was developing the relationship between Arnie and his best friend Belly.

They’re great mates and they made me laugh often, especially Belly with his huge appetite.

Sue Walker has written almost twenty books for children. You can find out more about Sue and her books at


Sue Walker is the author of numerous titles for children. Her book Tilly’s Treasure is part of the award-winning Aussie Nibbles series, and Best Friends is a Children’s Book Council Notable Book.

Many of Sue’s poems, articles, and short stories have appeared in children’s magazines, and her books have featured in the Premier’s Reading Challenge.  Sue lives in Sydney with her husband, three children, and a scruffy white dog.

Some writers are born, others don’t discover they are writers until later in life.

Sue Walker is one of those people who has ‘always been a writer.

As a child I kept a journal and I loved writing letters to friends, but it wasn’t until I had children and was reintroduced to children’s books, that I started taking writing seriously.

Initially I was drawn to picture books because of their combination of rhythmic language and beautiful illustrations.  They’re still my focus, but I’ve written chapter books, non-fiction, and more recently, a junior novel.

Sue’s favourite books as a child were ones about children who went on exciting adventures. She has been on many adventures herself including climbing the world’s highest mountain and diving in the ocean with sharks. But Sue says,

The most exciting thing I’ve ever done is writing stories for children.

Like many writers, Sue had a number of jobs  before she became an author. She says her first job was horrid, working at a cemetery, making labels to put on boxes of ashes.

Sue’s junior novel, Arnie Avery was released by Walker Books this month. Although she is the author of around 20 books, she says that Arnie Avery holds a special place in her heart.

Little snippets of my own childhood seem to have found their way into Arnie’s story.  An important scene at the pool came from my past, but I don’t want to give too much away.

Sue spent some time in Malaysia as a child and went to preschool on the edge of a jungle. At lunch time she used to watch the monkeys swinging in the trees. Later, when the family moved to Goulburn in NSW she spent a lot of time exploring the bush with her brother and sister and their dog, Mitzie. Clearly she has always been a writer and an adventurer at heart.

On Wednesday, Sue is coming back to Kids’ Book Capers to talk about her new junior fiction novel Arnie Avery. She’ll talk about the inspiration behind her book and what she enjoyed most about writing it.