ALIA National Simultaneous Storytime 2021

Thank you to everyone who participated in NSS 2021. We had an amazing 1,980,280 readers at 33,418 locations. We hope to see you all again next year!

View images on our NSS Wrap up page

National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS) is held annually by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). Every year a picture book, written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator, is read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the country. Now in its 21st successful year, it is a colourful, vibrant, fun event that aims to promote the value of reading and literacy, using an Australian children's book that explores age-appropriate themes, and addresses key learning areas of the National Curriculum for Foundation to Year 6.

By facilitating NSS we aim to:

  • promote the value of reading and literacy,
  • promote the value and fun of books,
  • promote an Australian writer and publisher,
  • promote storytime activities in libraries and communities around the country,
  • and provide opportunities to involve parents, grandparents, the media and others to participate in and enjoy the occasion.

NSS receives positive media coverage, generates a great deal of community interest and is held annually as part of Library and Information Week. 2020 was our biggest and most successful NSS to date with over 1,297,000 participants at over 14,469 locations, including participants from New Zealand, Thailand, UK, Canada, Singapore, Vietnam and Hong Kong. 

What do we look for in the National Simultaneous Storytime book?

Each year, interested publishers send in possible titles. From a practical perspective, the publisher has to be able and willing to provide copyright release for use of the illustrations, book projection, translation into other languages and performance. The publisher also needs to commit to a special print run of several thousand copies. This narrows down the options. The criteria for choosing from the remaining books include: a positive storyline; appeal to a modern and diverse audience; suitability for read-aloud (language and length); how well the book lends itself to craft and other activities.

NSS 2021 will be the fourth year we are joined by LIANZA to bring NSS to our New Zealand colleagues. 

Imagine astronauts reading stories from space to school children & families in an exciting new program that combines literature with science! 

ALIA along with Scholastic, the Australian Space Agency and the Office of the Chief Scientist invites you to join us for an intergalactic experience with the NSS 2021 book being read by the astronaut Dr Shannon Walker from the International Space Station.

We would also like to thank Story Time From Space for this wonderful initiative and for making NSS 2021 out of this world. 

This year NSS takes place on Wednesday 19 May 2021 at 11:00am from the International Space Station and we would love it if you could join us by sharing Give Me Some Space written and illustrated by Philip Bunting. Everyone can join NSS, it doesn't matter whether you are at home, a school, a public library or even a university library! 

Register to participate - Registrations have closed

On Monday 17 May 2021 we will send you a variety of electronic downloads to support your NSS event. Please note, digital presentations of the book will only be available until Friday 21 May 2021.

"Una dreams of a life in Space. Life on Earth is just so so-so. But how will she get there? And will she complete her mission to discover life in Space? And did she remember to feed Neil the goldfish?"

Written and Illustrated by Philip Bunting.

Published By: Scholastic Australia

Visit Scholastic Australia's website to purchase your copy of the book.

Philip Bunting is an author and illustrator, with a soft spot for creating picture books for sleep-deprived, time-poor, raisin-encrusted parents (and their children).

Philip's work deliberately encourages playful interaction between the reader and child, allowing his books to create a platform for genuine intergenerational engagement and fun.

He believes that the more fun the child has during their early reading experiences, the more likely they will be to return to books, improve their emergent literacy skills, and later find joy in reading and learning. 

Philip's books have been translated into multiple languages, and published in over 25 countries around the world. Since his first book was published in 2017, Philip has received multiple accolades, including Honours from the Children's Book Council of Australia, and making the list for the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2018. 

You can find out more about Philip by visiting his website.

ALIA, along with the Australian Space Agency and The Office of the Chief Scientist, and with help from Science Time From Space, is very excited to be able to bring an additional science and educational component to NSS 2021 - a science demonstration conducted by astronauts on the International Space Station emulating the heat balances between the sun/Earth/space. 

The experiment is designed to shed some light on the important issue of climate change. The science concept shown will be that changing the surface of Earth results in changes to sun/earth/space heat balance. When we change the surface of the Earth from tress, oceans and dirt to concrete, bare fields and roads and increase the CO2 levels in the atmosphere, we change the temperate on Earth and its atmosphere.

The experiment will utilise space data and a citizen science component, where students around Australia will collect temperature data and share this data. This, along with satellite data, will be used to map the temperature of Australia.  Astronauts will conduct a similar experiment on the International Space Station. They will use heat sources and a ball to represent earth and show how changes to the surface of the balls result in different temperature on the balls. This experiment will be shared by video so that NSS participants can see the results and how that reflects their own experiments.

Please note, the experiment videos will only be shared with registered participants. You just need to register for NSS to participate.

What do you need to do?  It’s simple, head outside on the morning of Wednesday 12 May 2021 & record the temperature at your location.  To record your findings simply head to this link to record your data. Your average will then be recorded along with other NSS participants. Satellite observations will also be recorded on this date to compare the data collected from the experiment & that collected by the satellite to work out an average temperature in Australia at that time.  The team over at Science Time from Space will be collecting the data collated by the astronauts on the International Space Station and providing a video of the experiment, outlining what the astronaut found comparing it to what NSS participants found and what this all means.  We will share the information collected and the astronaut experiment video with all registered NSS participants after the event.

You can read more about the experiment and how you can get involved here.

You can watch some other experiments from the ISS here.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a question to an astronaut along with your experiment results. There were so many of you all interested to learning all about space. Take a look at the answers to the most common questions asked. 

Publishing partner

NSS 2021 is made possible by the generous support of our publishing partner Scholastic Australia.

Official Sponsors

"The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Commonwealth of Australia does not accept responsibility for any information or advice contained herein."

Official supporters

We also thank our official NSS supporters for their help in providing NSS participants amazing resources.

Interested in all things space? Check out some of these exciting and interesting links to help you with your intergalactic adventure.

Una is in space! Did you see the the book launch into space on 3 October? Take a look at the NASA site for the video of the exciting launch of Give me some Space!

You can see Una’s home from your very own home. See how you can spot the International Space Station from your very own window without a telescope.

Ever wondered what Earth looks like from space - in real-time?

Check out Earth Live Webcam. Live streaming views from the NASA High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) cameras on the International Space Station (ISS). 

What about the moon? Ever wondered what Neil Armstrong saw when he stepped onto the Moon surface in 1969?

Check out Moon Webcam. Live Moon Webcam brought to you by the Japanese SELENE Lunar Orbiter spacecraft also known as Kaguya. This video stream allows you to see the contrast between the bright and dark areas of the lunar surface, full of impact craters, hills and depressions, as well as the Earth rising above the horizon of the Moon. 

10 years of the Sun. Watch a 10-Year Time Lapse of the Sun From NASA's SDO.

Ever wanted to see what you would look like as an Astronaut? Why not take a NASA Selfie

NASA Space Place. A fun place to explore earth and space! 

Think you could be an astronaut like Una? Why not test your skills. ABC Education have a bunch of fun resources to see if you (or your budding astronauts) what what it takes.


Pop Rocket

Try this experiment to make your own gas-propelled rocket at home!

*All experiments should be conducted with adult supervision. 

We (with thanks to Philip Bunting and Scholastic Australia) have made a number of resources available to support your NSS event. All artworks, downloads and digital presentations are licensed for use only in conjunction with NSS events and activities. Please see the permissions from the publisher below for more information.  Keep your eye on the Scholastic website and catalogues for more support and fun ways to participate in this important event:


Digital presentations of the book will be emailed to all registered participants on Monday 17 May 2021, please ensure that you register before then to receive all resources. Please note: digital presentations of the book will only be available until Friday 21 May 2021.


Print graphics - FlyerLetterhead

Web graphics - Book coverBannerEmail signatureSocial media tile

Teaching Resources & Activity Ideas 

Teacher notes

Teacher notes, discussion notes and activity ideas from Scholastic Australia.

The Australian Space Agency

The Australian Space Agency has some fun and educational learning resources including colouring in for primary school students and educational pathways for secondary students. 

You can find all these wonderful resources here. 

Learn From Play

Our Learn From Play friends have some incredible resources available. Be sure to check it all out on their website

They are also running running a colouring-in competition. With over $2200 worth of prizes to be won - be sure to download your colouring-in sheet and get colouring! 


It's here! The cleverpatch NSS ebook is now available to download! Cleverpatch are very excited to bring you lots of wonderful, creative and intergalactic crafts.

Be sure to check it out here. 

Cleverpatch have also created loads of great craft resources for this year's space theme.

Find all these out of this world ideas right here.

We have a range of merchandise to help you promote and plan your NSS event. Posters, stickers, badges and lots of other fun items now available in the ALIA Shop.

Please place your order prior to Wednesday 5 May 2021 to ensure delivery of your items prior to NSS. Merchandise will not be sent prior to payment being received. Please contact [email protected] if you need to make a special arrangement. International participants should email their order to [email protected]. Additional postage charges will apply to all international orders. 

Scholastic Australia and the author Philip Bunting have given the below permissions for NSS 2021.

On all occasions the below permissions will be limited to only the date of the event and to publicity surrounding the event:

  • Registered participants may use the provided PDF of the book on whiteboards and/or projection screens.
  • Registered participants may present a reader's theatre dramatisation of the book with the condition that the presentation occurs only in connection with the event. The dramatisation may be live streamed and/or downloaded to YouTube or school intranet sites or via podcast.
  • Registered participants may present the book as a puppet show with the condition that the presentation occurs only in connection with the event. The dramatisation may be live streamed and/or downloaded to YouTube or school intranet sites or via podcast.
  • Registered participants may present the book as a storytelling with the condition that the presentation occurs only in connection with the event. The dramatisation may be live streamed and/or downloaded to YouTube or school intranet sites or via podcast.
  • Registered participants may have an interpreter translate and read the book in another language with the condition that the presentation occurs only in connection with the event.
  • Registered participants may use an image of the book cover for NSS promotion.
  • Registered participants may use the printed or electronic materials provided by ALIA for promotion provided materials are not altered. All promotions should reference ALIA as the event organiser.
  • Permission for participating organisations to use the digital presentations of the book provided by ALIA for NSS storytelling.

All permissions and resources apply for the period of Monday 17 May 2021 until and including Friday 21 May 2021 only.

For any other use of the book in conjunction with NSS 2021 please contact ALIA's Events team.

We love hearing about your NSS events! Please send your stories, photos and videos to [email protected].

Don't forget to join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #NSS2021 and #1millionkidsreading.

The first NSS was held during Library and Information Week 2001. From 2002 - 2007 NSS took place during National Literacy and Numeracy Week. In 2008, due to popular demand, NSS returned to Library and Information Week with great success and continues to attract a wide audience from around Australia.

  • 2020 - Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas by Lucinda Gifford
  • 2019 - Alpacas with Maracas by Matt Cosgrove
  • 2018 - Hickory Dickory Dash by Tony Willson and illustrated by Laura Wood
  • 2017 - The Cow Tripped over the Moon by Tony Wilson and illustrated by Laura Wood
  • 2016 - I Got This Hat by Jol and Kate Temple and illustrated by Jon Foye
  • 2015 - The Brothers Quibble by Aaron Blabey
  • 2014 - Too Many Elephants in this House by Ursula Dubosarsky and illustrated by Andrew Joyner
  • 2013 - The Wrong Book by Nick Bland
  • 2012 - The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland
  • 2011 - Feathers for Phoebe by Rod Clement
  • 2010 - Little White Dogs Can't Jump by Bruce Whatley and Rosie Smith and illustrated by Bruce Whatley
  • 2009 - Pete the Sheep by Jackie French and illustrated by Bruce Whatley
  • 2008 - Arthur written by Amanda Graham and illustrated by Donna Gynell
  • 2007 - The Magic Hat written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Tricia Tusa
  • 2006 - Good night, Me by Andrew Daddo and illustrated by Emma Quay
  • 2005 - Wombat Stew by Marcia K Vaughan and Pamela Lofts
  • 2004 - Muddled-up Farm written by Mike Dumbleton and illustrated by Jobi Murphy
  • 2003 - I don't want to go to school written by Christine Harris and illustrated by Craig Smith  
  • 2002 - Mrs Wilkinson's Chooks by Leone Peguero and Mike Spoor
  • 2001 - Edward the Emu written by Sheena Knowles and illustrated by Rod Clement

For more information about National Simultaneous Storytime, contact the ALIA team.