ALIA National Simultaneous Storytime 2021

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National Simultaneous Storytime is back for its 21st year! Join us on Wednesday 19 May 2021 at 11:00am as we blast off into space!


                                                                                  Till Lift Off! Please note the above countdown is in AEST


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 public 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. 

Storytime From Space


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 astronauts 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 BuntingEveryone 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  - (it's free)

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.


Give me some Space!


"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 




Science Time From Space


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 emulating the heat balances between the sun/Earth/space. 

The science concept shown will be that changing the surface of Earth results in changes to this balance. The experiment will utilise space data and a citizen science component, where students around Australia will collect temperature data. This data will be used to map the temperature of Australia. 

Please note, the experiment videos will only be shared with registered participants. 



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!

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! 


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


Digital presentations of the book will be emailed to all registered participants on Monday 19 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 - Flyer, Letterhead

Web graphics - Book cover, Banner, Email signature, Social media tile

Activity ideas

Stay tuned  to our NSS partner cleverpatch to see what wonderful and creative ideas they have in store for NSS2021. 

Teacher notes

Coming soon - teacher notes, discussion notes and activity ideas from Scholastic Australia.

Teaching Resources & Activities 

Visit our NSS partner Learn From Play to download teaching resources & activities. 

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 friend already have an entire unit on space. There are some unique resources that makes learning about the solar system fun and includes all the planets, the moon, stars, star signsm astronomy, soace words and room display. 

check it out here. 


Our friends at cleverpatch have some great space resources to get you started on your intergalactic NSS2021 journey.

Check it all out 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.

ALIA policy is that merchandise will not be sent prior to payment being received, should this be of concern to you please contact

International participants should email their order to 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.

Please click here to view the highlights of NSS2020.

We love hearing about your NSS events! Please send your stories, photos and videos to

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.