National Simultaneous Storytime 2014

National Simultaneous Storytime is an important annual campaign that aims to encourage more young Australians to read and enjoy books. Now in its 14th 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 Grades F to 6 and the pre-school Early Learning Years Framework.


About National Simultaneous Storytime

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.

By facilitating National Simultaneous Storytime 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;
  • 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.

In 2013 over 430,000 children at over 2,500 locations across Australia took part in National Simultaneous Storytime, reading the book The Wrong Book, written by Nick Bland and enjoying a range of supporting educational activities, songs, games, dress ups and lots of fun. Have a look at some of the highlights from our previous events.


Get involved

This year NSS takes place on Wednesday 21 May at 11am (AEST) and we would love it if you could join us by sharing Too Many Elephants in This House written by Ursula Dubosarsky and illustrated by Andrew Joyner.

Everyone can join NSS - it doesn't matter whether you are a home school, a public library or even a University Library!

Register to participate - it's free and we have some great activities and resources available to support your National Simultaneous Storytime event.

For more information about National Simultaneous Storytime contact ALIA's Events team.


About the book

We are delighted to announce that the 2014 National Simultaneous Storytime book is:

Too Many Elephants in This House

Written by: Ursula Dubosarsky

Illustrated by: Andrew Joyner

Published by Penguin Group

ISBN 978 0 670 0754 61

In Eric's house there were  too many elephants - in the living room, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, even in his bedroom! The elephants take up a lot of space, but Eric loves every one of them. So when his mum says they have to go, Eric comes up with a clever solution to a very BIG problem...

Please visit your local bookseller to buy Too Many Elephants in This House or click here to order your copy.


About the author

Ursula Dubosarsky is widely regarded as one of the most talented and original writers in Australia today. She is the author of many outstanding books, both for young adults and for children, and has won numerous awards for excellence. Abyssinia was winner of the 2004 South Australian Festival Award for Literature and was also shortlisted for NSW Premier's Literacy Award. In 2006  Theodora's Gift  won both the NSW and Victorian Premier's Awards. Ursula has a PhD in English Literature from Macquarie University and lives in Sydney with her family.

Her recent collaboration at Penguin with Tohby Riddle for The Word Spy and Return of the Word Spy, both of which also won major national awards, is already proving how prescient an author she is, with the current emphasis swinging back to teaching the basics of grammar in primary school.

Andrew Joyner is an internationally published illustrator and author.

His books include The Terrible Plop, written by Ursula Dubosarsky (Shortlisted, CBCA awards and Prime Minister's Literacy Awards, 2010) and the Boris series.

Boris gets a lizard was shortlisted in the 2011 Speech Pathology Awards and 

Ready, Set, Boris was a Notable book in the 2012 CBCA awards.

His most recent works include a new picture book with Ursula Dubosarsky, Too Many Elephants in this House, as well as two new Boris books, Boris on Show and Slow Down Boris. He lives in Strathalbyn, South Australia.



National Simultaneous Storytime 2014 is made possible by the generous support of our partners:

We would also like to thank the following for their support and assistance in bringing NSS to you:


Registrations for NSS 2014 have now closed. If you would like to receive notification when NSS 2015 registrations open please email Registration is free and will give you access to many fantastic resources to support your storytime.


Merchandise, resources and ideas for inspiration

We (with thanks to Ursula Dubosarsky, Andrew Joyner and Penguin Group) have made a number of resources available to support your National Simultaneous Storytime event.

All artwork, 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.


Print graphics – Flyer, Poster / Letterhead, Jigsaw puzzle

Web graphics –  Book Cover, Banner, Email signature, Facebook avatar, Facebook banner

Ideas for your event

Click here for great resources, songs and rhymes, activity and publicity ideas. 


Digital presentations of the book will be emailed to all registered participants Monday 19 May 2014. 

Please note that digital presentations of the book will be available only until Friday 23 May 2014.


ALIA National 2014 conference workshop - Want to get a sneak peak of the 2015 NSS book? Brought to you by Penguin Group, join us at the conference for a breakfast workshop to be the first to hear the announcement of the next book. This workshop will provide you with some great resources and ideas to support your NSS event and promote reading and literacy in your library or school. Registrations now open - register here.

SBS Radio translations - Do you speak or teach a language other than English?

This year we have partnered with SBS Radio to bring you Too Many Elephants in this House in 13 languages other than English!  SBS Radio are proud to be supporting National Simultaneous Storytime by creating audio books in 13 languages, to help NSS reach more Australian’s than ever before. You can access the audio book version of Too Many Elephants in this House in:

  • Arabic
  • Cantonese
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hindi
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Mandarin
  • Punjabi
  • Swahili
  • Somali
  • Vietnamese

Audio books will be available at from the 16 – 26 May

SBS also provided a video of various locations across Australia taking part in NSS and listening to the bilingual readings. Check it out below!



NIDA event - The National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) will be presenting a live version of Too Many Elephants in This House in Sydney during the week of National Simultaneous Storytime. Click here for details and tickets.

Story Box Library - Jane Kennedy Australian actress and producer is reading Too Many Elephants in this House with Story Box Library for NSS! Thanks to Story Box Library for making this amazing resource available to all our NSS participants.

For more information on Story Box Library and to watch the video please visit Story Box Library


Jane Kennedy with Too Many Elephants in this House, behind the scenes of Story Box Library. 










We have a range of bright and fun merchandise for the promotion of your NSS event.

  • Posters
  • Balloons
  • Stickers
  • Badges

Click here to order.

All prices include GST and postage. Members are entitled to discounted prices on merchandise orders so please log-in to purchase at the member price.

Please allow at least 5 working days (metropolitan areas) and 10 working days (regional areas) for delivery of items. Orders placed after 5 May 2014 cannot be guaranteed to arrive in time for Library and Information Week 2014.

Please visit your local bookseller to buy Too Many Elephants in this House or click here to order your copy.


Permissions from the publisher

Penguin Group have given the following permissions for National Simultaneous Storytime 2014:

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

  • Permission for participating organisations to present a translation of the book during the event with the condition that the translation is not printed or distributed and is used for the event only
  • Permission for participating organisations to present a dramatisation of the book with the condition that the presentation occurs only in connection with the event
  • Permission for participating organisations to have an interpreter translate and read the book in another language with the condition that the presentation occurs only in connection with the event
  • Permission for participating organisations to use an image of the book cover for NSS 2014 promotion
  • Permission for participating organisation to use the digital presentations of the book provided by ALIA for NSS 2014 storytelling. Please note that digital presentations of the book will be available only until Friday 24 May 2014.

Text of the book can be used in the following ways:

  • Presented as a readers' theatre
  • Presented as a story telling
  • Presented as a puppet show
  • Translated for multicultural storytimes
  • Inspiration for activity sheets and lesson plans

For any other use of the book in conjunction with National Simultaneous Storytime 2014 please contact ALIA's Events team.


Previous NSS events

The first National Simultaneous Storytime 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. 2013 was our most successful NSS to date with 430000 participants at over 2500 locations.


Wrap up

We loved hearing about your NSS participation through wonderful stories and photos, here are some of the 2014 highlights from across Australia.