Paul Russell is a primary teacher, artist, playwright and children’s author with titles including Grandma Forgets, which made the CBCA list of notable picture books in 2018. He is passionate about the place of imagination and daydreaming in children’s learning. He has a daughter who would rather be a princess or a dragon than a regular school student and he is grateful to teachers who embrace this in her education.
Nicky Johnston is a primary educator, speaker and children’s book author and illustrator. Passionate about raising awareness of the importance of children’s emotional well-being, Nicky has written books to help children deal with anxiety and develop resilience. She is an experienced public speaker and presents at parent forums, seminars and conferences. Her illustration style is described as whimsical, playful, narrative, emotive and dreamy. She works mainly in watercolor, ink and pencil. She also produces work digitally using a variety of illustration software. Nicky’s first children’s book Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts! was adapted into a theatrical production. For five years the show has been performed at primary schools throughout Victoria, educating children dealing with anxiety and helping to develop a healthy resilience. For four years, Nicky was the Creative Director of 52-week Illustration Challenge Facebook group. This online Illustration Challenge inspires a community of artists and illustrators to create artwork using weekly theme prompts while providing a safe and encouraging environment for personal artistic development.