Libby Hathorn

Libby Hathorn is an award winning poet and author of more than fifty books for children and young people, as well as books for adults. Translated into several languages and adapted for stage and screen, her work has won honours in Australia, United States, Great Britain and Holland.

She was a National Ambassador for the National Year of Reading in Australia in 2012, and a judge for the NSW Premier’s Literature Awards, 2013.  As an Australia Day Ambassador Libby visits country towns each year to celebrate Australian literature, especially poetry, and give workshops to interested writers.

Libby is a keen educator, has lectured part-time at Sydney University; is a guest at conferences and writers’ festivals such as the Ubud Writers’ Festival, 2012; and is devoted to poetry and to ‘spreading the word’ about poetry. This includes working in public institutions e.g. with the Powerhouse as well as the NSW State Library.


Poetry Publications

Suitable for Primary

The ABC Book of Australian Poetry. A treasury of poems for young people, compiled by Libby Hathorn with illustrations by Cassandra Allen. (ABC/Harper Collins, 2010)

Talks with my Skateboard written by Libby Hathorn and illustrated by Matt Mawson  (ABC Books,1991 )o.p.

Picture Books in Verse

A Baby for Loving written by Libby Hathorn and illustrated by Tamsin Ainslie (Hardie Grant Egmont/Little Hare, 2014)

Outside written by Libby Hathorn and illustrated by Ritva Voutila  (Hardie Grant Egmont/Little Hare, 2014)

A Boy Like Me written by Libby Hathorn and illustrated by Bruce Whatley (ABC/ Harper Collins, 2012)

Magical Ride written by Libby Hathorn and illustrated by Gary Fleming (Hodder Headline, 1999)o.p.

Suitable for High School

Women’s Work: a collection of Contemporary women’s Poetry, compiled by Libby Hathorn and Rachael Bailey (Pax Press, 2013)

Vietnam Reflections written by Libby Hathorn, (Pax Press, 2009)

Volcano Boy; a verse novel,( Lothian 2001)o.p.

Heard Singing. Life Cycle poems by Libby Hathorn a limited edition (Out of India/Pax Press 1998)



Suitable for Primary audience

The Teacher took my Tennis Ball

The teacher took my tennis ball,

She took it for the day

Just because it broke some glass

She said I couldn’t play.


I’d like to do the same with her

When I think she goes too far-

‘Miss Jones,’ I’d like to say to her,

I’m going to take your car.


No, Miss Jones I’m sorry

You’re not allowed to borrow-

And if you’re really, really good

You’ll get it back tomorrow!


First published in Talks with my Skateboard (ABC Books)


Suitable for high school audience

Beyond the Breakers

Sea song for John


In his arms lying in softest water,

The crowning sky the arc of palest blue,

Allowing all the sun there is,

In his arms, her arms entwined

Feet pointing down,

All the fishes in the world,

All the caves and corals

And all the altering depths

There at her feet,

Her pointing down feet.


In his arms lying in softest water,

Out there, out there beyond the waves,

Beyond the bathers too, laughing and calling,

Rising and falling in his arms,

In that gentle, swelling, fathomless place

Watchful with such salt-rimmed eyes

Of each other, in that profound sea,

Only two, the only two, becalmed

In a shining world without horizon.

First published in Heard Singing (Out of India/Pax Press)


More about Libby

Libby’s latest stories include A Boy Like Me: a story about peace, illus Bruce Whatley, 2012, young adult novel Fire Song (ABC Books, Highly Commended in Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, 2010) and Women’s Work, a collection of contemporary women’s poetry, (Pax Press 2013).

Her best-selling novel Thunderwith was a CBCA Honour Book and was re-titled The Echo of Thunder as a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie starring Judy Davis who was nominated for an Emmy for her performance as Gladwyn.

Libby wrote the text for Way Home with illustrations by Greg Rogers that won the Kate Greenaway in the UK as well as
Parents’ Choice in the US.

Libby is currently working on a World War 1 historical novel entitled Eventual Poppy Day (Harper Collins) to be released in March 2015. Her latest picture books are: A Baby for Loving and  Outside! (Hardie Grant Egmont/Little Hare, 2014).

One thought on “Libby Hathorn

  1. Dear Libby Hathorn,
    I am in Year 3 and am doing drama classes. My teacher Trish Morrison has given us your poem “The teacher took my tennis ball” and I LOVE it! Why did you write it? Did something inspire you to write it?
    From Isobel.

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