Melodic prose

ACCLAIMED children’s books will get a new musical lease of life at six unique concerts in Fremantle.

The Sound of Picture Books combines music, visual images and narration to completely immerse kids in the world unfolding on the page.

The concerts were the brainchild of artist and musician Matt Ottley, who illustrated How To Make a Bird, the winner of the 2021 Prime Minister’s Literary Award and the 2021 Children’s Book Council Picture Book of the Year. 

At the concerts, How to Make a Bird author Meg McKinlay will read from the book, accompanied by beautiful images and eight WASO musicians playing Ottley’s bespoke score.

Suitable for year 4-6 and secondary students, How To Make a Bird follows the protagonist as she contemplates the blueprint of an idea and collects the things that inspire the natural world to shape a bird.

She breathes life into it before letting it fly free. Small things, combined with imagination and heart, transform into works of magic.

Ottley has also composed music for the children’s book Afloat In Venice, an engaging adventure story set in the historic city. It’s ultimately a heartwarming tale that touches on the value of friendship. The book is suitable for pre-primary to year four students.

At the events, Ottley will also shares some of his composition techniques and his journey from story to score. 

• Artist Matt Ottley (above) has created a new immersive approach to storytelling.

An acclaimed artist, author and composer, Ottley has more than thirty picture books to his name including the ground breaking multi-modal Requiem for a Beast, which won the Queensland Premier’s Award for YA Literature.

The Sound of Picture Books is at The Literature Centre, corner of Hampton Rd and Knutsford St, Fremantle from September 7-14. For session times and more info see

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