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Nicky Johnston
Author | Illustrator | Prep- Grade 6

Nicky Johnston is an award-winning author and illustrator of over thirty books for children including 2023 Shortlisted book Jørn’s Magnificent Imagination, 2022 Honor book Amira’s Suitcase and 2022 Speech Pathology book of the Year The Incredibly Busy Mind of Bowen Batholomew Crisp.

Nicky’s illustration style is often described as whimsical, playful, narrative, emotive and colourful. She loves to work in watercolour, ink, pencils, pastel, and printing techniques.

Her illustration workshops are fun, engaging and give students hands on success at all levels. She shares her love of visual storytelling and inspires the students to stretch themselves. She is passionate about working with young children, encouraging them to use their imagination and develop their own ideas.

Books by Nicky Johnston

COMING SOON! Cubby Hunting

Best Suited 4-7 Years
Little Max has little legs, little feet and little steps.
When Rosie, Izzy and Georgi go cubby hunting, little Max wants to go too but he can’t keep up with his friends. Max soon finds himself lost and alone.
But what else will he find?

Cubby Hunting is a universal story about a young child who isn’t quite tall enough or strong enough just yet but tries desperately to keep up. It’s a gentle story that navigates growing up and celebrates that we can all excel in different ways.


Millie: The Cutest Puppy in the World Book 1: New Home

Best Suited 5-9 Years
Millicent-Mae Moonbeam-White was quite the tiniest little fluffy white puppy that had ever been left on the doorstep at St Bernard’s Home for Little Lost Dogs.

COMING SOON! Millie: The Cutest Puppy in the World Book 2: Dance Concert

Best Suited 5-9 Years
Millicent-Mae Moonbeam-White was the kindest, cutest, most helpful of puppies, and she loved to dance. Millie is a tiny fluffy puppy with an ink-black nose and great big honey-brown eyes. She loves going to Miss Sparrow’s School of Dance, and can’t wait to perform with her best friends in their special concert.

Coco and the Christmas Beetle

Best Suited 4-8 Years
Coco loves Christmas. Everything about it. She is most looking forward to the celebrations in town, especially the lighting of the tree. But then she finds out Tabby Town won’t be putting on a celebration this year. Can a lonely Christmas beetle give Coco the bright idea she needs to create the most meow-gical Christmas ever?

Coco the Big City Kitty

Best Suited 4-8 Years
Once there was a small kitten named Coco. Coco lived on the top floor of the tallest building on Meowington Avenue. Her days were filled with action, excitement, noise and activity. And nothing made Coco happier than being a Big City Kitty.

Coco and the Spiderling

Best Suited 4-8 Years
Coco is very excited about her family holiday. But when she discovers her purrfect city adventure is actually a camping trip … Me-Eww! Can an unexpected friendship change Coco’s view of camping? And will she have the purrfect holiday after all?

Coco and the Butterfly

Best Suited 4-8 Years
Coco and her family have moved to a new home in the country. Coco is missing the big busy city. Tabby Valley has no buzz at all if you don’t count the bugs (Number 1 on her Least Favourite Things List). But Coco is about to find out that change can be full of beautiful surprises.

Coco and the Bee

Best Suited 4-8 Years
Coco is loving her new life in Tabby Valley There are magical seeds to plant in the garden, and new friends to make. But when Coco meets a bee, and then a boy called Max, Coco realises that things aren’t always what you think they might be. In this third tail, oops, tale, Coco’s world expands as she makes new friends, learns how to grow strawberries, and finds out that nature, and people, can surprise in delightful, and delightfully sweet ways.

Run Pups Run

2024 CBCA Book of the Year Notable

Best Suited 2-7 Years
When a family heads to the beach with their dogs an adventurous summer day unfolds. A lost kite, riding the waves, sandcastles, ice-cream, hiding from their parents and a thunderstorm!

A rollicking, rhyming adventure story to read aloud and share with the whole family. Run Pups Run celebrates the simple joys of childhood and the bond between children and their dogs.

Illustrator Nicky Johnson perfectly brings to life this whimsical text about a runaway day at the beach.

Nature’s Song

Best Suited 3-7 Years
A little girl sets off on a quest to find an irresistible gift to help bring the outside in for her homebound brother. Nature’s Song is an invitation to discover the wonders of nature in all its mysterious glory…and how nature creates and touches our lives for the better.

Mama’s Chickens

Best Suited 6-9 Years
 What happens when a couple of kids and their mother, who has early-onset dementia, welcome some backyard chickens into their lives? This beautifully illustrated book tells an important, much-needed story about disability and acceptance as Mama loves and cares for her chickens — just as she does her children — despite the challenges she faces.

Amira’s Suitcase

Best Suited 3-6 years
It begins with a tiny seed growing inside a suitcase. With Amira’s care, the tiny seed starts to sprout. Find out what happens when kindness flourishes . . . Amira’s Suitcase is a gentle, thought-provoking tale about friendship and hope.

Finding Bunny

Best Suited 2+ Years
Bunny and Vee are best friends. They go on adventures, as best friends do, until one day, when Vee and her grandad accidentally leave Bunny behind…How will poor Bunny find her way home to Vee?

Jørn’s Magnificent Imagination

Best Suited 4-8 Years
Was it a sailboat, a seashell, a swan or an orange peel that inspired Jørn to design Australia’s most recognisable building? In this gorgeously illustrated story, we follow Jørn through childhood as he discovers his love of building and creating, gathering ideas from everything around himself. When he grows bigger, so do his ideas, and something begins to take shape… can you guess what it might be?

The Incredibly Busy Mind of Bowen Bartholomew Crisp

Best Suited 6-10 Years
Most children would say that the ocean is blue, but when Bowen looks at it he sees white where the waves crash, deep black on the ocean floor, and green when there’s a storm. Learn how Bowen goes from struggling to fit in with his peers to finding his place in the world in this inspirational story about the power of thinking differently.

Upside-Down Friday

Best Suited 5+ Years
Upside-Down Fridays turn Hugo the monkey’s routine into chaos and fill his tummy with butterflies. Find out how he discovers the fun in change with this story about the power of friendship. With emotive language and unique ‘upside-down’ illustrations, Upside-Down Friday is the perfect resource for building emotional resilience in children.

Piper Picks the Perfect Pet

Best Suits 3-9 Years
My dad says I can choose a pet, but I’m not sure which pet to get. A dog, a cat, a fish, a rat? How can Piper pick the perfect pet when there are so many appealing possibilities? ‘Caroline Tuohey and Nicky Johnston’s book will appeal to all animal lovers, especially families that have pets or might be in the market for one. Johnston’s illustrations are simple and non-fussy, depicting an array of adorable animals being considered for adoption.

Saying Goodbye to Barkley

Best Suited 6-8 Years
Olivia and her dog Barkley are inseparable. He’s her sidekick, her partner in crime-fighting – they’re the perfect pair. But then, Barkley dies and Olivia is heartbroken.

Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts!

Best Suited 3-10 Years
Bayden is an intelligent, confident and courageous boy. Yet his worry thoughts can be quite unbearable.

Grandma Forgets

Best Suited 6-8 Years
The heart-warming story of a family bound by love as they cope with their grandma’s dementia.

Brave Danny

Best Suited 4-8 Years
Brave Danny is about a small boy who makes a difference by being brave enough to speak up. Danny is frightened of his dad. Every night he goes to bed and pretends to be asleep. He listens to his dad mistreating his mum. Danny thinks his life is normal until he goes on a sleepover at his best friend Alex’s house. Alex’s dad is kind and fun to be with, and Danny feels happy. Danny wishes his dad could be more like Alex’s dad. But what can he do?

Where’s Bear

Best Suited 4+ Years
Sophie stood Bear at the top of the castle. “You’re so brave, Bear!” When Sophie returned from dinner, Bear was not where she had left him. “Bear, where are you?” Sophie called. Go on an adventure with Sophie as she attempts to find her best friend, Bear. Sophie has to be brave, just like Bear, but the Shadow Monster is lurking in the dark. This gentle book encourages children to face their fears and to have courage, even if they are frightened or nervous.

Where the Magic Happens

The quote, ‘Sometimes, real superheroes live inside the hearts of small children fighting big battles’ by an unknown author, is the essence of a new children’s picture book published by the charity, Hand in Hand Fighting Brain Cancer.

When Cooper is told he needs to be brave, put on a mask and fight a fierce brain tumour, something wonderful and magical happens.

Where the Magic Happens is a heart-warming story about a young boy’s fight with brain cancer. The story sensitively deals with the realities of brain cancer in a way that is accessible to younger readers.  Written by Amanda Christensen, who lost her own six-year-old son to brain cancer, together with author Coral Vass, Amanda has captured the brain cancer journey through the eyes of young Cooper.

Mum and Dad take Cooper to the doctors, because he is feeling sick and dizzy. In the room filled with doctors and nurses, Cooper is told he has a brain tumour.

At the End of Holyrood Lane

Best Suited 4-8 years
Flick is just like any other youngster. She loves to chase butterflies and jump in autumn leaves. But life at the end of Holyrood Lane is often violent and unpredictable due to the constant storms that plague her home.

Searching for Seashells

Best suited 6+ years
Searching for Seashells is a comforting and gentle story that empowers families to talk about love, loss and remembering.

The Fix-It Man

Best Suited 6-8 Years
A young girl believes her father can fix anything, but following the death of her mother, she discovers that broken hearts are not as easy to repair as torn toys or cracked teapots.

The Most Magnificent Thing

Best Suited 3-7 Years
A warm hug, a loud cheer, a tickly hand, a steady hand.  Following a boy and his dad through the day we see all the ways a dad, through his actions, shows his love.    The Most Magnificent Thing is a tribute to the everyday magnificence of dads.

This is My Dad; The perfect dad isn’t always a father

Best Suited 4+ Years
Leo has never known a father figure, but that won’t stop him from telling his class about someone cool, courageous and clever on Tell Us About Your Dad Day – someone who might not be his dad, but is his everything.

Under the Same Sky

Best Suited 5-10 Years
Two children on opposite sides of the world crave friendship. Is it possible to be friends across the miles?

Hide and Seek with Grandpa

Best Suited 3+ Years
Ready or not, here I go! Come and find me, Grandpa! Am I hiding high or low? Where could I be? Keep looking all around the park! It is so much fun playing hide and seek with Grandpa!

The Mosaic

Best Suited 4-8 Years
When Frankie’s parents separate, it feels like her world has broken apart… but what if the pieces can be rearranged into something beautiful? Expressively illustrated and sensitively written, The Mosaic is a story about family separation that provides young readers with not just resilience but hope, showing them the good that can come from change.

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